Welcome to our Community!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Related Discussions

Who's Online (0)

Intonation adjustment for just one string?

Hi, new guy here. I've been playing guitar for a long time but have only got into GJ in the last year or two and have just picked up my first GJ guitar - a second hand Harley Benton HBMC-500, which I've read some people suspect to be a rebadged Dell Arte. Nowhere near me sells any GJ guitars so I have no benchmark against which to compare it, but it sounds good to my ears and is entertaining to play. Just trying to get the setup correct at the moment, which is where I could do with some assistance:

I've read guides on here and followed the Bob Halo setup video on you tube, and I'm happy that the relief and the action are pretty much as he advised there (I have 3.0mm on the low E and 2.5mm on the high E). Now, the intonation on all the strings is ok except for the G string, which is (according to my Snark tuner) about 25% sharp (I think that corresponds to 1/8 of a tone) and is enough to sound a bit ugly higher up the neck. Is it possible to adjust the intonation on just that one string?

I've just restrung it with D'Addario 10-44 strings. I don't know what strings the previous owner had put on them but I'm guessing they're some type of Argentines. I also have a pack of Argentines 10-45 and the gauges of all the wound strings are slightly different to D'Addarios, so could that make such a difference?

Thanks for any advice :-)



  • pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
    Posts: 936
    Great Question, Hope someone has an understandable solution for this. I've got the same problem on the B string.

    Let's hear it "Please & Thank You" :question:
  • pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
    Posts: 936
    Great Question, Hope someone has an understandable solution for this. I've got the same problem on the B string.

    Let's hear it "Please & Thank You" :question:
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    I am not an expert, but I recently read that 1930s Gibson ES-150s were string and intonated with 13s, and that using different gauge strings could cause intonation issues. If that's the case, I would think it would apply as well to any other guitar. Maybe Bob or Craig could enlighten us if it's so, and if so, why.

    Is it possible that you just have a bad G-string? That's bad for a guitar player, but terrible if you are a stripper...
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • How are you determining the the 12th fret?

    What is the action height?
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • edited December 2013 Posts: 3,707
    Perhaps also you could post a pic of the bridge from above
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • bluetrainbluetrain Finland✭✭✭ Cach, Epiphone Triumph, Gibson ES-300
    Posts: 156
    It is possible to adjust the intonation for each string but it depends how wide is the top of the bridge. You just have to sand the edge of the bridge with a file to a direction that the string length between the nut and the bridge changes. Usually you can only make the string longer. I just did adjustment to one Dupont bridge and now the intonation in pretty good on all strings. If you end up doing this I suggest that you order a new Dupont bridge that is bit higher than the original and then sand the top of the bridge down to a height that you prefer and then you have some working area on top of the bridge where you can make the individual string intonation adjustments.
  • Hi, thanks for the replies.

    Yes, I measured the sharpness at the 12th fret, and the action on the G is just over 2.5 mm there (difficult to be more precise than that as I'm using metal ruler with 0.5mm markings).

    A bad G string? Not sure what to say ;-) The D'Addario G is a slightly heavier gauge than the Argentines, whereas the other wound D'Addarios are slightly lighter gauges than the Argentines. All only small differences though, but could that be a cause? I'll try them next anyway, but I was hoping not to have to change strings so quickly.

    A couple of photos are below if that helps. Regarding modifying the bridge, I guess I would need to start with a new one as suggested as the top of the bridge isn't particularly wide.

    Thanks for the help!


  • edited December 2013 Posts: 3,707
    Thanks for the pics. There are two ways to adjust for the sharpness on the B string. Every string gets stretched a bit when fretted, if the frets are high pressing hard can accentuate this. I am assuming that there is no weirdess about the 12 th fret. To confirm this if the intonation is also out on the 11 th fret.

    The B string needs to be a little longer when fretted so the bridge at the B string needs to be set back a bit. You could try a different brand of strings to see if that helps and also go up to 11's ....maybe try Argies or other brands. I suspect that given the amount of correction needed you will need to adjust at the bridge.

    Given that there doesn't seem to be enough material left on the bridge and the action is pretty low you will likely need to get a different bridge with the b string notch adjusted back by a luthier. There has to be enough material left on the blank to allow for a few mm of backset.

    I have a paper on correctly intonating a guitar. Done by a classical guitar playing physicist it is some 17 pages long with formulae to make your eyes water but it is correct. I have played one guitar set up this way and it was the best tempered guitar I have ever played.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Hi, thanks for the advice. No, nothing weird about the 12th fret - it gets progressively more out the further up the neck you go. I'll look at sourcing a new bridge then, although I think I'll play it as it is for a little while longer then see whether the other strings exhibit the same phenomenon first.

  • jonpowljonpowl Hercules, CA✭✭✭ Dupont MD-100, Altamira M01F
    edited December 2013 Posts: 636
    I'm going to jump in on a subject that is a bit out of my league and make a couple of suggestions. Before buying an expensive Dupont bridge, I would buy a couple of inexpensive rosewood bridges like these from China and experiment with them. First thing I would try, however, would be to shim the foot of the bridge on the treble side with a thin wafer of wood to raise the action a tad, which should increase the string length, and then proceed to adjust the bridge position, especially on the treble side, to get the treble strings in tune. I assume that over time the groove in the bridge gets deeper which shortens the string length and could change the intonation. A simple test would be to raise the G string with a piece of folded paper or a toothpick and see if that might bring it back in tune.

    From an article on adjusting intonation:
    Setting the intonation is the act of adjusting the length of the strings (by moving the bridge saddles) to compensate for the stretching of a string due to pushing it down to the fret board to produce a note.
    With the aid of an electronic or digital tuner, compare either the open string or the octave harmonic at the 12th fret with the fretted octave at the 12th fret. Use slight finger pressure, as any extra pressure ("articulation") will disrupt the accuracy of the adjustment. If the fretted note is sharp, move the saddle away from the pickups and fret board; if it is flat, move the saddle toward the pickups and fret board.
    If you periodically check your intonation, adjustments should rarely take more than a few minutes, provided you stick with the same tuning, action and string gauges. Check the intonation every time you change your strings, especially if you are changing tunings, gauges, or even brands. Even the slightest differences between sets of strings can make a noticeable difference.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Home  |  Forum  |  Blog  |  Contact  |  206-528-9873
The Premier Gypsy Jazz Marketplace
Banner Adverts
Sell Your Guitar
© 2021, all rights reserved worldwide.
Software: Kryptronic eCommerce, Copyright 1999-2021 Kryptronic, Inc. Exec Time: 0.045421 Seconds Memory Usage: 3.45079 Megabytes