Fix Guitar Intonation with the James Taylor Method
by Tim Redford, Dec 12, 2017 . 3 min read
And How Roadie 2 Can Help
Have you experienced that frustration when you slam down on your low E string and it rings sharp, even though it’s perfectly in tune as an open string? That’s guitar intonation.
Maybe you’ve also tried to get creative with a capo, but moving it up the fretboard sends the whole guitar out of tune? Just enough to make you sound bad with everyone else around you, naturally. That’s also guitar intonation.
There’s an easy hack for this and it just blew my mind.
The Ongoing Battle
As one of the best-selling artists of all time (100 million records sold), James Taylor shared the technique he used to win the war and keep his guitars’ intonation in tune decade after decade.
Here are a few easy steps to help you try this at home and stay in tune.
Lay an Easy Foundation
- Start with a new set of strings. This is optional, but it’s a good excuse to start fresh and get the best results. I use my Roadie 2 to quickly wind up the new strings on each peg. (My favorite lesser known feature)
- This is also the right time to decide on the primary tuning you want to play in. Want to try something new like an open tuning? Drop C perhaps? There are built in options to get creative!
The James Taylor Method
- Taylor discovered that by tuning your strings flat by a specific amount, it compensates for the natural offset that happens with intonation, thereby keeping you in tune while you play anywhere on the fretboard.
- He’s specific with how flat we need to make each string in order to restore true balance to our guitar. Here’s his proven recipe:
- High E = 3 cents flat below the true note.
- B = 6 cents flat
- G = 4 cents flat
- D = 8 cents flat
- A = 10 cents flat
- Low E = 12 cents flat
Simple Automation with Roadie 2
You can create your own custom tuning for the Roadie 2 with the app that lets you save these James Taylor specs for future use, day after day.
- Go to “Tunings”.
- Select an instrument type and the number of strings.
- Press on “Create New Tuning”.
Select one string at a time and customize it to the desired pitch with the specifications we went over in the previous section above.
Here’s The Video
To see the master in action, here’s a video of James Taylor as he painstakingly balances his guitar intonation. Near the end he struggles with using his traditional tuner which he describes as “infuriating”.
I’m sure glad the Roadie 2 now automates the process!