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Author Topic: Larrivee intonation issues: common?  (Read 423 times)
ga20t
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« on: September 25, 2017, 06:32:11 PM »

Hi folks.

Just bought my first Larrivee—a 2015 US built L-02—and I'm wondering how off the intonation is on your guitars. Mine is stock and has issues. I bought second hand so I haven't bothered to contact Larrivee re warranty service.

As it is:

E flat 3¢ (no room to adjust forward)
B flat 6¢ (maybe ok, as compensated portion of saddle is WAY too far back/plenty of room to move forward)
G ok
D 6¢ sharp (maybe enough room to correct)
A ok
E flat 3¢ (zero room to adjust forward)

Despite really liking the timbre/response of the guitar, I'm pretty disappointed. As you can guess, chords are not sounding very musical. I bought it in a busy place and figured I'd make a nice bone compensated saddle for it/fix whatever needed fixing when I got home, but half of the strings have no room to do so—it's bad enough that I'd have to either relocate the bridge or have the slot re-routed for a double thickness saddle.

I think I know why I was sold this guitar, and asked to meet in a busy, loud place where I couldn't possibly check it with my strobe...

Anyways, just wondering how common this issue is throughout the line/brand these days. Like I said, I have no problem making a saddle, but this is off enough that a new saddle will not fix the issue—it requires surgery. I'm not sure there's room on the peg head side of the bridge to widen it forward (a bit beyond my abilities/experience).

EDIT: Also, I just completed a setup on a Walden D710 for a friend ($450 guitar, but nice) and I didn't have to touch the saddle's intonation, just lower it to their preference, in addition to minor nut slot depth adjustment. String to string, it was off no more than 1¢ in either direction.
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George
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2017, 07:02:16 PM »

I have never encountered anything this far out of intonation.  Have you changed the strings?  Are you certain the guitar has the correct saddle in it to begin with?  Can you post a photo of the bridge/saddle?
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George
ga20t
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2017, 07:12:44 PM »

I have never encountered anything this far out of intonation.  Have you changed the strings?  Are you certain the guitar has the correct saddle in it to begin with?  Can you post a photo of the bridge/saddle?

I did change the strings—EB Earthwood Med. Light 12-54—but the issue was pretty much the same with the heavier Martin coated set that came on the guitar. I also lowered the saddle 1/8", but this netted little change. Also, the saddle, as it is, is a bit loose front to back. Seller said they'd always kept it at the recommended humidity, that it was stock etc.

But even if this is a replacement/modified saddle (it may be), there is still a saddle location issue (can't adjust a saddle beyond a slot). All strings are at somewhat of a knife edge forward (perhaps there was an intonation attempt), save for the compensated B.

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tuffythepug
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2017, 11:45:57 PM »

No.  It's not common throughout the brand.  But you obviously found a dud. 
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mike in lytle
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2017, 12:46:51 AM »

Not that I know what I am talking about, but that does not look like a Larrivee saddle.
Mike
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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2017, 03:58:18 AM »

Really dumb question but is that a rosewood bridge?I don't remember Larrivee using rosewood for bridge's.
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ga20t
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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2017, 04:20:59 AM »

Really dumb question but is that a rosewood bridge?I don't remember Larrivee using rosewood for bridge's.

Yes, the head plate, fingerboard and bridge are Indian rosewood, as are the heel cap and body/fingerboard binding.

Can't believe what a nice guitar it is for a bottom of the range. I was similarly impressed with the D-02 which I've played in stores quite often. Used to play an L-09 at my local shop years ago, back when they were made a few blocks from where I lived. I don't remember liking it quite enough to buy it then. IIRC, it was a little more than these go for now... Also, had an SD-60 on loan at one point and that was a fantastic guitar—the 1 7/8" nut was ridiculous though, made me feel like I was jumping hurdles.

Shame about the misplaced saddle slot/bridge (on mine anyways), but I'm now shopping for a slot routing template/or plans so I can build one and just fix this myself. Doesn't hurt to pick up a new skill I say. I'll practice plenty first of course.
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L07 Shooting Star
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« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2017, 04:41:51 AM »

I have never encountered anything this far out of intonation.  Have you changed the strings?  Are you certain the guitar has the correct saddle in it to begin with?  Can you post a photo of the bridge/saddle?
+1  I had the same thoughts.  My 4 Larrivees intonate almost perfectly and I've never run into one that intonated poorly in a music store.

................ I also lowered the saddle 1/8" ,but this netted little change. Also, the saddle, as it is, is a bit loose front to back. Seller said they'd always kept it at the recommended humidity, that it was stock etc.

But even if this is a replacement/modified saddle (it may be), there is still a saddle location issue (can't adjust a saddle beyond a slot). All strings are at somewhat of a knife edge forward (perhaps there was an intonation attempt), save for the compensated B.

1/8" off the bottom of the saddle??  Are you sure it was that much?  That's a lot!  I've never had to take that much off a saddle on a quality guitar.  That might be another indication the saddle is not the original one.  How much saddle is left above the bridge now?

I'm curious if the intonation measurements you posted were obtained before you lowered the saddle?  Or were your posted numbers measured after you lowered the saddle?  Lowering the saddle by as much as you did would very significantly affect the intonation.  (However, it would normally make it even flatter, and yours seems too flat already!).  Intonation measurement and adjustment should be the very last step in a setup.  The string height at both ends, and the relief adjustment should always be completed first.

If you took those measurements after lowering the saddle, is it possible the bottom of your modified saddle is not perfectly flat and square to the sides of it?  Perhaps it's leaning backward a bit?  A saddle slot that is not perfectly flat on the bottom and square with the sides could create this problem as well.

Before absolutely deciding the slot needs modifying, I would seriously consider trying another well-fitting saddle that you make and compensate yourself, as you obviously have the skills to do it.  Make sure it is flat and square (and the slot as well, of course).  Once it fits perfectly all around, only then check it to see if there is enough room to compensated it.  At least then, you have given it every opportunity to avoid surgery.

Just throwing out some ideas.  Sorry you ended up with that issue as I think it is pretty rare on a Larrivee.

Welcome to the forum.

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ga20t
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« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2017, 05:35:36 AM »

+1  I had the same thoughts.  My 4 Larrivees intonate almost perfectly and I've never run into one that intonated poorly in a music store.

!/8" off the bottom of the saddle??  Are you sure it was that much?  That's a lot!  I've never had to take that much off a saddle on a quality guitar.  That might be another indication the saddle is not the original one.  How much saddle is left above the bridge now?

I'm curious if the intonation measurements you posted were obtained before you lowered the saddle?  Or were your posted numbers measured after you lowered the saddle?  Lowering the saddle by as much as you did would very significantly affect the intonation.  (However, it would normally make it even flatter, and yours seems too flat already!).  Intonation measurement and adjustment should be the very last step in a setup.  The string height at both ends, and the relief adjustment should always be completed first.

If you took those measurements after lowering the saddle, is it possible the bottom of your modified saddle is not perfectly flat and square to the sides of it?  Perhaps it's leaning backward a bit?  A saddle slot that is not perfectly flat on the bottom and square with the sides could create this problem as well.

I would seriously consider trying another well-fitting saddle that you make and compensate yourself, as you obviously have the skills to do it.  Make sure it is flat and square (and the slot as well, of course).  Once it fits perfectly all around, only then mark it for compensation.

Just throwing out some ideas.




Yes, measurements were the same +/- a cent after lowering—call it 3/32", which gave me ≈1.5/32" (3/64") lower @ the 12th fret, as it tends to. My action is now 3/32" at the low E and 2/32" at the high E.

My nut slots are done & the correct angle (sliver of light @ 1st fret, second fret depressed), and my relief is the way I like it with no buzzing @ ≈.oo12".

This is my usual process, then:

On to the intonation of the saddle. Well, again, the measurements are near the same. I'd thought about the loose saddle in its slot (not acceptable to me, but who know who's had their hands on this), but it is leaning forward under tension if anything (Larrivees have a steep break angle) and I'm mostly flat already, meaning I still have to move them even further forward for proper intonation.

Anyways, I think the plan is to get myself an acrylic slotting template (found one at 1/2 the Stew Mac price), a nice down cut bit, and try to widen the slot about 1/16" towards the neck. It's going to be fun. I have an old red label Yamaha (garage find) with the same problem anyhow.

Didn't mean to suggest that L guitars were bad or anything (love 'em), but I was kind of surprised by the one I got roped into buying (my first Larrivee purchase). And then I got to thinking, "Does Larrivee even tune the saddles much on their guitars? The low end models? Wonder what the average is like in this regard." etc.
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L07 Shooting Star
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« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2017, 06:06:37 AM »

You've obviously got it figured out and know what to do next.  I was thinking maybe you had the saddle height too low and your 12th fret action was so low that the strings were intonating flat.  After reading your final string height numbers, I see that is not the case.  By the way, thanks for posting your actual measurements.  Like you it would seem, I am a big measurement guy when it comes to setting up guitars.  There are so many variables so it's good to able to quantify some of them.
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ga20t
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« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2017, 06:33:39 AM »

You've obviously got it figured out and know what to do next.  I was thinking maybe you had the saddle height too low and your 12th fret action was so low that the strings were intonating flat.  After reading your final string height numbers, I see that is not the case.  By the way, thanks for posting your actual measurements.  Like you it would seem, I am a big measurement guy when it comes to setting up guitars.  There are so many variables so it's good to able to quantify some of them.

At this point I'm pretty much doing it by sight/feel/memory anyways. But measurements help verify/make the process repeatable and allow better communication; ex. what's to say I didn't have the strings completely bottomed out on the frets even though I was complaining of some other problem? 

I've done some neck/dovetail resets (still learning but they've turned out well so far), done plenty of re-frets/dressing, nuts & saddles etc. but messing with a bridge in situ (with a power tool) will be new for me. I'm going to do some reading, practicing, watching and get it right.
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L07 Shooting Star
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« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2017, 06:50:48 AM »

You know what?  Don't dismiss doing it by hand with the right chisels and hand tools.  If you are not experienced with routing-jobs like this, you can create irreversible damage pretty quickly.  Plus consider the expense of the correct template, appropriate bit, etc.  I'm a router-shy guy though.  Had mostly bad experiences trying to re-slot bridges that way if they were still attached to the guitar.  Had better results slotting it off the guitar on some kind of router table if using a power tool.  I have a little Dremel tool "router table" that works great once you get it set up properly.  You have to remove the bridge from the guitar to use it of course.
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"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
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