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Thread: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

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    Tone Member Nightrunner's Avatar
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    Default Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    Alright, so I've always had a problem getting the G on my Jackson Soloist XL to intonate properly. The trem is an Original Floyd Rose (replaced the crappy import the guitar came with), and the G-string's saddle needs to be moved even further from the nut, but there's no more travel possible! I had this problem with the import trem that came with the guitar too... Oh, the A-string has a similar issue, but not as severe. Strings are .009 - .042 D'Addario XL 120s that I always use. If I tune the A and G a little low, the guitar's intonation is better, but not "perfect."


    My suspicion is that the trem post anchors were set in the wrong location when the guitar was manufactured--probably a very minor distance too close to the nut--so the saddle for the two problem strings can't be compensated enough as a result.

    Anyone else had this type of problem? Any ideas (besides re-setting the anchors because I'm NOT doing it!) on how to fix it/compensate for it???

    EDIT: Oh, and the neck has a very slight amount of relief with a treble action of 4/64 measured from the bottom of the strings to the top of the 17th fret, and a bass action between 4/64 - 5/64. I like that action for my playing style (with vibrato & bends).


    --Nightrunner
    Last edited by Nightrunner; 08-17-2006 at 09:56 PM.
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    Super Toneologist MojoMonster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    The problem is that a compensating bridge is only half of the solution.
    http://www.mimf.com/nutcomp/

    How worn are the frets?
    You might just need a recrown and polish.

    MM
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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightrunner View Post
    Alright, so I've always had a problem getting the G on my Jackson Soloist XL to intonate properly. The trem is an Original Floyd Rose (replaced the crappy import the guitar came with), and the G-string's saddle needs to be moved even further from the nut, but there's no more travel possible! I had this problem with the import trem that came with the guitar too... Oh, the A-string has a similar issue, but not as severe. Strings are .009 - .042 D'Addario XL 120s that I always use. If I tune the A and G a little low, the guitar's intonation is better, but not "perfect."


    My suspicion is that the trem post anchors were set in the wrong location when the guitar was manufactured--probably a very minor distance too close to the nut--so the saddle for the two problem strings can't be compensated enough as a result.

    Anyone else had this type of problem? Any ideas (besides re-setting the anchors because I'm NOT doing it!) on how to fix it/compensate for it???

    EDIT: Oh, and the neck has a very slight amount of relief with a treble action of 4/64 measured from the bottom of the strings to the top of the 17th fret, and a bass action between 4/64 - 5/64. I like that action for my playing style (with vibrato & bends).


    --Nightrunner
    I had the exact same problem with my 95 Performance series import Dinky.... The trem on it i didn't like too much so i had a tech install a real floyd.... He warned me before hand that the FRO bridge may not work on the Jackson posts... he was right... The low E string saddle would not go far enough back for intonation.... it sounded in tune fine to the ear but with a tuner you could see it was out. I used it as is for 8 years or so.... finally i just put the Jackson bridge back in.... the Jackson low pro bridge design has more room to move the saddles back..... so after a lot of expense it never did work right.....

    I had thought about taking the guitar to a really good repair shop in Toronto called The 12th Fret and having them plug and re-drill the posts back 1/8th of an inch... but i figured it was just as easy to throw the Jackson bridge back on and use it as is... The guitar still has the FRO nut and it sound much nicer then the Jackson nut did.... And the Jackson trem is using the FRO posts... i didn't think it would work on teh FRO posts as they seem thicker in size... but it works somehow...

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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    Quote Originally Posted by MojoMonster View Post
    The problem is that a compensating bridge is only half of the solution.
    http://www.mimf.com/nutcomp/

    How worn are the frets?
    You might just need a recrown and polish.

    MM
    Wow, I've never thought of that... I wonder how you could rig something similar for the locking nut. I'll have to try some of those measurements when I have some time & see what the results are.

    The frets seem to be in good condition to me. No major dents/dings and bending is smooth. But I'm no expert on fret condition.

    What's your thought on the string gauge being a factor? I wouldn't necessarily like using .010 gauge due to some carpal tunnel wrist discomfort, but could that help?


    --Nightrunner
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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    Quote Originally Posted by WhoFan View Post
    I had the exact same problem with my 95 Performance series import Dinky.... The trem on it i didn't like too much so i had a tech install a real floyd.... He warned me before hand that the FRO bridge may not work on the Jackson posts... he was right... The low E string saddle would not go far enough back for intonation.... it sounded in tune fine to the ear but with a tuner you could see it was out. I used it as is for 8 years or so.... finally i just put the Jackson bridge back in.... the Jackson low pro bridge design has more room to move the saddles back..... so after a lot of expense it never did work right.....

    I had thought about taking the guitar to a really good repair shop in Toronto called The 12th Fret and having them plug and re-drill the posts back 1/8th of an inch... but i figured it was just as easy to throw the Jackson bridge back on and use it as is... The guitar still has the FRO nut and it sound much nicer then the Jackson nut did.... And the Jackson trem is using the FRO posts... i didn't think it would work on teh FRO posts as they seem thicker in size... but it works somehow...
    I had the same problem with the Jackson trem, plus the knife edges eventually dulled to the point where it wouldn't come back to a neutral position--and I don't really use the trem! That drove me NUTS for about a year before I finally saved enough money to replace the trem with an Original Floyd. I was hoping to solve both problems at the same time (praying there would be more room for compensation, or maybe in a slightly further back position), but alas it ended up just solving the knife edge problem.


    --Nightrunner
    Main Axes:
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    Imperator of Indignation idsnowdog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    You can solve the intonation problem by going to a wound G string. Although if you are using 9's you may not be able to find one thin enough.

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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightrunner View Post
    I had the same problem with the Jackson trem, plus the knife edges eventually dulled to the point where it wouldn't come back to a neutral position--and I don't really use the trem! That drove me NUTS for about a year before I finally saved enough money to replace the trem with an Original Floyd. I was hoping to solve both problems at the same time (praying there would be more room for compensation, or maybe in a slightly further back position), but alas it ended up just solving the knife edge problem.


    --Nightrunner
    Most of the tuning issues i had on my Dinky's were the post's treaded inserts.... I have 2 Dinky's from roughly the same mid 90's period.... I wish i had never installed the Original... man the money i had wasted.. But at the same time i really learned a thing or 2...

    When the tech gave me back the old posts out of my Red sunburst Dinky after i had the FRO installed i noticed that they were either made of too soft a metal and deformed, or were a sloppy machine job in the first place... You could move the post in it's threaded insert 360 degrees and rock it back and forth.. In my case that was the sorce of my Tuning issue with that bridge all along...

    About 6 years ago i found a used Blue Dinky like my Red one for a steal.... I grabbed it and first thing i noticed was the bar did not stay in tune after diving..... Sure enough the posts were sloppy fitting like my red one... So i ordered some harded replacement posts from stew mac... pulled the threaded inserts out of the body. Glued in the new posts... That guitar stays in tune extremely well now!!!!!

    Wish i had known about the post issues on those guitars before i had paid a tech to install a FRO on my red one... only to find it didn't work out...

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    Tone Member Nightrunner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    Quote Originally Posted by WhoFan View Post
    Most of the tuning issues i had on my Dinky's were the post's treaded inserts.... I have 2 Dinky's from roughly the same mid 90's period.... I wish i had never installed the Original... man the money i had wasted.. But at the same time i really learned a thing or 2...

    When the tech gave me back the old posts out of my Red sunburst Dinky after i had the FRO installed i noticed that they were either made of too soft a metal and deformed, or were a sloppy machine job in the first place... You could move the post in it's threaded insert 360 degrees and rock it back and forth.. In my case that was the sorce of my Tuning issue with that bridge all along...

    About 6 years ago i found a used Blue Dinky like my Red one for a steal.... I grabbed it and first thing i noticed was the bar did not stay in tune after diving..... Sure enough the posts were sloppy fitting like my red one... So i ordered some harded replacement posts from stew mac... pulled the threaded inserts out of the body. Glued in the new posts... That guitar stays in tune extremely well now!!!!!

    Wish i had known about the post issues on those guitars before i had paid a tech to install a FRO on my red one... only to find it didn't work out...
    That's another good thing to know. I noticed the same thing with the stock posts... very wobbly! I just set up my Jackson King V for a drop C tuning with .012 - .052 gauge strings, and while I had the trem off for a minute, I noticed those stock posts are nice and wobbly too. Maybe I'll order some hardened replacements like you did if I run into problems with that trem.

    I might try stepping up to a thicker set of strings next time & see what effect that has. The wound G-string comment makes some sense! Maybe I could step up to .010 gauge and then use a wound G if it doesn't already come with one... I know the .012 gauge set had a wound G.

    EDIT: D'Addario EXL110W - .010 - .046 with a wound .018 (G)... maybe that'll work!

    Trial and error is so frustrating sometimes!


    --Nightrunner
    Last edited by Nightrunner; 08-19-2006 at 12:01 AM.
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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    I have a sloppy picking technique so going to a wound G was a godsend. Otherwise there was always this TWANG when I tried fast alternate picking.

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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightrunner View Post
    Alright, so I've always had a problem getting the G on my Jackson Soloist XL to intonate properly. The trem is an Original Floyd Rose (replaced the crappy import the guitar came with), and the G-string's saddle needs to be moved even further from the nut, but there's no more travel possible! I had this problem with the import trem that came with the guitar too... Oh, the A-string has a similar issue, but not as severe. Strings are .009 - .042 D'Addario XL 120s that I always use. If I tune the A and G a little low, the guitar's intonation is better, but not "perfect."


    My suspicion is that the trem post anchors were set in the wrong location when the guitar was manufactured--probably a very minor distance too close to the nut--so the saddle for the two problem strings can't be compensated enough as a result.

    Anyone else had this type of problem? Any ideas (besides re-setting the anchors because I'm NOT doing it!) on how to fix it/compensate for it???

    EDIT: Oh, and the neck has a very slight amount of relief with a treble action of 4/64 measured from the bottom of the strings to the top of the 17th fret, and a bass action between 4/64 - 5/64. I like that action for my playing style (with vibrato & bends).


    --Nightrunner
    This has nothing to do with nut compensation, which is a nonsense theory based on a lack of understanding of string physics and equal temperament.

    You are closer to the solution when you speculate that the trem posts are wrongly located; Jacksons are notorious for this, as are Gibsons. The shop where I am based had to saend back an entire shipment of Jacksons becasue the bridges were in the wrong place; almost a centimetre out!

    I know, i measured them myself...
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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightrunner View Post
    Wow, I've never thought of that... I wonder how you could rig something similar for the locking nut. I'll have to try some of those measurements when I have some time & see what the results are.
    --Nightrunner
    No don't; Stephen Delft really doesn't know what he's talking about in that article, it's scientific and technical rubbish.

    Or rather he knows it is, but he's relying on his customers being more ignorant than he is to create the illusion that his touch can transcend the laws of physics...
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    Tone Member Nightrunner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    Quote Originally Posted by octavedoctor View Post
    No don't; Stephen Delft really doesn't know what he's talking about in that article, it's scientific and technical rubbish.

    Or rather he knows it is, but he's relying on his customers being more ignorant than he is to create the illusion that his touch can transcend the laws of physics...



    That was funny!

    Maybe I'll hold off on the nut compensation, but I wonder if switching up to .010 gauge with a wound G string would bring it closer. The problem has really been a bane of this otherwise extraordinary instrument the entire decade I've been playing it! Before I learned otherwise, I just assumed that all guitars had this problem with the G!

    --Nightrunner
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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    On all my guitars, I do an intonation fine tuning. Basically, make sure every note on the fretboard from the 10th to the 20th fret reads dead center on the tuner. With the nut cut right, the intonation set perfectly, and the action perfect for my picking attack, there's no reason the guitar's bridge shouldn't accomodate all that. If not, there's a real design problem with the guitar.
    I have a feeling you need to spend more time with it, because if it's a normal production guitar, it should intonate on a dime with no problem.
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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightrunner View Post


    That was funny!

    It pains me to say that mind you, because although he now lives in New Zealand, Stephen was a stalwart of the UK instrument repair scene during my formative years and his articles in International Musician (infused with his inimitable sense of humour) informed my early development as a luthier, so I owe him a considerable debt of gratitude , but i don't believe he does his customers any favours by encouraging their delusional belief that problems inherent in their instrument's equal temperament character can be "solved" through a pragmatic solution or that it is indicative of any flaw in the design or construction of the instrument.
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    Tone Member Nightrunner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    Quote Originally Posted by Gearjoneser View Post
    On all my guitars, I do an intonation fine tuning. Basically, make sure every note on the fretboard from the 10th to the 20th fret reads dead center on the tuner. With the nut cut right, the intonation set perfectly, and the action perfect for my picking attack, there's no reason the guitar's bridge shouldn't accomodate all that. If not, there's a real design problem with the guitar.
    I have a feeling you need to spend more time with it, because if it's a normal production guitar, it should intonate on a dime with no problem.

    I guess the last ten years haven't been enough time...

    I've been doing my own setups for at least the last 6 (after doing tons of setups while working at ProSound). The nut is locking, so there's no "cutting it right," and I'm telling you I've messed with it tons over the last decade! I'm thinking it is a design problem (well, a manufacturing problem anyway). I just wondered if anyone else had the same problem & apparently some people have.

    EDIT: The next Jackson I buy will be a USA at least, and it won't have a Floyd. . . I never use the trem anyway--never been a real fan of the whammy tricks & I'm not sure why I swore off hardtails until the last three or four years.


    --Nightrunner
    Last edited by Nightrunner; 08-19-2006 at 08:47 PM.
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    "Mayhem" - Schecter C7 Blackjack - Custom-7 (b) / '59-7 (n)
    B.C. Rich NJ Classic Mockingbird (stock pups for now)

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    Super Toneologist octavedoctor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    Quote Originally Posted by Gearjoneser View Post
    On all my guitars, I do an intonation fine tuning. Basically, make sure every note on the fretboard from the 10th to the 20th fret reads dead center on the tuner. With the nut cut right, the intonation set perfectly, and the action perfect for my picking attack, there's no reason the guitar's bridge shouldn't accomodate all that. If not, there's a real design problem with the guitar.
    I have a feeling you need to spend more time with it, because if it's a normal production guitar, it should intonate on a dime with no problem.
    That's what i do as well, but I use my ears as tuners can't detect inharmonicity which will tend to make you hear the note sounding slightly flatter than it actually is being metered.

    Try this Nightrunner.

    Tune the D string then use the harmonic at the octave to tune the G string by sounding the note at the 7th fret. Then use the harmonic at the 5th fret on the D string to check the accuracy of the note at the 19th fret. If it's flat, the saddle is too far back and needs to come forward. You may also find that the harmonic at the 7th on the G is sharper than the harmonic at the 5th fret on the D…
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    Tone Member Nightrunner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    Quote Originally Posted by octavedoctor View Post
    Try this Nightrunner.

    Tune the D string then use the harmonic at the octave to tune the G string by sounding the note at the 7th fret. Then use the harmonic at the 5th fret on the D string to check the accuracy of the note at the 19th fret. If it's flat, the saddle is too far back and needs to come forward. You may also find that the harmonic at the 7th on the G is sharper than the harmonic at the 5th fret on the D…
    Tried that & the 5th fret harmonic on the D sounded fine with the fretted 19th on the G. If I try the 5th fret harmonic on the D against the 7th fret harmonic on the G after tuning 7th fret G to 12th fret harmonic D, the harmonic on the G is a little flat compared to the harmonic on the D... however, the fretted intonation seemed better when it was tuned this way--open G sounds flat though.

    EDIT: And I'm not sure, but I'm guessing that my perfectionist nature is making the problem seem worse than it really is. After years and years of critical listening and ear training of different sorts in school and out, I'm probably more picky than some. I remember picking my guitar up from being set up once before I started doing it myself & I tested the intonation there in the store... I took the tech to task over that one because he apparently hadn't even intonated it! Charged me $40 for a "setup" and didn't intonate it!


    --Nightrunner
    Last edited by Nightrunner; 08-19-2006 at 09:05 PM.
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    Super Toneologist octavedoctor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightrunner View Post
    If I try the 5th fret harmonic on the D against the 7th fret harmonic on the G after tuning 7th fret G to 12th fret harmonic D, the harmonic on the G is a little flat compared to the harmonic on the D... however, the fretted intonation seemed better when it was tuned this way--open G sounds flat though.
    THat's an interesting result, because if the guitar is "in tune" in equal temperament terms, the harmonic on the g at the 7th fret should be a tiny bit sharp relative to the harmonic on the d as it is a harmonic interval relative to the fundamental and the equal temperament fourths are slightly stretched.

    This might indicate a problem with the longitudinal positioning of the nut, rather than its height.

    Excuse me, but I have to go to bed now, it's 5:15 am over here...
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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    Quote Originally Posted by idsnowdog View Post
    You can solve the intonation problem by going to a wound G string.
    This man speaks the truth.
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    Tone Member Nightrunner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intonation - G string won't intonate properly

    Quote Originally Posted by octavedoctor View Post
    THat's an interesting result, because if the guitar is "in tune" in equal temperament terms, the harmonic on the g at the 7th fret should be a tiny bit sharp relative to the harmonic on the d as it is a harmonic interval relative to the fundamental and the equal temperament fourths are slightly stretched.

    This might indicate a problem with the longitudinal positioning of the nut, rather than its height.

    Excuse me, but I have to go to bed now, it's 5:15 am over here...

    Thanks for the input!


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