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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Scale and intonation

Saxman84738

United States

May 4th, 2017 06:47 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hi, I am new to guitar repair and am having trouble with intonation in relationship to the scale of the guitar. If the measurement from the nut to the center of the 12th fret is 12.75", then the measurement should be 25.5 " from the inside of the nut to.....Where? Thank you on advance for your help. Steve


hushnel
Contributing Member
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
May 4th, 2017 07:18 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Approximately to where the string touches the bridge. Look at a stringed instrument and you'll see, you still need a little room for intonation adjustments.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
May 4th, 2017 09:37 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"...Approximately to where the string touches the bridge..."

AKA the "witness point". To achieve correct intonation, that point will always end up a little farther away from the 12th fret than the theoretical location.

Saxman84738

United States

May 4th, 2017 10:18 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks, And that is what I thought. Would that be where the string comes out of the hole?

Hammond101
Contributing Member
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So. Cal. USA

May 4th, 2017 01:20 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Nope, closer to the nut/12th fret than that. Your final point for proper intonation will be closer to, but typically still behind, the theoretical scale length. This saddle position will vary buy string gauge and type, wound or un-wound.

This adjustment is made by moving the saddle forward or back and checking the open string or 12 fret harmonic against a fretted note on the 12th fret.

The guitar should be held in the normal playing position while checking this. A very accurate tuner should be used. These days I use a digital strobe.

You can check other fretted notes and chords and you will notice that this is not an exact science. Sometimes (most always) a compromise must be made to get an instrument to sound its best and play as closely to in tune as possible.

Action, relief and string height & gauge affect intonation adjustments.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
May 4th, 2017 01:53 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"...Would that be where the string comes out of the hole?..."

No, it's the point where the string crosses the bridge saddle. It and the inside edge of the nut define the actual vibrating length of the string. The attached diagram may...

...help.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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The spotlight

looks like a prison break
May 4th, 2017 02:40 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

To be a bit more precise, see link.

Generally, an electric guitar's high E string when properly intonated will be the closest to the advertized scale length (the nut-to-12th-fret distance x 2). All other strings' lengths will be a bit longer.

See notes below pic.

Saxman84738

United States

May 4th, 2017 03:19 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Wow. Thanks guys.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
May 4th, 2017 05:12 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Welcome Saxman!
The guys that posted above are *way* more experienced than me and nearly everything I know today has been handed down from them & others like them here.

Some of the key points to take away from this thread are "this is not an exact science" and "a compromise must be made to get an instrument to sound its best".

No two guitars (generally speaking) will intonate exactly the same. In no small part because "Action, relief and string height & gauge affect intonation adjustments."

Sorry for the regurgitation. I just wanted to highlight the take aways here.

Stick around here long enough and before you know it you'll be doing all kinds of your own set up & mod stuff!

Cheers,
Mick

Saxman84738

United States

May 4th, 2017 06:12 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks, Mick. My plans are to build or rebuild some guitars. The strat I have, I bought for $55 at a pawn shop. It needed strings and tuners. While I had it all apart, and I mean all apart, I wet sanded and polished it thinking its better to learn on a $55 guitar that a $500 one. I gotta say, it looks almost as good as it did before I took it apart (just kidding). Following Fender's procedures, I set it up (from a to z) and it sounds very well. I have done two for my Pastor and he is very happy with the work I have done. Guitars are much easier than saxophones.....Again, thank you for your input I will be relying on this forum heavily....

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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The spotlight

looks like a prison break
May 4th, 2017 06:26 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Welcome to the forum, Saxman.

Like Mick, you appear to have two attributes that will take you a long way as a guitar tech: (1) fearlessness and (2) a healthy respect for doing things correctly. Anyone can learn to do guitar tech work.

The #1 rule when working on a guitar is Do No Damage.

Educating yourself about procedures is time well spent, because you can cause damage even though you might think things are okay.

That said, there are probably 10 ways to do a specific repair task on a guitar, and they'll all work great. Experience over time will guide you toward the method that works best for you. This is why you'll find varying opinions on how to do 'X' on a guitar.

You've also got the right approach: don't practice your skills on a $2K Les Paul. Start on cheap guitars, build confidence, and then work up to the primo gear.

One of the great pleasures with this is handing a customer their guitar (that you've worked on) and they play it a bit and they get a big smile on their face.

It sure is a lot of fun too.

hushnel
Contributing Member
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
May 5th, 2017 06:54 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I learned a lot here too. I really didn't know anything about this stuff until I built my first instrument about 18 years ago.

Then I had this Eureka moment in which I learned all the guys I took my instruments to in the previous 30 years were idiots "o)

I got into a band in Pittsburgh with a harmonica player named Lucy Van Sickle, late 70s. My old Framus was a mess, intonation was terrible, I took it to a local guitar shop, they had it for 5 days and told me nothing could be done. Yeah, it sucked, it was never a great/good instrument but I had history with it and couldn't afford another, I could play it though and bend the strings into intonation.

So two or three years ago I take it down to the shop for a good cleaning, it's a wall hanger now. Cleaned it all up, including the electronics. The bridge came off, it's held in place by string tension, when I put it all back together I set the intonation and it had been way off, the final bridge placement was a good half inch behind the original placement. Doh! All those years. It still has problems, the pickups are top mounted, no height asjustment, they are above the plane of the fingerboard so the action can not be lowered with out the strings touching the pickups. The neck is glued on or I would shim it. It's a crappy bass but my first and I got it at a time when I really needed an instrument, the only band available to me was marching band and the guy tried to get me to play a freakin' tuba, at 12 years old it was the coolest bass and I got into a rock band within 2 or 3 days of getting it for Christmas in 1965.

1966 Weisbaden AFB Skyhook Serviceman"s Club, Germany

(This message was last edited by hushnel at 08:56 AM, May 5th, 2017)

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Scale and intonation




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