Intonation of Sixth String

Discussion in 'Vendor Classifieds' started by Zeugitai, Feb 20, 2020.

  1. Zeugitai

    Zeugitai New Member

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    Over the decades, time and again, I've had trouble intonating the sixth string. Even now, with my 2007 SG-3, this string shows a borderline sharp fretted 12th fret while the harmonic is right on, and the bridge saddle is all the way back toward the tailpiece. I tend to press too hard on the strings in the first place, pick hard with fingers or a hard pick, and worse, I almost always put some vibrato on the notes, too. I know I'm sharping notes a bit as I do this, so I always tune the strings on the edge of flat. The last thing I need is marginally sharp intonation. How do you all deal with this? Am I right to think I can edge around this by using a sixth string of heavier or lighter gauge? I have a 42 on there now.
     
  2. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    I always intonate the sixth slighty sharp anyway - like yours is right now. I then bring it to tune at the octave. I find the open sixth actually sounds more convincing slightly low. Piano tuners do this too - it's called tuning long. The bass notes are tuned progressively flatter as they go down, and the treble notes are tuned above true pitch.
     
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  3. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Maybe try to inverse that saddle ?
    Got to read this a few times ...
     
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  4. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Intonate sharp so the octave is a little more than an octave. Then tune to pitch at the octave, and the result is that the open string note is just a little flat.
     
  5. Zeugitai

    Zeugitai New Member

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    Thanks. Yes. I've learned that I feel more comfortable with pitches that are on the edge of flat when played, just a shade, like the edge of a saw kerf. Notes off toward the sharp side bug me. The placement of the fixed bridge and the small range of saddle travel have been a lifelong frustration. I know some will say that's the way of the guitar so live with it, and I have, but as I played today and the sixth string was bugging me --again-- I just thought to ask the group about whether a different gauge might compensate for the two cent discrepancy I'm hearing.
     
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  6. Zeugitai

    Zeugitai New Member

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    Right. Now that you mention it, I seem to remember doing that in the seventies or eighties. I'll try that. Thanks.
     
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  7. Zeugitai

    Zeugitai New Member

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    I should have done some research first, and I apologize. I've been reading on stack exchange and several people have pointed out that a lighter gauge of string will bring the range back toward the nut. I guess I'll try a .040 gauge on the sixth string. Thanks for the help!! --UPDATE: Found a 009-040 D'Addario set on sale
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
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  8. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    If you're running out of room to adjust the saddle and it's an ABR style bridge you could change to a Nashville style. They're a bit wider. I had the same issue with my G400 Pro and the Nashville bridge did the trick.
     
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  9. Zeugitai

    Zeugitai New Member

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    I will look into this! Thanks
     
  10. Zeugitai

    Zeugitai New Member

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    This is my SG-3. What kind of bridge is that? You can see all the saddles backed up toward the tailpiece, and yes, I do know how to do an intonation.
     

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  11. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    It is intonated as we see it ?
     
  12. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Is it intonated as we see it ? Very strange ... the high E saddle being the only one not completely pushed to the back of the bridge. It's not coherent with your above mentionned problem. I'm puzzled.
     
  13. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    That looks like a Nashville already.

    The only wider type of bridge that I know of is the harmonica.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
  14. Zeugitai

    Zeugitai New Member

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    Yes, I held the guitar in the playing position and pinged the 12th-fret harmonic on each string, tuning to the harmonic, and then fretting the string. If the string fretted sharp, I moved the saddle toward the tailpiece, and if flat moved it toward the nut. I repeated this several times for all strings in turn until the harmonic and the fretted string rang identically. In this case, all the saddles ended up back near the end of their travel. Only the sixth string needed a bit more travel than the bridge allowed. I've got a set of 009 through 040 D'Addario strings coming. I'll carefully re-do the intonation with them and report back.
     
  15. Bubbalou88

    Bubbalou88 Member

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    Raise your stopbar tailpiece slightly on the Low side. then retune and check intonation
     
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  16. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Interesting ... how would that work ?
     
  17. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Use an electronic tuner rather than harmonics and ears. The difference in tone between harmonic and fretted can cause confusion. DA Tuner is free for a mobile phone, and does the job perfectly.
     
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  18. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    That' s strange, try with a new 10-46 and set with an other digital tuner.
     
  19. Zeugitai

    Zeugitai New Member

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    I've got digital tuners beginning from the 80s! Of course! For intonation, I use nothing but.
     
  20. Zeugitai

    Zeugitai New Member

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    I raised the tailpiece, flipped the bridge to put the vertical face of the saddles toward the tailpiece, lowered the action, tuned up and reintonated. These are the same strings: 009--042. Surprise! There was a significant difference as you can see in the photo. It turns out that I hardly needed to flip the bridge/saddles for that little extra because just raising the tailpiece and lowering the action brought the range of the intonated saddles back toward the middle of the bridge. Live and learn!
     

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