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Home : Tools : Special tools for Bridges : The Intonator

The Intonator

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Easy way to get accurate intonation! The Intonator finds the correct location for placing the saddle on a flattop guitar bridge.

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The Intonator
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5245 The Intonator Yes

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Dan Erlewine designed it to use before cutting the saddle slot in new bridges, or when you fill and reslot an existing saddle. The old method of placing dowels or pins under the strings isn't accurate because the strings pull the dowels out of position. This doesn't happen with The Intonator, because the solid brass bar anchors the adjustable brass saddles while you fine-tune them.

Each saddle includes concentric brass bushings to be added or removed for setting precise string heights. Simply turn each thumbscrew until the intonation is just right, then mark the saddle positions on the bridge. You now have accurate guides for routing for a new saddle, and you know the guitar will play in tune up and down the neck. You can test the intonation by playing the guitar while The Intonator is in place.

Concentric bushings build each saddle to the correct string height
Support bar is arched for the upper bridge surface
String intonation is precisely tuned with thumbscrews

Finding the right location for a guitar's saddle slot
Where does the saddle go on this acoustic guitar?
Finding the right location for a guitar's saddle slot Read more

In this issue:
This issue shows how to locate and cut the saddle slot for an acoustic bridge.

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 Ratings and reviews
The Intonator
The Intonator
3.5 out of 5 stars
Based on 4 ratings Write a Review
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Displaying 1 – 4
3 11-18-2013
great idea....but......

The good news is that it will help you intonate your acoustic and it does that pretty well. The bad news is that you need 4 hands to help get it in place and setup....what a chore! The little cylinders are a great idea but getting them in place without disturbing the other ones or having ones fall off is tough. Put on your thinking caps StewMac....its a great concept......

Tonykingfish  Denver, CO
2 4-18-2011
Slipping thread

This could be a great tool however one of the threads on mine slips so have to set five strings then remove one nut and use it for the last. It also has a tendency to rise above the bridge pins so I had to turn some square topped ones to seat it against. It does work but we fell out a few times and I'm not sure I've forgiven it yet!

Ed Hall  England Read my reviews (3)
5 3-25-2011
Great tool, but not for all types of bridges

The intonator works great on all regular Martin-type bridges. However, on rounded-over (sloped) bridges, the brass tuning wheels come dangerously close to the top. Don't get me wrong: the intonator is a the tool if you want perfect intonation on your guitar.

DhaenensGuitars  Aarschot, Belgium, Europe Read my reviews (10)
4 10-31-2010
Intonation setup with intonator

A little while ago I bought an "intonator" because I thought the idea was great. I've used it a number of times now, however, I think there's some things to note about using it... from my perspective of course.
1) I found that using it with the software called AP tuner was best as I was able to get "octaves" within 3 cents which I thought acceptable.
2) As I tightened the high E at one point, I noticed that the intonator was pivoting and the low E end was moving back. I stopped this by anchoring the intonator behind a piece of wood at either end outside of the adjusting knobs of the intonator.
3) At first I was laying the guitar flat and supporting the neck but I found that even this was altering the position of the octave according to the intonator. I suppose that in choosing a "tolerance" of 3 cents I should have know! Anyways, I now use the intonator in playing position and get more stable results.
4) Instead of using the small fiddly bushes, I raised the string guides with feeler gauges and measured the distance from a clamped straight edge in front of the bridge with digital calipers. I felt that that gave me more accuracy than trusting a pencil to be at 90 degrees.

Lisa  Houten, the Netherlands
Displaying 1 – 4 /\ Top of Reviews

Shown on page 29 of our latest catalog.
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