you ever get a string that won't intonate?

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John Sonksen
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Location: Portland, OR

you ever get a string that won't intonate?

Post by John Sonksen »

I'm wondering why I can't get my D string to intonate on my new electric. I just swapped the strings after my final nut filing, (filed the top of the nut but didn't alter the depth of the string slot or molest it in any way), and set my ABR bridge posts to depth. I had no problem getting the D to intonate before this and I'm only having the problem on this string, everything else is fine. My action is where it was and I didn't tweak the truss rod and dangit, no matter how much I move the saddle up or down, (completely bottomed out in both directions) it doesn't seem to have any effect on the intonation of that blasted string!

Is it the string? Ever just get a wonky string?

Chuck Tweedy
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Re: you ever get a string that won't intonate?

Post by Chuck Tweedy »

Yes, strings can be wonky.
Non uniform density and/or stiffness will kill the string. It might have a bulge.
Likes to drink Rosewood Juice

David King
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Re: you ever get a string that won't intonate?

Post by David King »

This is a good time to learn to adjust the intonation by ear. I use the 17th fret and play the harmonic over that fret and compare that note to the fretted note. Assuming the harmonic is in tune and the fretted note sounds flat, you need to shorten the string (move the saddle forwards). If the fretted note is sharper than the harmonic you need to lengthen the string (move the saddle back).
Once you get it close enough by ear I bet it will show up on the electronic tuner. If your intonation is off by 50 cents the tuner will just bounce back and forth. I see that a lot on guitars that the owner "intonated".
If you are getting 60Hz hum through the pickups your tuner may just show a flat B-flat instead of the note you played.
Trust your ears, then use the machine to get you spot-on.
A bad string will usually sound bad to you, not just to the tuner.

John Sonksen
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 12:16 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: you ever get a string that won't intonate?

Post by John Sonksen »

David King wrote:This is a good time to learn to adjust the intonation by ear. I use the 17th fret and play the harmonic over that fret and compare that note to the fretted note. Assuming the harmonic is in tune and the fretted note sounds flat, you need to shorten the string (move the saddle forwards). If the fretted note is sharper than the harmonic you need to lengthen the string (move the saddle back).
Once you get it close enough by ear I bet it will show up on the electronic tuner. If your intonation is off by 50 cents the tuner will just bounce back and forth. I see that a lot on guitars that the owner "intonated".
If you are getting 60Hz hum through the pickups your tuner may just show a flat B-flat instead of the note you played.
Trust your ears, then use the machine to get you spot-on.
A bad string will usually sound bad to you, not just to the tuner.
Yeah this string sounds bad to me for sure, I can hear its flat and it's flatness hasn't changed no matter where I put the saddle. I'm going to play with this technique though, sounds like a good tip.

Edgar Jessop
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Re: you ever get a string that won't intonate?

Post by Edgar Jessop »

Have you tried lowering the pickups?

John Sonksen
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Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 12:16 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: you ever get a string that won't intonate?

Post by John Sonksen »

Edgar Jessop wrote:Have you tried lowering the pickups?
no, interesting... Can the magnets have that effect only on the octave note but not the open string?

David King
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Re: you ever get a string that won't intonate?

Post by David King »

John, in your case they might as you have the equivalent of 4 strat pickups in that guitar.

Jeff Mills
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Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:49 pm

Re: you ever get a string that won't intonate?

Post by Jeff Mills »

David King wrote:This is a good time to learn to adjust the intonation by ear. I use the 17th fret and play the harmonic over that fret and compare that note to the fretted note. Assuming the harmonic is in tune and the fretted note sounds flat, you need to shorten the string (move the saddle forwards). If the fretted note is sharper than the harmonic you need to lengthen the string (move the saddle back).
Once you get it close enough by ear I bet it will show up on the electronic tuner. If your intonation is off by 50 cents the tuner will just bounce back and forth. I see that a lot on guitars that the owner "intonated".
If you are getting 60Hz hum through the pickups your tuner may just show a flat B-flat instead of the note you played.
Trust your ears, then use the machine to get you spot-on.
A bad string will usually sound bad to you, not just to the tuner.
I keep re-reading your reply really good info here, I'm a new to building and I really don't mean to question anyone... However I think you may mean harmonics at the 19th fret instead of the 17th?
Experience is a strange thing - You get it right after you needed it.

David King
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Re: you ever get a string that won't intonate?

Post by David King »

Jeff, You are correct. I didn't have a guitar at hand when I tried to think which dot I use. I should have checked that one out first. Sorry.

Jeff Mills
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Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:49 pm

Re: you ever get a string that won't intonate?

Post by Jeff Mills »

David King wrote:Jeff, You are correct. I didn't have a guitar at hand when I tried to think which dot I use. I should have checked that one out first. Sorry.

No worries - I keep thinking it was some kind of test :lol:
Experience is a strange thing - You get it right after you needed it.

David King
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Re: you ever get a string that won't intonate?

Post by David King »

Well you passed.

Edgar Jessop
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Re: you ever get a string that won't intonate?

Post by Edgar Jessop »

John Sonksen wrote:
Edgar Jessop wrote:Have you tried lowering the pickups?
no, interesting... Can the magnets have that effect only on the octave note but not the open string?
So, whatever happened?

John Sonksen
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 12:16 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: you ever get a string that won't intonate?

Post by John Sonksen »

Edgar Jessop wrote:
John Sonksen wrote:
Edgar Jessop wrote:Have you tried lowering the pickups?
no, interesting... Can the magnets have that effect only on the octave note but not the open string?
So, whatever happened?
Whoops! Forgot to update. I ended up swapping the strings out and it's doing fine.

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