Intonation problem with new strings. Help.

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
-Z-
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:40 pm

Intonation problem with new strings. Help.

Post by -Z- » Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:25 am

It may be a silly question but recently I bought a set of Ambra 2000 and got HORRIBLE intonation issues, my guitar was no longer playable, however, turns out my bridge is pressed against the soundboard by the strings and not glued, so it is moveable. I moved it a bit outwards, sliding some millimetres to the opposite direction from the neck ( to the right on the players point of view) and the strings are intonating way better now, It is finally playable!!! Does it have any undesirable side effects?

Also some open strings tend to sound a little sharp if sustained, is it related to the nut? how do I solve this?

jim watts
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Re: Intonation problem with new strings. Help.

Post by jim watts » Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:40 am

Concerning the movable bridge:
Measure from the nut to the 12th fret, add 2mm to that measurement. The results are the distance the bridge should be from the 12th fret to the middle of the saddle. Place it as accurately as you can. Some minor tweaking may still be necessary, but this should get you very close.
I'm guessing if you do that, the world will be good again.

John higgon
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Re: Intonation problem with new strings. Help.

Post by John higgon » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:14 am

Good advice from Jim. Just to clarify, the distance from nut to fret 12 + 2mm is used to calculate the distance from the saddle to fret 12, in case you were wondering. Very unusual to have a bridge on a classical guitar that is moveable. You might want to get a luthier to glue it in place!

John higgon
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Re: Intonation problem with new strings. Help.

Post by John higgon » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:15 am

Sorry, Jim, just re-read your pos and you mentioned the saddle in it. I'm just out of my bed - brain no up and running yet...

-Z-
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Re: Intonation problem with new strings. Help.

Post by -Z- » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:30 pm

John higgon wrote:Good advice from Jim. Just to clarify, the distance from nut to fret 12 + 2mm is used to calculate the distance from the saddle to fret 12, in case you were wondering. Very unusual to have a bridge on a classical guitar that is moveable. You might want to get a luthier to glue it in place!


It is a peculiar project by the luthier, it is supposed to be moveable, according to him the soundboard vibrates better this way, he calls this model the " new architecture", if you wish I can provide further information.

-Z-
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Re: Intonation problem with new strings. Help.

Post by -Z- » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:53 pm

jim watts wrote:Concerning the movable bridge:
Measure from the nut to the 12th fret, add 2mm to that measurement. The results are the distance the bridge should be from the 12th fret to the middle of the saddle. Place it as accurately as you can. Some minor tweaking may still be necessary, but this should get you very close.
I'm guessing if you do that, the world will be good again.


My guitar came with this little utensil to measure the right distance where the bridge should be placed.
The problem was that with the Ambra 2000 it didn't intonate well with the standard measure, so I modified this a bit as you can see by the gap in the picture.
17354713_10208933829208876_1839739444_n.jpg

Standard measure should look like this, (no gap between the apparatus and the saddle) but didn't work well with the new strings.
17352735_10208933832688963_1483000273_n.jpg

My concern was if I could just play around with it as I please, so to make the strings intonate well? cuz if I return to my previous strings model I'll have to set it back to the standard measures right?
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geoff-bristol
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Re: Intonation problem with new strings. Help.

Post by geoff-bristol » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:18 pm

So where exactly do the string attach to ? Is it a tailpiece like an archtop ?

-Z-
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Re: Intonation problem with new strings. Help.

Post by -Z- » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:07 pm

geoff-bristol wrote:So where exactly do the string attach to ? Is it a tailpiece like an archtop ?


Yes it is.

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petermc61
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Re: Intonation problem with new strings. Help.

Post by petermc61 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:29 pm

I find the concept of a movable bridge bizarre. Having to set it up each time you change strings, and if it is not quite right having to slacken the strings and apparently move it randomly by trial and error? Life is just too short for that.

-Z-
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Re: Intonation problem with new strings. Help.

Post by -Z- » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:52 pm

petermc61 wrote:I find the concept of a movable bridge bizarre. Having to set it up each time you change strings, and if it is not quite right having to slacken the strings and apparently move it randomly by trial and error? Life is just too short for that.


I never had any problem with that, it's pretty easy to set up with the piece of wood displayed on the pictures. The thing is that my current strings didn't intonate well. And some open strings are still going a bit sharp if sustained, that is the main problem. Painful at it is, I might have to switch to another model of strings... but I'm liking them... I'm going insane.

Dave M
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Re: Intonation problem with new strings. Help.

Post by Dave M » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:54 pm

Well not quite bizarre. Many archtops have movable bridges with strings anchored at the tail, as did many early instruments.

I recall that Macaferri used fixed 'wings' to indicate the bridge position on his designs.
Dave

jim watts
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Re: Intonation problem with new strings. Help.

Post by jim watts » Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:06 pm

Did you move to a higher tension string? That can cause intonation problems also.

-Z-
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Re: Intonation problem with new strings. Help.

Post by -Z- » Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:33 pm

jim watts wrote:Did you move to a higher tension string? That can cause intonation problems also.


The Ambra 2000 is supposed to be normal tension, but they seems to be harder than my previous high tension strings. The issue now is only with open strings.

jim watts
Posts: 252
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 7:19 pm
Location: Los Alamos, NM, USA

Re: Intonation problem with new strings. Help.

Post by jim watts » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:02 pm

Z, I'm not quite sure how to state this and I'm not trying to be offensive, but the open strings cannot be the problem. They are canonical to the set up. That is everything starts from the open string.
Another approach for you is to tune the open string and then adjust the bridge position until the fretted note at the 12th fret matches (an octave higher) the open string. If the fretted note is sharp move the bridge back and check again, re-tuning the open string each time. If it's flat, move the bridge closer to the nut.
Do this for the two E strings. If the other string are off after this exercise the shape of the saddle will need to be changed.
This is the exercise the builder went through in order to determine the original saddle location and saddle shape.

-Z-
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:40 pm

Re: Intonation problem with new strings. Help.

Post by -Z- » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:34 pm

jim watts wrote:Z, I'm not quite sure how to state this and I'm not trying to be offensive, but the open strings cannot be the problem. They are canonical to the set up. That is everything starts from the open string.
Another approach for you is to tune the open string and then adjust the bridge position until the fretted note at the 12th fret matches (an octave higher) the open string. If the fretted note is sharp move the bridge back and check again, re-tuning the open string each time. If it's flat, move the bridge closer to the nut.
Do this for the two E strings. If the other string are off after this exercise the shape of the saddle will need to be changed.
This is the exercise the builder went through in order to determine the original saddle location and saddle shape.


Fretted notes are All OK now, the problem is for example, if a semibreve is played is easily noticed that the pitch goes a bit sharp mid bar and it happens with open strings only. I asked if there is an easy fix like I did on the bridge, cuz taking it to a luthier is very time and energy consuming due to the location I live and certain personal conditions... so I wouldn't take it to a professional unless is really, really necessary.
Thanks

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