View Full Version : Major Intonation Tuning Problem, G String, First Five Frets
12-29-2003, 07:27 PM
I've just purchased a 1993 Gibson 1960 ES-335 reissue and love it. But there's a problem, that if it can't be fixed may lead to me selling this guitar.
The G string below the first six frets is playing pretty sharp. Sharp enough to where it's just about unusable - an F Major is just out of the question. It rears it head mostly on major 3rds, but generally all around. I know that with equal tempermant tuning that's bound to happen, but this is just way beyond what I'm used to.
Interestingly, I don't notice it on any other strings.
I've got to fix this in order to keep this guitar, any help would be greatly appreciated.
Here's the specs:
String guage: 11, 14, 18, 28, 38, 50
Nut height at 1st fret, low to high:
E - .025
A - .024
D - .023
G - .021
B - .020
E - .013
Neck relief (measured at 7th fret, capoed at 1st fret, depressed at 17th fret):
Pretty much all around - .012
Action (measured at 12th fret, capoed at 1st fret):
Low E - 5/64
High E - 3/64
If anyone has any questions or suggestions, you can email me at: email@example.com
How about taking it to a tech, they deal with this kind of stuff on a daily basis?
You'll get the same answers on here that everybody gets when they bring up intonation problems, and the conclusion always is: there's a ****load of possible things wrong with the guitar, none of which can be diagnosed with certainty by anyone on this forum without having a look at the instrument in person.
12-29-2003, 08:10 PM
I did take it to a tech, a tech that I respect - he adjusted the nut a bit and said that essentially it's the nature of the beast.
I've owned plenty of guitars before, and never noticed it being this bad. Maybe I'm overly sensitive to it now, but I really don't think so (or don't want to think that I am).
My next option is to get a second opinion. If it's the same response - I'll just have to sell it.
Thanks for response, it's my first time on this board and it's nice to know people are responsive and helpful here.
12-30-2003, 01:07 AM
Any tuning system for guitar is going to be a compromise due to the change in string tension while fretting. The tidy geometric formulae don't take this into account when determining fret locations. So instead of equal-tempered, we need to tweak things a bit, and settle for well tempered tuning.
Having said that, if your tech adjusted the nut location, and I assume the bridge saddles as well, it should be easy to tweak the tuning a bit to arrive at an acceptable compromise. Chords should have just a hint of warble to them. It's like the way a human voice sounds a bit richer if there's a bit of tremolo in it. But anything beyond a subtle colouration indicates that is still not right.
Don't settle for less than pleasing results. I hear all manner of horror stories about the uneven Quality Control exercised at the Gibson factory. Have it examined very closely by someone who knows the ES-335 intimately. It may be that the bridge is in the wrong place, or something equally annoying.
Good luck with that wdogbill, hope you don't have to end up selling it...
12-30-2003, 11:22 PM
I read an article were one of the Guitar World columnists said.His Les Paul tends to play a little sharp past certain point and he adjusted his intonation a little sharp to compensate.
Basicall maybe your guitar needs the G string set for an average over the fret board rather than the standard open and 12th fret method.Try messing with the intonation to see if you can get the whole fretboard within reasonable intonation.
(I've had a few beers so I hope that came out in understandable english)
12-31-2003, 08:25 AM
Buzz Feiten says he can retrofit his tuning system into any guitar. Not sure if that includes acoustic, but I don't see why not.
Try this, too:
Equal Temperament Tuning Method (http://users.adelphia.net/~cygnusx_1/equal_temperament.html)
It's a set of instructions showing an interesting way to tune your guitar so that chords sound good all over the neck. Check it out, maybe you don't need to sell/fix your axe after all.
[Edited by iamthe_eggman on 12-31-2003 at 08:28 AM]
12-31-2003, 06:45 PM
I second the Buzz Feiten method.
01-01-2004, 12:36 PM
I've reading about the Buzz Feiten system.
As far as I can tell it involves a shelf nut, and a particular method of intonating and tuning. For example, the G string (open) is tuned -02 cents and the 12th fret note is tuned +01 cent. Kind of like a "sweetened" intonation and tuning.
Most folks seem to find it more pleasing to their ear, but some complain about the Korg tuner recommened because it isn't that accurate, OR just not accurate enough to get the correct notes needed(+/- 01 cent).
However, this is just me reading - I have no idea.
Since I've never personally heard the BFTS, I would be intersted in hearing what everyone has to say. Also, what kind of costs would be involved in the retro fit? Has anyone had the retro fit?
Thanks to everyone.
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