Gibson SG intonation problem

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by natebernstein, Feb 22, 2015.

  1. natebernstein

    natebernstein Member

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    So I've taken to starting to do my own setups. Adjusted the neck relief on my ES-333 and SG. That went fine. Intonation on the 333 also went fine (and man is it way more playable now that I adjusted the relief after moving up two string gauges). One problem I've confronted is the G string intonation on the SG. The fretted octave was sharp so I backed off the saddle away from the neck. Kept testing and still sharp. Now it's as far as it will go and still sharp. All the other strings are fine. Advice? Is it a nut problem? The tailpiece height?
     
  2. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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    Try a different brand of strings
     
  3. bob-i

    bob-i Member

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    It may just be a bad string. If I had a nickle for everytime a string wouldn't intonate I'd have a bucket full of nickels.
     
  4. dwoverdrive

    dwoverdrive Supporting Member

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    Could the bridge be leaning at all? Unlikely but check that.
     
  5. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Silver Supporting Member

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    Bridge location isn't graven in stone at Gibson. I have a Les Paul that *just* intonates the G, even with a Nashville. If I drop tuning a half-step, it's too sharp even at the end of travel.

    I bought a 335 a couple years ago that had the bridge installed too far rearward - it intonated great, but the strings hit the edge of the bridge on the way to the tailpiece no matter how you had it adjusted - if I'd raised the tailpiece to clear the bridge, there wouldn't have been much stud left in the threads (it went back to the dealer).

    Is the saddle reversed? You can get a little more room that way. But if you're using heavy strings or tuning down, you might be out of luck.
     
  6. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Member

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    Try reversing the saddle so the vertical side faces away from the neck.
     
  7. 335guy

    335guy Member

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    That's what I had to do on a couple of my Gibsons with the ABR-1 bridge.
     
  8. sliberty

    sliberty Member

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    Did the SG ever intonate properly?

    I've had several issues on my guitars that have contributed to intonation issues, including:
    1. Worn saddles
    2. Bad nut slots
    3. Old or defective string

    I had a highly respected luthier tell me that my bridge would have to be relocated. When I decided not to butcher my vintage 68 SG Std, I brought it to another guy, who replaced the saddles and got the guitar intonating perfectly with the saddles essentially centered in the bridge (not a straight line of course, but with additional adjustment available on either side).

    its good to be able to do your own setups and adjustments, but when your stumped, your stumped - bring it to a pro.
     
  9. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Member

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    Odds are that it's the nut causing the problem. That's where you'll want to start.
     
  10. GtrWiz

    GtrWiz Member

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    DESIGN FLAW!!!! :bitch:bitch:bitch


    :sarcasm
     
  11. natebernstein

    natebernstein Member

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    Thanks for the replies. It's a new guitar. I've had it about a month. Been playing it with the stock 9s and just moved up to 10s hence the setup. I didn't check the intonation before today.

    Reversing the saddle was going to be my next move. Dumb question: I'd have to take the strings off for that, right?
     
  12. sliberty

    sliberty Member

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    If you are reversing one saddle, you might be able to just loosen that one string enough to pull it out of the away, and then remove and reverse that one saddle. but if you feel too cramped working that way, remove all of the strings - its worth the $4 investment.
     
  13. natebernstein

    natebernstein Member

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    Thanks. I guess my even dumber question is how does one remove a saddle? Quick YouTube search didn't yield anything useful.
     
  14. sliberty

    sliberty Member

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    If your bridge has a retaining wire, the wife has to be removed. Needle ode players are your friend for that. After that, the screw and saddle can come right out together. Unscrew the saddle, turn it around, screw it back in, drop screw and saddle in place, and replace the retaining wire.

    If no retaining wire, just unscrew.
     
  15. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Silver Supporting Member

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    Unless it's a Nashville.
     
  16. natebernstein

    natebernstein Member

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    Thank you. Will try this tonight.

    Also appreciate the "if you're stumped, bring it to a pro" comment. If reversing the saddle doesn't work, I'll probably do that.

    But I'm also curious — what would the next logical steps be if reversing the saddle doesn't work?
     
  17. Ilduce

    Ilduce And now for something completely different! Supporting Member

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    That looks really interesting! I'm gonna have to check those out myself.
     
  18. sliberty

    sliberty Member

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    The nut becomes suspect at that point. In fact it is suspect already, but you might be able to compensate somewhat with the saddle reversal.
     
  19. GMGM

    GMGM Member

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    How close are your pickups to the strings? If they're real close, try backing them off a bit.
     
  20. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Silver Supporting Member

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    It could be that the bridge is just a little too far forward for the string gauge you prefer.

    There are things that can be done, though - is it an ABR-style bridge, or a Nashville? On the LP I mentioned earlier, I bought some offset conversion studs and installed an ABR-style bridge, shifted a little rearward. Easy, reasonably inexpensive, and totally non-invasive. If yours is a Nashville style, that's a possibility.

    I've seen Dan Erlewine machine elongated holes (parallel to the string lie) in TonePros bridges, and then use the set screws to shift the bridge position. That's another non-invasive possibility, although a more expensive one.

    And it's always possible to plug and redrill the stud holes, although the degree to which the visibility of this can be reduced depends a lot on how much you have to move it, what kind of bridge it is, and what color finish. I have an SG (wine red) that had the studs (ABR) drilled at an angle, so the string pressure would eventually have collapsed the wood around them. I doweled and redrilled, and you'd have to remove the bridge and the wheel on that side to tell (and then only maybe).
     

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