Old 05-16-2019, 08:58 PM   #1
Tubeguy
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Default 335 guitar always out of tune?

Could not find guitar section so hopefully it's ok here in general one.

335's always sounds very slightly out of tune to me. I have genuine one and a copy and even when I borrow another one, they sound that way. Even more so when paired with single ended amp. All my other guitars always seem perfectly in tune. Maybe something about their sound is triggering my ears I don't know but it's bizarre. Anyone else?
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Old 05-16-2019, 09:04 PM   #2
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you might want to have a read over on Taylor guitars about the V Class bracing system and related articles by Andy Powers... the inventor of that...

reason for bothering is detailed explanations about intonation of guitars in general....

I have an older custom shop 335 and it seems as in tune as it should be... but then again it was set up by a really good guy... which makes all the diff when it comes to intonation.
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Old 05-16-2019, 09:28 PM   #3
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Go to a luthier with a good or better reputation
I have had a 335 from the 70's onward they are not out
by nature.
Could be something simple whatever. If you are not into
working a guitar over it is simpler and in most cases to just pay the dollars to a good person who knows what they are doing.
My 335 has an outstanding sound
despite having a tailpiece on the bridge these are often rubbished for sound this is not so with mine.
I used a luthier on my 335 only once, I have to say he did a beautiful job.
I have always with this one exception worked on my own guitars.
( I have many guitars and have been playing for around 44 years )
I agree with Hopi... and you have a really good guitar get it fixed.

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Old 05-16-2019, 11:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tubeguy View Post
Could not find guitar section so hopefully it's ok here in general one.

335's always sounds very slightly out of tune to me. I have genuine one and a copy and even when I borrow another one, they sound that way. Even more so when paired with single ended amp. All my other guitars always seem perfectly in tune. Maybe something about their sound is triggering my ears I don't know but it's bizarre. Anyone else?
I thought that was going to be the name of a song or album.

I've set up plenty of 335's and they dial right in like most guitars. Gibson were just notorious for the level of not quite finished (to be kind) some of their guitars left the factory. Get it setup by a competent luthier.
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Old 05-17-2019, 01:28 AM   #5
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I don't want to set the world on fire but..

It seems Gibson guitars originally used a wrong Temperament in their fret spacing,
not matching Equal Temperament nor other traditional approaches.

Later on they adopted the Vincenzo Galilei's "Rule of 18", but it's still an unprecise temperament:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yCLckbp8ps

Perhaps that's what you're hearing?

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Old 05-17-2019, 01:44 AM   #6
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No argument here Enzo that is probably why I use Melodyne sometimes
on my 335!
I still like Santana's sound from his early SG though regardless of
what his intonation was. It is a thing though if you have a great ear or play the guitar a heap that you quite naturally bring a string to pitch while playing.

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Oh I liked the video now there is a person who knows his stuff.
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Old 05-17-2019, 01:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grinder View Post
It is a thing though if you have a great ear or play the guitar a heap that you quite naturally bring a string to pitch while playing.
Right,
No guitar is ever fully in tune (except perhaps the ones with crooked frets?),
and it's probably part of the Gibson trademark sound afterall..
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ernzo View Post
I don't want to set the world on fire but..

It seems Gibson guitars originally used a wrong Temperament in their fret spacing,
not matching Equal Temperament nor other traditional approaches.

Later on they adopted the Vincenzo Galilei's "Rule of 18", but it's still an unprecise temperament:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yCLckbp8ps

Perhaps that's what you're hearing?
Yes and no.

Gibson originally used a 24.6" scale length, BUT it was assumed that it was 24.75", for a long time. Then, sometime during the Norlin era (late '70s/early '80s) 'they started putting the bridge 24.75" from the nut, but nobody told the guy who was cutting the frets slots, so some guitars went out with the bridge in the wrong place.I'd expect they've all been fixed by now, but you never know?
Most 'copies' have the 24.75" length, and presumably they put the frets in the right place?
Obviously, Gibson corrected the error - whther they went back to 24.6 or moved the frets to 24.75, I don't know, but whichever way they went, then, today, a brand new Gibson has 24.6" scale length with the frets in the right place.
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Old 05-17-2019, 04:17 AM   #9
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Loosening the original Grover on my 335(2008) it showed that drilled holes by Gibson factory were 0.6mm larger than to have a press fit of tuning machines.

As times goes, and wood because more dry - it can happend that tuning machines are not tight enough to remain stable.

So check out hex nut at each tuning machine so not loose.

I changed to Schaller Keystone tuning machines, and never looked back. Much lighter weight on headstock and whole instrument more resonant. Since hole was 10.4mm and base of tuner was 9.8mm I wrapped two turns of copper sheet metal I had to make press fit.

So what di they think at Gibson factory - we save a minute on every guitar drilling holes in heastock if we keep the same dimension as already in place - instead of changing to a proper one. Is that the standard for $3000 guitars????

Never had tuning issues though on the 335. Grover just slipped going forward/backwards too much. Bonus became the over all tone of the guitar.

The LP though was another matter - and gotten Keystone on those as well it was also improvement compared to Kluson originals where baseplate with gear of tuning machine takes all the heat holding pole steady.
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Old 05-17-2019, 08:57 AM   #10
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I thought you had three hundred and thirty five guitars that were never in tune. I don't have a solution for that problem. Even throwing money at it won't solve it if you can afford 335 of em.

Back on topic, how's the action on the ones you've played? Is it high enough that it could be the culprit?
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:20 AM   #11
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Give us an audio clip.
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:29 AM   #12
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I wanted to hear the recording of 335 out of tune guitars stacked up!
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:38 PM   #13
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Send it over to my house for a free inspection.
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Old 05-17-2019, 01:22 PM   #14
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how are you tuning the guitar, there are many ways







also check out intonation, if things sound okay in open chords but all whack farther up the fretboard
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Old 05-17-2019, 05:48 PM   #15
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I am off to a Aunties 94th
When I get back I will post a screen shot of a wave file (in Melodyne) taken at random of an unaltered 335 passage.
You can have a look see as to the trueness of the frets.

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Old 05-17-2019, 11:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reason View Post

Back on topic, how's the action on the ones you've played? Is it high enough that it could be the culprit?
Yes, the ABR bridge is a horror as well.
Change to TonePro or Schaller give you more adjustment to actually intonate the guitar - whatever action.

Some luthiers overall talk about compensated nuts - that take care of some inconsistencies that most guitars suffer from.

Search YT and here is one
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=237vjZmWWy4
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Old 05-18-2019, 03:09 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reason View Post
I thought you had three hundred and thirty five guitars that were never in tune.
Haha! So I wasn't the only one who thought of that just by reading the thread title!
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:48 AM   #18
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Hehehe I've just noticed my own title LOL. I'll see if I can fix that.
.................ok there we go :-)
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Old 05-18-2019, 07:02 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grinder View Post
It is a thing though if you have a great ear or play the guitar a heap that you quite naturally bring a string to pitch while playing.
That's exactly what I do. But there is actually nothing wrong with it, I know how to set intonation and everything else. Been doing it for 30 years.
But they do sound a little of tune to me. Most people I can't hear it but I did find some people that can. Maybe it's in the "bite" they have when amp gets driven harder that's why is more obvious with SE amps. Maybe my SE amps are out of tune?
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Old 05-18-2019, 07:08 AM   #20
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Larger frets than you're used to?


I would suggest because it's a set neck you're leaning forward on the neck, or you have a particularly floppy one. Otherwise there would be no reason a 335 would be more out of tune than a Les Paul or any other equal temperment guitar.
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Old 05-18-2019, 04:40 PM   #21
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Here is a little Melodyne file of two Barr chords played very strongly
part of a sequence on my 70's 335 I think the pitch is pretty good
no alterations by Melodyne just to get a screen shot

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Attached Images
File Type: png 335s.png (57.6 KB, 48 views)
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Old 05-19-2019, 04:32 PM   #22
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I currently don't own a 335 anymore. But i do have a Midtown Custom from the original run. It is basically a 335. With that said, I have set up countless 335s and 335 style guitars.

The nut is so overlooked in the guitar world. And it is the secret to super pro action and sound. Gibson cuts all of their nut slots to high. If you cut them to high, they can never be to low!

If you frets are all level (very important), you can have a tech (not a GC tech) cut the slot action super low. And he will cut it and set it for the strings you like to use.

A 335 really needs to have zero relief. Yes, I know what the internet and magazines say. But the guy who literally wrote the book on guitar repair Dan Erlewine even remmonds a straight neck with no relief now.

So, with level frets, set the neck totally straight, and THEN cut the nut slot action down very low. Feed the strings in backwards on the stop piece (it is no secret why the inside is cut to hole a string ball like the outside is). And wrap the strings over the stop piece.
The break angle is to steep feeding in from the back, and raising the stop piece is dumb. Screw it all the way down and wrap the strings over. This gives you just the right amount of break angle over the saddles.

Make sure your action is set pretty low. At least 3/64ths Treble side and 4/64ths bass side. Lower the pickups to far down so they won't pull on the strings.

Intonate the guitar on a GOOD tuner. Not a clip on or anything. Once you have the guitar intonated, always tune it using 12th fret harmonics.

With the picks still to low. Hold a note on the 1st string, 15th fret. While it rings raise the bridge pickup until the note starts to ring clear and smooth. No warble sound, that means you are to close to the string.
Then play the 12th fret, 6th string. Raise the pickup until it rings clear. Now your pickup is optimized for tone and will not affect the intonation. Then do the same for the neck pickup. If the neck pickup turn out to be louder than the bridge, lower the pickup until it is balanced with the bridge.

Your guitar should play great, sounds great, and sound very intune. My method for setting the pickup height should really knock your socks off. It will make a $100 guitar sing for 3 days....
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Old 05-19-2019, 04:46 PM   #23
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I love the Poisoning the Well fallacy with the idea that a "genuine" 335 would make it more likely to be decent.

In reality a cheap 100 dollar modern Korean guitar would be much much much tighter in tolerance than an original 335
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:09 PM   #24
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I agree with that. Today's cheap guitar tolerances are controlled by computer in manufacturing so probably better than hand made ones.
Frankly with my real and copy one, I can't tell any difference when it comes to being in tune. But vintage copies like 70's etc, lot of them were utter crap not even made of real wood but plywood. Yes I have my first guitar on the wall, Les Paul "look a like". it's a plywood thing and it is and cost me a lot back than. But some were made well like the Jap Strats, they just don't have genuine Fender sound and feel stiff. Cheap guitars are in general far better today, often good enough to substitute for real deal like my 335 copy.
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:29 PM   #25
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I have noticed it too that some guitars have a sort of out of tuneness in the attack, which can be cool for some playing styles, such as old blues or rock n roll stuff. Maybe yours is one of those and is just a bad fit for your playing style.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tubeguy View Post
Maybe my SE amps are out of tune?
Single-ended amps have a different harmonic structure when overdriven than push-pull amps. I never found a single-ended amp that I really like the sound of, but I haven't tried a bunch, since of the ones that I have tried I didn't like. For example, I didn't really understand the whole Valve Junior craze, however many years ago that was. Those amps sounded like ass to me.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:27 AM   #26
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3x3 guitars with steep headstock angles always stay in tune slightly worse than other guitars - it's a design flaw but can be made better with nut work etc. Every single guitar I have that falls into that category will not "stay" in tune as well as say my strats - this was also true when I had to keep roughly 500 guitars in tune on a daily basis. But you said in tune period, so...

Where and how is it not in tune? No western instrument with frets etc. can be fully in tune everywhere. Setting pickups too high will pull wound strings out of tune (especially around the area of low E/A strings around the 10th fret). Intonation needs to be set with the pressure one plays the guitar. One should tune based on the note lenghts they play, IOW, if you hit a note and let it ring for 20 seconds and tune to that, but don't play like that, you'll be tuning a tad sharper than the performance needs. Lots of reasons so where, when and how is it out of tune assuming I didn't miss it above. And of course those who's primary instrument isn't guitar always seem to fret too hard.

That said, I do own guitars that simply cannot be adjusted to be as in tune across the board as other guitars I own, regardless of nutwork, intonation, string height and so on, they just can't.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:46 AM   #27
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I've got a Mexi Strat that sounds a bit off if I tune to A=440, but one day I tuned by ear, listening for the least "wobbly" pitches I could find for each string and it turns out that guitar simply prefers to be tuned to around A=444. There is just more stability and fullness in the sound.

Of course there's all kinds of conspiracy theory surrounding the historical choice of 440, but in the end it's arbitrary. Certain instruments will naturally benefit from a slightly higher or lower tuning.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:47 AM   #28
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With the picks still to low. Hold a note on the 1st string, 15th fret. While it rings raise the bridge pickup until the note starts to ring clear and smooth. No warble sound, that means you are to close to the string.
Then play the 12th fret, 6th string. Raise the pickup until it rings clear. Now your pickup is optimized for tone and will not affect the intonation. Then do the same for the neck pickup. If the neck pickup turn out to be louder than the bridge, lower the pickup until it is balanced with the bridge.

Your guitar should play great, sounds great, and sound very intune. My method for setting the pickup height should really knock your socks off. It will make a $100 guitar sing for 3 days....
Really interesting way to set pickup height, never saw this before, but it makes a lot of sense. Gonna give it a try on my strats. Thanks.

FWIW, one thing that I found that helps with keeping a guitar in tune, especially with guitars with floating bridges, is when you change strings, place a little bees wax or chapstick on the saddles where they make contact with the strings, and then rub the lead from a mechanical pencil in the nut slots. I do that religiously even though the nuts in my strats are graphite. I have the bridges floating on both of my strats and they stay in tune pretty well even after major dive bombings.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:55 AM   #29
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Really interesting way to set pickup height, never saw this before, but it makes a lot of sense. Gonna give it a try on my strats. Thanks.
PUs too close can pull on the mass of the string and warble it out of tune but only in certain places on the neck. My personal version is to fret a D5 bar chord on the 5th and 6th strings and lower PUs until the warble goes away. Not knowing this is maddening because you can have a perfectly intonated guitar that sounds like it needs the intonation set when in reality the PUs are too close.
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Old 05-20-2019, 10:12 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by karbomusic View Post
PUs too close can pull on the mass of the string and warble it out of tune but only in certain places on the neck. My personal version is to fret a D5 bar chord on the 5th and 6th strings and lower PUs until the warble goes away. Not knowing this is maddening because you can have a perfectly intonated guitar that sounds like it needs the intonation set when in reality the PUs are too close.
Another good suggestion. What do you do about pickup height under the 1st string, set the height slightly higher on that side?

EDIT: Oh wait, you're barring the chord. NEVERMIND!!!!!!

2nd Edit: OK, so I played around with adjusting the heights based on the suggestions above and I ended up with the pups being set a little higher than before. Sounds good, but I did notice my intonation was a tad bit flat easily adjusted, but does it sound right that if you set intonation at one pup height, then raise the pups, the intonation will go slightly flat, or would a raise in the pup heights typically cause the intonation to go a bit sharp? Seems to me if the magnets are pulling a little harder on the strings, the intonation would go a tad bit sharper.

Sorry for hijacking the thread TubeGuy.

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Old 05-20-2019, 10:39 AM   #31
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Quote:
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EDIT: Oh wait, you're barring the chord. NEVERMIND!!!!!!
Right! If I change PU height, that is usually the first thing I check because it will tell me if they are too close. If so, back off the height until it goes away.
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Old 05-20-2019, 12:01 PM   #32
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When you have intonation mysteries (beyond some of the things mentioned already)...

Check the nut setup closely!
The nut is the zero fret and needs to be the same height as the following frets.

A little too high on the strings and you're bending sharp on the first 2 frets.

A little sloppy on the installation (cocked at an angle for example) can throw tuning further than you might think.

Check that the highest point the string sits on is the back (towards the neck) edge of the nut. If the back edge is rounded a little and makes the string contact forward of that back edge... there's your mystery!

Check the crowning on the frets. Wide frets with the crown skewed to one side or the other vs. the nut location can skew things out.
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:45 PM   #33
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A little off topic, but I sometimes feel that floating bridges are a little thready on tuning at times. I don't play guitar, but when I'm recording them, I sometimes feel that even guitars with a good Floyd Rose system sound just a bit loosey goosey on tuning, not when the trem is being used, but just while playing/picking.
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:57 PM   #34
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I've often thought I hear electric guitars sounding distinctly out of tune through the amp, but sounding in-tune when unplugged.
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:10 PM   #35
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I have an epiphone 335 and it's main tuning problem is how flexible the neck is. Doesn't take much of a push to throw it out.
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:19 PM   #36
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Quote:
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A little off topic, but I sometimes feel that floating bridges are a little thready on tuning at times. I don't play guitar, but when I'm recording them, I sometimes feel that even guitars with a good Floyd Rose system sound just a bit loosey goosey on tuning, not when the trem is being used, but just while playing/picking.
Ive written volumes and made piles of videos about the floyd.

I wont buy a guitar without one, but as an engineer, I won't normally record a fully floating floyd for any rhythm part. Makes some big arguments in the studio, and projects I turn away, but its one of my deal/no deal things

The fully floating floyd comes to rest when string tension = spring tension. No matter how much pretend experts claim otherwise, and how many tricks they pretend to have to break that relationship, its the truth. Period.

Bend a string, watch the tremolo dump forward

palm mute a string, look at the pitch now

PICK a string and watch the tremolo
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Old 05-26-2019, 02:37 PM   #37
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Advance from record company, 1978. Guitarist switches his Ibanez for a USA made, Gibson SG, you know, Jimmy Page. Could he EVER get it in tune? To a Hohner clavinet?
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Old 05-27-2019, 02:58 AM   #38
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Default 335 guitar out of tune

As some have said, your nut requires attention. This is my procedure:

First, straighten your neck with a truss rod adjust - use a good reference for "straight". its the wood fret board that needs to be straight btw. Hopefully this is same/similar to your frets.

Second, lower the pickups way down. Almost falling off the screws.

Third, adjust the intonation at 12th fret using the harmonic and fretted note. Reaper's tuner is pretty good (Reatune).

Fourth, lube your nut. Pencil graphite (6B or softer is good) with a smidgen of petroleum jelly is good.

After this, re-string and tune up and slowly adjust the truss rod to eliminate buzz. Then raise the pickups with the guitar plugged in and amplified. Raise to the balance wanted but make sure the pickups don't pull the strings (you will hear this at some point when you get the PU close to the strings, more so on the neck PU).

***

If you still have tuning issues, look at your nut - it should be cut just low enough. How low? You may need to dialogue with a luthier on this. How off are notes on your 1st fret? Use a tuner to evaluate this.

Then look at your frets - do they need to be leveled? I've had a luthier do one guitar and I've had another PLEK-ed. PLEK was better for my money.

If all this fails, you can get a compensated nut.

If this doesn't work then play (slide) in open G!

***

While at the luthier, do have him look at the actual fret placement. You never know.

Good luck!
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:09 AM   #39
Nip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzzgrowl View Post
Third, adjust the intonation at 12th fret using the harmonic and fretted note. Reaper's tuner is pretty good (Reatune).

After this, re-string and tune up and slowly adjust the truss rod to eliminate buzz. Then raise the pickups with the guitar plugged in and amplified. Raise to the balance wanted but make sure the pickups don't pull the strings (you will hear this at some point when you get the PU close to the strings, more so on the neck PU).
I just object to order of things a bit in what you say:

Moving neck relief also change intonation - and will try to explain why.

Where neck meet body, there is no adjustment of tounge over body at all.

So the fix point, pivot point, is where truss rod stop - and tighten or loosen - will move the neck in an arc from that point.

If pivot point were at the bridge - it would be a perfect arc with same distance to bridge, but it isn't since pivot point for truss rod is not at bridge.

This means that distance from nut to bridge change tightening/loosening truss rod, a little, but enough to need adjustment.

This is very obvious on acoustic guitars in general - since bridge saddle is one piece and not so easy to adjust again without making a new saddle.

My order of adjustment is basically this to get optimal setup, if we talk electric guitar

How low can strings go - that is defined by fretboard tounge over body. So you can lower bridge until you don't get a clean note anymore on those frets - often 14-22 or so.

When this is done, can you stand the buzz of the rest of neck?

Straighten truss rod until as acceptable as can be, and also raise bridge if needed - on treble and bass side separately testing on 1st and 6th string - and the rest in between.

I usually test neck relief by fretting 6th string with pinky left hand on first fret, then with pinky on 15th fret right hand - and then bounce thumb right hand at 7th fret and see if string moves and how much.

Usually thickness of first or second strings is good guide how much bow in neck works optimum. But also personal taste, some prefer all straight neck and raise action instead.

On bass distance is too far for one hand to do two frettings, so do a capo on first fret and do 15th and 7th with each hand.

Then look at nut - fret on third and look how much higher than needed are the slots in nut. But since it also affect how far distance string gets all over neck - be careful and don't go lower than 0.5mm or so.

Now do intonation - then nothing that affect it in setup will change it.

If being optimum setup and still on one fret or so there is buzz guitar might need a fret sanding job. But then you need a slotted straight bar to get neck perfectly straight first - and then do sanding and all that. Some guitars even need to create a fall off of fretboard tounge over guitar body - to be as perfect as can be.

I bought one guitar, that owner had used for slide and obviously hit frets every now and then - and second string all over neck had dents in fretwires. That was a tricky one - I left that to a good luthier.

All this is needed at some time over a guitars life cycle - but special case.

That's just about it....have fun...
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