Setting intonations - and Subjective Voodoo

Steve_Karl

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My learning experience today - Using a Peterson VS-1 - on a hard tail strat bridge with 2 screws per saddle.

D, A, were sharp - adjusted - Both, now, 'feel' more comfortable to play. Feel slightly lower or more "in place."
OK ... So ...
Low E reads good on the tuner - but I moved the saddle back a tad (2 times - top of wrench about 1/8" clockwise *** each time) to get it to feel more like the A and D.  *** Note: Allen Key is 2.5" long.

G reads good on the tuner - moved the top of the wrench about 1/8" clockwise, moving saddle back a tiny bit to settle the feel.
Yes. More "in place."
B was sharp - got it feeling really nice with same approach.

Hi E reads good on the tuner but felt a bit "high" or stiff - Moved the saddle back by about the same amount - 1/8" turn and voi la!
Boom. It "feels" more laid "into place".

SO, what I'm discovering here is that on my Peterson VS-1 tuner there is a unknown range where the string will read as correctly intonated,
and with-in that, there is a range of distance, where I can adjust the feel of the string and still have the tuner see it as correctly intonated.

Moving the saddle back, "leaning" towards the flat side making the string length longer, makes the string feel easier to play, less "on top" (emotionally).
More greasy ... more bluesy.
I have to assume that I can also get the strings to feel more "on top" by adjusting in the other direction.
I'll probably try that eventually.
 

Cagey

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Interesting. I wanna say if you were using a Peterson VS1, that it isn't "Subjective" Voodoo.  "voodoo" aside, I would call that tuner a pretty objective instrument. Yet the amount of adjustment you say you're doing isn't really showing up on it. I would expect a string length change enough to cause a subjective difference in feel, it would change its pitch enough that a tuner that accurate would call it out. I mean, that unit is more sensitive than human hearing.
 

Cagey

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Seems like a tuner with a "range" of correct is just what you don't want, especially for adjusting something as fine as intonation. I know some tuners are so hyper-sensitive that they'll drive you crazy "hunting" for a stable reading, but I wouldn't want one that damps so much that I could change string length without it bitching about it.
 

Steve_Karl

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1,626
I can't hear the difference. But I can feel it on how the string lays.
When all strings are within the range that the Peterson says it's in, then the guitar sounds in tune everywhere on the neck.
 

Steve_Karl

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1,626
Yea. Not all tuners are created equal.
I also have a Boss TU-10 clip on the head stock model, just for quick everyday stuff and it's OK but
the Peterson has more resolution.

I'd be curious to know if there's one better than the Peterson VS-1.
 

Cagey

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Theoretically, the Conn Strobotuner is more accurate, but it's an electromechanical device so it needs periodic maintenance. Plus, they're wicked expensive, assuming you can even find one. I could be wrong, but I think they stopped making them back in the early/mid eighties. Check me on that.

iu

In any event, you can still find them on Ebay/Reverb/Craig'sList/etc., but they're considered "vintage" so you can pay upwards of $400+ for one, unless it's just for parts. The Peterson units (there are several) are supposed to be  realistic replacement for it, bringing solidstate reliability, ridiculous accuracy, and reasonable pricing to the party.

I've had a number of tuners over the years. but the most accurate one I've used is on my Axe/FX II. Problem is, it's one of those that'll drive you nuts hunting. Take the patience of a saint to use it. My current favorite is one of TC Electronic's PolyTune Clip Clip-on Polyphonic Tuner. Remarkably accurate and stable - I can do intonation with that.

iu

It also has a "strobo" mode.
 

Cagey

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My buddy has one of those Conns that I'm not impressed with, either. Bulky, heavy, needs an outlet, etc.
 

Steve_Karl

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1,626
Oh Yea ... I forgot about the AC plug requirement. This Peterson VS-1 runs on 3 AA batteries and they last a really long time.
 

Steve_Karl

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I just upgraded my clip-on situation with this one. -+0.1 cent ... same as my VS-1.
It'll probably be here in a few days.
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/StroboClipHD--peterson-stroboclip-hd-clip-on-strobetuner-high-definition

StroboClipHD-large.jpg
 

Steve_Karl

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1,626
I just set the intonations on a Wilkinson VS-100 bridge guitar with a boatneck.
(oh ... BTW ... Ernie Ball 10's for both guitars mentioned in this thread.)

These floating bridges are not as flexible for fine tuning as my hard tail strat. - - - like I got into in the OP.
Also, having to make sure every string is in tune before setting each strings intonation is a PIA on but necessary for me.
The bridge moves if one sting is out on these floaters and so then the intonation of any string changes.

So, this setup reminded me of a trick to quick adjust the fine tuning of a string that I discovered a long time ago.
Gravity
has an effect on string pitch, relative to the angle of the body to the center of gravity.

It's slightly more noticeable with a floating bridge but it does also happen with my hard tail,
probably because the neck isn't really thick. It's a standard thin.
I suspect if I had a boatneck on the hard tail it'd be less prone to the gravity situation but I'll never know.

Anyway ...
With my Peterson VS-1 I can lean forward and the string goes flat.
I lean back and the string goes sharp.

A better way to explain it is that if the plane across the face of the guitar body is perpendicular to the floor (center of the earth)
the the string will read flat compared to any angle back (leaning back in the chair).

 

Cagey

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That clip-on Strobo looks like the whip. I feel like I need one  :laughing7:

You're right about the gravity effect. I have a horizontal/vertical rotating vise that I mount my neck jig in that will show that effect up on some guitars. You're right in that it depends on the stiffness/thickness of the neck. It's more noticeable on thinner/more bendable necks, or if you use one of the more sensitive tuners like we've been talking about. And of course, on any floating bridge you can chase tune for a while as each string's adjustment changes the overall pull on the balance and so affects the tune of the others. I've known guys with hyper-sensitive hearing who just give up on vibrato-style bridges because of that.

The other thing that'll drive you nuts with hyper-sensitive tuners is they'll indicate out-of-of-tune just by holding on to the neck or playing for a bit, as the strings will warm up and change length, going very slightly  flat. You'll see some players that have to re-tune 97 times before they're happy, and that's one of the reasons why.
 

Steve_Karl

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1,626
Well, I got the Peterson StrobeClipHD - Nice.
It's better than my Boss TU-10, for me, but not as easy to read as the Peterson VS-1.

I also ran across this article about setting intonation using 3rd and 15th frets and 5th and 17th frets.
https://luthierylabs.com/laboratory/workshop-miscellaneous/intonation/

This one at Peterson is similar:
https://www.petersontuners.com/beyond/?p=1163

Haven't tried it yet except for one string to see, but went back to open string / harmonic and 12th fret method for now.

Maybe next time I'll try the whole guitar and see if I can notice a difference.

This James Taylor tuning lesson is also interesting:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2xnXArjPts[/youtube]
 

Steve_Karl

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And then for manual fine tuning ...

The Guild of American Luthiers recommends this method

http://drkevguitar.com/2012/04/04/tuning-data-sheet-45/

I remember doing something very close to this back when the only thing we had was a harmonica or a tuning fork,
but my fork was an A 440 so I'd start with the A and work a very similar method.
 

Lbpesq

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269
Are you loosening the strings prior to adjusting the intonation, and then bringing back to pitch, or are you adjusting intonation with the string at pitch?  It is better to loosen first before you adjust.  Adjusting with strings at tension may result in inaccurate readings as the string may get hung up at the saddle.  Also, the testing should always be done with the guitar in playing position, not lying on its back.

Bill, tgo
 

Steve_Karl

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1,626
In playing position always.
I adjust without loosening, but then loosen quite a bit and bring back up to pitch.
I'm sure there's no hang up on the saddles.
 

Lbpesq

Senior member
Messages
269
You might try loosening first, then adjusting and re-tuning.  As my grandma used to say, it couldn’t hurt.

Bill, tgo
 
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