How to tune a True Temperament guitar

When it comes to tuning a guitar fitted with a True Temperament fretboard, there are a few, but very important things to know about how the fretting system works.

How does True Temperament differ from conventional frets?

The Thidell Formula One temperament is built around fret positions and tuning offsets, were each set of frets are designed to specifications derived from the exacting True Temperament Dynamic Intonation fret position process. 

What this means is that tuning the open strings (except for the A string) to an ordinary chromatic tuner will not work, as the open strings are not tuned in equal tempered intervals. Instead, to be able to tune and intonate a TT guitar you will need a programmable strobe tuner.

Although tuning att TT guitar differs from tuning a guitar with conventional frets, the intonation is adjusted in the same way as a you would on any guitar.

Choosing the right tuner

As described above, using an ordinary chromatic tuner won't work when tuning a TT guitar. 

Instead, we recommend the  Sonic Research Turbo Tuner ST-300 stomp box as it comes with True Temperament as a preset, and it is the tuner we use when setting up guitars before delivery.

If you don't have a programmable strobe tuner available, non programmable tuners can be used to a certain degree if you follow these steps:

  1. Tune the 5th A string and F on the 6th E string.
  2. Tune the rest of the strings by ear and check the octaves around 1-5th fret.
  3. Then check the octaves around the 12th fret.
  4. If all octaves sounds the same, your instrument is well intonated.

Want to know more?

Our friends at True Temperament have a lot of useful information on their website, so if you want to know more about True Temperament and how it works, please check out their FAQ here:

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