Thirds on the guitar. Consonant or dissonant?

Hello Steve! Tal here,

I have this discussion with piano tuners and various musicians, but when it comes to guitarists it’s a shoulder shrug usually, like it’s just an inherent part of our instrument that the interval of a third is not consistent or usually consonant on the guitar.

So my question is this, intonation, and tuning, (standard set up on a Fender scale, NOT Buzzy Feiten or compensated nut)


Q: how do you personally intonate and then tune, play the guitar so different inversions have relatively event treatment of thirds?


Or am I tripping? Hahahaha

Guitar strings , b, g, d, second inversion triad, C barre chord on the 5th fret, in tune


if I play a root position triad on the same strings, on the eighth fret, I have to pull the G note on the B string sharp with my first finger, even if the guitar is intonated I still have to pull the 5th sharp to be in tune.

Or am I hearing the third incorrectly and it’s supposed to have a more dissonant “beat” pattern against the root and fifth?

Should I tune to the first inversion and not the second as I have been? Is there a fudge with intonation and tuning cents that gets you close?

Have I been perceiving this sound wrong and where would I go to listen and re train my ear? Hahah, I sound like such a nerd.

When I watch and listen to a piano tuner treat thirds it feels like they treat thirds as a more dissonant interval than guitar players do, especially if it’s rock music with basic chords.

Thoughts? Should I chill out and listen to more Miles Davis?

Thank you!!!


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