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Author Topic: Intonation  (Read 824 times)
Bigfish
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« on: February 20, 2018, 10:07:08 PM »

Hoping some of you can provide some insight.  Overall, my D-03 has very good intonation on the 12th fret.  However, my fretted low E is what I would call "very sharp" at the second, and particularly the third,  fret (as much as 20-25 cents or more) and rapidly approaches normal by the 4th or 5th fret or so.   Was thinking that it has to be the fret placement but the A string is good??!!!   In fact, all others are good.  Fret height seems uniform.  Nut slot height is good, maybe slightly high on low E but not much.  Neck is straight to slight dip around the 5th fret.  What could be causing this?  I'm puzzled.  I have learned to lightly fret those problematic notes to get around it but it annoys me.  Thanks for any info.   

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flatlander
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2018, 12:44:33 AM »

Well you can put this under "any information" because I'm no fret board guru..so that being said I'll babble what my thoughts would be. First off I'd take it to someone who IS a pro and could put eyes and hands on it. If I was stuck in the jungle and it was up to me I'd think this. You said you checked the nut but that is something I'd want to be sure of. Sure that it wasn't high, had more clearance, on that string than needed, causing you to have to push it down further and raising pitch.. If it's good when played open, but high on first few frets, yet other strings ok, that's what would make sense to me. If not the problem technically I'd be kinda stuck too as to why ok just 1 fret up on the 4th or 5th. So I'd be thinking compromise. The bass E I would use less up the neck, personally. So I'd be more concerned about the more often played lower frets. If they are that high that would really mess with me. So I'd sand the saddle back for that string to make it a little longer, if it has room. Thus lowering the pitch a little. reach a compromise with lower frets being just a little high and higher frets being just a little low. The bass strings are usually set back more than the others (expect 2nd string) Either with the saddle slanted back, or sanded back or both. Hopefully someone will have better ideas and more knowledge and can guide towards getting true up and down neck, but that's some ideas to start conversation.
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George
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2018, 01:11:14 AM »

Before modifying anything on the guitar, have it checked out by a pro.  Are those lower frets seated all the way down or maybe loose?

The low E string is especially sensitive to pulls too.  Sometimes I have to check how I am fretting that string...
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George
Bigfish
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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2018, 03:43:48 PM »

Thanks for the feedback.  I had a setup done, but it has been over a year.  I know that when I fret the low E on the 3rd, I have a slightly larger gap from 1st fret to string on that string than others but it is slight.  The fretting of that string is probably the cause, lots of variability in not only pulling but how firm I fret the note.  Regarding the nut slot, I can probably fit a playing card or two in the gap described above (I haven't measured yet), do you think it is worth messing with?  Is a change of 20 cents from open to fretted note for the low E considered "within normal range"?  It is a bit less with new strings, but more than 10 cents even then.

Thanks again.
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George
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2018, 04:09:18 PM »

a simple test is to fret the low E string on the second fret and check the gap left at the first fret.  There should be very little, it should almost touch...
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George
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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2018, 09:04:39 PM »

a simple test is to fret the low E string on the second fret and check the gap left at the first fret.  There should be very little, it should almost touch...

Another better test (no offense, George), is to fret the string at the first fret, noting how much gap is there (with the open string at the nut and pressing down at the first fret).

Then fret the string at the first fret, and note how much of a gap there is when you push the string down at the 2nd fret. If there's a larger gap from the open string/nut to first fret than there is when fretting the first fret and checking the gap at the 2nd fret, your low E nut slot is still too high.

If you're not comfortable lowering the slot, take it to a good tech and show them what you've observed by doing this little exercise.

There's really no reason to have more gap under your strings at the first fret than there is under your strings at the 2nd fret with a capo at the first fret. Hope this makes sense!
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L07 Shooting Star
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2018, 12:46:04 AM »

Get a competent tech to look at.  Some of those lower frets could be loose, as has been suggested.  Some of them may not even have their crowns perfectly centered on the fret top.  There is also a relationship with the relief setting and the string gauge may also have an effect.  Many variables.  Some one who really understands these relationships and trade-offs is your best option.  No guitar intonates perfectly at all positions.
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B0WIE
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2018, 06:37:42 AM »

You can get a "fret rocker" for a few bucks and check the quality of the fretwork yourself.  However, as someone who is neurotic about intonation, I can tell you that it will vary a lot depending on string brand, tuning, etc.  You might need to adjust nut slot height.  I've even compensated the nut to get the intonation right.
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Bigfish
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« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2018, 12:45:34 PM »

Great stuff.  Thanks again.
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