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

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

  1. rake6978

    rake6978 Strat-Talker

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    I just went thru a similar experience with a customer's "pile of parts" he wanted me to
    turn into a fine playing musical instrument! Well, he chose a 21 fret tele neck for this project
    and his body was routed to receive a 22 fret neck! Welcome to Sharp City! If you
    are very sharp at the 12th fret then your scale length is too short! Sometimes it's better
    to just find the proper neck.
     
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  2. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    Thank you, @rake6978 . Sorry you're being asked to deal with mistakes made by others. On the other hand, as the lawyer says, "God bless the man who sues my client." One man's misfortune is another man's opportunity, so thanks for weighing in.

    The guitar in question is a complete guitar that has had a pretty good reputation for several years, and I'm sure they've sold boatloads of them. So the basics, including all aspects of the neck, should be very well established and standardized.

    That said, I doubt they installed the wrong neck (but anything's possible). I've got 12.75" from nut face to the 12th fret crown. Exactly half of 25.5" long scale. And 12.75" from fret-12 crown to saddles is within the adjustment space of the bridge.

    Can you think of anything I'm missing here?
     
  3. rake6978

    rake6978 Strat-Talker

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    You actually need about 5/32" on the bass side 1/16" to 3/32" on the treble side
    of added compensation to get the strings in tune. All bridges need this "slant".
    Look at an acoustic guitar. You need to either move the bridge back or the neck forward.
     
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  4. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Most Honored Senior Member

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    How high is your bridge floating ?
     
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  5. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    Either way sounds like big expense and/or lots of trouble. Am I right?

    [EDITED: I'm not sure how valuable/important this post is. Post #74 below reports that I finally achieved SUCCESS, though I'm not sure exactly how.]

    See the image below. If I'm reading you correctly, you're saying the following:

    [​IMG]

    1. The bridge has about 3/8" of built-in adjustability. I measure the max at approximately .350" (3/8" is actually .375"). Represented by the two Green rectangles.

    2. I can draw an arbitrary line across the bridge adjustment range, at or near its midline. Represented by the White line.

    3. I need approx 3/32" of adjustment range in front of that midline for the treble string saddles: G, B and e. Represented by the Blue line.

    4. I need approx 5/32" of adjustment range behind that midline for the bass strings saddles: D, A and E. Represented by the Yellow line.

    3/32 + 5/32 = 8/32, which reduces to 1/4" (.250")
    Since the bridge affords nearly 3/8" of adjustment range (.350") there IS enough adjustment range.

    The question is, WHERE to locate that White line 1) relative to the bridge, and 2) relative to the guitar body?

    Man, this is so complicated. I just want to set it up and play it... =O
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
  6. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    It's decked. Sitting flat on the guitar top/face. But there are some weird aspects to this trem.

    It came with the claw screws turned all the way in and three trem springs that are so powerful I could just barely move the whammy bar. When I tried to remove the springs I backed the two claw screws out a LOT, then tried to lift the three springs off the claw posts and out of the trem block holes. NO WAY. Couldn't get them off.

    I see vids of guys pretty much just lifting them off, passively. The only way I can get these suckers off is to slide a narrow blade screwdriver through the spring loop attached at the claw and pry backward until they SNAP! Like a freakin' bear trap! It was really difficult. Putting them back on is almost as "exciting," though I have a technique that makes it less dangerous. Yeah, dangerous.

    FWIW, I loosened the six mounting screws across the front of the bridge early on. Maybe one full turn to help the trem move freely. So far, this tremolo system doesn't operate at all like any I've seen online. If I mount ONLY ONE spring I can operate the bar, but then the trem floats way up in the back, no matter how I tighten the two claw screws. I've studied a few online vids for trem setup, but so far I'm "Lost in the Sauce"...
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
  7. ThreeChordWonder

    ThreeChordWonder Senior Stratmaster

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    ^ If that's the only issue, don't worry about it.

    You'll find there's easily 1/4 to 3/8 distance between the high e and low E saddle points.

    Just swt it up, tune, intonate and enjoy.

    If you're bridge is lifting too much, tighten the spring claw screws or add extra springs.
     
  8. Audiowonderland

    Audiowonderland Strat-Talker

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    This ia exactly what I am thinking. The pickup mags are pulling the strings sharp. The hot ceramics in cheap pickups espcecial are powerful and can pull them sharp. Lower the pickups flush to the pickgaurd and try it again
     
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  9. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    See my post #65 above. I think it must have snuck in while you were typing.

    Springs and Claw are from some other planet. I'm dealing with several confusing aspects of this guitar, and I intend to record with it so I have to intonate properly.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
  10. fezz parka

    fezz parka fezz parka

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    Start all over again.

    New strings.
    Deck your pickups.
    Make sure your action isn't too high, or too low.
    Neck geometry is "on". See below.

    [​IMG]

    If your geometry is like the top of the image, then fretted notes at the 12th fret and above will be sharp.
     
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  11. nutball73

    nutball73 Senior Stratmaster

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    I've never seen a body routed for a 22 fret neck. Every 22 fret strat or Tele neck uses an overhanging fret board. The neck joint is the same for both.
     
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  12. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    Thanks @Audiowonderland. I lowered the pickups as you and others have advised, and it may have helped some, but I'm still dealing with sharp pitches for fretted 12th-fret notes. Maybe not as sharp as before, but still sharp and my saddles are all the way back with the springs removed for added clearance.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
  13. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    Thanks @fezz parka, for the advice and the helpful image.

    It's Sunday morning and I will indeed "start all over again." =D

    My guitar is dead-on straight. Everything about neck and action looks perfect, and I'm worried that the six tremolo bridge screw holes were simply drilled too close to the neck. =O Could be the result of just one tiny mistake in the mfr's CNC program.

    The trem system on this otherwise nice guitar is not right, not standard, not normal. I hope to start a new thread about that later today. In the meantime, I put some closed-cell foam under the three crazy-strong trem springs because they might be contributing some weird 'sproing' to whatever the clip-on headstock tuner is picking up.

    I found my old and very accurate KORG Chromatic Tuner. I intend to test again with that, and reset my saddles accordingly. If that doesn't work out I'll install new strings, and try once more, but I hate to invest strings because this instrument is starting to feel like a "Return for Refund."
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
  14. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    S U C C E S S ! ! !

    Thanks, fellas, for all the help. This issue took over my entire weekend, begining on Friday evening, but one way or another it's done and seems to be working properly, though the tremolo is not. I'll deal with that in another thread.

    [​IMG]

    The image above shows my saddles representing correct intonation. Looks rough with those polyester rope fibers stuck to the D and G saddles (don't ask, ha) and the fingerprints all over everything. It's due to the extreme close-up, the harsh lighting (necessary for you can see the gaps between saddles and backplate) and the fact that the pickguard protector film is still on and covering part of the bridge. I'll "wipe down the chrome" when I get done torturing this fine instrument. =D

    I don't know exactly WHY the intonation is sorted out now. That's because I performed all kinds of "operations" multiple times. The one's I can recall are:

    • Move the saddles fore and aft a hundred times
    • Remove the saddle tensioner springs to gain extra travel
    • Lower the pickup heights
    • Adjust the neck relief
    • Apply my FretRocker (frets 19 and 21 are slightly high, but do not affect fret-12 notes)
    • 'Floss' all nut slots to remove potential burrs
    • Pull and replace the gorilla-strength trem springs many times (without breaking any windows)
    • Try combinations of 3, 2 and 1 trem springs
    • Add some closed-cell foam padding between trem springs and the guitar cavity back wall to stop possible "sproing"
    • Plug the guitar into my serious freestanding KORG Chromatic Tuner and make final saddle adjustments

    I managed to get good intonation results without replacing the original strings. That's because an hour ago I was about ready to box it up and send it back for a refund. I will change to real strings though, with fingers crossed that the intonation doesn't somehow go sharp when I do.

    QUESTION: Where can I buy a shorter saddle-adjustment screw? The low-E saddle screw seems to be contacting the string.
     
  15. Boyd L

    Boyd L Strat-Talker

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    The low-tech answer is to take it and the saddle to your (pick one or any combination thereof) department store with a suitable fastener selection, local hardware store, big box type building/hardware supply store, or industrial fastener supply store. Try likely candidates til one fits. Length is easy with a hacksaw and file.
    The better choice is to measure (assuming access to such devices) diameter, thread pitch, and length. As above you can shorten to fit your need. Measuring removes any doubt and often some parts are outfitted with some metric and some SAE parts. Measuring cuts down on wasted time and effort.
     
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  16. fezz parka

    fezz parka fezz parka

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    Cut it down with a hacksaw. Or a file. Or a Dremel.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
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  17. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    I'll try but that's a small screw with very fine threads. No way for me to measure accurately. I'll have to take a saddle with me to the store and see if anything threads into it.

    Was hoping a particular guitar parts supplier would have them in 6-packs.
     
  18. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    Threads are too fine for that. Once they're buggered by the saw I'll never get the screw to thread into the saddle again.

    If I could find a NUT, turn it onto the screw, THEN hacksaw and file to length I might be able to reform the cut threads by using the nut as a die. Turn it off of the screw to force the cut threads back into shape (more of less). I think the screws are metric, and that makes my having a matching nut on hand pretty unlikely.
     
  19. rake6978

    rake6978 Strat-Talker

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    Just put a couple of stainless washers between the screw head and the bridge. It will make life much easier come time to change the strings.
     
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  20. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Most Honored Senior Member

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    Common sense thinkin'