Over Said ring Linton

Heard about that you could make intonation not only of the stable leg but also the saddle. There is a lot of talk about intonation, some variants can be read about here. Searched but found no good practical description on how to do it. In a discussion it came up a link that I read through. Quickly realized that here was a start to a method between the lines to do oversaddle leasing. It was just to try in practice.

My first attempt produced a result that I did not expect. Suddenly all the troubadour chords worked as they should. Sat probably half an hour and just hit chord after chord to try to bring in all the new. Realized that all the guitars I have ever played on have been undefined although they were perfectly toned according to the old standard method with open string / taken note on the 12th band.

There are an (almost) infinite number of theories and factors that affect the practical intonation. The majority have little impact, but some of the factors are more important than others. The fact that all the notes taken tighten the string when you press the string against the board is one such. All taken notes have a higher pitch compared to the open strings that are not pressed down to the board. This means that all chords that mix open strings and taken notes get into trouble. Another important factor is that the string becomes stiffer when you push it down near the saddle. Harder resistance means that the pitch increases a little extra when you approach the upper saddle with your taken notes.

The thickness of the string is also important for the intonation, which is the main reason why the thickest strings must be longer between the upper saddle and the stalk legs and the stable obliquely placed. The thicker the string, the longer the string remains stiff as it leaves the upper saddle before it can begin to vibrate. In practice, this means that the thickest strings must be a little longer to get the same vibrating length as the thinner ones.

What I describe here is a practical method for getting the intonation as good as possible with straight bands placed according to the standard formula.

The usual method of intonation is to get the pitch the same (with an octave in between) at the 12th band. Open string or flageolette at 12th is compared to the note taken on the 12th band. Both must match the note that the string should have. The tool you have is to move the intonation point at the stable leg so that it is correct. Usually only by giving the stable leg a slope so that the base E string is longer than the treble e string. Typically about 3 mm longer string on E than e. If you are more ambitious, you file the intonation point at the top of the stable leg for all the strings within the thickness of the stable leg to the best possible intonation. On an electric guitar, you can easily screw up the position for each string - at least if the stable is in the right place.

If you do it right, the guitar will intonate very well on the 12th band. The problem comes close to the oversaddle. The further away from the “perfect” 12th band, the worse the intonation and the worst on the top bands near the upper saddle. Just the place where 90% of all guitarists take their troubadour chords! Not good.

This is where the saddle comes into the picture. By also using the upper saddle to intonate, you can ensure that the intonation is "perfect" in two places of the fretboard and not just at the 12th band. I'm stuck for the 3rd and 12th band. On an electric guitar you can choose the 3rd and 14th band instead. If you do the intonation correctly, the intonation errors on the entire board fall below the limit that most people can discern. For me, a new world opened up, everything you play sounds like it should. You can let go of the worry that something is going to sound fake. The guitar as such sounds better even when all the chords are gathered and "beats" like a fist and not like an open hand. The difference is subtle, but is clearly heard.

You can also see it as intoning the open strings only with the upper saddle and all taken notes on the board only with the stable leg. You want two notes taken long apart on the grip board on the same string to match at the same time as the open string matches just as well as the two notes taken.

Before you start, make sure that the geometry of the neck / fretboard is correct. The straps should be placed in the theoretically calculated positions. Nowadays it is done with computers and even cheap guitars have the bands in just the right place. Old guitars must be checked and the position of the bands corrected. In the worst case, the straps below the 12th have been tapped in with the eye measure 🙂 The fingerboard should have a suitable relief to be able to get the lowest possible string height. For me, the ideal is an almost completely straight board, but with an even and nice 0.1 - 0.15 mm slash in the middle. The bands should be nicely crowned and polished so that a "fret rocker" does not reveal that any bands stand out. You also have to decide before which strings to use, the most important thing is the thickness, but if you use the same strings when you intonate that you then play with, it is an advantage. How the guitar should be tuned is also important. It can differ a lot in intonation as the tension of the string changes and you mostly have to have other string thicknesses. My experience is that overside intonation works better than usual even if you tune and change string thickness, but not as well as for the strings and the tuning you used for intonation. If you often play in a different mood and want it to tune in correctly, you have to buy another guitar that is intoned for that mood.

The capon also works well and better than with the usual intonation method. With a capo, you certainly get a new uncompensated upper saddle, but also a "zero band" that gives the least possible string height on the band below the capo. The lower the string height on the first strap below the "saddle" the less intonation problems. In addition, intonation at the stable leg is not adjusted to compensate for problems with the real upper saddle above the hood, only the notes taken on the board. I file in the string height at the 1st band so it corresponds to what a zero band would give.

The only tool you have to get is a very good tuner. A Peterson stroboscope tuner is the best one can use, cheaper tuners are not as sensitive. You can not trust the ear, or it takes a very long time even if you happen to have good hearing. A Dremel, and a stewmac jig for milling stable legs are handy too. Plus some general tools that force etc.


The guitar is strung on and all strings are tuned in a jig according to the picture. A short tailpiece is fastened with a strap and secured with a small clamp. A K&K is mounted in the guitar, which gives a firmer signal to the tuner. In order to be able to simultaneously adjust the intonation point at both ends of the string, you have small pieces of tape such as zero tape where the pliers are cut or filed away at the upper saddle. An old upper saddle is used to steer the strings sideways. At the stable you have drills that can be rolled to different positions. On an electric guitar you do not need the tailpiece and drill.

The fretboard has been extended at the top with a small piece of spruce where the old upper saddle sat, then you have plenty of room to move the ribbon pieces (forgot it in the picture, just went anyway!). Between a fretboard and strip pieces, place a thin 0.05 sheet measure or a thicker one if the strips on the fretboard are higher than the strip pieces you use. The smooth blade size makes it possible to move the strip pieces during adjustment.

The stalk leg milling is also plugged again with a piece of spruce (the stall in the picture had no milled groove for the stalk legs) so the drills can roll freely on top. Drills are usually available in 0.5 mm intervals, but if you want to be extra careful there are special drills with 0.1 mm intervals to buy. With two drills you can let the strings rest on the shaft without the strings being damaged by the drill itself. By choosing the right thickness of the drill, you can make sure that the close you are looking for the intonation point for has the correct height above the 12th band. Especially important is to check the string height for each string for a grip board with radius. I usually give the E string 2.7 mm and the e string 1,8 for the strings on my Old Gura and in between a straight slope in height down to the band. The Newtone Heritage strings I use are soft and need a little more height, for regular strings 2,5 / 1,5 can work without junk. The heights of the strings at 12th are a matter of taste and depend on how you want your guitar and how durable you are for strangling.


For each string, the intonation points are searched for the upper saddle and the stables, where at the same time you get a clean tone for the two notes far apart on the gripping board (3rd / 12th) as well as the open string. The other strings should be correctly aligned in the meantime and the guitar should be in play position when controlling its movements of the string bit at the top and the drill at the bottom. You move beyond one and then the other intonation point (have a special chisel for the band bits) and reconfirm after each move until you find the solution to the equation as all three notes are perfectly clean according to the tuner. Not always easy to determine on a stroboscope tuner, it takes practice. There is a slight subtle difference between the flage oolet on the 12th and the open string, I avoid using the flageolette. I always press the string at 12th with a light hand in the same way as at 3rd. You have to keep the same pressure on the string when testing the notes taken as the pitch goes up if you bring in more than you need.

When all three tones are so clean I measure the distance from the back of the first tape to the center of the tape bit with a digital slider (mm) and the distance from the same point on the back of the tape down to the center of the drill with a ruler (cm). Also note the diameter of the drill bit and if you want to be extra enough the string height at the 1st band.

To get a nice rectangular oversaddle, I cut the grip board at the intonation point that came closest to the 1st band. This can be 1-3 mm depending on whether the grip board is already shortened. If you are delicate you can make an Earvana like overhang on the grip board, but it is much more work especially if the grip board has a radius. The abbreviation is made to make the guitar better, everything is allowed!

A top saddle shiny in the leg is cut and the position of the stable leg is measured out and the trench for the stable leg is milled out. All measured intonation points must be accommodated within the thickness of the stable leg. If you have a stable with milled saddle ditch, you must fill it with the same wood as the stable and mill a new one if the milling does not happen to be in the right place.

The upper saddle gets its band grooves marked with a nice saw, filling in with a little pencil.

The measured intonation points are marked with small pieces of brown tape.

Milling into the marking for five of the strings, b the string came closest to the 1st band and does not need any etching. Has made a jig for the stewmac jig that is used to cut up the stable's trench. Incidentally, the stewmac has designed the jig in the rolls and reinforced it with metal pieces, the plastic is too folded. It's small and the tape gives good contrast to the white! Milling so deep that the milling comes in height with the grip board, marked with pencil with the upper saddle in place.

After that, the upper saddle is glued with skin glue and a normal adjustment takes place with the oversaddle files. The stable leg is mounted, the height above the stall surface can be found in his notes (drill diameter). After adjusting the height and shape on the stable leg, you file until the intonation point on the top. You can rely on your measurements and have the measurements as a starting point, but I always double-check with the tuner and make small corrections in both oversaddle and stable legs. You can mill some more with your dremel or cut with a sharp knife or fill in with bone dust and super glue if you have to correct the tone on the glued oversaddle.

Always as fun to test the troubadour chords when you're done and enjoy for a while how clean they play 🙂

The result is individual for each guitar. There are some things that are always recognized, one is that it is either the A or B string (or the unwound G string on an electric guitar) that comes closest to the 1st band. The G to E strings tend to be almost straight compensated at the stable, while the E, A and D strings can vary considerably. The latter means that you usually need a thick stable leg of 4 mm to make room with the intonation points.

How well you succeed depends entirely on the craft and at what level you decide on "now it's enough"! Even if you can see small, small errors on your stroboscope tuner on the open / 3rd / 12th, it is a question of whether the ear can perceive it. Not keeping the string in tune and not pressing as hard every time are significantly greater sources of error. Then I can think that perfect music can be very sad 😉

One thing that is always a concern is the strings. If you are unlucky, a severe defect and then of course the intonation will not be as it should be. After trying many strings, I think it's rare. Have had two questionable G strings that I replaced as they did not behave as expected. It is probably the thinnest spun strands that are the most difficult to manufacture and that you should keep an eye on. On several occasions, a string has come off or the intonation has looked a little strange and the replaced string has had the same intonation as the old one. If you want to be completely sure, you string on a set, make the measurements, replace the strings with a new set and double check that they work in the same way. Small, small differences between different string sets are normal, on an electric guitar you can correct at the stable with open string / 12th according to the old method when changing strings.

The only problem I know with an oversadel-toned guitar is that it can sound sour if you play parts with another guitar that is intoned according to the old bad method. However, if you play alone or together with a piano, string instrument or wind, the guitar will play clockwise!

All stringed string instruments can be overshot intoned. Electric guitars always need less adjustment than acoustic when the string height is lower, but the effect is the same.

I can do one of said ring Linton as above on your guitar! 🙂