#1
I understand that to properly intonate, I must compare 12th fret harmonic and fretted 12th note. This is proving difficult because despite adjusting the saddles and (even action) I can only produce a harmonic at the 13th fret. (The rest of the strings are fine.)

This indicates that my string is not long enough. I have gone as far as to clean the frets, tighten the larger screws where the springs attach to the body (I have a Fender Stratocaster) but the only thing I can think of at this point is changing strings.

I've cleaned the nut, adjusted the saddle all the way back, cleaned the string, considered taking the thing to a shop (but really, not again, not for this -- surely the truss rod isn't the problem, all the other strings are good) but yeah, the **** do I do?

What can I do besides change strings?

Thank you for your time.
#2
Change strings??
Just try it. It takes 10 minutes and strings cost $10 and it may well fix your problem.
#3
The only way this would happen is if your strings were somehow a whole fret short. The only way I can see this happening is if you have the bridge leaning far forwards and you have the saddles very far forwards too - but then the note would be so far out of tune at the 12th fret this would be obvious and you shouldn't be confused as to why things sound messed up.

What I'd do if I were you were just concentrate on getting the guitar set up so the fretted 12th fret note is the same as the open string and the action is to your liking. These are the most important elements. Once you're sure you've got the action right and the fretted note right, then see about that harmonic problem (personally, I don't even bother checking the harmonics on my own guitars. I do it for other people, but on my own I don't bother. How often do you really need to do natural harmonics at the 12th fret onwards? I know I only use them once in a blue moon. If they're a few cents out on my guitars, I can't say I care).

I actually don't know how it's physically possible to have the 12th fret fretted note correct but get the harmonic only at the 13th fret. In fact I don't know how the hell you're getting a natural harmonic at the 13th fret with the string open. I've set up countless guitars and never had this happen.
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#5
Quote by MrFlibble
The only way this would happen is if your strings were somehow a whole fret short. The only way I can see this happening is if you have the bridge leaning far forwards and you have the saddles very far forwards too - but then the note would be so far out of tune at the 12th fret this would be obvious and you shouldn't be confused as to why things sound messed up.

wouldn't that cause a harmonic on the 11th and not 13th?


TS - post a pic of your bridge looking down on all 6 saddles.
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#7
It doesn't matter where you produce the harmonic (its usually not exactly over the fret anyway for most volume) but the pitch of that 1st natural harmonic compared to the pitch of the fretted 12th fret.


And yes, new strings. Don't bother intonating old strings....you end up with a guitar intonated for that set of old strings.
#8
Thanks for the responses. To clarify, the notes on the E string scale horribly the further up the neck I get. By the 12th fret the note is unacceptably flat. I've adjusted the saddle to the absolute minimum and maximum with no significant change. I have a floating bridge that isn't unusually high so that can't be it -- and again all the strings but the E give me harmonics on the 12th fret.

The only thing I can think of is a truss rod adjustment and then changing all the other saddle lengths, but that seems excessive right now. And so too does changing string, since that shouldn't change the distance between bridge and nut, but I don't have much of a choice. Any ideas before I head to the shop?

It is worth noting that I am using right-handed strat flipped, but these intonation problems are new since I flipped the nut when I first got it and it sounded perfect, especially after I took it to a luthier. But this is the second guitar I've had this problem with... Pretty annoyed right now.
Last edited by meieronfire at Apr 2, 2012,
#9
Quote by meieronfire
And so too does changing string, since that shouldn't change the distance between bridge and nut.

Old strings and up being irregurarly stretched out and they'll vibrate correctly on certain parts and just completely off on others totally setting the intonation off.

How old are your strings? If they're more than 2 or 3 months try and a new set!
#10
Okay, gonna get new strings and intonate again. Thanks. Still open to other suggestions if anybody has any.
#11
Quote by meieronfire
Okay, gonna get new strings and intonate again. Thanks. Still open to other suggestions if anybody has any.

this is a lot easier if we have pics.

is the neck bowed? how do you know you need a truss rod adjustment? i'm not saying you don't, but how did you come to that conclusion?

what gage strings do you use? do you downtune much?

i agree on new strings especially if the current strings are over a couple months old. (they may not be bad, but eliminating any potential issue is helpful here).


pics pics pics...
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#12
If your string isn't long enough, you shouldn't be tightening anything.
Let alone adjusting the truss rod.
The rod is only made to make your neck as flat as possible,
it's never to be used for intonation.

The screws on the spring claw have also nothing to do with intonation,
they are there to adjust the pull strenght on the trem.

Intonation is purely between your string post, nut, saddles and bridge.
Try loosening the spring claw to its original position and loosen the screw on the saddle of the e-string, making the saddle move forward.

Put new strings on it and then start to adjust intonation.
#13
1. put on new strings.
swap one string at a time.
if a trem bridge then make sure it's balanced.

2. play those strings a while and stretch them until
they hold a tune.

3. tune the open strings.

4. check the tuning at the 12th fret and compare that to the open
string note. use that fretted 12th to intonate guitar.

5. the harmonic isnt always dead on at the 12th like said. y0 Seljer!


thanks greggie poo
Jenneh

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#14
Quote by gregs1020
wouldn't that cause a harmonic on the 11th and not 13th?
True. I meant* long, not short.

*I actually did mean short, because I was being thick. Derp.
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#15
Here are the pics. As you can see, since it's a right-handed guitar strung lefty, the E string is considerably shorter. But I have had it perfectly intonated before. I think this one is a 9.

Notice how I have tried to bring the saddle all the way back to compensate; it was a bit closer to the rest of them before. To reiterate, fretted note at 12th is horribly flat, and harmonic can only be achieved at 13th fret.

Edit: I have since extended the E string saddle as far forward as I can and it seems to have improved it, but only very slightly.




Last edited by meieronfire at Apr 3, 2012,
#16
Okay, stringing a righty the lefty way is asking for intonation trouble in my book.
Especially when the tuners are six-in-line like on strats.
This changes the string length more than the adjustments on the bridge are able to compensate.

Are you a lefty? Get a lefty guitar! They're made to be played like that.
Or at least get a lefty neck,
since I guess the big problem here is the placement of the tuners.
#17
1. put on new strings.
swap one string at a time.
if a trem bridge then make sure it's balanced.

2. play those strings a while and stretch them until
they hold a tune.

3. tune the open strings.

4. check the tuning at the 12th fret and compare that to the open
string note. use that fretted 12th to intonate guitar.

5. the harmonic isnt always dead on at the 12th like said
.


in case you didnt see my last post.

also,
your trem is lifted.

and the nut cuts will probably need to be compensated.
because you flipped the guitar.
Jenneh

Quote by TNfootballfan62
Jenny needs to sow her wild oats with random Gibsons and Taylors she picks up in bars before she settles down with a PRS.


Set up Questions? ...Q & A Thread

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#18
did i mention that those pics should be in focus?

as jj said, the bridge lifted up more than it should.

that's the first problem because it's shortening the length of the strings a bit.

the nut needs to be slotted for the size strings now going through, basically the E, A and D.

or just flip the nut around if you can.

the bridge should rest about like this.


once you have new strings on you will need to adjust the screws holding the claw by tightening them. this will bring the bridge back down where it should be.

see those two screws? those will need to be tightend a few twists. maybe once around each and see how that settles things.


once the bridge is leveled out and new strings are on, T H E N look at intonating the thing.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#19
This is a simple matter of physics, not magic. Either the length and intonation are correct or they are not. A guitar has no metaphysical properties, it's just a damn machine and it works (or doesn't work) like every other machine on the planet.

While that may seem obvious, in reading the above it's apparently not, at least to some...

Listen to JJ and Gregs, ignore the rest.
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