#1
Hello,

Well basically, I have a very strange problem, which I've never encountered before and I'm not quite sure what could be the reason or what to do.

The intonation on the 6th (or lowest) E string on my acoustic is seriously off - by "seriously" I mean it sounds genuinely out of tune at times when using the fretted 6th string for chords. The strange part is that while as far as I know, intonation issues are usually tolerable on lower frets and become horrible on higher frets (I remember this being the case when using a drop tuning before setting up the bridge on my electric, for example), in this case it's off right at the first fret, and equally bad on any other.

According to my derpy tuner (Joyo), it's about 1/3 semitone off, while the string itself is perfectly in tune. (My ears confirm this - as previously mentioned, the string sounds plain out of tune in combination with others when fretted, but is perfectly fine and in tune when open) The intonation on the remaining strings seems to be just fine - depending on its mood, the tuner claims it's either slightly off or perfect on A and D strings (and while testing and comparing, I hear no reason to doubt it), and always fine on the remaining three.

(I use standard EADGBE tuning)

I have genuinely no idea how to approach this. The things that come to my mind:
- I changed the strings over a week ago, and using the same kind as last time (Rotosound phosphor bronze 10-50), I liked them a lot and no problems
- I've looked very carefully and there's nothing wrong with the string at any point - it's laying just fine in the nut and bridge
- I see no reason to suspect something horrible like a neck warp, also I could do more detailed tests, but from what I've checked it seems to be fine
- any way the truss rod/neck relief could have anything to do here?
- there doesn't seem to be any damage to the bridge/saddle (which would be my first place to look with intonation issues)

Therefore, I'm quite confused, and it's quite a problematic issue.

I'll be grateful for any help.
Last edited by TheLiberation at Aug 3, 2014,
#2
33 cent does seem like a lot. So, if you didn't have this problem before, and do now, why not change that pesky E-6 string? If you didn't cut the old one on the way out and still have it, slap that back on.

In any case, the higher the action on an acoustic guitar, the more the intonation error when you fret them. You could have high at the saddle, high at the nut, or both.

The more the string bends when fretted, the more the error. I guess it's remotely possible, the metal alloys of the new string have different malleability properties...

In any case, acoustics will never be spot on with respect to intonation, and you only have 1/2 the width of the saddle to compensate.

Make sure the ball end of your E-6 is seated correctly, not hanging up on the end of the pin or something.
#5
Yeah, I'm aware that accidentally bending or fretting too hard can also cause problems, but I'm definitely playing just as I always have. I'm also certain the string is sitting well at the nut and saddle, and I THINK it should be sitting perfectly fine under the pin - this is something I might check (I've literally never had a problem with that though).

I might try reducing neck relief a bit though nevertheless... it seemed kind of fine to me (I try to be moderate with judging too much relief since I became somewhat paranoid after having issues with it last winter on my electric and since then every guitar seems like a banana to me), but then it could definitely be a bit straighter, so won't hurt to adjust a little and see what happens.
#6
Quote by TheLiberation
Yeah, I'm aware that accidentally bending or fretting too hard can also cause problems, but I'm definitely playing just as I always have. I'm also certain the string is sitting well at the nut and saddle, and I THINK it should be sitting perfectly fine under the pin - this is something I might check (I've literally never had a problem with that though).

I might try reducing neck relief a bit though nevertheless... it seemed kind of fine to me (I try to be moderate with judging too much relief since I became somewhat paranoid after having issues with it last winter on my electric and since then every guitar seems like a banana to me), but then it could definitely be a bit straighter, so won't hurt to adjust a little and see what happens.
I think with an acoustic, you're supposed to be able to get business card under the E-6 @ the 6th & 7th fret. About 10 thousandths of an inch. (fretted @ 1st & 14th). with a perfect fret job you may be able to get away with a bit less.