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sudden intonation failure


(@almann1979)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1283
Topic starter  

last summer i bought an SG copycat guitar which had a few raised frets and needed work. i left it a while before i got round to taking it to a guitar shop for this work and a full set up. i was very happy on collecting it, especially with the intonation.

fast forward to last week, and it still played well, the suddenly (extrememly suddenly), the intonation has become very strange.
i can tune it using an electronic tuner and the open strings are fine. strangley though, when i fret the first fret on the e string, i get a very sharp F - nealy a full half step out (this problem is on all strings).
even more strangely, this problem lessens down the neck and around the 12th fret and above the intonation is perfect. obviously, i cannot play chords in tune, it is only good for lead playing high up the neck.

if i change the intonation myself so that the 1st fret plays and F, then the open string is out of tune :x

The only thing i can think of that might have contributed to this is that i have recently placed my guitars on wall hangers, but none of the others have been effected - i dont know anything about guitar maintainance or repair, but if i had to guess i would say it is probably a badly made guitar and the truss rod has done something odd due to being hung on the wall.

it is pretty useless at the minute - which is depressing.
i hope this rings a bell with somebody here and the answer is obvious.
help me obi wan, your my only hope :D ........??

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


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(@nicktorres)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 5468
 

Sounds like a screw came loose, assuming the neck is screwed in.


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(@citizennoir)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1248
 

Hmmmm....

About the only thing that I can think of right off (based on remembering my old SG's build),
is that perhaps by putting it in the wall hanger (I don't know where the headstock sits in the hanger)
that it may have pushed the nut loose.... if the nut came loose and got pused backward (futhur from the bridge),
that would cause the strings to 'lengthen' and make it go sharp.

Why it wouldn't affect the intonation above the 12th fret....?
Dunno - got me there.

Ken

"The man who has begun to live more seriously within
begins to live more simply without"
-Ernest Hemingway

"A genuine individual is an outright nuisance in a factory"
-Orson Welles


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(@almann1979)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1283
Topic starter  

cheers guys, its an absolute mystery (and mysery) to me.
citizenoir - (im ashamed to ask this) what do you mean by "the nut"??

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


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(@gnease)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5058
 

sounds like a severe case of the nut slots not cut deep enough or somehow the nut has raised up off the neck. intonation would be worst at lower frets and improve up the neck.

the nut is the plastic/bone/graphite or other mystery material thingy that supports the strings at the headstock end of the neck. see here: http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Nuts,_saddles/String_nuts.html

-=tension & release=-


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(@jeffster1)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 231
 

Another idea might be the truss rod. It sounds like it might be out too much to be the truss rod, but I had a guitar that had a busted truss rod and the bow in the neck caused high action and therefore fretted notes were pulling sharp. Has the action changed at all?


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(@almann1979)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1283
Topic starter  

not noticeably to my fingers, although it is not my main guitar, so i might not notice slight changes.
if it is the truss rod, do you think it can just be retightend or would it be broken??

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


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(@jeffster1)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 231
 

not noticeably to my fingers, although it is not my main guitar, so i might not notice slight changes.
if it is the truss rod, do you think it can just be retightend or would it be broken??

The nut problem is more likely, I just thought I'd throw that idea out there in case. Typically if the neck was bowed enough to cause that much "sharpening" it would be pretty obvious. You could try adjusting the truss rod anyway. If it just feels like you're turning a screw with no resistance, your truss rod is probably broken. If there's resistance, try to adjust it. If you don't know how to do this, read up or take it to a tech as a broken truss rod is almost always the end of the instrument.


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(@gnease)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5058
 

if you aren't noticing any diff in the action -- and the action seems reasonable, prob not the truss rod. a broken truss rod in a thin, mahogany neck is pretty catastrophic event.

-=tension & release=-


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(@almann1979)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1283
Topic starter  

cheers guys. ive checked the nut, and no obvious difference, but as far as truss rod, i wouldnt want to mess with that.
nick - it is a screwed in neck, ill check that - althought i wouldnt be sure what to look for.
thanks for the very quick replies guys. if i cant diagnose it from what you said ill check it into the guitar doctors and let you know what they said the problem was. thanks guys. much appreciated

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


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(@rparker)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5492
 

I got nothing to offer, but I can't wait to hear what it is. Intonation getting better down the neck. Odd.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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(@u2bono269)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1188
 

maybe i'm oversimplifying but maybe you just need a change of strings. Some weird weird things happen on my Martin when the strings get really old.

http://www.brianbetteridge.com


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(@almann1979)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1283
Topic starter  

to be honest u2bono, that is a very good point, i have not tried changing them, and it has been a while, but the change in intonation has been so sudden i.e one day it is fine, the next it is not - that i doubt it could be the strings - but i will try.

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


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(@trguitar)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3711
 

Sounds nutty to me ...... ummmm.... seriously, sounds like an issue with the nut.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


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