#1
Hi everyone.
I've been trying to get goodish intonation with high action for quite a while now (high action=better tone IMO), and the wound G helped big time, though I wasn't sure if that was because of the better gauge string (20 to 24w). So I tried a 22 plain on the b string to make that intonation better (because more tension contributes to that), but it didn't work. I've read a lot that the plain string meets a limit of intonation when the mass is too much, and they say that because for a wound string, the plain part (i.e. the core) is smaller and wrapped by the wound part, it intonates better. And I'm thinking of doing that with the B string on my electric (got an 18 plain right know). I think I'd prefer a wound B string anyway, sounds slightly odd when playing certain chords.
My question is, does anyone know precisely why the wound strings intonate better than plain ones, with the diameter being the same?
#2
I don't quite understand the premise here. Strings either intonate or they don't intonate, I'm not sure how one could intonate 'better.' My guess in your situation is that the wound strings are simply closer to the intended string tension for your scale length, so their intonation falls within the adjustment range of the bridge. As you say, the tension will have some part in whether you can intonate.

If you simply can't intonate with a plain string then you either have some serious setup issues or you are using a gauge that is too far off the normal tension range.
#3
I use 13-56 on some guitars with a wound 3rd, and 10-46 on others with a plain 3rd. I don't think wound strings do intonate better, just different. If you have been using a plain 3rd, its saddle will (or should be) a long way back on the bridge. When you change to a wound 3rd, you will have to move the saddle forwards so that it is (probably) just in front of the 4th string saddle.

The other question is how they interact with the pickups. The plain 3rd will be hotter than wound 3rd, so you will find that string-to-string balance is different. Vintage stagger strat pickups were designed for a wound 3rd and have a high 3rd pole. OTOH modern stagger strat pickups are designed for a plain 3rd and have the 3rd pole lower than the 4th.
#4
My gauge is 13;18;24w;38;52;64 in C#, which is the perfect tuning for this set and setup.
The wound G string sounds like it's got the best intonation, more than the lower two strings, and it's got higher action.
What I'm wondering, is whether or not a wound B string would intonate better, if if the diameter is the same (i.e. 18). I've read a few things on internet: a guitar tech said that it was the "stiffness (mechanical inflexibility) of the plain strings", and somebody else that wound G doesn't need a longer scale length than a plain does. When intonation is really good with a plain G, then you put a wound one on, you have to move the saddle forward instead of backwards. The argument concerning scale length is difficult to understand. I just want to know if anybody can explain this, because I'm pretty convinced that wounds intonate better. Apparently, the G string is supposed to wound. But that all changed when blues players wanted lighter gauge strings and more bendebility, according to several people.
#6
Quote by jzRTCAQ!PY13575
My question is, does anyone know precisely why the wound strings intonate better than plain ones, with the diameter being the same?

http://www.daddario.com/upload/tension_chart_13934.pdf

wound strings seem to require less tension than plain ones, it is as though you are using strings that are applying too much tension to keep intonation.
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Last edited by gumbilicious at Nov 30, 2014,
#7
^ that guide is only the tension of those gauge strings on a 25.5 scale

But it gives you the basic Idea of how much tension you are looking at

Also this is the guy who wants insanely high action which can play a huge part in the intonation bei8ng off
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Last edited by Robbgnarly at Nov 30, 2014,
#8
Quote by jzRTCAQ!PY13575
Hi everyone.
I've been trying to get goodish intonation with high action for quite a while now (high action=better tone IMO), and the wound G helped big time, though I wasn't sure if that was because of the better gauge string (20 to 24w).
My question is, does anyone know precisely why the wound strings intonate better than plain ones, with the diameter being the same?


I'm not sure that i agree with any of these premises ("wound strings intonate better than plain ones," "high action = better tone").

Obviously, you create an intonation issue with high action. The lower the action, the fewer issues you'll have with it. I think you'll find that different brands of string will help or hinder with that issue; it's not just Wound vs. Plain. Scale will also make a difference, since shorter scales will magnify tuning issues compared to longer ones, particularly where action height is high.

For every person who believes that he needs thick strings and high action to create "better tone" there are those who manage to create outstanding tone with barely-there action and .008's. Certainly the former create more problems for themselves with intonation, speed, bending, but belief systems are hard to change.

You may consider snagging a 27" scale guitar and tuning it to standard with whatever strings and action height you consider better for tone. You'll reduce your intonation issues dramatically and the longer scale will give you almost piano-like tone with wound strings.
Last edited by dspellman at Nov 30, 2014,
#9
@gumbilicious
The tension of the other strings keep the level of intonation I want: I replaced the high E with a 13 and intonation was better, but of course, not perfect, which is the tiny thing I have to deal with in order to maintain the sound I want (those high notes just sing). I agree that the wound ones seem to not rely on tension as much as plain ones. I mean that wound G didn't feel tight as all, and intonation became the best on that string. Just wondering, do you know whether the tension of a plain 0.018 B string is the same as a 0.020 wound B string? I read something today from somebody who said that this is the case. Do you know if that's true? I'm debating on whether to but a wound 18 or 20. I just want to see if anybody can relate to this, because I don't see why the tension of a 18p would be the equivalent of a 20w.
Last edited by jzRTCAQ!PY13575 at Nov 30, 2014,
#10
@dspellman
I might be hearing things, I mean, we all have a different experience, but my guitar, even with a slight decrease in height from the maximum just kills those heavy power chord explosions. Did that yesterday with my neighbour, and it wasn't worth it. He had the same situation with an acoustic guitar of his (high action is mostly for acoustic guitars, but it affects electrics to a certain extent): it's a koa wood guitar, and the first time, it sounded brilliant, but tiny intonation problems. He lowered the action and it killed everything, especially the bass. He has set up to it's previous setup, and the sound is now back. He just has to live with a small intonation issue.
I know you can make the guitar sound better with equipment, but I'm trying to squeeze all the potential out of the instrument, and the setup makes playing my instrument sound fun.
btw, I agree that bigger gauge strings aren't always good at giving better tone, but the action for me is what makes striking those power chords so fun. And yeah I know, the finger-tone relation is said to play a major role, but those people knew how to make their fingers produce sick tones. I didn't know this, but apparently, Jimi used .008s and got amazing tone, which is pretty amazing. That goes for Stevie Ray Vaughan too, but a lot of people do speak about the dangerous tension he put on his guitar to get that tone he wanted (made his fingers bleed apparently!), either 13-59 or 16-70 in D# standard, which for the latter gauge is around 225-238 pounds of tension. I'm not sure which tone source is said to be better, loads say Stevie's massive gauge, along with his fingers, gave him the blues tone he wanted (which is pretty good sounding).
#12
I think SRV eventually dumped those heavy strings.

12's on an acoustic is one thing (and pretty standard). I've had some Big Uns on archtops.

I'm okay with 11's on a 25.5" scale guitar if I'm not doing a lot of bending, but I don't need high action for any of that, either. That said, I'm mostly playing 10's with 9's on most of my Floyd-equipped guitars. I've got XXL glove size hands, and I can bend a bridge cable with a single finger (years of piano playing), so that's not an issue, either.

Years ago, I was told that the point of an electric was the electrics. IOW, let the guitar do the work. As a result, I usually play with skinny strings, a light touch, fairly tall frets and loooooow action.
#13
It depends on what tuning he's using though. You need heavier strings in C# or they just slop around. Just experiment. Any time you change gauge you should check neck relief, trem balance and intonation. It doesn't take long and is something you should know how to do properly. If you don't check out Jenny's set up sticky over on EG. "How to string a guitar" or something. It's full of useful info.
Unless you are playing slide a high action is not necessary if you get the gauge right. A high action makes for shitty intonation as a rule. Well, you're stretching the string a lot when you are fretting. Do the math.
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#14
Try an 18 wound for it. Ernie Ball makes them, you can get a 3 pack for $2.99 w/free shipping from Musicians Friend, I just got one last week.
#15
@Dysporium. Thanks, I'll see if it works. If it doesn't, I'll try a 20.
@Cathbard: I'm in C# right know, with the optimal and tighest gauge for it, with 13-64, which is meant for C tuning. According to my neighbour, as I'm raising the saddle height so much, there's no need to do truss rod adjustements (height from high E string to low E string: an intervalle of 4.8mm-9mm (0.18 to 0.35 inches, according to conversions)). Intonation is inevitable, but I'm so close to the amount I need. The saddles are as far back as possible. They've been tightened round pretty tight round the tuning pegs. It's just the B string. The low E string: can't do anything about that, so in higher positions, I have to use the fifth string to get the same notes.
@Darkwolf291 When my neighbour lowered the strings to the lowest level without any buzzing, that's what I did. Did not sound good at all. Tried more gently, still didn't work.
When I talk about action, I'm not talking about 1 mm or 2. It needs near the maximum possible height for the sound to cause destruction. There's the pickups as well, of course, and mine aren't that good right now, according to my neighbour. Anyway, even if I bought some sweet agressive pickups, I'd still try and see if the high action and the pickups could work together. It's all about getting the best sound possible using everything available. For the action thing, it's been stated by loads, and from my experience, they're right: Gibson, Dean Markley, Ultimate guitar tone tips said it, and Yngwie Malmsteem too. I'm not being naive because these big names said it, but from experience, higher action is just as powerful than passing from 9-42 to 13-64.
#16
Dude you are absolutely clueless about guitars. Take the wealth of knowledge you have here and use it instead of tossing it off as "those guys have no clue" Because god knows after over 20 years I have no clue of what works

And the rest of the guys here are also very knowledgeable.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
Last edited by Robbgnarly at Dec 2, 2014,
#17
Apparently, the vibrations of the strings are not only horizontal, which is the impression I have when I play. Therefore, the vibrations are going near the fretboard as well, and sound from the strings is affected by how much they vibrate, so, the strings need more room to vibrate.
#18
@Robbgnarly I'm simply asking some questions about a wound B string. I'm trying out a setup right now. Probably when I get some better gear, high action might useless, but on the other hand, it might not be. You have no idea what this high action has done for me: compared to anything low, even with adjustements of the pickup heights, the sound is amazing for me, and I mean amazing. If you're affirmative about it having no effect, than loads of others say the opposite, where does that lead us to? Loads of sites and sources say it works, and I agree, then there are others who don't, though I haven't seen any sites speaking about high action being useless, not once. Therefore, what's correct?
#19
Even with a multi pedal effect by boss, that has several distorsion options, it sounded was still pretty thin when my action was low, with no intonation issues. I'm not tossing off these guys by saying they have no knowledge. Why does low action with a slightly straight neck sound bad, with the optimal gauge for this tuning? Simply asking for advice on a wound B string. You might be right when I try other things, but with what I've got now, high action is the only thing that's made me enjoy guitar so much.
#20
@Dysprosium Thanks for the advice, but I went for a 20 wound in the end: the 18p looked bigger than the 18w, and only very slightly than the 20w. Result: intonation is officially the best on that string, just as good as the G string. I'm so happy. I prefer the sound of that string too, and it hasn't reduced the tightness of the other strings, which is a good sign.
Last edited by jzRTCAQ!PY13575 at Dec 2, 2014,
#21
You always need to check your truss rod. Forget how it plays, you need to do it for the health of the neck. It sounds like you are using a higher action than I do on my slide guitars. That's crazy shit, man. Set up the guitar properly and there's simply no need for it.
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Telecasters
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Boss GT-100


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#22
According to my friend, as the strings are so high, there's no need for a truss rod adjustment. He even looked at it and said that it wasn't necessary.
Ok, considering this high action is the only mod that's given me my current dream tone, could you suggest another alternative? I just don't see what else I could do.
Yeah, pickups could do a lot depending on the type, but apart from that, what else is there?
Last edited by jzRTCAQ!PY13575 at Dec 13, 2014,
#23
I doubt greatly that action is what's doing it. I'd suspect that the higher action has effectively resulted in a lower pickup height. Drop the action and experiment with pup height.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#24
I'll stick with this configuration for now on this guitar and try that on the other one (my neighbour's thinking of assembling an electric which he's thinking of giving me, because he usually goes with acoustic ones, so I'll try that on that one when it's done).
I know it's weird, but it's said that because the strings vibrational arc isn't being inhibited by the fretboard as much, more energy is coming out, and more and more comes out with hard picking/strumming. It's true that the pickups could have an impact on it. Gibson says that if the actions raised, the pickups need to be too, but they also say that lowering them to the same level as the fretboard (which I've done) could give a tiny bonus. Though I want a round agressive tone, so usually the pups need to be closer to the strings, because lowering them gives a warmer sound. Not sure, i'll try that on the other guitar and see what happens, because if I adjust the action too much, It'll be difficult to find that tone spot (happened to me when I lowered it, I wanted it high again and it was hard to find that tone spot).
#25
i highly doubt your neighbor or friend know what the hell they are saying. who is better, a group of quite a few people on here. STOP listening to your friend and neighbor.

and take the ****ing guitar into a luthier for a setup, you may like lower action. and they will help with the string issues as well. ask if you can watch so you can learn.
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#26
@trashedlostfdup : how about this: my neighbour agrees with the idea, so do Gibson, Dean Markley, Gilmour says it rings and vibrates a lot, which he doesn't like, but I do. Then you've probably got Malmsteem, and people on other threads, like one that followed the Gibson article, and said it worked, as well as Ultimate guitar itself in tone tips, and on other site. Therefore, from my experience, when I say that this adjustment gave a heavy tone without being too muffled, that blooms, and gives me the impression that my amplifiers' performance increased by 2/3, making a better sound for drop tuning, I don't really see many alternatives. As I said, I'll try what Cathbard suggested on the other guitar. Of course, if you raise the action a few tiny mms, that's not going to make a massive massive difference: you have to raise it near the max to get a booming power chord, at least equal or more than 7 mm on the bass side, depending how much intonation you don't mind throwing away. I used tighter strings to compensate for part of the intonation problem.
I'm just saying, when there's group of people that say the opposite, then you've got other threads saying high action=better tone and agreeing with famous companies like Gibson, I don't really know anymore. I experiment, there's no harm in that. Anyway, I didn't get the idea from my neighbour, I just had the exp and I believe it produces amazing tone ( depends if we're talking about the same tone, as they say it's slightly subjective).
Last edited by jzRTCAQ!PY13575 at Dec 15, 2014,