String gauge, D tuning and intonation questions.

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by FoldedWilderness, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. FoldedWilderness

    FoldedWilderness New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hello my fellow SG players.

    I have a 2017 Epiphone SG 400 pro (left-handed, not that it makes a difference here but, I like to brag.)

    I am a lowly beginner but, I still decided to buy and install a set of 11-49 strings to play in D-standard tuning because, reasons.

    My questions:
    1: Is it normal that I have trouble reaching good intonation on several strings, maybe given the thicker strings and tuning?
    For example; on the F string (typically G) the saddle is all the way back and I still come very sharp.

    2: My plan is to put a capo on the second fret when I want to play in E-standard, is this something that could cause problems if I play almost 50 percent of the time with the capo on?
     
  2. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    3,308
    Likes Received:
    2,831
    Location:
    London, helping a friend design a knitting machine
    Sounds like the bridge has been fitted in the wrong position - it happens. If it won't intonate, that would be a warrantee claim for a replacement. If warrantee is not an option there are bridge studs that are offset, and will move the whole thing back. Or you can look for a bridge that has more travel available on the saddles.
     
  3. DaveInSoCal

    DaveInSoCal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2018
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    81
    In my experience, changing to a different string gauge will require a full setup. I know this because I switched all of my guitars to 009's from 010's and had to set them up to work with the new strings.
    This includes the neck relief, action and intonation.
    As far as the saddles go, I have experienced that issue on every Epi I own (4).
    What I did was flip the G saddle around so the flat part is facing the back of the bridge. That will give you a little bit more room.
    On one of my G-400's I had to replace the bridge because I couldn't get the G to intonate even with turning the saddle around.

    I used this and it took care of the problem: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006X4X9AA/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    As far as the capo goes, I don't think you will have any issues with that.
     
    Raymond Eriksen likes this.
  4. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    3,308
    Likes Received:
    2,831
    Location:
    London, helping a friend design a knitting machine
    Not all are this way. My G400 intonates roughly dead centre - just the normal lightning bolt either side of that. But it was one of the things I looked at when I bought it.
     
    Biddlin likes this.
  5. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    10,478
    Likes Received:
    8,517
    Location:
    -
    Yup.
     
  6. DaveInSoCal

    DaveInSoCal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2018
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    81
    Also, two things to keep in mind, first the heavier you go with the string gauge the farther back the saddles have to go to achieve intonation. Second, increasing the gauge may require the nut grooves to be filed wider to allow string travel and avoid pinching the strings.
    If you hear a "tink" sound from the nut when you are tuning the strings, the nut is pinching the strings and needs to be filed.

    But once you get it all set up it will be good to go as long as you stay with that string gauge. :thumb:
     
  7. Daniel.S

    Daniel.S Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2018
    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    296
    Also to add, try raising the tailpiece. You’d be surprised at how much this helped me when I ran out of room for intonation.
     
  8. FoldedWilderness

    FoldedWilderness New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks for all the replies, it looks like there are a few easy things I can try.

    If none of these work, I will just go back to 10-46, it's not too important since I don't play in a band and it won't ruin anything.
     
  9. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2018
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    145

    Wait.... what?
    How would moving the tailpiece up, change the string length between the nut and the bridge. I'm confused.
     
  10. Daniel.S

    Daniel.S Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2018
    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    296
    Too much downward pressure causing the saddle to shift slightly.
     
    living room rocker likes this.
  11. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Messages:
    7,029
    Likes Received:
    6,554
    Location:
    Michigan
    Welcome to ETSG!

    I have an Epiphone ES-339, and I replaced a lot of parts on this
    guitar, not because the original parts wouldn't work but because I have
    come to love this cool little guitar, and wanted the best.

    For a bridge, I bought the Gotoh replacement from Philadelphia Luthier tools...
    Here's a link:

    https://www.philadelphialuthiertool...tar-nashville-bridge-with-large-metric-posts/

    Bridge & Tail 2@100.jpg
    Bridge & Tail 06-10-15@100.jpg
    The Gotoh bridge will solve your problem, because it has more travel than
    the stock Epiphone bridge does. It's an easy replacement, and fits right into
    the holes on the guitar. You can buy the tailpiece from the same outfit if you
    wish.

    You'll still need to get your guitar set up properly for the larger strings.
    But I always recommend this, especially to a new player. Setup adds a lot
    to the playability of any guitar, and will get your guitar styles off to a great
    start. It will also make it easier to play with a capo on, with minimal
    tuning problems. Capos can throw your guitar out of tune by the pressure of
    the clamp. It's no big deal, we just tune the guitar after putting the capo on
    and after taking it off.

    Proper setup will minimize that, but not eliminate it.
     
    GraphX12 likes this.
  12. living room rocker

    living room rocker Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    17
    I can vouch for a similar experience. Raising the tailpiece off the deck helped my intonation too. My guitar is newer w/o any noticeable wear or slop in the bridge and saddles but when I ran out of adjustment room raising the tailpiece provided near spot-on intonation.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  13. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    3,308
    Likes Received:
    2,831
    Location:
    London, helping a friend design a knitting machine
    A low tailpiece actually forces the bridge forwards, shortening the strings and making intonation difficult. Raising the tailpiece relieves that forward pressure, turning it into a simple (desirable) downward pressure and relieving the forward stress on the bridge.

    It also prevents bridge collapse, which Gibsons often suffer from over time.
     
  14. living room rocker

    living room rocker Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    17
    Bad Penguin, I see you own 65+ guitars? ............................awesome!
     
  15. FoldedWilderness

    FoldedWilderness New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'll try raising the tailpiece and/or maybe flipping some saddles to see how it helps.

    I fear it might just be better to go back to E-standard tuning and 10-46 gauge strings until I have a better understanding of everything.
    And leave the extra complications for later, when I am a more accomplished player.

    Or, for when I get my hands on a second guitar and can have two differently setup instruments.
     
  16. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2018
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    145
    Ok, while not doubting anyone's personal experience with this, after 35 years of teching, I have never experienced that solution. IF the bridge is moving that much, then the issue is the bridge, bridge posts, or the saddles allowing that much movement. Possibly all three. And again, if raising the tail piece would solve it, why not just top wrap the tail piece?

    And yes my friend, I do. Though since I quit playing live, (Arthritis is a BITCH!) the number is slowly dropping. Eventually I will get down to the mid 20's, but.... how do you choose which children to sell?
     
  17. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Messages:
    1,698
    Likes Received:
    1,879
    I prefer to have several SG, each one set up for different tunings. In addition, no two SG are the same color so that they are color coded for each tuning setup.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
  18. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    3,308
    Likes Received:
    2,831
    Location:
    London, helping a friend design a knitting machine
    There is play in every part of the bridge. The saddles can move forwards a little, the whole bridge can move forwards a little on the side screws, the screws have play in the bushings and the posts themselves can lean under pressure. And of course the whole bridge can tilt slightly. Add all of those together and it is pretty easy to deny yourself the odd millimetre of backwards adjustment.

    Top wrapping is an answer by why would you do that, with all the resulting discomfort to the heel of your hand, not to mention damage to the chrome or nickel, when you can use the screws provided and simply raise the tailpiece?
     
  19. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Messages:
    1,698
    Likes Received:
    1,879
    The height of the tailpiece can be adjusted so that the strings clear the back edge of the bridge. I have seen too many second hand SG where the tailpiece was decked which causes the bridge to collapse over time as pictured below.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
  20. Daniel.S

    Daniel.S Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2018
    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    296
    Just because you've done it for 35 years doesn't mean you've done everything right.
    And like donepearce has said why would you top wrap to fix the problem and create more problems with damaging your hardware? Lift the tailpiece as that is what it's designed for.
     
    cerebral gasket likes this.

Share This Page


Recommended Links: PAF Pickups, Luthier Forum