The Strat Big E and G String Intonation Comparison

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Platefire, Mar 31, 2018.

  1. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    It makes me wonder when I see other people's strats and their big e and g string are set forward on the trem base plate as they are.

    The reason for this is, I usually have to pull the saddle tension spring off these two strings just to get the saddle back far enough because they are too sharp and it takes this to get the exact octive in the 12th fret. Sometimes on the big E, even all the way back the octive is slightly sharp!!
    This is the case on all 6 of my strats.

    So when I see pictures of folks Strats with these two locations way forward(sharper), I can't help but wonder is that many players are playing with poor intonation?
    What's your take on this? Platefire
    IMG_20180331_193526898.jpg
     
  2. Hobs

    Hobs Tele-Meister

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    It depends on string gauge. A wound G will often need to be forward of the D.
     
  3. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    Well, I use .009-.042. I am aware on most guitars even when properly tuned the notes stray slightly off on some of the fret locations from the 1st fret to the twelveth. Just tune your guitar up with a tuner then track the notes on each string with your tuner from the first to the twelveth fret and just check how many are correct note pitch for the each location. If you've never done this before you might be surprised. I guess that's why Buzz Fieton came up with his nut mod to try to correct this.

    Anyway the big E and g almost seems there is not enough travel space allowed sometimes for a perfect octive on the 12 fret. Just wondered is it just me?

    I've come to understand every note up and down the neck are not right on but I always thought getting a right on octive in the 12 fret was a good start.

    I can't help if wonder if setting the intonation a hair flat would help compensate for over exuberant finger pressure but never tried that. Plstefire
     
  4. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Gauge changes intonation. So does pressure when fretting and plucking the strings, during intonation.

    Your guitar is intonated by you, for you. Mind your own saddles, in other words. :lol:
     
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  5. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    How are you performing your intonation?

    And yes, you may carefully intonate the 12th, or 3rd/15th, whatever. Those will be the ONLY frets exactly in tune. It's the nature of the guitar. When you have a fixed nut / fret, not stepped or angled to match the stepped saddles, that's all one can expect.
     
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  6. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    I do it with a regular guitar tuner to get the best octave in the 12 fret. I know they have more accurate tools for intonation than a regular guitar tuner but a tuner is really close enough for me.

    So I'm really happy with my intonation set up process although not perfect. It's just strange to me that I have to take the springs off my E and G to get the saddles back far enough to get that pure octave. To me it's like a design flaw that would require me to do that in the first place.
    IMHO should be enough adjustment play to get what you need----you shouldn't have to pull of springs as I'm doing.

    Apparently nobody else thinks this strange or has this problem or they would be chiming in. It something that I just kept to myself and always wondered about being a strat man. I though I would talk about it to see if anybody else was dealing with this??? Platefire
     
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  7. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    So, you compare the fretted 12th with the ... open string?

    Let's see if it's your intonation technique... try tuning the string to the harmonic at the 12th. Use a very accurate tuner, something that'll get you within 1/10th of a cent. Peterson, Polytune, and some others do this, but by no means all.

    Then, *lightly* fret the note at the 12th. Especially with 9-42, you don't want to make it sharp.

    See if that intonates more within the normal travel of the saddles.
     
  8. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    The harmonic or light touch in the 12 fret is the same--a little sharp if you push harder. I don't see what that has to do with the saddles running out of space? Platefire
     
  9. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    A clumsy intonation will require the saddles to travel outside their norms. I was trying to ensure you were doing a delicate, precise intonation. Light strings make for easy mistakes.

    Nevermind.
     
  10. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Could it be how you adjust your floating trem? This is the classic problem with the strat floating trem. As you adjust for intonation, you might be pulling the trem farther off the deck which starts a Catch-22 of sorts. How much space do you have between the deck (top of body) and the rear bottom of your bridge plate? Reason being is that as your bridge plate rises, you need to adjust your saddles back for intonation.
     
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  11. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Another thing that can make it easier on you is adding springs to the claw in back. This will keep the trem from bending forward as easily. Although the trem will be stiffer.
     
  12. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    I checked my height of the bottom of bridge base plate above the body. It was about 3 mm. I tightened the claw springs to bring it down to 2mm and retuned to 440 which took multiple times for it to settle out and stabilize.

    Didn't effect the intonation much. Had to adjust the d and little e to make it slightly sharper. I am referring to only one of my recent strat purchases that I'm still in the process of setting up but my other strats are set with about 1/8" gap between body and bottom of base plate in the back. So if I'm not incorrect, this is a pretty standard setting?

    Still my situation remains unchanged. Still have to remove the springs off the g and big E saddles to get them far enough back to get the 12 fret octave dead on.

    From comments I've read so far it's a fault of the .009-.042 strings or l've got my Trem base cocked up to high in the back, but I think 1/8" is pretty standard.

    I haven't read one single comment where anyone has had to remove the springs on these saddle locations to get intonation? So I'm assuming the only one doing this is me?

    By all means I'm not closing this thread and I thank all of you for your comments!! Platefire
     
  13. macatt

    macatt Tele-Holic

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    It's not uncommon. I've had a couple Strats where I had to remove one spring and cut another one in half to get proper intonation.
    I've read accounts of others who have had to do the same thing. I don't know exactly why some Strats have this anomaly and some don't given the same gauge and type of strings though.

    S Mac
     
  14. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Meister

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    If the blue guitar in the picture is yours I'd suggest different bent saddles like Fender or Callaham. The saddles with the notches, I don't like them. I think you'd get better intonation with the traditional style saddles.

    You can try lowering your action, this will have the saddles intonated towards the neck.
    Are you a hard picker? That will move the saddles away from the neck. But I rarely recommend players to change their technique. And I don't recommend changing string gauge if you like the ones you got.

    So play the action and strings you like, maybe upgrade the saddles and have the intonation set with a very accurate tuner by an experienced person, like intonating in the playing position with new strings.
    And making sure the nut slots are properly filed.
     
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  15. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Meister

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    Here's my strat's bridge, intonated properly.

    sallies.PNG
     
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  16. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Meister

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    Oh and maybe do the neck pocket trick where you loosen the neck plate screws a little while strings are under tension, then tighten the plate screws. You might here a pop or crack, it's the neck resetting tighter in the pocket.
     
  17. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Uh, that would make his intonation even further back. All else equal, the saddles would move to the rear, same as the nut just did...

    I didn't notice the strange saddles earlier. Those take-off points could make things difficult.
     
  18. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    I took a picture of my #1 strat, a 1997 CIJ 50's RI that don't share the same problem as discussed in this post. In fact the saddle positions look very close to Highwaycat's previous picture of his bridge.
    IMG_20180403_065609514.jpg


    So all my other strats are Squiers or some other brand strat copy project guitars. So their quality might be part of the issue?

    Yes the previous blue guitar picture is mine. My latest aquistion but is pretty representative of my other project guitars with this issue. Platefire
     
  19. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    "Still have to remove the springs off the g and big E saddles to get them far enough back to get the 12 fret octave dead on."

    I can clearly see your issue - yeah, those saddles are really too far back and should be about 1/8" forward.

    Here's one thing to check - with a good 16" or 18" steel ruler, measure the distance from the middle of the 12th fret to the point where the string rests on the saddle. Check the high E string, since that string should require very little compensation. Is it close to 12.75" (assuming a 25.5" scale length)? Also measure the distance from the nut front edge to the 12th fret (high E string). That should also be 12.75". If those measurements are way off, then there's something odd about the way the intonation is being set, but I believe you've checked the harmonic and 12th fret note so I'd be surprised if something was wrong.

    If the compensation is correct and the guitar plays in tune with those saddle positions, then the only thing you would be able to do is move the neck position forward relative to the bridge. That would allow the saddles to move forward relative to the bridge plate. Assuming your neck pocket would allow for it, you could redrill the four neck mounting holes. That's pretty drastic though, and I wouldn't go there unless you really had to.
     
  20. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't think all the Strat type guitars have the same bridge/tremolo placement specs and neck pocket specs. That's the reason some have intonation problems with the Big E/G and others have it with the little e.

    On the Stewmac website, the fret calculator always shows the scale length from the back side of the nut to the front mounting screws of the trem-bridge. I have 4 guitars with that type trem-bridge/bridge plate and all 4 are differently spaced.

    The neck pocket placement could be off or the bridge placement. It could also be a simple mistake of measuring from the front side of the nut instead of the back side for those alignment mistakes.
     
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