How do you ensure perfect intonation?
Intonation is how true a note is to pitch as the player moves up the fingerboard. A "true" instrument when properly set up should produce the same note as an open string just one octave higher (e.g. open A string first course 440Hz, twelfth fret 880Hz). Another test is to play a 12th fret "harmonic" and then check it with a fretted 12 fret note. A "true" instrument should hit each note played exactly to the frequency that is required (G=392 Hz, C=261.6 Hz, E=329.6 Hz and so on). Intonation in our eyes is the most important facet in building a fine instrument. This is followed very closely by playability. Now, how do we achieve perfect intonation? It would be very simple to just double the measurement from the twelfth fret, glue on the bridge and say it's close enough, right? Many builders still build instruments this way. They believe that only a trained ear could hear the difference. Not true! As a player develops their skill they will appreciate having their instrument stay in tune as they progress up the fingerboard. Each Kanile'a 'ukulele has a scale length that has been compensated for our setup and allows for each note to be at perfect pitch. A computer program designed jig that cuts our fingerboard slots, rides in a keyway that ensures a perfectly placed slot each and every time. Now understand, an instrument moves and wood breaths. We address these problems with a controlled building environment and utilizing properly seasoned woods. We cannot control an individual's playing style, this will ultimately play a role with the instruments intonation. If the player is a hard strummer and bends his strings during chording (which elongates the strings and throws of the pitch), we have no control over that. The main thing is they are enjoying themselves while jamming their song and somehow appreciate all time and research that we did to achieve that perfect intonation.