Intonation woes

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by C_Becker, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. C_Becker

    C_Becker Dat Gibson smell Premium Member

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    So I have this Epiphone Robb Flynn Baritone guitar, and as long as I've had it, I've never been able to get the intonation right. Saddles on the bridge are all the way forward, and the note at the 12th fret is still flat on some strings.

    I just received a Schaller STM roller bridge which is even wider than the Gotoh, hoping that it would be enough. But no dice, still not enough.

    I measured the distance from the nut to the 12th fret, and from there to the bridge and it seems that the bridge should be farther forward.

    Now is there anything else I can do before I remove the bridge studs (which will be a bitch, since I glued them in when they came loose once) then dowel and re-drill ?
     
  2. Tweaker

    Tweaker Senior Member

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    You've probably already done this, but if you still have the triangle-shaped saddles, you can flip them around so the angle drops towards the tailpiece instead of the nut, allowing the string's point of contact to be right at the edge of the bridge, rather than the distance of the slope away from the edge. Might buy you an extra 1/16-1/8".

    Obviously with the roller bridge this won't make any difference, but if you haven't tried it with the old bridge, might be worth it. The bridge may have also come with the saddles flipped around already, in which case this won't be of any help.
     
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  3. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    If your Schaller is anything like the one in the picture (mine) you could try putting your old wedge shaped saddles on it in place of the rollers.

    I had to do this with my Heritage (shown) to get a little extra travel like you need. A standard TOM didn't work, so I put the old TOM saddles on the roller frame and that solved it for me. The screw threads were the same in this case, or the TOM screws fit the roller frame, I don't remember which.

    The wedges will get you an extra fraction of an inch closer to the edge of the roller frame, and if you are lucky, that will be enough.

    20170619_105203.jpg
     
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  4. C_Becker

    C_Becker Dat Gibson smell Premium Member

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    Yeah, my roller bridge looks pretty similar. Thing is, I don't think the saddles from the Gotoh bridge can be removed. I tried loosening the screw as much as possible, but it feels like I'll break off the screw head if I go any further. Its a Gotoh GE103.

    I don't think I have the old stock bridge anymore. Maybe I can just get some saddles seperately...
     
  5. Tweaker

    Tweaker Senior Member

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    Ah yeah I know the feeling. Don't want to break anything, for sure. How flat is the 12th fret? Way off, or just a tiny bit? Obviously enough to bug you, but if it's just a little bit I'm sure there's a way to solve the problem without redrilling.
     
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  6. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Can you post a pic?

    Thing is, if the roller bridge can be dis-assembled you can use those screws to see if they fit into separate saddles. Never mind the gotoh saddles.

    The shaller should have spring clips underneath to hold the screws like a TOM.

    On my Schaller the TOM saddles were a perfect fit. They dropped right in and lined up just fine with the screws and slot.
     
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  7. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    You're not using this style, right?

    It doesn't appear to be any wider than what you started with...

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. C_Becker

    C_Becker Dat Gibson smell Premium Member

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    Mine is like the gold one in the picture

    [​IMG]

    Its off by quite a bit, especially on the low B and E strings. Enough that power chords have that disgusting warble sound. I tried different string gauges as well, had some D'Addarios lying around, those are a bit better than my usual Elixirs, but they die too fast.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  9. pillbug

    pillbug Senior Member

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    This might be a worse idea than re-drilling the bridge, but can you bring the nut forward? By installing a new nut and/or zero nut in front of the existing nut?

    Not sure if it's practical, but just a thought.
     
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  10. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    @pillbug has a good point. can you post a pic of your bridge saddles showing which way they are maxed?
     
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  11. C_Becker

    C_Becker Dat Gibson smell Premium Member

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    The saddles are all the way forward, towards the fingerboard.
    Worst is the D-string (guitar is in BEADF#B), all the other are just a little flat with the D'Addarios.

    If I put the thinner Elixir strings on, it gets worse on all strings.
    Problem is, I kill uncoated strings in day, especially now when its warm and Elixir only offers that set.
     
  12. Draxond

    Draxond Member

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    The zero fret idea definitely won't work. If the length from the nut to 12 is what it should be, then that would get open notes to be what they need, but your fretted notes would still be off (since by fretting a note, you're taking the nut out of the equation - you'd still have the same problem). What is the scale length, and what did it measure to at the 12th?
     
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  13. C_Becker

    C_Becker Dat Gibson smell Premium Member

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    Scale length is 27 inches. That converts to 68,58 cm, so roughly 68,6 cm.
    Measuring from the nut to the middle of the 12th fret I get 34,3 cm, which would be correct I think ?

    Middle of the 12th fret to the bridge however, I get 35,2 cm to the middle of the bridge, so in my understanding I would need to move the bridge one cm forward, right ?
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  14. Paul46

    Paul46 Senior Member

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    It is possible to flip the saddles on the GE103. Yes, it does feel very stiff and you think it won't unscrew any further, but keep going and it will come out. Be very careful though, there are two tiny plastic washers, one behind the screw head and another behind the nut. I had to buy a set of micro spanners to hold the nut when tightening it all up. It's quite fiddly and you will invent new swear words, but it can be done!
     
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  15. Draxond

    Draxond Member

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    Yup, that's probably your best solution if you can't find a way to get those saddles to cooperate. But given that you're almost a full cm off...move the bridge. Definitely your best, and most long lasting option. When you reset it, use your intonation to guide you as to where the posts go. That will give you leeway in both directions.
     
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  16. C_Becker

    C_Becker Dat Gibson smell Premium Member

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    I guess it really is the best option. I was just hoping someone would have a magic trick up their sleeves lol.

    It'll have to wait a while though, I have some other guitar mods planned at the moment, and I don't like to have to many projects at the same time, it gets messy.

    Thanks to everyone who gave advice, much appreciated :thumbs:
     
  17. C_Becker

    C_Becker Dat Gibson smell Premium Member

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    I found another solution, this Wilkinson bridge gave me the adjustment room I needed.
    The guitar is now perfectly intonated with 12-68 Elixirs. Yay ! :thumbs:

    [​IMG]
     
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