Intonation

CB91710

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Yep.
Back in the 90s when I did a fair bit of work for friends and neighbors, I'd always teach them to do their own basic setups.
I wasn't charging, so it wasn't costing me anything... but everyone has their own touch, and while I can intonate your guitar using a lighter touch than I play with, if it's not your touch, then your intonation still won't match.
Close enough for rock & roll? Of course, and they would generally continue to have me do their setups... but they learned what to look for and could decide if they needed to bring it to me, or if it was something they could live with for a few gigs.

One guy used to drive out from Vegas to hang out for a weekend any time he wanted a setup.
 
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northernguitarguy

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I try to do intonation with new strings immediately after they have been broken in, and only when I really need to reset the intonation (new guitar, different gauge or manufacturer, action or truss adjustment). Then I want to take my time to get it right.

[Warning: The following is just my opinion...]
When a string is still playable, but nearing the end, it will have uneven wear. When a string is fresh but not broken in, it isn't in the same state it will be for most of its life, and that can make the intonation off when it does break in.

I'm not sure how much stretching you mean by the bejezzus, but I am careful with that because I don't want to kill the string's elasticity. I've seen web sites (guitarandbass.com for one) which advise tuning up a whole fret. Maybe I'm just a 'fraidy cat, but that makes me nervous!
I stretch them until they no longer go out of tune when being stretched. I will also stretch them like this before any gig or jam. I have never heard of 'killing the strings elasticity'.
 

Freddy G

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Yup, just meant to intonate before the string change...or stretch the bejezzus outta the new ones before intonating.
The reason you think you need to stretch the bejezzus out of the strings is solely to straighten the string out at the break points (saddle and nut). A new string will overshoot the break point (most particularly the saddle because the break angle is much steeper there than the nut) and that will cause the intonation to read about 5 or 6 cents sharp. The effect is the most pronounced on the thickest strings. You get the string to read true instantly by just pushing it down at the saddle and nut and giving it a "kink" where it breaks. The only thing to watch out for is that if you do that and the intonation reads sharp....you have to pull the saddle back and now that kink is in the speaking length of the string. That will throw the reading off. So I err on the side of the saddle being set a little too flat when I put the kink in. Then, if the intonations reads a little flat I can move the saddle forward into a virgin area of the string and put a new kink in it.
 

jkes01

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I started with the Stroboclip and then got the HD. It's tough doing an intonation job with the clip on. It doesn't hold the note as long. Also the clip broke a while ago.

A Korg Pitchblack would work for most. I did intonation jobs back in the 90's with a Sabine, a Korg, and a Seiko at different points and that kind of accuracy was good enough for everyone. The strobe tech is much cheaper now so it's the new standard.
My Peterson HD jog wheel turned all gummy, would leave a fingerprint impression when you touched it. It was just nasty.

I emailed them and they said try cleaning it with Windex, well 2 years later, I tried to no success. I emailed them back and they said it was well beyond the time frame for warranty. I told them I would consider that when I make my next purchase. 4 days later a new jog wheel arrived. :cool:
 

northernguitarguy

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The reason you think you need to stretch the bejezzus out of the strings is solely to straighten the string out at the break points (saddle and nut). A new string will overshoot the break point (most particularly the saddle because the break angle is much steeper there than the nut) and that will cause the intonation to read about 5 or 6 cents sharp. The effect is the most pronounced on the thickest strings. You get the string to read true instantly by just pushing it down at the saddle and nut and giving it a "kink" where it breaks. The only thing to watch out for is that if you do that and the intonation reads sharp....you have to pull the saddle back and now that kink is in the speaking length of the string. That will throw the reading off. So I err on the side of the saddle being set a little too flat when I put the kink in. Then, if the intonations reads a little flat I can move the saddle forward into a virgin area of the string and put a new kink in it.
Nice...you taught me all this at my last visit!
 

dro

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My Peterson HD jog wheel turned all gummy, would leave a fingerprint impression when you touched it. It was just nasty.

I emailed them and they said try cleaning it with Windex, well 2 years later, I tried to no success. I emailed them back and they said it was well beyond the time frame for warranty. I told them I would consider that when I make my next purchase. 4 days later a new jog wheel arrived. :cool:
What the hell is a jog wheel ?
 

CB91710

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What the hell is a jog wheel ?
All of the grey bits are a soft-ish overmolded rubbery material.
Soft to the touch, but that material tends to react badly with many solvents including alcohols.


StroboPlus.jpg
 

CB91710

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That's the one model I never had
I have all three of the current LCD models... the clip-on, HD, and the new model of the stomp tuner.
I use the clip on most of the time because of convenience, but use the stomp or HD for intonation.

I also have the Android app on my phone. It differs from the hardware versions in that it does give a +/- cents reading, but it lacks the "sweeteners"
 

dro

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Don't use the sweetened settings myself. Sweetness is in my fingers.
 

rfrizz

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I stretch them until they no longer go out of tune when being stretched. I will also stretch them like this before any gig or jam. I have never heard of 'killing the strings elasticity'.
Elasticity is an important physical property, and the physics behind it is pretty deep; so is the math. It is way over my head, but I understand how it works. If you stretch a new rubber band a little, it will return to the same length, but if you go too far -- but not enough to break -- it will not return and it doesn't have the same stretchy feel to it.

If you stretch and release it repeatedly, it will slowly lose elasticity, and eventually seem more and more like the over-stretched rubber band.

It hardly ever comes up in string discussions, but elasticity it is the most important factor in how strings lose their tone over time. When a string on any instrument is plucked/struck/bowed, it is being stretched and released just from vibrating. That's why strings wear out more quickly than usual when you play more than usual.
 

northernguitarguy

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Elasticity is an important physical property, and the physics behind it is pretty deep; so is the math. It is way over my head, but I understand how it works. If you stretch a new rubber band a little, it will return to the same length, but if you go too far -- but not enough to break -- it will not return and it doesn't have the same stretchy feel to it.

If you stretch and release it repeatedly, it will slowly lose elasticity, and eventually seem more and more like the over-stretched rubber band.

It hardly ever comes up in string discussions, but elasticity it is the most important factor in how strings lose their tone over time. When a string on any instrument is plucked/struck/bowed, it is being stretched and released just from vibrating. That's why strings wear out more quickly than usual when you play more than usual.
Like I said, it's never happened to me.
 

rfrizz

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Like I said, it's never happened to me.
Uhhhh... It happens to everyone who plays a stringed instrument. Playing them wears them out by slowly reducing elasticity. Google it if you want the mind-numbing physics of it, but that is the main mechanism which wears out strings.
 

northernguitarguy

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Uhhhh... It happens to everyone who plays a stringed instrument. Playing them wears them out by slowly reducing elasticity. Google it if you want the mind-numbing physics of it, but that is the main mechanism which wears out strings.
Yes, I get that. You were referring to over stretching at restringing before.
 

rfrizz

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Yes, I get that. You were referring to over stretching at restringing before.
Ah. Sorry... I'm bad with pronouns.

I did overstretch a string deliberately back when I was taking classical guitar in high school. It was string change time, and I wanted to see what happened if I overstretched the b string. It was ugly.
 

northernguitarguy

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Ah. Sorry... I'm bad with pronouns.

I did overstretch a string deliberately back when I was taking classical guitar in high school. It was string change time, and I wanted to see what happened if I overstretched the b string. It was ugly.
My over stretching just causes snapped strings. But I’ve never stretched the elasticity out of them. :)
 

CB91710

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Ah. Sorry... I'm bad with pronouns.

I did overstretch a string deliberately back when I was taking classical guitar in high school. It was string change time, and I wanted to see what happened if I overstretched the b string. It was ugly.
While I'm sure the physics are the same, I'm pretty sure the audible effects on nylon/gut core strings is more pronounced than steel.
It's going to be pretty hard to stretch a steel guitar string to the point of plastic deformation without cutting through your hand.
 

dro

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I stretch the hell outa mine. Put "em on,. Stretch till they stop going flat. Then intonate. When I'm done, playing is like driving a Ferrari.
 

CB91710

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I think it was mentioned earlier in the thread, if not, it was another thread, and bears repeating here.

The issue of "stretching" the strings has little to do with physically stretching the string itself, but rather "sharpens" the break angle at the bridge.
More pronounced on a Strat, or Gibson with a decked tailstop, when the strings are installed, there is a slight radius over the saddle.
That will throw the intonation off... and cause the guitar to go flat for a period.
"Stretching" the strings tightens this radius... it will allow for correct intonation, and tuning will be stable.

The drawback is that, if the string intonates sharp, then this "kink" where the saddle was will now be on the active side of the saddle after it is moved back, causing continued sonic and intonation issues.

Solution? If you are changing to heavier gauge strings, you can assume that the saddles will need to be moved back.
Move them all the way back, string it up, stretch, and intonate. Since you will be moving the saddles toward the nut, the "kink" caused by "stretching" the strings will remain behind the saddle and will not cause problems.
 


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