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Intonation Question

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I`ve put a heavier (.11 gauge)set of strings on my guitar with the idea of tuning lower to Eb or possibly D.

When re-checking the intonation...can anyone tell me if i set the intonation in relation to the lower tuning (Eb),

or do i still have to set it in standard E tuning regardless?

As well as adjusting the saddle height slightly to accommodate the heavier gauge strings, what other adjustments

should i be looking at when switching to a different string gauge?

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Ideally, you should intonate each string for note you'll have that string tuned to. So a dropped tuning may need slightly different intonation, as well as open slide tunings, etc.

In practice, drop tuning by a half step isn't probably really enough of a difference to matter, and if you've intonated the guitar for those same strings at E, dropping them down to Eb isn't likely to make an audible difference.

In the end, your ears and/or a good tuner will tell you if you need to re-intonate your saddles.

As far as compensating for new heavier guage strings, you may not need to change anything, depending on the instrument in question and what you switched from. Particularly if your tuning down, as this tends to help counteract the increased tension of heavier gauge strings. I suppose I might be wary of switching from super light to super heavy strings, but in general, you just have to take a look at things after it's strung up.

The nut probably needs to be looked as, as the new strings (if they fit at all) will be tight or binding, and that can affect tuning stability. If they don't sit well in the slot, they can sit too high as well - this can make playibility and intonation a pain.

The bridge saddles are usually fine, as they set the height from the bottom of the string. If you find you need to make large changes here, it may indicative of changes in the neck relief that need to be looked at.

If you have a floating tremolo, you will almost certainly need to tighten the springs to counteract for the increased string pull.

You may or may not need to change the relief with the truss rod - this is a matter of taking the measurements after the thing is strung up, understanding what they mean, and determining the best course of action.

Some people find they like to move their pickups closer or further away after string guage changes.

In reality, it's a matter of seeing how your guitar reacts, understanding the measurements, and taking appropriate action from there. About the only thing I do prior to a string gauge change is make sure the nut will work for the new gauge strings, and maybe put a little more tension on the tremolo springs if I'm moving up in tension. Everything else is standard setup stuff that comes after it's strung and I have an idea of how the instrument will move.

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Good advice, thanks for clearing some things up for me!

Thought i`d try a heavier gauge, to try and preserve some string tension once i`d dropped the tuning. In the past, .11s have been way too rigid on other guitars that i`ve played, but there`s a lot less tension in my new, self assembled/built strat-a-like. Its the first time i`ve tried to built my own guitar so i`m opening up cans of worms by the bucket load! but generally its going quite well, and i`m confident i`ll have a nice playing/sounding guitar at the end of it. Just having to tweek, tweek and tweek some more.

I`m getting ahead of myself a bit with this posting because the nut is my main issue at the moment.

I`m fitting a brass nut which comes with pre-machined/moulded slots (which takes us into different topic territory, but i`ve started, so) ...the spacing is fine and the slots are very smooth but all six have equal depth and size, so the high E is well seated then progressively more pronounced down to the low E which sits very pronounced. I`ve ground the nut from the bottom in stages to take it down to a ideal height (still a little to go), but at this stage the nut slots seem pretty good as they are, with no snaging or buzzing and i`ve tested the strings with a bit of aggressive string bending to make sure that they dont pop out of the slots and it`s fine. I`m tempted to leave the slots well alone(if i can get away with it) unless i get some decent files or get someone with a bit more experience to do it.

Actually i`m finding the .11 gauge string tension a little tough on this guitar, so i`ll fit some .10s and take the final nut height from there.

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