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ThreeChordWonder

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Some of you may recognize my nom de plume for other guitar forums, or my evil twins Chubby Fingers.

In the last month or so I've bought two new Epiphones.

The first is a blue quilt top 60s Les Paul Standard, a GC "limited edition" - limited to as many as they can shift, I expect.

The second is a 58 Korina Flying V.

I've been modding both heavily to suit my personal preferences, but more of that later.

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ThreeChordWonder

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^ I have a blue flame top Player Tele and a blue flame top Player Strat, but not all my guitars are blue!

The collection also includes a 2015 Gibson SG Standard in cherry, and more than a half dozen DIY S and T-types in various hues, built while I was out of work during the panic-demic.

My favorite DIYs are probably two of my thinline types. The red one has SD Vintage Tele pickups, the other SD P90s.

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ThreeChordWonder

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Now, a quick question if I may.

Are the truss rods on my Epis single or double acting?

I'm having trouble getting either to intonate properly. Both are spot on at the 12th, both a red bar or two sharp at the neck on my Boss tuner pedal.

The nuts have been swapped for adjustable ones, and the strings decked so they only just clear the first fret. Decking the strings usually works, even on my DIYs, but not on the Epis.

I'm playing with the truss rods and bridge heights to try and get there. Strings are d'Addario 10-46. Any other tips welcomed.
 

Noodling Guitars

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Now, a quick question if I may.

Are the truss rods on my Epis single or double acting?

I'm having trouble getting either to intonate properly. Both are spot on at the 12th, both a red bar or two sharp at the neck on my Boss tuner pedal.

The nuts have been swapped for adjustable ones, and the strings decked so they only just clear the first fret. Decking the strings usually works, even on my DIYs, but not on the Epis.

I'm playing with the truss rods and bridge heights to try and get there. Strings are d'Addario 10-46. Any other tips welcomed.

The current line up are double-acting.
What nut are you using and what do you mean by "adjustable"? Or are you talking about the bridge? Also, what do you mean by the strings being decked?

I assume your nut is cut correctly (but this could also be the culprit). By "spot on at the 12th.... sharp at the neck..." do you mean that when you fret at the 12th, it's spot in, but when you play an open string it's off?

If you are having trouble intonating, I would actually go in this order (assuming your nut is properly cut):

1) tune to pitch on the open string
2) test at the 12th fret (harmonic) - at this stage, it should pretty much be the same. If not, it could be either there's a scale length issue (usually NOT the case, but note below re: the nut) or you'll need to be more accurate when playing the harmonic
3) test at the 12th fret (fretted) against the 12th harmonic - is it sharp or is it flat?
- if it's sharp, it means the bridge saddle is too close to the nut, then you'd need to move the bridge saddle back so the string length from the 12th fret to the saddle is slightly longer.
- vice versa if flat.

The truss rod sometimes comes into play, but only if your neck has so much relief/ bowed that it's significantly shortening the scale length - this does occur, but is not as common. Also happens if necks are twisted.
The reason why I keep saying assuming your nut is properly cut is because sometimes the nut slots are cut a bit too wide, yet it's binding the string a bit behind the edge, therefore causing your open string length to be a bit longer and messing up your intonation.
 

syco

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Now, a quick question if I may.

Are the truss rods on my Epis single or double acting?

I'm having trouble getting either to intonate properly. Both are spot on at the 12th, both a red bar or two sharp at the neck on my Boss tuner pedal.

The nuts have been swapped for adjustable ones, and the strings decked so they only just clear the first fret. Decking the strings usually works, even on my DIYs, but not on the Epis.

I'm playing with the truss rods and bridge heights to try and get there. Strings are d'Addario 10-46. Any other tips welcomed.
Dual Action truss rod .
 

ThreeChordWonder

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The current line up are double-acting.
What nut are you using and what do you mean by "adjustable"? Or are you talking about the bridge? Also, what do you mean by the strings being decked?

I assume your nut is cut correctly (but this could also be the culprit). By "spot on at the 12th.... sharp at the neck..." do you mean that when you fret at the 12th, it's spot in, but when you play an open string it's off?

If you are having trouble intonating, I would actually go in this order (assuming your nut is properly cut):

1) tune to pitch on the open string
2) test at the 12th fret (harmonic) - at this stage, it should pretty much be the same. If not, it could be either there's a scale length issue (usually NOT the case, but note below re: the nut) or you'll need to be more accurate when playing the harmonic
3) test at the 12th fret (fretted) against the 12th harmonic - is it sharp or is it flat?
- if it's sharp, it means the bridge saddle is too close to the nut, then you'd need to move the bridge saddle back so the string length from the 12th fret to the saddle is slightly longer.
- vice versa if flat.

The truss rod sometimes comes into play, but only if your neck has so much relief/ bowed that it's significantly shortening the scale length - this does occur, but is not as common. Also happens if necks are twisted.
The reason why I keep saying assuming your nut is properly cut is because sometimes the nut slots are cut a bit too wide, yet it's binding the string a bit behind the edge, therefore causing your open string length to be a bit longer and messing up your intonation.
The adjustable nut is a Guyker 43 mm adjustable one (see below). The strings are "decked" with the nut set as low as possible without them starting to buzz on the first fret. Usually decking the strings like that results in spot on intonation high up the neck.

Neck relief (capo on 1st, press down at 15th, measure at 8th) is about 0.010 to 0.012.

Bridge height has been set just high enough to avoid fret buzz from the 12th on up.

Intonation is spot on at the 12th but I have no idea what you're talking about testing the harmonica :-) at the 12th.

I'm using a Boss tuner pedal plugged straight into a 9 volt power supply.

The reason I'm asking about the truss rod is that I'm wondering if putting more or less bow into the neck and moving the nut and or bridge up or down to stop string buzz will shorten or lengthen, respectively, the action a touch.
 
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syco

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" Harmonic " lightly touch string ( don't press ) @ 12th fret .

It varies with people . I always do the truss rod ( neck relief ) 1st = ( .008 ) . Then Nut height H (1/64 ) L (2/64) . Then Action @12 th H (3/64) l (5/64) . Then Pickup Height N (4/64 ) B (3/64 ) . This is all a "baseline " adjust to your preferences .
 

soulman969

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What do you listen / look for with the harmonic then?
Yup. Listen for a higher pitched ringing tone that is part fundamental and part harmonic in combination.

Are you familiar with the Buffalo Springfield song "For What It's Worth"?

If so listen to the intro. One guitar is strumming the E > A chord opening while another is playing an E harmonic over those chords running though a vibrato. Here it is.

 

Noodling Guitars

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What do you listen / look for with the harmonic then?

What you're listening for is the difference in pitch between (1) the fretted 12th vs (2) the 12th harmonic. If your guitar is intonated correctly, they should be almost exactly the same (+/- some negligible amount).

The reason you check that way is because the 12th fret harmonic should be exactly the center point of the string from nut to saddle, and that node there should ring exactly an octave above open E. By comparing with the 12th fret, what you're seeing is whether when fretted, the length of the string from 12th to saddle is the same as the middle point.

If the fretted note is sharp, it means that the distance from the 12th fret to the bridge saddle is a bit short, then you need to move your saddle back to give it more length (and vice versa if it's flat) - you may need to do this a few times until it's correct.
 

Noodling Guitars

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The reason I'm asking about the truss rod is that I'm wondering if putting more or less bow into the neck and moving the nut and or bridge up or down to stop string buzz will shorten or lengthen, respectively, the action a touch.

Usually if it's just a slight change in the neck relief, the change to intonation won't be that drastic (if any) - of course if intonation was off to begin with, then yes, you could notice the difference a bit more. You should always set intonation last - dial-in all the string height/ relief to the point that you like, then adjust intonation as it doesn't really affect your action.
 

ThreeChordWonder

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Having eliminated all other possibilities, I think the problems I'm having on both my Epis are down to the adjustable nuts I fitted. I've tried using 9s, adjusting all the adjustments, different bridges...

I think the nuts have their contact points on the balls, not on the inside edge (see photo - the balls are about halfway across the width, which is about 1/4 inch total). That effectively increases the scale length by 1/8th of an inch.

To get proper intonation at the 12th, the saddles have to be pretty far back on their adjustments. That makes the scale length growth closer to a 1/4 inch, 1/8th between the nut and the 12th and another 1/8th between the 12th and the bridges.

Would this make things sharp at the neck?


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Noodling Guitars

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he reason why I keep saying assuming your nut is properly cut is because sometimes the nut slots are cut a bit too wide, yet it's binding the string a bit behind the edge, therefore causing your open string length to be a bit longer and messing up your intonation.

Yes. As mentioned above, that would definitely mess up your intonation. Seems like what you are experiencing is exactly like what happens with an improperly cut nut.
I have never used these nuts before but looking at the spec sheet and design, would it be possible to increase the height of the fingerboard side and lower the side exiting to the tuners so that the strings are contacting the inside edge?
 


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