Intonation saddle pattern ?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by buddastrat, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I was setting up a strat and notice the usual staggered pattern of the first three strings ended up sounding right, but on the three low strings, the A string had to be very far forward, when usually it's the D string that's the most forward saddle, then the A, and finally the low E. But the A saddle had to be way in front of them for the note to be in tune for the open/12th fret basic intonation setup.

    I tried a different string and same thing. It sounded right that way too. I just wondered what would cause this odd look for the setup?
     
  2. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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  3. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Nope Ernie's Balls.
     
  4. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    Funny, first thing that came to my mind as well. Those are the only strings where I seem to consistently find the A needing to come further forward than the D.

    Other than that, tough to say without seeing it. Intonation is the last adjustment that is fully dependent on every other aspect of the setup, so it could be any number of variables.

    Oh well, if it sounds good and feels good, I'd say that reason enough not to worry much about it. It is odd with Ernie Balls though.
     
  5. Luthierwnc

    Luthierwnc Member

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    I usually intonate based on the action and the player. For myself, I lightly fret at the the 12th. Going by the harmonic, I'll pull the guitar sharp -- especially with a Strat where the action tends to be a little higher.

    In a real squirrely situation, you can back the "A" off a little at the nut by filing in at a slight angle on the forward face. When I build a classical with intonated piezo saddles, I have a router jig to cut the nut faces as well. I can't claim credit for the math. There was an article in the GAL quarterly about 10 years ago where it was all calculated.

    Cheers, Skip
     
  6. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I did have a new nut put on this guitar. Unfortunately, I don't know if it was like that before it was bought recently and I didn't bother checking this stuff as I figured it was going in for a new nut and setup. Could it be that the slot was filed weird? It looks okay.
     
  7. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    I've had this pattern pop up plenty of times over the years but don't have an answer. I've also seen photos of guitars with this intonation pattern. Could be the difference in the string to string height in the setup, not sure. I'm not talking about DR strings, I've had some weird issues with those.
     
  8. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Could it be something like a flat spot on the saddle or something?
     
  9. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    I don't think so, I've seen it for no apparent reason. If I think about it too long I'd go crazy. I seem to remember seeing it more on Les Pauls but don't know why, maybe a scale length thing.
     
  10. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    I think the general consensus is, if it works don't worry too much about it. The more "standard" intonation pattern is what it is because that's how it usually ends up after setting intonation, ignoring how the pattern looks. In the end how the pattern looks is irrelevant, how it sounds matters. Sometimes an odd pattern could indicate something else odd going on, but not always. In any case, if there are no real problems you hear or feel I would say don't beat your head too hard over it.
     
  11. The Pup

    The Pup Supporting Member

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    I run across a weired one every now and then. It's like...is there something wrong with the vibrating reeds on my strobe? :)

    If it sounds good...it is good.
     

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