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Guess it depends on how you are playing, are you freting the string right down to the fret board when you play ?
I have just writen in my blog about basic slide technique
It might be of some help
Some guitars have a high action and are meant just for slide work, you will get intonation issues if you try to force these high actions down to the fret board
If you guitar has fretts or you are using it in a way where the strings are actually being brought into contact with the fret board it sounds like your action would benefit from being lowered.
It may also be worth checking your neck is not bent
I use a slide and finger chords and notes, the 2-inch string height is not an option. My necks have less than .5mm relief at the most.
Setting the intonation on a guitar usually involves moving the length of the guitar scale usually by moving the bridge, this is done to compensate for the difference in strings gauge resulting in a slight reduction in the scale length as the strings get thinner.
As such intonation will need to be set corecttly with or with out fretts. Therer is a case that the slide player maybe able to componsate some what by placing the slide at an angle, howerver if you like to play holding your slide perpeducular to the strings you will indead do need to set the intonatiion or if are fingering notes on a fretles bass and would like the notes not to be all over the place due to different string guages.
By you reasoning no freless guitar would ever need adjusters at the bridge and I can assure you they all do
why ? because they need the intonation setting just like any other guitar or string instrument with different string guages regarles of it they are freted or not
Looks like we are talking about different things then
round my parts on a guitar we call setting all the string lengths with the adjusters on the bridge so that they are the correct notes and in tune when played open, setting the intonation. Hopfully you will agree this is a process required for fret-less or fretted instruments.
The adjusters on the bridge are used to compensate for the differing string thicknesses ensuring the same note is played at the octave(12 fret) as the string played open for each string
Out of interest if not setting the intonation what would you call the process of setting all the strings lengths on a stringed instrument as described above to compensate for different gauges so they are in tune with each other ?
Ok bud if you say so
I mainly build fret less and I always set the intonation
The whole guitar vibrates in a very pleasing way after doing so as all the strings now vibrate in sympathy especialy when played in an open key.
The difference before and after is very noticable
I would 100% recommend setting the intonation as the final task for either a fretted or fruitless guitar
How is "changing your position on the fly" more desirable than having an instrument set up so that notes on adjacent strings line up(more or less)?
You are making the mistake of thinking that intonation relates to a fingered note. Intonation is nothing more than adjusting the bridge saddles so that the octave harmonic falls at the halfway point of the scale length. Of course it's imperfect, but just because it's imperfect doesn't mean you shouldn't try to get close to perfect. I understand that the experienced player can adjust by feel(For melodic lines anyway. Good luck if you try to play chords), but beginner players should have their instrument adjusted as uniformly as possible to avoid frustration.
Fretless instruments that are played only with a slide and one string at a time don't need intonation set. if you finger notes and chords, the intonation and action need to be set. I just went through a long process with my personal fretless that I use with a slide and fingering. If I have an open string tuned to G and want a G# near the nut, too high action won't give it to me. But fretless is much more forgiving.