Go Back   UG Community @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com > Instruments > Gear Building & Customizing
User Name  
Password
Search:

Reply
Old 08-05-2007, 11:55 AM   #1
TwoString
AKA Chad
 
TwoString's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Houston
TwoString's Les Paul Intonation Mod

A friend of mine just scored an Epiphone Les Paul Custom for $300. After hearing that he was going out of town for three weeks on a business trip, he loaned the guitar to me. I've worked on several of his guitars in the past, and he basically gave me free reign to do whatever I wanted to improve the playability of the instrument.

When I received the instrument, I found that it's everything you'd expect in a Les Paul, but there were more than a few improvements needed to make the guitar perfect. The first and biggest problem was intonation.

After trying to set the intonation on the E, A and D strings, I found that the saddles couldn't be moved close enough to the neck. Anyone that's familiar with tune-o-matic bridges knows that the E A and D string saddles are flipped around, showing their sloped faces on the neck side.



So, in order to set intonation properly on certain guitars, these saddles must be flipped around to move the string breaking point closer to the neck.

This is a very simple modification that is outlined in serveral Stewart MacDonald articles. For more information, go there. This thread should cover everything you need to know.

First, you need to remove the TOM from the guitar. You don't need to unscrew the posts from the guitar, the bridge simply lifts off of those posts.

Second, you'll need to get a small, thin tool to pry the saddle retaining wire off of the bridge. I used a set of tweezers from a PC tool kit. Slide this tool in between the retaininng wire and the bridge body next to the high E string saddle. A little pressure should make the wire pop out easily.



Next, you'll remove the saddles ONE AT A TIME. The reason I stress one at a time is due to the fact that the saddles are different heights. If you mix them up, you'll need to take the bridge apart again to swap them back. So, one at a time, remove the E A and D string saddles, unscrew the intonation adjustment screw from the saddle, flip the saddle around and re-insert the adjustment screw into the saddle.



Re-insert the saddles.



And finally, reset the retaining wire in the bridge. Make sure that all of the saddles are seated properly before replacing the wire.



If you had any intonation adjustment problems before, this should allow you to set your intonation properly now.



On this particular guitar, I also adjusted the neck relief and pickups. The neck had about .045" of relief at the 12th fret. After adjusting the truss rod, I dialed that down to about .004". String height at the nut is very low (.008" at the high E, .016" for the low E), and a low string height is maintained across the entire fretboard. The pickups were adjusted and the pole pieces arched to maintain a consistent 1/16" distance from the strings.

__________________
Gear
My Pedalboard
Pedalboard Tutorial
Pedalboard Build
Patch Cable Tutorial
GT-8 Thread
Slide Clinic
7 Way Strat
LP Intonation Mod
My SRV Rig Thread


I build rigs and custom pedalboards...PM me for help or advice.

Last edited by TwoString : 11-30-2007 at 02:21 PM.
TwoString is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2007, 12:00 PM   #2
UniverseZero
Wikipedia is your friend
 
UniverseZero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Costa Rica
I don't own any TOM guitars right now, but this seems to be helpful.

You explained very well how to flip the saddles but there is no explanation for the truss rod adjustment nor the action adjustment. (i know that this is an intonation mod but you should have explained it IMO)
__________________

Quote:
Originally Posted by robbo_0013
UniverseZero is some kind of pwnerer of numerals

Quote:
Originally Posted by spazzymagee417
your avatar entertains me.
UniverseZero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2007, 12:08 PM   #3
loinmute
U.G's Wookie
 
loinmute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Central Texas
good post.
__________________
Quote:
<Insert Witty Comment Here>

1981 Fender Lead I Seymour Duncan humbucker, Mesa BoogieIIIRectifer, MKIIRhodes,PRS
loinmute is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2007, 12:08 PM   #4
i.am.akim
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Thanks a lot for sharing..
i.am.akim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2007, 12:21 PM   #5
wongacaster
.
 
wongacaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
hmm a guitar store guy did this to my guitar when he was setting it up once cause it was the same problem.
but now all saddles are flipped around but my high e string saddle still isnt close enough to the neck and its adjusted to the max.
is their anyway i could fix this?
i am going to be buying a new bridge for it soon so that may help.
it is a cheap guitar so its bridge is cheap and crappy.

and good post i think alot of people will find this quite useful.
__________________
My Studio Page!
My Facebook Music Page
Lie, Now Sleep

my gear:
Ibanez RGT32FMSP
Ibanez RG470
Ibanez RG7321
LTD MV-200 JB Bridge
LP copy JB/Jazz
JCM 2000 TSL
wongacaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2007, 12:48 PM   #6
TwoString
AKA Chad
 
TwoString's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Houston
Quote:
Originally Posted by UniverseZero
I don't own any TOM guitars right now, but this seems to be helpful.

You explained very well how to flip the saddles but there is no explanation for the truss rod adjustment nor the action adjustment. (i know that this is an intonation mod but you should have explained it IMO)


I'll hopefully get some time to do a full set up tutorial for both Les Paul and Strat style guitars. I guess I should have left out the other adjustment information and kept this thread for the intonation mod alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wongacaster
hmm a guitar store guy did this to my guitar when he was setting it up once cause it was the same problem.
but now all saddles are flipped around but my high e string saddle still isnt close enough to the neck and its adjusted to the max.
is their anyway i could fix this?
i am going to be buying a new bridge for it soon so that may help.
it is a cheap guitar so its bridge is cheap and crappy.

and good post i think alot of people will find this quite useful.


If your high-e is still reading flat, you can flip the entire bridge around. If you take a close look at the bridge, you'll notice that there isn't as much adjustment room on the screw side of the bridge as compared to the "rear" of the bridge. Flip the saddles around so the flat side of the saddles faces the rear of the bridge and then flip the entire bridge around. So with this arrangement, the flat sides of the saddles should be facing the neck and the screw adjustment side of the bridge should be facing the tailpiece. This will give you a little more adjustment length on the neck side of the bridge but you might have difficulty clearing the adjustment screws if you crank the tailpiece all the way down to the body.
__________________
Gear
My Pedalboard
Pedalboard Tutorial
Pedalboard Build
Patch Cable Tutorial
GT-8 Thread
Slide Clinic
7 Way Strat
LP Intonation Mod
My SRV Rig Thread


I build rigs and custom pedalboards...PM me for help or advice.
TwoString is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2007, 02:34 PM   #7
senor_penguin
I think I shot Marvin
 
senor_penguin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
wow,I know who to ask if I have any questions for my les paul
__________________
GEAR
- Epi Les Paul Custom (emma)
- Orange Tiny Terror
- 2x12 w/greenbacks
-MXR ZW-44 Overdrivel
- MXR Phase 90
- EB Volume JR.
- Boss DD-3
senor_penguin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2007, 01:43 PM   #8
S0ulja23
My avatar's too cheesy
 
S0ulja23's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Earth
Hey just wondering if this would work on my Sheraton, but the other way around? Cause my treble strings read too sharp, and it might help if I turned the saddles around so that the flat end faces near the bridge.

Or, would it be better if I just flipped the bridge? Would I have to switch the saddles around if I did so?
__________________
Huzzah! It is I, S0ulja, the Duke Of Swiss, 3rd member of the Royal order of cheese!

PM Soulfly_freak or sock_demon to join
S0ulja23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2007, 01:38 AM   #9
TwoString
AKA Chad
 
TwoString's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Houston
It depends. I would vote to flip the saddle rather than flip the bridge.
__________________
Gear
My Pedalboard
Pedalboard Tutorial
Pedalboard Build
Patch Cable Tutorial
GT-8 Thread
Slide Clinic
7 Way Strat
LP Intonation Mod
My SRV Rig Thread


I build rigs and custom pedalboards...PM me for help or advice.
TwoString is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2007, 01:11 PM   #10
Riot Act
Read me to someone...
 
Riot Act's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Can any irreversible harm come from flipping the saddles or bridge? My LP was $2000+ (shocker, i know...) and i dont want to do anything thats gonna permanently screw it up
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by rigiddigits
You're a truck, you can't have a gun. That would make you a tank.


SELLIN' MY BEAUTIFUL LES PAUL! CLICK!
Riot Act is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2007, 07:34 PM   #11
TwoString
AKA Chad
 
TwoString's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Houston
No, as long as you don't bend or break the retainer wire. You could just buy a new wire, but it's a bridge...it's not like it can't be replaced.
__________________
Gear
My Pedalboard
Pedalboard Tutorial
Pedalboard Build
Patch Cable Tutorial
GT-8 Thread
Slide Clinic
7 Way Strat
LP Intonation Mod
My SRV Rig Thread


I build rigs and custom pedalboards...PM me for help or advice.
TwoString is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2010, 04:34 AM   #12
eddiehimself
Call me EH, eh?
 
eddiehimself's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Slowly changing my identity, one day at a time
This is a good little mod to do. I tried it on my dean but one of the strings still wouldn't go back far enough... :/
__________________
EH

"Show me war; show me pestilence; show me the blood-red hands of retribution..."
eddiehimself is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2010, 02:08 PM   #13
oneblackened
Future Breed Machine
 
oneblackened's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Asgaard
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiehimself
This is a good little mod to do. I tried it on my dean but one of the strings still wouldn't go back far enough... :/

Dude 3 year old thread dude...
__________________
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400
Ibanez S970
Charvel San Dimas Style 1 (MIJ)
oneblackened is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2010, 02:15 PM   #14
eddiehimself
Call me EH, eh?
 
eddiehimself's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Slowly changing my identity, one day at a time
UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by oneblackened
Dude 3 year old thread dude...


Right what the ****? I swear this was on the front page. Did someone delete a previous post or something?
__________________
EH

"Show me war; show me pestilence; show me the blood-red hands of retribution..."
eddiehimself is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:19 AM.

Forum Archives / About / Terms of Use / Advertise / Contact / Ultimate-Guitar.Com © 2014
Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.