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Intonation is how in-tune something is. That is, how accurately something hits the correct pitch. This can be said of singers, “Her intonation is spectacular. She nailed every note!” Or, of instruments, “I need to adjust my bass guitar’s intonation. It plays so out of tune even the drummer can tell!”
Notes occur at exact points up and down the string. Setting your intonation means matching, or lining up, where the notes occur on the string to where the frets are on the fretboard. If they are not lined up correctly, your bass guitar will play out of tune.
As you will see in the setting bass intonation tutorial, to adjust your bass intonation you will move the saddle forward or backward.
By moving the saddle, you change the length of the string from the bridge to the nut. Changing the string's length shifts where the notes fall on the string.