New Strat clone's intonation is sharp, no matter what I do...

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by Overthere, Sep 17, 2021.

  1. henderman

    henderman Dr. Stratster

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    every guitar i have ever worked on or bought had many things slightly loose.

    do not be the guy who tightens lug nuts to 300 pounds of torque but check EVERYTHING and make sure it is snug.

    go with new strings that have been stretched.

    guitar in playing position and fret the notes the way you would normally when checking intonation.

    good tuner with fresh battery, electronic stuff with weak battery is wonky no matter how "good" it is.
     
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  2. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Most Honored Senior Member

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    IMG_20210918_122140798.jpg I don't measure jack
    I do that enough in the real world
    My neck is just about flush with the pg and the others are raised in succession about 3/16" each
     
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  3. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    New Chinese strings that came on the guitar. I've only had it for three days, and most of my "playing" has been trying to set the blasted intonation and make sense of the half-baked tremolo. =]

    I did not. This particular "cheap strat copy" is known for arriving with a decent setup, and I know nothing about strats, so I didn't want to mess up the pickup heights. But I'm upta me arse in elligators now, so what do you suggest?

    Measure current pickup heights, then lower them all the way down?


    Ha! Never. "Dead battery when I need it" is the story of my life. =D But this battery appears to be okay (bright display). I take your point though. I have a much more capable tuner (plugs into AC outlet, has VU-style meter and I can plug the strat directly in via 1/4" jack). I'll be trying that.

    Thanks for asking. Fret 13 registers 'F' at about 5% sharp (fret 12 registers 'E' at about 20% sharp). This is with the saddle spring removed for more rearward clearance, and less than 1/8" space existing behind the saddle (and < 1/8" before saddle adjustment screw contacts the string).

    At this setting, the string break angle where the string bends to enter the trem block is about 90 degrees. A right angle. That sounds problematic. Is it?

    Also, I notice that many fretted notes along the string play sharp to some extent. This is especially true of the Low E-string, but applies to other strings as well. I know it's impossible to get true intonation across the fretboard, but is what I'm describing typical for Strats?
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2021
  4. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    Thank you @henderman I will follow ALL of your advice! Much appreciated.
     
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  5. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    LOL =D Thanks for the clarification, and the photo. Very helpful.

    I'm going to upgrade the electronics by doing my first soldering project, installing a ToneShaper kit to add a Blender Switch. Yeah, I'm addicted. But I intend to use the pickups that came in the guitar. A solid online review claims they're medium output, relatively warm and offer surprisingly good tone considering the cheap price of the guitar.

    I'm guessing yours, as pictured, are top-quality and probably a lot more "potent" than my Chi-pups. Do you think I can get away with a similar distance to what your pic shows?
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2021
  6. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

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    Get a decent set of strings on there, before even attempting to intonate the thing.
     
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  7. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

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    It's more likely the other way around. Chinese pickups are usually very powerful
     
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  8. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Most Honored Senior Member

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    That git is the cheapest of cheap
    A 96 mim black label
    Still my favorite but my 2019 player series is set up similar
    Assuming the new one (if it ever gets here...been about 5 months now) will end up in the same ballpark
     
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  9. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    Thank you @Bob Spumoni I agree and I'm stumped.

    I have zero experience with tremolo bridges and this one seems to be very different from what I see online. So far, it's kickin' me arse. I think the intonation problem will be related to the trem bridge, but I can't figure it out (yet).

    This particular Chi-Strat has a decent reputation, so I must be missing something important... Duh.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2021
  10. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    Thanks @Thrup'ny Bit You're in England so you might be insulated, but here in the ASU everything is flipped upside down and backwards. Everything. So it makes sense that Chinese pups would be very powerful. Thanks for the insight.
     
  11. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

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    I have a few Chinese pickups knocking around, the cheaper they are, the more output they have. Getting the low enough to sound good can be a pain in the rear.
     
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  12. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    To say this guitar project is limited by a "strict budget" would mislead you into thinking this guitar has any budget at all. =D Seriously, I'm so strapped right now, to the point of not wanting to waste a set of strings. But you're right. I need to restring. I'll do that after I run out every other possibility.

    I appreciate the Reality Check.
     
  13. ThreeChordWonder

    ThreeChordWonder Senior Stratmaster

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    I had a problem a while back which turned out to be due to a cheap neck off eBay being the wrong (too short) scale length. It was a Jaguar neck sold as a Tele neck.

    Start by measuring from the inside of the nut to the saddle on the high e.

    It should be about 25-1/2 inches.

    After that all I can suggest is doing your setup from scratch: tune, adjust truss rod, retune, lower saddles as low as they'll go before you get fret buzz, retune, check string heights, intonation, repeat.

    If you're getting sharp notes at the first few frets the nut is too high.
     
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  14. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    Let me introduce you to a new low level of cheapness... HA! Assuming I can make it work, I'll bet this guitar will cost less than half what your 96 MIM cost, even if you bought it used.

    I take your remarks to mean I should be okay lowering my pickups like yours. I'm in. I'll try it later today. Thanks.

    Fingers crossed for you on "the new one."
     
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  15. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    I see. I guess that's why the online reviewer mentioned how these are "medium output with decent tone." Man, I really want this guitar to work out.
     
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  16. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Most Honored Senior Member

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    Well... It was gifted to me so....
     
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  17. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

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    I don't spend anything I don't have to. I don't replace anything that works, none of my guitars are modded, just fixed if they break. Getting the set up right is the most important thing, strings have to be good ones before you can do that.
     
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  18. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

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    You can make anything work...



    This came out of a skip (dumpster)
     
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  19. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    Thanks @ThreeChordWonder I've measured very carefully, many times now. The measurement from nut face to the crown of fret-12 is 12-3/4" which is exactly half of long-scale 25-1/2". And when I locate the low E-string saddle at EXACTLY 12-3/4" Theory says the fret-12 fretted pitch should match the open string pitch (and the fret-12 harmonic). But NO. The fret-12 fretted pitch is SHARP by about 20% (20 cents). [my reference to Theory is WRONG. See @henderman's clarification in a later post]

    And lots of other notes along the string are sharp to varying degrees. It's so weird. No obvious pattern so maybe it will turn out to be "junk strings." But nothing's ever that simple or cheap. =]

    Thanks, but those sharp pitches are no worse than the sharp pitches further up the neck. I'm missing something...
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2021
  20. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster

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    If the nut is cut poorly, the strings actual contact with the nut may not be at the fingerboard side but rather at the headstock side. Not actually all that uncommon. You have done the correct stuff and understand what you are doing, look at your nut.
     
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