1. A proposal is now up as a poll to change the guidelines of TGP to only allow member self-deleting of post/threads for up to thirty days of the original posting it. We are now watching the poll here. Click here to view the thread.

    Dismiss Notice

Intonation changes not working

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by toughdee, May 21, 2011.

  1. toughdee

    toughdee Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    May 21, 2011
    I have a "Strat style" guitar that is a Behringer. It really isn't that great a guitar but right now it is what I have and is all I can afford. I am trying to fix the intonation and have run into some problems. I am using a tuner through a Mustang I. The USB connection lets me use an on screen tuner.
    I am doing everything the way you are supposed to. I tune the open note, then check the 12th fret. On every string, the 12th fretting is sharp. I then loosen the string and move the saddle away from the pickups by turning clockwise on the screws. I then re-tune the note and check again on the 12th fret. For some strange reason, there is little to no difference. I tried going all the way in on my low E string and still it hasn't helped. I set the action to 1/16" (at the 17th fret) on all strings. (This probably isn't completely accurate but at least as close as I could get.) I set the bass end of the pickups at 1/8" and the treble end at 1/16".
    I am not really sure what the problem is. I have tried all of the strings and have had the same problem so it is not just one string. I just noticed not too long ago however that the bolt on neck isn't flush with the pick guard. I am not sure if it needs to be or not but I suspect it might be the reason. I will post pictures.
    If you think this is the problem, how should I fix it? If not, how should I fix it? Haha. Thanks in advance. I am stumped.

    Here's a link to pics showing the bolt on neck, my attempts at moving the saddles, and the guitar itself.
    http://s303.photobucket.com/albums/nn126/toughdee/Guitar Pics/
     
  2. bsuite

    bsuite Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,731
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2005
    Location:
    Michigan
    Sounds like
    your pickups are too high.
    The magnets are damping the string vibrations so it will not intonate.
    lower your pickups another 1/8" on both sides see if that helps.
    Oh and thats holding down the string at the last fret while you measure it.
     
  3. bluesjunior

    bluesjunior Member

    Messages:
    5,670
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2008
    Plus one on lowering the pups to eliminate magnetism from the equation. As you say it is a lower end guitar you should also check the scale by measuring the distance from the front of the nut to the centre of the 12th fret and then from the front of the nut to the middle of the moveable range of the saddles which should be twice the length of the first measurement. If not then it will probably be impossible to intonate the instrument.
     
  4. Lolaviola

    Lolaviola Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,254
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Location:
    Eastern Standard Time
    Are you using new strings?
     
  5. passfan

    passfan Member

    Messages:
    74
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Location:
    Central florida
    Have you blocked the tremolo ? You must block the tremolo, if it has one, in order to intonate a strat. You cannot set the intonation with the tremolo floating. You must block it with the back of the tremolo plate about 3/32nds above the body (in order to center the tremolo for use in both directions) then tune to pitch. The block must go between the back of the tremolo counter weight and the body on the backside. With the tremolo blocked in this position you can then intonate the bridge. Once you get this far do not take the block out. Begin tightening the springs evenly until they take control of the bridge. When they're tensioned properly your block will fall right out and you're ready to go. If you cannot get the tremolo block to set when strung to pitch, loosen the springs until it will. Good luck and have fun with your new axe.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2011
  6. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    11,065
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Location:
    CT
    I'll bet the tuner system your using isn't accurate enough to detect intonation.


    I am able to intonate my Strat with the trem floating...
     
  7. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

    Messages:
    26,924
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Location:
    Canada-GTA
    OP---An accurate tuner will track variations in finger pressure on any note.
    Does yours do that?
     
  8. passfan

    passfan Member

    Messages:
    74
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Location:
    Central florida
    Are they major adjustments that require spring tension adjustments or are you just tweaking with springs that are already set? His tremolo could be so far out of whack he doesn't stand a chance. These were taken from Fenders factory tech Albert Garcia on how he set sup and intonates a Strat. He does the final intonation before he unblocks the tremolo. From what he describes his tremolo is out of whack. I have a friend who messed with his springs to the point that his tremolo is all the way against the forward stop when tuned to pitch and it won't intonate properly either.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2011
  9. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

    Messages:
    12,364
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Off hand it sounds like the bridge was put on too close to the fretboard. Did you compare the strings fretted at the 12th fret to their 12 fret harmonic?
     
  10. toughdee

    toughdee Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    May 21, 2011
    Wow, thanks for all of the quick replies. I measured the distances and strangely the distance from the middle of the 12th fret to the middle of the saddles is almost an inch longer than from the nut to the 12th fret. This should be backwards with my problem right?

    I am about to try lowering the pickups a little to see if it helps.
    I do have a tremolo plate but I am not sure what you mean by blocking it. Sorry, could you please explain.

    The tuner seems fairly accurate as far as the level of detail it goes into, but as far as how precise it is I don't know. I will post a screen shot.

    The amount of adjustment needed as asked is almost always at least half way sharp to being a half step up (flat) if that makes sense. It is usually a little more than that. (One the screen shot it would be 1/2 of the way or more on the sharp side of the note.)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2011
  11. toughdee

    toughdee Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    May 21, 2011
    didn't realize till looking at it but about +30 dB to +35 dB is what it usually is at.
     
  12. passfan

    passfan Member

    Messages:
    74
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Location:
    Central florida
    Has this guitar been modified with a different bridge or is it stock. Typically this distance (nut to 12th fret and 12th fret to bridge saddle) should be the same minus compensation. To be an inch in difference suggests the guitar has been modified either at the bridge or with a neck swap. My Tele is an 1/8th off at high E and a 1/4 off at low E. This is probably why you're roughly a half step off.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2011
  13. toughdee

    toughdee Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    May 21, 2011
    I just re-measured it and the difference is 3/8" not a whole inch. I guess that seems a little less drastic sorry. But it is the pickup side that is longer not the neck side, shouldn't it be reversed since I am getting sharper notes up the fretboard?
    I am trying to intonate currently with the pickup lowered, it seems like it might be helping a little but not much.
    Is is possible I am just not going back far enough, what if I snipped the spring to allow a little more room?

    As far as the guitar being modded, I am pretty sure it hasn't. It as used when I got it though. The neck is still a Behringer and the guitar is not really worth modding the bridge imo.

    I will continue to try with the pickup lowered and let you know how it goes.
     
  14. toughdee

    toughdee Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    May 21, 2011
    Hooray! I just successfully intonated the D string! I ended up having to go in a lot further than I thought I would have. A and E are still giving me troubles though.
    One of my main questions now is, is it ok to raise the pickup back up 1/8" for tone, or will that put it out of intonation?
    Moving on to the other strings....
     
  15. toughdee

    toughdee Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    May 21, 2011
    G string I got to about +10 dB but it wont go any further away...... B string I got to under 10 dB. High E string I was able to properly intonate. Low E basically can't go in any further and is still + 20 dB. A string I got within 10 dB. Besides the E string how acceptable is this? Is there hope for my E string? Look how far I have had to go away though in order to do this.....
    [​IMG]

    It isn't normal to go in this far is it?

    Also, again can I raise back up the pickup?
     
  16. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

    Messages:
    26,924
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Location:
    Canada-GTA
    db is not a measure of pitch.
    Put on new strings, of a different brand, and start over.
    Typically, the bottom E will be back furthest then A, then D ramping up, then G drops back and B and top E ramp up, again. YMMV, however.
    Pickup height, if it's reasonably within the normal range, won't be a big factor, at all.
     
  17. toughdee

    toughdee Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    May 21, 2011
    Oh wow, I feel so stupid, I meant cents. I don't know why I was thinking decibels but, whatever... thanks for correcting me.
    My strings are actually pretty new. like maybe 2 weeks old. They are Ernie Ball Slinky strings though to be honest I don't remember what kind exactly. Is it bad to have my saddles this far over? Honestly without making some serious adjustments I don't think its going to get much better than it is. Honestly it is better intonated than it was, just sadly not perfect.
    When I get some new strings I will try adjusting the intonation again and let you all know if it changed anything. In the meantime, new suggestions are welcome. Thanks for all the help so far!
     
  18. bsuite

    bsuite Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,731
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2005
    Location:
    Michigan
    "pretty new" like 2 weeks in NOT new. :jo
     
  19. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,322
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I'd start with a new set of strings and/or brand. I've had new strings that would not intonate properly due to manufacturing defect. Once you're sure the strings aren't the cause of the intonation problem, a last resort would be to shorten (cut) or remove the A & low E saddle springs to allow the saddles to move enough to allow them to properly intonate...or possibly look for some shorter saddles. Sounds to me like the bridge is just mounted a little too close to the neck, which won't allow the A & Low E strings to intonate properly.
     
  20. bluesjunior

    bluesjunior Member

    Messages:
    5,670
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2008
    If you raise your action a little bit it will give you a bit more movement. In fact your action and the curve of the saddles should be set before you try to intonate your guitar. Like the other guys say two week old strings are no good for setting intonation, the strings should be a brand new set. So my advice would be with the strings you now have tuned to pitch, lower your pickups down as far as they will go, set the action to a height you are happy with (low action is not neccessarily a good thing) and set the saddle curve to match the fretboard radius. Once you have done this, put a new set of strings on and try to intonate the guitar. Once intonated and with your guitar in tune then set up your pickup heights. There was a really informative post by TGP member "Henry the Horse" on how to do this well but I can't find a link to it. Otherwise do a search on the subject as there are some very good posts here on it. Good Luck.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice