Intonation Issue

PDC

New member
Messages
18
Warmoth body and neck.  25.5” scale.  Graph tech nut (not a ‘compensated’ or Earvana nut - just a standard graph tech). 2-post Hipshot trem.  9-42 gauge strings - tuned to Eb.

The octaves are set ‘dead on’ with a strobe tuner and there is still adjustment room forward and backward at all 6 saddles - so its not like any of the strings require full forward or full rearward saddle adjustment to intonate. 

When tuned spot on, the open high E string and B string ring beautifully together - BUT - the Open B string and G string ring ‘sour.’  If I drop the pitch of the B string ever so slightly it will ring beautifully with the open G but then it rings ‘sour’ against the open high E.  I can make the compensation with the G string so it rings clean with the open B and the B will ring clean with the open E - but then the G string and D string don’t get along.

This is really strange.  Fresh strings - strobe tuned and octaves strobed.  And these are open strings so we aren’t talking about how high the strings sit off the nut or how hard you need to press to fret the notes. 

Is this something that is unavoidable when tuning down a half-step? 

Is this something that will only be solved with an Earvana Nut?

Any experience greatly appreciated.  Thank you all.
 

AirCap

Senior member
Messages
1,003
Sorry to disappoint, but guitars are NOT in tune with themselves - especially Fender style setups.
 

Rick

Senior member
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4,329
When you say octives are you saying having the open string and then the harmonic at the 12th fret match?
 

stratamania

Senior member
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9,227
Rick said:
When you say octives are you saying having the open string and then the harmonic at the 12th fret match?

Its the fretted octave at the 12th fret that is more important to be in tune for making intonation adjustments.

Is this the first guitar you are trying this on in Eb?

Have you done this on another guitar and got the same result?

An Earvana nut may help with fretted note compensation but if you are hearing things that are out between open strings ringing together that are strobe tuned then there are no fretted variables yet which the Earvana aims to help with.

Are you tuning the open strings before and after making octave adjustments?
A slight intonation adjustment will mean the string needs retuning.

Are you checking the readings on the strobe tuner in playing position with your hands off the tuners?
If not you need to do so.


What happens when you do the same thing in standard tuning on the same guitar?

Have you tried a gauge heavier than you normally use for Eb tuning?

Some things to consider.

AirCap said:
Sorry to disappoint, but guitars are NOT in tune with themselves - especially Fender style setups.

Correct, however, he is talking about open strings being in tune with themselves not fretted notes.
 

Logrinn

Senior member
Messages
3,589
PDC said:
The octaves are set ‘dead on’ with a strobe tuner...

Just a note here - ”dead on” with a strobe tuner might not give the best result on a guitar. On the Peterson Strobe pedal there’s the option to choose alternate tunings, specifically for guitar that are slightly ”off” to get a better result. Try that if you have access to it.
The major third between the g and b have always given guitarists problems.
 

Cagey

Senior member
Messages
24,425
Get a second or third opinion. Sometimes we let the perfect be the enemy of the good when it comes to tuning, and today's tuners are so accurate they exceed the capabilities of human hearing. Guitars are never "perfectly" in tune - it's the nature of the beast. While it's not deliberately designed in, the design is such that they can't be perfect. As long as it's set up well, it should be able to get close enough to live with.
 

mayfly

Senior member
Messages
8,234
One thing that no one has mentioned yet:  Age and quality of the strings.

I find that when the strings get old and worn, I have a harder time making the thing play in tune.  Also, if I'm desperate and using an 'off brand' of string, then I can sometimes get a dud string that won't even stay in tune with itself. 

Check out the strings if all else fails.
 

BigSteve22

Senior member
Messages
2,798
stratamania said:
Have you tried a gauge heavier than you normally use for Eb tuning?
I thought I had posted this same suggestion last night, but I may have forgotten to hit "Post". Anyway, I find EB 9-46 Hybrid's to be my favorite gauge, even on 24.75" scale guitars. But, I have also seen Gibson scale guitars where 9's are just a bit too "Spaghetti" like to set up properly, but fall right into it with 10's. This lowered string tension, combined with the lighter gauge, may be the root of your current dilemma. Tuning to Eb, with 9's, may just not work well with this particular instrument. For the price of a set of 10's, it's an easy, inexpensive, place to start. Good luck!
 

PDC

New member
Messages
18
STRINGS!!!  They were not corroded or nasty by any means - but they had been on for quite a while and though clean and smooth feeling under the fingers, I think they had been under tension for long enough that they were just sort of ‘flat.’  I put a fresh set on and the open G, B & E pairs all ring ‘pretty’ once again.  Who knows, maybe I just had a ‘dud’ set on there before???
 

PDC

New member
Messages
18
So, I had one of those Earvana ‘drop-in’ nuts in my parts box that I had purchased some time ago and never got around to taking for a test drive.  After changing strings, I decided to fit this nut, groove the string slots, and then re-set the intonation.  The guitar has never sounded this ‘sweet.’ With  the non-compensated nut my saddles had the noticeable ‘stagger’ from the low E string to the D string that repeated between the G string and high E string.  Now they are damned near even straight across from low E to high E and the guitar has never sounded better.  I tried posting a pic, but this forum does not like whatever format my iPhone saves pictures.  If you haven’t tried one of these drop in compensated nuts on your Fender style builds they are really worth it.
 

Street Avenger

Senior member
Messages
2,134
I have a Earvana nut on a LP style guitar and I don't notice any improvement in tuning over my guitars with the standard nut. I Kind'a figured it was a gimmick.
 
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