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Intonation Problem


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All,

I did the final setup on my latest build. I cut the nut, and the bridge, and set the intonation. The intonation set perfectly for 5 strings, but the "D" string, I adjusted all the way forward and it is still way off. There must be something else wrong. It's fully 1/4 of an inch from the "A" string and even further from the "G" string. I've got stair steps, and then the "D" is pegged. Any idea what could be going on here?

This doesn't make sense. Logic says, if the ends are right, then the intonation should be somewhere in between the adjacent strings, this is off the scale.

-John

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have you checked the nut? one way to see if the problem is at the nut is to ignore it - tune the guitar so the 5th fret (or any fret) is in tune and check whever the 17th (or any fret 12 above your first one) is also in tune. if the 17th is sharp move the saddle back, if flat move it foward. If you are able to intonate the guitar like this it eliminates a lot of other issues that could be causing problems

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If your slot is cut wrong that will change the length of the open string therefore making it out of tune when you fret. If it is sharp or flat at every fret when the open string is in tune, you probably have your nut wrong. I went through similar trouble with an acoustic kit. The fretboard was two long so all the measurements were off. I ended up cutting a new slot in the bridge for the saddle (closer to the string holes) and shaving a little off the fretboard and moving the nut closer. Plays perfect now.

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Could also be a dud string.

also worth a try... it doesnt happen as much now, depending on what strings you use - but i had a few sets in a row like that. intonation should always be done with new strings for the best tuner readings and i would also suggest backing away all but the bridge pickup to help keep the readings really nice and clear - especially if you are having problems

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Thanks. I'll go check out the suggestions. The strings are new, and good quality. The bridge is good. I'm thinking it has to be something at the nut.

I vote for the dud string idea too. Or you might have accidentally put a kink in it.

If you put a capo on it, say on the first fret, does it intonate at the 'new' 12th fret? That'll tell you if it's the nut or not, I figure.

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Thanks. I'll go check out the suggestions. The strings are new, and good quality. The bridge is good. I'm thinking it has to be something at the nut.

-John

Doesn't matter if the strings are brand new. Change them. I've had two bad sets in a row, the chances are next to nothing, but it happened.

Try putting a capo on the first fret than checking your intonation with a new set of strings, if it's perfect then take off the capo and see if your still good. If not you have nut issues.

Also like Wez said, make sure your pickups aren't too close to the strings pulling them out of tune.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, I'm new to these boards, but I'm running into similar problems with my guitar player's guitar. Every time I check the intonation on all the strings, they are all somewhat to very sharp (one was almost a half step off). However, all the saddles are as far back as they can go. So, my first question is, if it's a nut problem, what can I do to diagnose it properly and fix it (I tried the capo technique and while the intonation was closer, it was still sharp)? Question 2, could it be a problem with the bridge height at all? 3, does it matter that what guitar and strings he uses are (he plays baritone guitars and usually mixes different sets of strings to get the gauges the way he likes them, he plays in rather off tunings)? I don't think that should matter though, since my bass and his other guitars were done properly with little to no problems (aside from the fact that this is the first time either of us is actually doing this). But, just in case, I don't want to leave anything to chance. Just in case any of this info helps, the guitar we are having trouble with is a Washburn Baritone (I'm not sure the exact model name, it says IDOL on the truss rod cover though), it has a gibson style bridge, he put a set of GHS heavyweights strings on it, .10-.70 (I just made sure, he didn't mix any strings, it's all from that set), and it's tuned G,C,G,C,F,A# (yes, he is tuned lower than my bass). Basically, I know I must be doing something wrong, but I don't know what.

Here ends my thesis, sorry.

Any help is appreciated, Thanks,

T.B. Player

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1. if it was solely the nut the capo should've solved it.

2. the higher the action the more adjustment is needed.

3. yes, it matter alot.

the heavier the strings the more offset is needed.

there are guitars designed for low tuning/heavy strings and the bridge is placed further back to allow the extra adjustment.

does it intonate with standard strings?

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