Intonation

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by SpareRibs, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. SpareRibs

    SpareRibs Tele-Meister

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    Hello,
    After setting intonation, open, and then at the 12th fret. What is the talk about intonation at the 17th fret. I don't know how it could be set up at three points and still be correct at any of them.
    Would it also be a factor that maybe the frets after the 12th may not be placed as accurately ?
     
  2. jbmando

    jbmando Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    To my way of thinking, 17th and 5th fret intonation should be identical. If the guitar is set up correctly it should have correct intonation over the entire fretboard, however one of the most neglected set up steps is intonation at the nut. IMO, if you have to adjust the intonation at any point after dialing it in at another point, the guitar is not set up correctly. FWIW, I do not accept any "adjusted tunings" such as those advocated by Jerry Donahue or James Taylor. I know it works for them, or does it? I think Donahue's guitars sound "off" a lot of the time, but it might just be his crazy bending; and JT's guitar sounds out on the very video he explained his tuning method.
     
  3. SpareRibs

    SpareRibs Tele-Meister

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    Hello,
    Thank You. So if the guitar is set for open then at the 12th fret, that is all that is needed as it will be correct over the whole fret board ?
     
  4. twiggymac

    twiggymac Tele-Holic

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    Step 1: Make sure your guitar is otherwise set up how you would want it
    Step 2: Tune your guitar as perfectly as you can
    Step 3: Adjust the saddle position to make the 12th fret and open string notes identical (as shown by the tuner)
    Step 4: Repeat 2 and 3 until complete. 3 saddle teles take longer to intonate, but you can definitely get it with a bit of work.

    The thing about a guitar is that no matter how you intonate or set it up it will never be "perfectly" intonated. If you can get the open and 12th fret notes "perfect" then it will be close enough. Think about it, if you strum harder or push down on the fret any harder than normal you will already make the strings sharp independent of the intonation.

    If your guitar is decently set up and you intonate how I said I doubt you or anyone would notice if the 4th or 17th or 20th or ANY fret being out of tune.
     
  5. tonejam

    tonejam Tele-Meister

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    twiggymac is right
    Intonation is always a trade-off, and you'll never get it dead right all over the neck. As soon as you press the string down, you're bending the note. The higher up the neck (where the action is higher), the more you're bending the note.
    I check mine open, 12th fret, and 17th fret. I get open and 12th as close as I can. If the 17th is significantly out, I'll compromise on the 12th fret note if that helps.
    I use an Earvana compensated nut, and I find that does help, but the game is to get it as close as possible all over the neck. It will never be perfect.
     
  6. Tele-phone man

    Tele-phone man Tele-Afflicted

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    One thing to remember: you will get the best results if you start with your saddle back away from the fretboard and then move forward to the target spot. Always begin with a new set of strings. It took me thirty years to finally figure this one out (yeah, I can be slow on the uptake).

    When the string breaks over the saddle under full tension, it makes a kink in the string that is permanent. If you then move the saddle back, that kink becomes part of the vibrating length of the string, and the string will NOT intonate correctly due to that kink. If, OTOH, you start with the saddle back and gradually move forward towards correct intonation, you will be putting the kink back behind the saddle and it will have no negative effect on intonation.
     
  7. Shane_B.

    Shane_B. Tele-Meister

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    What would be the problem if you start with the saddles all the way back away from the fret board as far as they will go but you need to go further back to adjust the intonation?

    I've had this happen on two guitars I own, a Strat and a Tele.

    Would lowering the height of the bridge closer to the body on the strat help or hurt? As for the Tele, I'm at a loss.

    Does that mean that the action or neck is set up wrong? Maybe nut slot height?

    Thanks,

    Shane
     
  8. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Incorrect nut slot height will make open "cowboy" chords down at the first to third frets have terrible intonation problems. It is important to have a correctly cut nut, then intonate as instructed higher up the thread. As all have said, intonation is always a compromise.

    On the other hand, if you get a neck from True Temperament you can have pretty much perfect intonation, but most people don't bother. A pro friend of mine has one just for the studio. I tried it and it is amazing how sweet everything sounds up and down the entire neck.

    http://www.truetemperament.com/
     
  9. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    You can get a little kink in the string where it passes over the saddle. Get enough kinks in the vibrating part of the string and you'll get intonation trouble.

    Depends. The bridge is hinged at the front, so lowering it will lengthen the strings a bit. For the most part that lengthening will be insignificant if you are close to having it setup right to begin with. If you get into a frenzy of shimming the neck, cranking the trussrod, and jacking saddles up and down you can end up with some bizarre results.

    Does what mean that you have setup issues? What problem are you having.
     
  10. BryMelvin

    BryMelvin Tele-Afflicted

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    Are these partscasters? This is what WILL happen if you try to put a US or MIM neck on one of the asian fender bodies made for 22 fret no overhang or on a couple like HM tele ans HM strat that used a different neck scale entirely.
     
  11. tonejam

    tonejam Tele-Meister

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    That's an excellent point about the string kinking over the saddle, Tele-Phone Man. Thanks.
     
  12. Shane_B.

    Shane_B. Tele-Meister

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    The problem is the fact that I've put the saddles all the way back and they need to go back farther. :)

    I put them all the way back and put new strings on.

    Hi Bry,

    Both are 100% original. I bought them in the late 80's new from a dealer. One is a MIJ Tele and the other is a MIK Strat.

    My apologies to the OP, I just realized I'm hijacking the thread.

    I'll get er' figured out eventually or if anyone has any other idea's feel free to PM me.

    Thanks,

    Shane
     
  13. Diamond White

    Diamond White Tele-Meister

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    +1
     
  14. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    YES YES YES :)

    There's no need to complicate the matter.
     
  15. LPDAN

    LPDAN Tele-Meister

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    I agree!!! YES open and 12th fret!!

    Only just bought a FSR Baja with brass 3 saddle bridge, it wasn't quite right on the intonation and tunings would seem out all over the neck.

    I tried setting the intonation as I would on my LP using open/12th fretted and 12th harmonic and this DID NOT work. The intonation would be fine on individual strings but when correctly tuned, but chords would sound dreadful either open or barred!
    With some patience I set about adjusting it again and set it to open and 12th fretted, it is most definitely a compromise situation of getting each pair of strings per saddle as close as each string can get without it then sounding awful when playing open chords or barre.

    Not without some troubles I have managed a good enough compromise for my ears, and the B string is probably the furthest out still but not really enough to notice or be bothered with!

    Can only play and see how it is, I play a lot of blues licks and lead stuff so it isn't as noticeable as when playing chords, but it all adds to the telecaster sound!

    LPDAN
     
  16. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sometimes, when one string is a tad off, you can tweak the other string on the saddle, then retry.

    If you get too exasperated with the process, but you still prefer the 3-saddle setup, lots of folks love these:

    [​IMG]
    Rutters Brass Straight Compensated Saddles, $45/set.


    Huh? Please explain. If the intonation is correct, then chording ought to be correct, too.
     
  17. jbmando

    jbmando Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    NO! The guitar will intonate properly open/12th with a badly cut nut. You need to make sure the nut slots are deep enough or you will be out (sharp) in the first five or so frets.
     
  18. LPDAN

    LPDAN Tele-Meister

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    Fender guy53: Huh? Please explain. If the intonation is correct, then chording ought to be correct, too.

    The harmonic intonation per individual string buddy, would be correct as well as the open and 12th but as soon as you play open chords there would be flat or sharp notes and the same with barre chords further up the neck.

    jbmando: NO! The guitar will intonate properly open/12th with a badly cut nut. You need to make sure the nut slots are deep enough or you will be out (sharp) in the first five or so frets.

    I agree but I'm referring to harmonic intonation which clearly does not work on 3 saddle type bridges!

    Intonation on open/12th will work with a badly cut nut on any guitar and lead to bad chords, but with harmonic intonation on LP type bridge/tailpiece guitars it can be a lot more accurate and the bridge type (Tune-O-Matic) allows for accurate adjustment.

    On 3 saddle setup where a compromise between string pairs on saddles, the harmonic route will not work as the harmonic note at the 12th compared to the fretted note(which is always higher due to bend in string when fretting) is not as accurately adjustable due to a) a shared saddle which will affect its paired string and b) the saddle is not as accurate where the strings breaks as a TOM bridge due to the rounded shape.

    So to summarise, open and 12th fretted can be almost correct and as best as possible to play anywhere but not 100% correct(as this is NOT actually possible) but open/12th/harmonic 12th cannot work as explained above as it leads to sharp and flat notes all over the fretboard.

    LPDAN
     
  19. Shane_B.

    Shane_B. Tele-Meister

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    I've never had trouble setting Intonation with the harmonic on a 3 saddle bridge. They are what they are, not perfect, don't get me wrong. But using the harmonic is actually what Fender tells you to do in their setup instructions for both the Tele and Strat.

    Just thought I'd mention that you don't check the harmonic to open string, you check harmonic to fretted 12th. You set the guitar up, action, neck relief, pickup height. Then tune it. Check fretted to 12th for Intonation, then tune the open string and recheck the Intonation.

    I just go by Fender's on line setup guide and it hasn't failed me yet. That said, I do have a couple of guitars where I can't get the saddles back far enough to set the intonation, but I don't attribute that to how I'm setting it because I do have other guitars that I can set the Intonation on just fine using Fender's online guide.

    Here's some links.

    Fender's Telecaster Setup Guide

    Fender's Stratocaster Setup Guide

    Hope this helps in some way.

    Shane
     
  20. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    +1, Shane_B.

    I have heard all of the nuances regarding Tele set-ups, but in the end, I chose the Fender-recommended method. It works!
     
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