Hex vs round core tuning issue

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by ballynally2, May 16, 2021.

  1. ballynally2

    ballynally2 Tele-Holic

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    Following some deep dive around the two choices i decided to buy a few round core sets for various electric guitars. I found them really nice on both my Strat and LP.
    I had to do some tune adjustments, depending on the string gauge. I have tried Pyramid 009-042, 009-046, 010-046, 010-048, decided that i really need 010 for all my electric guitars, so it is 010, 014, 017 for the e, b and g strings, then it's a choice for the bass strings. Turns out i really like the 022, 032, 042 (Hendrix set) on my Strat, 026, 036 and 046 for LP. Again, fine tuning was really important. Some nut adjustment. Then i gave them a go on my Tele. I have 2 Teles, both with 3 barrel saddles. I started with the 042 low E,032,022 set. No matter how i tried, i could NOT get the first Tele in tune, then i tried the 046 set. Same thing.so now its back to hex core.
    I am blaming it on the the 1 screw barrel type in which it is very hard to adjust the tuning between the two strings, even though i used compensated brass barrel saddles.
    Any other tips you can think off? Id like to think there is a solution other than changing to 6 saddle steel type.
     
  2. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    Find it funny that this should be round core problem.

    Remember one thing, or two:

    Vintage guitars, like stock Telecasters and Stratocaster, both pickup wise, and saddle wise, were MADE to sound and intonate the best and tune the best with:

    1. Round core strings. This was the only thing around then, hex came way later, halfway into the 60s.
    2. 012-053 gauge, heavy. Like acoustics.
    3. Flatwound at that.
    4. Pure nickel
    5. Spun 3rd g-string at that.

    Questions:

    1. are you sure you're not mixing GETTING IN TUNE, up with GETTING IT TO INTONATE ?
    2. are you sure you have followed the special "make-a-kink-first" method you have to use when putting on any round-core set, in order for them not to unravel, while stringing them up?
    3. If you still insist on just tuning them up, that's a problem, do you use only the open string to measure?

    Now several things to keep in mind:

    1. Round core strings has a different and lighter tension on strings, especially the wound ones, than any hex core given that the total gauge is the same.
    2. You mentioded, the gagues and that is thin even for hex cores, I wondered if you had the same gagues before with the hex cores?

    3. Here's the real culprit, if you still insist on that it is just tuning that is a problem and NOT intonation:

    The Magnetic String Pull (MSP)

    The pickups are set too close to the strings, especially the most slack ones, low E, low A, plain G-third and so on. Now, since round cores do have less tension when brought up to pitch, they are more prone to magnetic string pull, as the magnets exert a chorus, wavery un-even oscillation onto the strings. You can even watch it and see it. It exacerbates when you fret up the neck as the strings actually gets closer and closer to the pole pieces for each fret you go up. You can see it that the meter or reading in your electronic tuner never freezes and doesn't stand still so you can't tell which pitch it is. Now, just converting to hex-cores again (same gauge, same alloy) might tip you over to the just the right amount of tension, so MSP will not affect these strings. The strings tension is enough not to be disturbed by the magnets. It's a fine delicate balance.

    Now here it comes: the plain strings (G,B,E) has nothing to do with round cores. They are round anyway. If you still have problems tuning these, it may be that MSP problem. These are basically the same as on any hex-core set. Core is just important on the wound strings only.

    4. If it's ONLY the wound strings and you have made sure it isn't that MSP problem, it may be that the wound strings have been starting to "unravel" along its length and has no consistency in gauge. Then they are a duds. I have even had a few new strings from English small company Newtone that made double ball end round core sets for me, where it basically is the only instance round core works, because you can efficiently lock them at both ends. No "kink" before stringing has to be made and so on. But I have had 2-3 that I had to change out, immediately although they being brand new, I detected this immediately, because it was the exact same gauge and set that I had before so no new touch ups had to be made. That was when they pulled the plug on round cores back in the day, because hex-cores were more constistent. Not so many manufacturing duds, and excess strings you had to throw away directly.

    Lower your pickups with a screwdriver, try to tune them again. With roundcores.

    BTW this is typical of any Tele actually, this with MSP. If it's not the actual tuning, but intonating between 2 strings, it's also typical of any Tele with 3 barrell type bridges. but keep in mind the MSP can still wreak havoc on the intonation too.
     
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  3. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    Which 2 strings?
     
  4. ballynally2

    ballynally2 Tele-Holic

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    As you said, no problem w the unwound ones. And they are intonation issues.
    I called it tuning as i normally adjust individual screws which is not possible w barrel types.I have the pickups set to optimal distance , to my preference ie, not too close to the strings at all. The bridge a tad closer.
    For fine tuning i use a combination of flageolets, fretted notes and open strings.
    Usually a good medium. Not perfection but generally ok.
    I will look what i can do with the unravelling thing..

    Edit. Oh, i took the round core strings off the tele and put them on a Hofner. No issues there., after adjustments.

    I might try the heavier set 048 on the tele and see how they hold up.
    Another thought i had: i think they used lighter strings in the 1960s/70.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2021
  5. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    Ok so you call it tuning that is exactly equal to intonation ? That's a first by me, and basically everyone else, but good that you make that clear. I e no matter what the barrels are set like you could tune up the open string to its pitch? Now, open string only, before you make any harmonics/flageolets, or any fretted note at all?

    So deduction methods, what it isn't:

    1. The plain ones no problem. Neither with intonation nor tuning?
    2. The wound ones problem with tuning open string up to pitch only?

    OK, heres a method, that you'll use on the wound strings only, and a clear tale tell if they have uniform gauge ALONG the string or not.

    1. Just tune up the open string to the pitch of choice. As exact into a meticulous tuner as possible. 0 cent deviance. OPEN string only. Make a note of that reading, but you probably remember it.

    2. Now, ping the 12th fret harmonic, or really, at the exact half length of this open string, whether it's exactly above 12th fretwire or not. It's one octave above the open string pitch. Now do not fret anything anywhere. Don't even look at them!;) The reading of the tuner SHOULD and MUST be exactly the same 0 cents deviance, with maybe a tolerance of 2-3 cents either way, flat or sharp.

    3. If the brand new string isn't exactly that, it has overtones and harmonics that wreaks havoc on intonation and tuning, and it's a tell tale that the string has non-uniform gauge along the string.

    Which is the same thing that happens to very very old strings with fret dents underneath each string, but you'll hear that when you're playing. Mostly occurs on wound ones. Time to change strings to fresh ones.

    Now, with point 3 above you'll may detect that the plain strings doesn't show this phenomenon as much, or even at all, if the strings are brand new. If this isn't the same at 12th fret (or - really - half length harmonic) as on open string, it is a joyless excercise in futility to carry on with the intonation, because how can you get anything right when fretting the 12th fret or 13th fret (with a capo on first fret), if it doesn't show right on pitch in the "pinged harmonic" tuning? You will never get this right then no matter what you do.

    You have a dud string then! Try to send them back to Pyramid, or the vendor, they aren't that prickly on changing dud strings out. The cost for them to do this, is minimal, not even measurable, when compared the bad rap they'll get on the net and forums if you are denied replacement.:twisted:

    https://newtonestrings.com/do-not-cut-newtone-strings/


    Food for thought. Go and read on this link. The main impertinent question remains then:

    Did you cut your wound strings before putting them on the guitar? :twisted:
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2021
  6. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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  7. ballynally2

    ballynally2 Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for your considered reply.
    Answer to your question: yes, i did cut. Put the end into the hole of the Kluson tuner then, depending on string, a few wraps around the post.
    Doesnt that make the hole unwrapping a moot point as the tension remains pretty steady after a while?
    I dont think detuning is the issue..
     
  8. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    The vintage-style "Saf-T-Post" (sp?) tuners eliminate any issues with kinking round-core strings.

    An oft-overlooked factor in intonation is saddle height. Make sure that that stays consistent as you adjust intonation; the closer the string is to the fretboard, the more accurately it will intonate.
     
  9. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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  10. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    Peculiar, this was a first, though.

    Since the fretboard is at a radius (curved) no matter how little radius or large, the less accurately it will intonate, regardless of closeness of the string to the fretboard. And the relief of this neck with a larger gap from the string downards to the twelfth fret than on - say - the first fret, will threw all intonation optimums askew. But there's when the intonation adjustment comes in. To compensate approximately for the string different gauges, as they really have to have different height above the fretboard because each individual string vibrates and oscillates differently, when both tuned to pitch and fretting. The wound D doesn't vibrate any near as much as its neighboring G-string which has huge amplitude and must kept away a little more from the fretboard than the wound D or high E string. Low E has the largest amplitude. So all this must be taken into account:

    1. The different gauges amount of oscillation so they don't buzz on the frets.
    2. Which can be set only with action PLUS relief of the neck, with the trussrod. These two must be done together and match, and align up. However, as all the neck moves in a curve equally on the treble side and the bass side, it takes not string oscillation into account, and that must be addressed with raising the most "alive" strings, low E, and maybe plain G string.
    3. Also, radius must be taken into account, if it is severe. Everything under two digits (9, 7.5 inch radius) renders the outermost strings to be set higher than needed be, because of string bending. When you bend the high E and low E strings the string will choke on the next fret, because it will be in the way. So that exacerbates string action as well, and you must compensate and make concessions with intonation.

    There's so much that plays a role and I definitely don't think that the closer the string is to the fretboard, the more accurately it will intonate. On the contrary really. Theoretically maybe, in reality and practically: no.

    What I can accept is that the less relief, or none at all, on a neck that is flat with no radius at all, it will intonate more accurately. But there it will intonate more accurately even with high string action, provided that all bridge saddles have that much leeway back and forth. When I do guitars, I do want as little relief as possible. I can accept certain fret buzz, if it's not heard through the pickups. Then I get better intonation results, but it's far and in between I come across such guitars. And on top of that, when using regular stock floating trem systems, I don't want the strings to fret out on a pull up of the whammy bar.

    The best relief you can get for each individual string, can only be made with a PLEK system where you actually do not set the neck relief at all, you leave it straight. Then the machine files the relief into the frets, and optimizes them under each string individually. You can't change gauges after that though...
     
  11. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    No matter what the radius of the fretboard is, the string has a linear relationship to the frets until you bend it.

    Much of what you say above is irrelevant as long as the bridge radius matches the fretboard, again discounting the effect of bending strings.The string doesn't know or care what's going on anywhere on the fretboard other than the part it's directly above.

    There's also absolutely no reason for any one string to be more prone to buzzing during bends than another unless its range of oscillation is greater, which is the case with lighter strings. A cylinder is a cylinder. I see that you're taking this into account, but not explaining it fully.

    You're overthinking it, IMO. Just throw the baseball, physics be damned.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2021
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  12. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    No, then all others are overthinking it too, why care about intonation at all then? We're overthinking tuning, why don't just skip intonation, since it will never be perfect?

    Just so you know:

    1. A cylinder, a radius will affect intonation negatively no matter what you say.
    2.The rule of 18, calculus where the frets are placed, are made only for flat fretboards, which only classical guitars posess.
    3. Since the spacing between strings aren't the same at the bridge as up at the nut, they will never have the same angle downward to the fret wire. It isn't 90 degrees all the time.

    So either you have to:

    1. Have a radius, conical fret BUT where the strings doesn't converge, and have the same string spacing up at the nut as at the bridge. Such guitar I have yet to come across.

    2. Have a flat fretboard (like a nylon string acoustic), then the strings spacing can get narrower towards the nut, and still intonate better accorind to the rule of 18. Such guitars I have come across.

    You have FGN guitars with their Circular Fret System which really do mitigate intonation issues along and among the frets and fretboard. The fret wire is slightly bent in a U circle to compensate for the radius of the neck.

    [​IMG]

    And a plethora of other intonation mitigating systems, compensating systems, like True Temperament frets, Earvana nuts, Buzz Feiten System, fanned frets and so on...don't you think they are overthinking it too?
     
  13. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    Ok then, why don't you mail Stewart Macdonald and tell them they're full of it:

    [​IMG]

    Now...let's go on, by explaining it fully, we can't avoid going into what you think is "overthinking". Please remember this is not something I got out of a whim, numerous people have found out this way before I was born, even. It's not something I got out of the blue. Sorry, it has to be a thorough read, if you want me to explaing it fully, so ... you asked for it, and had it coming:

    1. With a flat fretboard, the strings can run at any angle and always be at a consistent height above the fret tops. Exaggerated for display purposes:
    [​IMG]
    2. A radiused board is uniformly curved its full length, as if it were the top of a cylinder. With a cylindrical fretboard surface, all the strings must be parallel to each other in order to keep a consistent height above the fret tops.
    [​IMG]
    3. See what happens when a string is turned at an angle to the cylinder:

    [​IMG]
    How can you have "as close as possible" from any string down to the fretboard on these ones? The action isn't the "closest as possible" up there above the 12 th fret, as it is up at the first few frets. Mind you the picture above, the ruler isn't lifted up from the cylinder (radius) it is just turned to the left of the cylinder. Maybe only 1-2 string in the middle of the cyliner will fare well with this.

    Typically, guitar strings are not parallel: they're closer together at the nut, and they spread wider apart at the bridge. For this reason, a fretboard should not be a cylinder. The strings would rise too far off the fretboard at some points. For comfortable playing, the fretboard needs to taper along with the strings, starting wide at the bridge and converging toward the nut.

    4. When you combine this idea of converging strings with a radiused fretboard surface, you get a cone shape, a compound radius:
    [​IMG]
    Straight lines (strings) following a cone's surface will not be parallel. They'll be tapered (converging to the point of the cone), the way we want our guitar strings to be. If they follow any other line, they'll create playing problems, intonation problems especially, or string/fret buzz too.

    5. We refer to these conical fretboards as "compound radius" fretboards:

    [​IMG]

    Now that we see that the fretboard needs to be conical for lowest action, we can also see that the spread of the strings and the changing radius of the surface are interconnected. Once you determine the radius at the nut and the spread of the strings, the radius at the bridge is determined by those values.

    A guitar string that's just a few thousandths of an inch too high or low will make a big difference in playing action, intonation, and fret buzz.

    That's why everyone can make a choice of strings gauges, and own preference for action. The amount of height from strings can and should be compensated by individual adjustable bridge saddles. So if you choose to have a high action, you should be able to intonate just as well. The intonation limit, is only determined then by how far back or forward you can move the bridge saddles. So this string action of your choice will only intonate better with a) flat fretboard or b) conical/compound radius.

    And combine all of the above with the relief of the neck, how much and how little you should have, and off you go. You still need to set the relief with flat fretboard, and compound radius. Go figure.

    It's not an easy thing this with intonation. Or, really, well it is, if you kept a flat fretboard.:twisted:
     
  14. tfarny

    tfarny Poster Extraordinaire

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    I might be the only person on this board who actually owns an FGN guitar with the CFS. Your explanation is, to be polite, not correct. The CFS can only compensate for the increasing fretboard width, not radius. And the "bent frets" are almost impossible to notice (and intonation is fine but nothing really that different from a normal guitar). In my opinion, CFS is a gimmick and yes, they are "overthinking it" as a way of differentiating their products in the marketplace. I'm attaching pics of my FGN with the "CFS" - you tell me how different it looks from a normal board.

    Radius remains constant from nut to saddle - the nut has a radius, the saddles have the same radius. Radius is not the issue for intonation. Lower action does help a guitar to be more intonated in general, as does a very light fretting touch.
     

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  15. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    MatsEriksson, everything you say is absolutely correct, and I'm a big fan of the compound radius, especially 7.25"-9.5".
    In spite of that, I think our ears are accustomed to the temperament and intonation issues of guitars, and we like the sound for its imperfections in much the same way that some of us like vinyl. When presented with a guitar with typically flawed construction, we have to play the hand we're dealt and not indulge in flights of fancy about how the whole design could be improved. A great many guitars with those inherent flaws sound glorious and are a pleasure to play. I own a couple dozen myself.
     
  16. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    I would be shocked, btw, to find that the outer strings are more than 1.6 degrees off from the theoretical center line between the D and G.*
    It can't make that much difference; it's not like the straight edge running at a 17 degree offset to a cylinder as in your illustration (OK, maybe it's only 11 degrees, but the point stands). Whatever difference it does make will obviously be negative, but it might be negligible, even to a dog. (The dog in question, btw, is not necessarily presumed to be conditioned by musical convention, but is cited as a potential auditor solely on the basis of his reputation for acuity of hearing.)

    *The vertex of that angle is typically more than the length of the guitar's scale beyond the nut, depending on the string spacing at the nut. On a typical Fender neck, the strings would converge about 28" past the nut. I have one Tele with a 1.75"+ nut, and I think the vertex is more than three feet beyond the nut with a Mastery bridge with 52 mm spacing.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2021
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  17. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    I think there is a slight sharpening effect on the outer strings above the ninth fret. This doesn't work well with the low E and the A, but few guitarists play those strings up high unless they're playing distorted barre chords. OTOH, it might be a good thing in the high register of the high E and B. Think overtones and stretched octaves.
    Let's see the numbers!
     
  18. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    First I've never ever said that I liked any of these systems, since in my mind, and when exposed it and ventilated it towards the inventors at trade fair boots and so on (especially BFTS, and that Swedish TT guy) got that mumble-mumble from them, I've wondered what happens as fast as you change gauge of strings? There's nothing like that who works equally as well on a 008 string set gauge and plain third, as on a 012 string set with wound 3rd. No one's going to shove that down my throat at least. CFS (Circular frets) TT frets (True temperament Frets), BFTS, Earvana (especially the latter two which is sort of one size fits all so to speak). The only thing that makes slight sense to me, is fanned frets which has its merits, and it is not patentable, and everyone can build like that. But that's only on the bass strings, and have nothing or very little to do with how good or bad intonation there is.

    FWIW I do have owned a FGN too, "Telecaster" style, but not any longer, as it had a 3 barrel saddle bridge anyway, the intonation was so-so. Kind of defeats the purpose then.

    And yet, I disagree radius has to do with intonation, in the end. Read on, replies to the next guy. And yours.
     
  19. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    It sure does. Read below what Sea devil said about the outer strings. And why you can't have lower action to get the optimal intonation on radiused necks.

    Well then, if you have an under 2 digit radius, 7.25 or 9.5 and you said yourself that the outemost strings might be a little sharp up there, this is what happens:

    The high E-string MUST be set at higher action than for optimum intonation then, because when you BEND it, it must stay clear of the next fret that the string will bump into and choke due to the radius of the neck. People think only that you press strings down straight pararell line like in a chord. I certainly don't. You do bend and if you bend you can't press lightly either. Now the more severe the radius, the more raised action you must have on the 2 outer strings, many people do bend downwards on the low E and A too. Then it negates the optimum action needed for more accurate intonation, at least for 4 strings, don't you think?


    Yes, but yet all these electronic tuners, clip-ons that has the accuracy of 0,002 cents (Sonic Research Turbo Strobe Tuner), 0,05 cents (Peterson Strobe tuner pedals) and so on. When you still never can get that accurate on any guitar string, just tuning up an open string before fretting. And people still do work on how the design can be improved. Leo did, Les Paul did. Steinberger did.

    There's a reason the paraphrase "no money above the 5th fret" exists.

    I can at a stretch, agree upon that the actual relief on any neck (radiused or not) should be as tiny as possible, and frankly, best and most accurate intonation is reached when it is completely flat and no relief at all. But with all this, comes concessions on fret buzz that have to be accepted or not. And when you bend there...jeezz...it gets exacerbated, the choking (maybe not on a completely flat fretboard, though). I can also, as at stretch as well, think that the thicker gauge string you have the will oscillate less, and not buzz, so you can have lower action there, so that will maybe play a more part on the actual intonation, but it sure doesn't. But still, the relief of the neck, and have it as straight as possible, is way more important than as low action as possible for the strings. It goes without saying that if you have no relief the area around th 12th fret really do comes closer to the strings anyway, so they are closer at that spot.

    You don't think "bends" at all. You seem to forget that one, neglect it, although it is a huge thing in the guitar playing vocabulary.

    The main thing about adjustable bridge saddles is just that, that you can adjust HEIGHT and decide whatever action you should have, and THEN only compensate the intonation back and forth. Of course, there's a limit even there, you can't have as high action as a pedal steel guitar, and think you can press down the strings to any fret, and make intonation adjustments there.
     
  20. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    This is not the "Hendrix" set,the classic 010-038 set used by almost everyone back in the 60s and 70s (Fender rock n roll set) went
    010, .013, .015, .026, .032, .038

    I have been using the GHS round core version of it with zero tuning or intonation issues for years now on a large variety of guitars with different scales and radii.

    It is also definitely the most balanced sounding set out there.


     
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