Growing pains

erogenousjones17

Senior member
Messages
1,709
First of all, let me start by saying that I hope this is the right place for this topic...

Alright, so my yellow LPS build is a few months old now, things seem to have settled in place, and overall I'm super happy with my project. But there are a couple of nagging little problems that seem to be getting slightly more aggravating as time goes on.

First, a minor TOM bridge gripe. My guitar is equipped with a Gotoh TOM bridge/tailpiece, and the low E string has a tendancy to slip down out of the slot in the bridge saddle. It doesn't actually affect the sound or the intonation that much, but it makes playing the low E feel weird, and it's annoying as hell. Can I just grab a file and make the slot a little deeper?

Second, a weird intonation problem. The intonation is fine all the way up and down the neck on each string, but even when the guitar is in tune, double stops on the G and B strings at the same fret sound way off. D and G are fine together, as are B and high E. Also, E-shape barre chords (an A at the fifth fret, for example) sound fine, but A-shape barre chords (i.e. A D at the fifth fret) do not. Any thought? This one has me stumped.
 

rockskate4x

Senior member
Messages
1,601
About the bar chords, if their sounding sharp, it's probably your fingers... depending on the size of the frets. If you got some jumbo frets on there you may be pushing the strings a little too hard...I suffer from the same heavy handedness
 

AToE

Active member
Messages
88
Is this more than the usual imperfect intonation that comes with any guitar? You'll never find an instrument with straight frets that intonates properly all the way up and down the neck, it just doesn't work out. But I take it this is more severe than the usual "tune open strings = A chord out of tune, tune to A chord = all other chords out of tune, so forth and so on"? If so I have no clue. :icon_scratch:
 

GoDrex

Senior member
Messages
3,619
was the TOM bridge set up by someone? if so they should have made the slots bigger.

there's always some problem with the g and b strings in relation to each other. This is one of the reason why people want compensated nuts. I usually tune so an open D chord sounds good and then kind of squeeze other the g and b double stops a bit into tune.
 

erogenousjones17

Senior member
Messages
1,709
I realize that intonation is never perfect, but yes, this does seem more sever than usual. At the very least it's worse than my other guitars. As for the TOM, yes it was set up by someone. Should I have the slots filed deeper?
 

Superlizard

Senior member
Messages
2,514
I always tune my B string to E (5th fret of B string) instead of:

-tuning open B to B (straight tuning)
-tuning open B to the B on the G string 4th fret

which helps (albeit not perfect) with the dissonance.

EDIT - hard to describe in text - here's exactly how I tune the B (5th) string:

- fret the B string on the 5th fret (that's an E)
- using tuner whilst fretting as above, tune to E

of course, once I'm done and stop fretting, the open B is still a B - the way it's written above sounds like I'm tuning the B string to E... LOL
 

Superlizard

Senior member
Messages
2,514
erogenousjones17 said:
I'd never thought of that...I'll give it a try!

It may or may not work for you (works for me), but it's free and non-invasive so what the hell.  :icon_thumright:
 

blue313

Senior member
Messages
2,824
You can easily file the slot a hair deeper.  Just remember that the slot needs to be like the nut slot, rounded on the bottom to avoid binding issues.  Go slow and check often.
 

dbw

Senior member
Messages
4,531
I tune with harmonics:

A string 7th fret = low E string 5th fret
D string 7th fret = A string 5th fret
G string 7th fret = D string 5th fret
open B string = low E string 7th fret
open high E = low E 5th fret
 

AToE

Active member
Messages
88
dbw said:
I tune with harmonics:

A string 7th fret = low E string 5th fret
D string 7th fret = A string 5th fret
G string 7th fret = D string 5th fret
open B string = low E string 7th fret
open high E = low E 5th fret

That's how I used to tune, but then I read about the problems that causes and checked it out with a tuner... plays havok with your intonation, because those harmonics are proper "pure" or "just" intervals, but your guitar is not set up for just intervals, just equal temper. Try tuning your E perfectly, then use that method for the A, and check if your A is actually in tune with a tuner, it probably won't be.

There's no perfect method, but I've read a bit (and tested them out) on better and worse ways. Seems one of the best is using octaves, tune your E with a tuner, then tune every other string to your open E by fretting whatever fret should be E on the string you're tuning - line them up and that's about as in-tune as you can get a guitar. The added bonus to that is that since you're tuning every string to the same reference string you won't have a build up of slight errors over each string adding up to a big error by the time you get to the last string. Make sense or am I rambling?
 

Tempest

Senior member
Messages
770
I'm sorry this has nothing to do with the thread.  But are you going to post pics of this guitar anytime soon?  I'd really love to see it.
 

erogenousjones17

Senior member
Messages
1,709
I'm definitely going to give all these tuning tips a try (nice alliteration eh?). To be honest, I've been so busy with school and work that I haven't touched the guitar in a few days. As for pics, I will post some eventually, when I find someone with a decent camera to take them. That reminds me...any tips for cleaning that gross buildup on chrome pickup covers?
 

Jean

New member
Messages
12
For your tuning problems:
1- See if a new set of strings would not help (this could explain that your problem seems to be getting worse over time).
2- Make sure your bridge intonation is adjusted (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PMFdSkBvkM). This should be done every time you install new strings.
3- Earvana compensated nuts could be part of the solution. I fitted them on both of my Warmoth guitars (VIP and Strat) and they helped significantly, plus they made tuning a million times more stabile (Qilkinsom tremolo equiped). Relatively easy to DIY.
 

Mor Paul

Senior member
Messages
7,238
Welcome to the boards, Jean!

Just one thing... I'm pretty sure you don't need to reintonate your guitar after every string change. Every guage change, maybe.
 

erogenousjones17

Senior member
Messages
1,709
Yeah...the intonation is spot-on, I swear. And I've tried the various tuning tips you guys have suggested and nothing helps. To be honest, it's starting to really make me angry, because the guitar sounds great tone-wise, but now I have to choose licks and chord voicings based on whether it's tuned so that the G and B strings work or the b and high E. Plus, the only "real" guitar tech around here is a tool; I could do a better job myself, if I knew what to do about it.
 

AToE

Active member
Messages
88
Is it possible that one of those strings doesn't have a deep enough nut slot, so when you fret it it has gets stretched more than it should? That might be what's causing it.
 

blue313

Senior member
Messages
2,824
erogenousjones17 said:
That reminds me...any tips for cleaning that gross buildup on chrome pickup covers?
A used dryer sheet slightly damp with lighter fluid.  Naphtha wont hurt the wood, finish or electronics.  Just don't have the guitar plugged in.  :laughing7:
 

Superlizard

Senior member
Messages
2,514
AToE said:
Is it possible that one of those strings doesn't have a deep enough nut slot, so when you fret it it has gets stretched more than it should? That might be what's causing it.

Good point.
 
Top