Baby Taylor intonation

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by Axegrinder77, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Holic

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    So I get all my guitars set up by a pretty great, somewhat locally renowned tech.

    I dusted off my sweet little mahogany bt2 and took her to the beach. Nice tone, nice feel, could not tune it.

    I think it's a combo of me being spoiled with great set ups and just a poorly intonated (cheap) guitar.

    My dilemma is spending a hundred bucks to set up a) a $300 guitar, and b) a beach beater that will get knocked out of tune anyways.

    You guys feel me?

    So what would you do?
     
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  2. ukepicker

    ukepicker Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    My Big Baby won't hold a tune at all. similar construction.
    I had a thread on it here somewhere.\
    (EDIT: Oh, here it is.)

    I can't tell if the neck/bridge relationship is slightly outta whack or if the strings/action/tuners/nut/bridge thing just isn't stable. My hunch is that it's slipping tuners.

    So I bought some new, quality tuners a while back, but haven't installed them yet.

    I need that guitar as a "beach beater" as you call it, but I often spend more time tuning and retuning and struggling than playing it. It sounds fantastic for what it is, but not when it's out of tune (which is most of the time).
     
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  3. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

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    Check the intonation with your tuner see where you are at flat or sharp by doing open string then pressing the string down on the 12th fret then with a file change the angle on the bridge saddle it is a simple job
    check youtube there will be videos on the subject
     
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  4. Mr Gunny

    Mr Gunny Tele-Meister

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    and therein lies the “cheap” guitar dilemma. It’s hard to bite the bullet and pay for setups on lower end models but they’re usually the ones that benefit most from a proper setup.
     
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  5. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    baby taylors are notorious for intonation issues, probably something to do with the reduced scale, string length, and guage wont allow it to pull into the cross hairs.
    I have heard this from several people and even witnessed an arguement in a music store with a sales rep that was blinded by the name Taylor ( there fore it must be good), the guitar was great at the first position chords but soured by the 4 th fret down
     
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  6. joealso

    joealso Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I bought a BT for my young son to learn on. Nice tone for what it was but could never keep it in tune.
     
  7. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Holic

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    I'm gonna consult with my tech. If he is familiar with the issue and thinks he can solve it for a reasonable cost, I'll try that.

    The small size and great tone (albeit attenuated) give it value to me.

    I learned my lesson bringing the d28 to a buddies cabin trip. There's always that one guy!
     
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  8. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Holic

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    My son is 3. This might come in handy in a couple years.
     
  9. ukepicker

    ukepicker Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    That's how my Big Baby acts. Intonation is off just enough to raise my eyebrows a little. 25-1/2" scale.
    Again, it's just not really worth the money to have the neck "reset" (with two drywall screws??? Ha!) or the bridge tweaked by someone who knows what they're doing.

    I'll just play mostly first position around the campfire anyway.

    Weird thing is, sometimes, if I can get the strings to to stay in tune long enough, I can get it to sound alright all over the neck. My suspicion is that the neck is simply not stable.
     
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  10. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Any fret wear on a Baby or Big Baby Taylor is going to make a difference in tuning. That's the first thing I would check.

    The next thing would be the height of the nut. I have a Martin Backpacker that tunes perfectly after a re-crown and nut slot set-up.
     
  11. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    check to see if the neck flexes and pulls into tune , that may an indicator to the problem , I have an early 60's Raven classical ( it was my wifes ,from the 60's) worth about a nickel ,
    after I got the action fixed , new machine heads, installed a Peizo electric pickup and tuned her up, its my favorite guitar to play ( and I have 22) if I am just reaching for a guitar that is the one , and its case is worth more than the guitar, LOL
     
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  12. ukepicker

    ukepicker Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I think it does flex. Sometimes, I'll get it tuned up and play a few minutes, then set it down. Next time I pick it up, it's a whole new world.

    But I've never tried working on it. Maybe those two little screws just need tightening.

    "Check the neck" is great advice - for me and Axegrinder77.

    Thanks!
     
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  13. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

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    Dialing a Baby Taylor takes some fine tuning. I have a mahogany and it plays in tune pretty well with a .012 string set (Elixir).

    The key is getting the neck profile between .008" and .010" of relief at the 8th fret, combined with dialing down the nut slots really low. This is based on my experience with mine and two others that have floated across my bench.
     
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  14. dunehunter

    dunehunter Tele-Holic Double Platinum Supporter

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    Looking at the construction (kind of...don't have one right in front of me), the specs label the neck to body as a "scarf" joint (??). I know what a scarf joint is--just don't know how the neck and body go together but likely a big neck block (inside the body) and a well, scarf joint with the neck. No heel to the neck. Bottom line, I suspect that there is no truss rod in this thing and that the neck is quite flexible so...
    Possible fix: go to the lightest gauge acoustic strings you can find to tame the tension.

    By the way, seems like you're talking about "tuning" and not "intonation"; the former is a function of the nut/neck/tuning machines while the latter is a function of the saddle and scale length. Intonation more specifically is how the "in-tune" open string and the tone at the twelfth fret compare.

    Of course, I might be way off base...:rolleyes:.
     
  15. dunehunter

    dunehunter Tele-Holic Double Platinum Supporter

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    I went back and looked: the Big baby Taylor has a bolt on neck (but with such a small tenon, would be the same problem and solution--lower the tension) and the regular Baby Taylor--the scarf joint.
     
  16. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    In general, if there aren't any divots in the frets I would check the nut first, especially if the intonation issue is happening with open chords. The lower the action at the nut the better for intonation, but lower action at the nut is also a tradeoff with string rattle on the frets for open strings and therefore how loud you can play without getting string rattle.

    I'm not familiar with this specific guitar, but according to comments here it sounds like maybe there are neck joint issues. Does the neck shift at all? If you tune up the guitar and push on the neck to one side or the other, does the tuning of the strings change? It's probably worth checking that the bolts are tight.
     
  17. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    My singer has one. Nothing wrong with frets or bridge. The nut isn't cut well. If you fret at third you should see no more than a bee's dick - business card clearance at first fret. A set of cheap fret files and patience. Or get a cheaper setup done.
     
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  18. clayville

    clayville Tele-Meister

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    I want to sell/gift my Baby Taylor away and upgrade to a GS Mini for this purpose. They seem to sound and play much better the few times I've kicked the tires.
     
  19. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Holic

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    I thought all necks flex. To different degrees of course.
     
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  20. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Holic

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    There is indeed a truss rod. And my tech advised the opposite.. He said mediums would likely help. The short scale length causes issues at lower tension. He pointed out that a mandolin is tuned much higher.
     
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