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  • INTONATION ISSUES??

    Howdy all & the best to everyone!!
    Okay, I have a dear & trusted Strat than has been my #1 'go to' guitar for the better part of 43 yrs., an early to mid 60's Fender rosewood board, & jumbo'ish frets that are nicely, evenly worn & flat like my nice LP Standard,,, The neck is straight & properly bowed, & I really haven't been using it at all, & was away perfectly intoned. Let's take the G string,, it strobes perfectly at the 5th fret harmonic after I've done the 12th harmonic, & it sounds fine when I do an open E or G chord, but once I fret down on that G string, down at the lower frets, it's rather, no, very sharp, but the sharpness gets 'flatter' as I approach the 10th or so fret, as to where it's almost normal, or close enuff for RnR, but no-go!! My Virgo ears won't give up until I'm on board with that universal A440,,, The other strings, not all, do this as well~ it's NOT my trem., & the ONLY thing I could possibly think it be is a new pre-slotted Tusq nut I put in a few months back, & it might be a little high,,, not uncomfortable or noticeable, but high enuff to put it out of tune,,, again, it getting much better as I go up the neck, & my action is so low that high-up, I'm hardly using any real pressure to get the string to the fingerboard, whereas down low, the string(s) have a longer way to travel to see fret & board...
    For those who stuck through & read (& followed) my post, & thanks in advance for any help and/or remedies.
    Peace & good times to all~

    fwiw, I'm not using that locking bolt,, & i feel strong by my supposition,,, that's trouble indeedee Click image for larger version  Name:	Screenshot_20201111-231103_Gallery.jpg Views:	5 Size:	31.3 KB ID:	6051506
    Last edited by zozoe; 01-26-2021, 05:15 PM.

  • #2
    Pre-slotted doesn't mean it's instantly set up correctly. Could need some work to get it set to the right level. You mentioned your frets are worn flat; that changes the height. You're overall description makes it sound like the neck is back-bowed or underbowed maybe. That's an after market bridge - hard to tell if the saddles are positioned correctly - that could also be a factor. Being sharp low down but closer to in tune up high sounds like the bridge and neck aren't set up right for the scale length, or the neck itself it out of position, either it has a shim or has been knocked sideways. Might need to loosen the neck bolts and straighten the neck? If you changed string weight, or haven't done a set up in a long time, the whole thing could just need a full top to bottom set up.

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    • #3
      Hi BeauB,,, I have been using this guitar, & only this guitar, every gig, every stage & studio, with that lovely Wonderbar & locking nut,,, 1977 Max's Kansas City & most of NYC clubs, & never, never have had an issue. The guitar has been w/me all along, cased, climate controlled, & never in storage.... the frets aren't flat like a LP Custom, but way more chunky & not that high, but definitely not crowned.... feels & plays like a pampered 56 yr. old neck....

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      • #4
        Sounds to me like your nut likely is high enough to cause problems.
        As you move further up the neck, tuning gets better because it's farther from the nut.

        Try fretting a note at the 3rd fret (ie: between 2nd & 3rd) and check the clearance between string and 1st fret.
        This gap should be paper-thin, and I bet on yours it's larger than that.


        PS: 12th-fret harmonic and 5th-fret harmonic will always be in tune with each other regardless of how the intonation's set.
        To check intonation you need to fret notes. I use 3rd fret vs 15th fret. Since your nut's iffy, you can also use 7th and 19th.
        IMO the two-fretted-notes method is preferable to checking harmonic vs fretted at the 12th, the way most of us used to do it.
        .
        "My hovercraft is full of eels."

        .

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        • #5
          If the strings are too high at the nut, you will never get the guitar to stay in tune. When you play, you are making the strings go sharp at both ends.

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          • #6
            Proper nut slot height is crucial. Sounds like that is the root of your troubles.
            The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.

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            • #7
              BINGO folks!! On my way home, I was able to squeeze in3 YouTube tutorials on 'how to', and though I already knew the process they all outlined, BUT one video mentioned that I need to lower all the of the pickups to avoid any tonal & magnetic pulls, and proceed from there... I got out some new strings, lowered all the pups (2 P90's & a beefy SDS-1), and removed the new nut, compared the string height, and the new nut was at least a whole millimeter higher!! So, out with the new, in with the old, and VOILA!!,, back to the guitar & perfect intonation this guitar had for decades!!

              Now I just need to know how to shave down the new curved nut ever so slightly.

              Thanks all for your kind help!!

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              • #8
                So was it the nut or pickups?
                EHD
                Just here surfing Guitar Pron
                RG2EX1 w/ SD hot-rodded pickups / RG4EXFM1 w/ Carvin S22j/b + FVN middle
                SR500 / Martin 000CE-1/Epiphone Hummingbird
                Epiphone Florentine with OEM Probuckers
                Ehdwuld branded Blue semi hollow custom with JB/Jazz
                Reptile Green Gibson Custom Studio / Aqua Dean Shire semi hollow with piezo
                Carvin Belair / Laney GC80A Acoustic Amp (a gift from Guitar Player Mag)
                GNX3000 (yea I'm a modeler)

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                • #9
                  Ok, so question,,, when replacing a flat-bottomed nut, I got the successful grinding thing down, but how does one do this to a nut with a 7.5 radius, or just leave & simply have the slots further shaped to taste? I'm an ace with the Dremel,,, would that be a viable way of knocking 1 millimeter off the curved bottom?
                  Thnx again all~



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                  • #10
                    You don't grind off the BOTTOM of the nut. You use the appropriate tools (usually files of some kind) to make the individual string slots lower until the string is the correct measure from the 1st fret.

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                    • #11
                      Gotcha, ICT,, Not owning said set of files, I'll leave this for a technical & experienced pal~
                      Thnx

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