Intonation at the first fret

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Brien Sz
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Intonation at the first fret

Post by Brien Sz » January 26th, 2018, 12:43 pm

Newbie here... For Christmas my wife bought me an Epiphone 335. Mind you, I'm in the beginner to touch more, area of playing. For two weeks I played and some of the chords - C, E, Am, F, sometimes D let alone single notes played significantly sharp. The Guitar Center guy said sometimes it takes time to break in. Fine Enough. Gave it ten days, investigated DIY intonation, tweaked the saddle and mostly brought in the 12th frets to play the same as the open. Better but not as much as I wanted.

I brought the guitar to Guitar Center for a complimentary set up and talked to the technician doing the work and told him my issues. He took the guitar, two days later, I pick it up. Better but the first fret notes are still sharp. Play F, it is sharp. Second fret is sharp but not as much and on and on. 5th fret notes are mostly matches to the open string (which was better than I could manage). Not sure what to investigate - Possible the nut isn't cut quite low enough? Thinking I may have to find an 'Individual' to do this... Thoughts?

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Alan Green
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Re: Intonation at the first fret

Post by Alan Green » January 27th, 2018, 12:32 am

There's nothing wrong with the nut. Lower the bridge if you want to adjust the ride height.

Intonation and exact pitch has in truth been lost to us sincethe 18th century. The distance in sound of one semitone is 114 cents but to avoid some "odd" sound intervals the equal temperament we use today has intervals of 100 cents. Your intonation is really only bang on at the 12th fret and the 7th.

To have a guitar with exact intonation everywhere you'd have to have frets in different positions on each string.

So; exactly how sharp is that 1st fret note?
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Brien Sz
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Joined: January 24th, 2018, 11:41 am

Re: Intonation at the first fret

Post by Brien Sz » January 27th, 2018, 5:14 am

3-4 red bars on my electronic tuners. I have two. The lower 3 strings sound sharper than the upper three but all are sharp - E, Am, C, F, sound too off for my liking. Bar chords up the neck and such are passable to fine.

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hippychip
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Re: Intonation at the first fret

Post by hippychip » January 28th, 2018, 5:57 am

Sounds to me like you are fretting the strings much too hard, since your problem worsens as you get closer to the nut. Try lightening you grip---the point is not to mash the string against the fretboard, but just to touch the top of the fret wire. I suggest playing for longer than a month before you start blaming the guitar for your inexperience.

Brien Sz
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Re: Intonation at the first fret

Post by Brien Sz » February 2nd, 2018, 4:24 am

You may be right... I do tend to be hard on the frets. I've noticed as I have played more that things seem to be sounding better. Still, a few notes and chords here and there are sharp - F in particular. I will give it some more time. Thanks for the insight.

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hippychip
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Re: Intonation at the first fret

Post by hippychip » February 2nd, 2018, 2:28 pm

Those guitars come with Medium Jumbo frets---a light touch is essential---keep practicing, and you will get it!

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