How to adjust the intonation of a Les Paul Guitar

By | April 5, 2021


Check the intonation of the upper E-string. The easiest way to check your intonation is to play an open string note followed by the twelfth fret note of the same string. The twelfth fret note creates the same note as the open string, but one octave higher. If your ear is trained well enough, you can make a difference in intonation by simply comparing these two notes. For a more accurate test, tune the open string with a chromatic tuner and then play high octave on the same string. If the tuner provides an out-of-tune reading for the open string octave, you will need to correct the intonation.


Adjust the intonation of the upper E-string. Use a flat-blade screwdriver to adjust the position of the saddle. This is the small part of the bridge where the string sits. If something is out of position, it may affect the intonation. For intonation that is sharp, move the saddle backwards and if it is flat, move the saddle forward. You do not have to remove the string to perform this task, but it may be easier to do so if you are struggling to access the saddle with the screwdriver. If you remove the string while fixing the intonation, this task will be much longer.


Check the intonation of the other five strings. It is best to start with your highest string and work down the path, as the thinner strings are prone to intonation problems. If any of the other strings have intonation problems, adjust the current saddle. Once you have fixed the intonation on the upper E-string, repeat the process on each string.


Test each string again using the open string and octave note comparison. can take a few steps to get it right.


Test each string with a tuner. For absolute accuracy, use the tuner to ensure that each string’s intonation is the perfect set. If there are still problems with intonation, change the strings. If the strings are of poor quality, it may be impossible to get them completely in order.

Tips and warnings

  • The harmonies of the third, fifth, seventh and twelfth guitar are good points for test intonation, but you need a well-trained ear to detect any problems.
  • Always buy the best strings you can afford. Bad strings can be difficult to tune, and it is not good to adjust the saddle for the guitar.
  • The recording of a guitar affects the accuracy of the fretted notes. If the intonation of the guitar is turned off, it will be difficult for you to play as the frets will play sharp or flat. When a Les Paul guitar is set correctly, the intonation of each note on the string is perfectly in line. Les Pauls has a fixed bridge, which means that the intonation is quite stable, but problems can still occur, but the solution is usually quite simple.