Correct Intonation with a locking nut - Jemsite
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-17-2010, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
 
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Correct Intonation with a locking nut

hey'a tech people of Jemsite,

i've recently purchased a RG370DX with Edge III trem and I'm struggling with a bad intonation problem:

I intonate a string (I try to get the pitch correct on all frets but i'm usually glad to make it to the 20th or so fret) while the nut is UNLOCKED and later on when I lock the nut and fine-tune, the string is no longer intonated! (because the distance between the bridge "saddle" and the tuning head is no more, it's cut at the locking nut)

so what should i do? should i intonate every string when the nut is locked?


and in case your wondering i DID use the search tool, just couldn't find anything similar :/
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-17-2010, 09:18 AM
 
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Smile Re: Correct Intonation with a locking nut

Hi, I intonated my bridge by estimating how much the saddles should be moved forward or backward on the bridge's baseplate. One could determine this fairly accurately by knowing how much your strings are far from perfect intonation.

You do need to unlock the nut and detune strings one by one, which kinda makes the procedure a pain in the neck compared to Strat-style bridges.

Hope this helps.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-17-2010, 09:21 AM
 
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Re: Correct Intonation with a locking nut

The nut should be "fret zero" whether you lock it down or not. Locking the nut only clamps the string and stops it from slipping through the nut while abusing the whammy. You might find you need to fine tune a little after locking the nut, but the string length, and therefore intonation should still be the same. If not something is very very wrong with your guitar.

You need to check out the tech section at Ibanez Rules. Best advice for floating trem setup on the planet. I'm too lazy to make a link, but google is your friend.

Rock on!
HeavyMetal4Ever is offline  
post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-17-2010, 10:00 AM
 
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Re: Correct Intonation with a locking nut

http://www.ibanezrules.com/tech/setup/intonation.htm
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-18-2010, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Correct Intonation with a locking nut

thx all for the answers,

Rich's guide, useful as it is (VERY), doesn't refer to the issue i'm describing.

Correct me if I'm wrong here,

Fact being, a nut SHOULD be fret 0, but you intonate to a certain pitch between your tuner heads ("lock point A") and your string's saddle ("lock point B", call them as you like) (ofcourse, compared to your string's height, angle of your headstock and whatever)
that's why (usually) the order of your string's saddles would be "similar" to your tuner heads order
(sorry for my BAD english, or bad explanation 0_0)

and regarding a locking nut being just a tool to prevent string slippage - that SHOULD also be true, in theory, but you lock the nut alot stronger then you "lock" your stings in their tuner heads, and therefore eliminating "lock point A", so your entire intonation goes to ****...

Again, i'm a rookie wonna-be guitar tech n00b with too much free time and a wild imagination so i invent crazy theories like the one i wrote here,
would be nice to get a pro's (Rich's) opinion on this matter...

Last edited by asolid; 01-18-2010 at 01:44 AM.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-18-2010, 04:44 AM
 
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Re: Correct Intonation with a locking nut

Lock Point A IS the nut.

Rock on!
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-18-2010, 04:52 AM
 
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Re: Correct Intonation with a locking nut

yes, you have to refer to the vibrating portion of the string, which starts at the saddle and stops at the nut. no matter what's over these two points, strings can even be 1 mile long over there, don't care about it.
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-18-2010, 05:21 AM
 
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Lightbulb Re: Correct Intonation with a locking nut

Quote:
Originally Posted by asolid View Post
thx all for the answers,

Rich's guide, useful as it is (VERY), doesn't refer to the issue i'm describing.

[..]

Again, i'm a rookie wonna-be guitar tech n00b with too much free time and a wild imagination so i invent crazy theories like the one i wrote here,
your theory is indeed incorrect.

But I have one suggestion with the problems you're experiencing: check if the nut is stationary, which incidentally is referred to on Rich's site.

BTW as a wanna-be tech, you've picked the right guitar to experiment on, but in the end it's still a low end Ibby with a low end trem. Once you graduate to the real stuff you might encounter less problems, but higher standards to live up to as well.

Unfortunately I've seen to many well-meaning techs completely ruin MIJ Ibanez guitars, for lack of particular knowledge on the higher end trems (IE on intonation tools, locking posts, whammy bar washers)

Just for laughs, look at auctions and see how many people have the locking nuts installed incorrectly (the three nut blocks off by a quarter turn)
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-18-2010, 05:35 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Correct Intonation with a locking nut

Quote:
Originally Posted by eviltwin View Post
But I have one suggestion with the problems you're experiencing: check if the nut is stationary, which incidentally is referred to on Rich's site.
my nut is rock solid in place, i'm not having any tuning problems with my trem, and the guitar is 1 week old.. :-/

thing is, I intonate the entire guitar WITHOUT blocking the trem(i just go string-by-string tuning and intonating), recheck the intonation( again, string by string) lock the nut, fine tune and my intonation goes off (even if i go 1 string at a time, fine tuning, checking etc...)

and when i unlock the nut intonation is corrected again wtf???!!!

are those micro-movements (when i tune stings without blocking the trem) really that important?
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-18-2010, 07:44 AM
 
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Re: Correct Intonation with a locking nut

Ok, you keep saying your intonation is off when you lock down the nut but you never state precisely how much it is off by.

What brand of tuner are you using? What is its accuracy?
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-18-2010, 10:40 AM
 
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Re: Correct Intonation with a locking nut

maybe it's the string retainer bar that needs some adjusting.
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-18-2010, 10:55 AM
 
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Re: Correct Intonation with a locking nut

yep, your strings probably don't even touch the nut, which is weird. check for the retainer-bar height, it has to be low enough to ensure the strings lay right onto the nut "bed":

retainer-bar:



if the strings don't touch the nut, set the retainer-bar lower:

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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-18-2010, 12:36 PM
 
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Re: Correct Intonation with a locking nut

Just how exactly are you intonating the guitar?

Here's how I do it: I use a chromatic tuner, and tune (for example) the low E string. Then, I hit the 12th fret harmonic. If the 12th fret harmonic is not in tune, you have to adjust the bridge saddle by loosening the string, loosening the addle, then moving it a bit closer or farther away. Then, tune back up to E, and hit that 12th fret harmonic again. If both of these notes are in tune, meaning that they both are identical as far as the chromatic tuner is concerned, you have tuned and intonated that string.

Now when you clamp down the nut, the strings will often go sharp -- this is normal and nothing to worry about. If this happens, then the fine tuner will allow you to tune it back to E.

The intonation is essentially (if I oversimplify) getting the right distance between the nut and the bridge saddle, regardless of tuning. If either of these is moving when you tighten that nut, there is a larger issue here.
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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-19-2010, 03:31 AM
 
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Re: Correct Intonation with a locking nut

That is not how you check intonation. Harmonics do not come into play.
Use these only if you don't have a tuner and need a quick ballpark check.
Also keep in mind, that you ears can fool you, resulting in a "just" tempered scale, rather than the 12step equal distance tempering used on a guitar (or piano etc.).

You need to check intonation at the last fret (eq 24th) but you have to fret the note. It is essential that you use the fretting pressure you would normally use. Perhaps use another location slightly higher up as well (eq 17th), to double check and to eliminate the effect of dead spots, a wonky fret, etc.

You're right about using a chromatic tuner, don't rely on your ears too much.

Quote:
The intonation is essentially (if I oversimplify) getting the right distance between the nut and the bridge saddle, regardless of tuning.
sorta yeah, but what you're really doing is making sure that the bridge to 24th fret distance is not the exact harmonic ratio (1:4) to the bridge to nut length, but slightly longer (1.xx : 4) to compensate for the inherent bending stiffness of the string as well as the fretting pressure (which pushes all fretted notes sharp).
Which is why the thicker the string the more you need to move the saddle back to reach perfect intonation.
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-19-2010, 06:38 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Correct Intonation with a locking nut

Quote:
Originally Posted by toneboy View Post
Ok, you keep saying your intonation is off when you lock down the nut but you never state precisely how much it is off by.

What brand of tuner are you using? What is its accuracy?
I use my ZOOM g2's built in tuner.
and when the nut is locked the intonation goes *slightly* sharp(after i fine-tune that is) i can't say how much because my tuner doest show Hertz..
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