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Old 11-30-2017, 02:42 PM
Carbonius Carbonius is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Posts: 1,297
Default Intonation!!! Is this just how nylon string guitars are??

I am very surprised how bad the intonation is with many very good guitars and players. They sound nicely in tune for most passages, then quite bad in some. They are playing beautifully, but that level of bad intonation is rarely heard in equivalent talent in the steel string world. Why is it so bad??

Is there just something about the physics of nylon strings that makes it this way?? Literally something about the wave lengths of nylon strings interacting??

So many people say to intonate the saddle. Yes... but that isn't what you do to solve issues in the first 5 frets. Saddle intonation has next to no effect there. You adjust the saddle for better UPPER register intonation. I read some articles a long time ago about nut intonation on nylon string guitars, it is not new. However is seems more niche as apparently very few people even hear the issue. If you have an intonated saddle AND nut, did it go a long way to solve the issue??

Is it that more demands are put on classical guitars?? What I mean is, the amount of notes that are combined in different passages almost ensures you will hit a conflicting point. I guess the easy test would be to play a conflicting piece on a quality nylon string guitar, then play the same piece on a quality steel string guitar to compare. I do not have a good nylon guitar to try or I would answer this question.

Is it standard tuning that is the problem?? Many steel string players use alternate tunings, while many classical players play in standard tuning.

Is it just bad builds?? I say no. I have made sure to listen to videos where guitars in the $5000 up range are being played.

Is it bad technique?? I say no. I have watched many very good and very reputable players. They have wonderful tone and technique, but then there's that cringe worthy passage (for me at least).

My issue is that I need to get into this realm. Nylon string guitars solve the painful hearing issue that has driven me from steel string guitars. I love the tones I hear from nylon strings. Even the position shifts don't bother me as much. This is my path back to guitar. But I need to know if this intonation problem is inherit, or just one that very few notice. No guitar is perfect, but I am not used to this much imperfection!!

Thank you in advance!!
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