Intonation fixed but...

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Celticaster, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. Celticaster

    Celticaster TDPRI Member

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    Hi, I recently purchased my first ever 'real' Telecaster - I say real as I mean not Squier (although it is also my first ever actual tele, wanted one for years, bought my son one, and also my daughter - priorities!). It is a MIM Deluxe Nashville, like the one in my avatar. It's about the best I could get for my taste and budget, and I love it, the 12" neck is a bit strange after my '84 JV Squier strat (which has a beautiful slender neck) - but I got used to it within minutes.

    I am having some issues with the intonation: out of the box it was not right, I think the action could be a tiny bit lower too but that is not too big an issue for me. I realize I should set the action before looking at intonation but I wanted at least to see if I could make a small adjustment to intonate it - if I need to alter the action then ok Ill have to do it again.

    So, the high E and the B were actually pretty close to spot on. The other 4 were way sharp. I had to bring the saddles (six block saddles) back (towards the bridge, to lengthen the strings) quite a bit. But, it did the trick, the open note on all 4 strings was now in tune, as well as the note on the 12th.

    But, even though the string is in tune when the low E is fretted at the 3rd, (for G) it is sharp - noticeably, (to my ear, don't need the tuner) Similarly, the open A is fine, and at the 12th, but at the second fret for B - it's sharp.

    I notice that I can press the strings down quite a way and it increases the pitch to sharpen, esp on the low E. Is this a function of the tall narrow frets? Is the answer to develop a more sensitive left hand? or is there something else going on? - (frets need dressing, look at neck relief?)

    Would taking it for a pro set up sort this out or is this a common issue?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts

    Ian
     
  2. Jim603

    Jim603 Tele-Meister

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    It sounds like the nut is not cut correctly, the slots need to be cut a little deeper. It is holding the strings too high off the fretboard, and you have to push them down to fret the notes, causing them to go sharp.
     
  3. Celticaster

    Celticaster TDPRI Member

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    Thanks, I had not thought of that, that is something that can be done though right? not a 'return the guitar' issue?
     
  4. Jim603

    Jim603 Tele-Meister

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    Any decent guitar tech can do it easily. When I bought my roadworn tele at Guitar Center, the in house tech replaced and set up the nut for free. If you bought it locally, take it back and ask them to fix it. They may at least give you a discount on the repair. It's not an expensive fix.
     
  5. Celticaster

    Celticaster TDPRI Member

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    Perfect thanks!
     
  6. robinn

    robinn TDPRI Member

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    I suggest ask the seller to help fix it for you as well.

    You'll run into this more often than not with new guitars in my experience. In my case, this post by Rob Distefano (a pickup winder and guitar tech, also active on this board) has been very helpful. You can find it in this thread (http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-technical/5768-telecaster-set-up.html) but I'll copy it here as well (it also covers neck relief and intonation, although I'm aware you've got that covered already). Good luck with the guitar!

     
  7. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you fret the string at the third fret, string clearance at the first fret should be a cigarette paper. Any more than that, and not only will the intonation be not right in cowboy chords when tuned open string, but action will be stiffer than ideal.

    Guitar makers don't want new guitars hanging in dealers buzzing when tried. So they set them a bit conservative in case necks lose relief. New guitars often need a setup to fit them to the player, preferred string gauge, action height etc. Usually they can be tweaked to be better.
     
  8. Celticaster

    Celticaster TDPRI Member

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    Thanks Everyone - really appreciate the help

    Ian
     
  9. Wrighty

    Wrighty Friend of Leo's

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    Could be but my affinity Tele wouldn’t come right when I adjusted the saddles and truss rod until I shimmed then neck. Just brought it forward with a balsa wood shim about .009” thick. All is now good.
     
  10. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Start with a fresh setup. Most guitars come so poorly setup a simple setup will change the world on them.

    Tune before every step.
    Check nut slots- Fret at 3rd, gap under 1st fret .010 under low e, .006 high e, vary depth between 2 dimensions.

    Check neck relief- capo at 1st. Fret at 21. Gap about at 9th should be about a business card thickness, .015. I prefer a hair lower for real low at .008.

    Set saddle height. For lowest possible action, throw the measurements out. Lower low e until it buzzes. Raise 1/2 turns until it stops buzzing. Raise a full turn after. Do the high e the same and each string between keep it in tune for each string. Now, in each string at each fret, strum the string and bend the string each string in both directions to see if it buzzes. If it does, raise it a 1/2 turn until it doesn't. You likely have a couple slightly high frets if it is only a few fret. Forget about a string radius gauge! The strings will naturally follow it and you will get the best action without it.

    Intonate- while in tune, check each string at open and then at 12. Use the same finger pressure you play with. Adjust saddle until intonated.

    If it won't intonate after the other setup. You have something wrong. String hanging up in nut slot, if no string tree, not enough down pressure at nut. Strings wound improperly on tuner post...

    Have fun!

    Eric
     
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