Setting up fixed bridge saddles for new string gauges.

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Wolfos, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. Wolfos

    Wolfos Guitarded

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    Beginner question I'm sure but I dont normally mess with my guitars set up too much if I dont have to.

    My 7 string came to me in drop G# tuning with a low .070 string. I found it too beefy and felt it didnt have as much attack through my amp as my other strings.

    I have since switched the .070 string down to a .064 string and it "sounds" much better but it also sounds like my intonation is out.

    Before I go making changes based on my assumptions I thought I would ask which way to move my saddle to compensate for the thinner string.

    I am guessing I need to tighten the screw to shorten the saddle up, putting more tension on the string because its thinner.

    Is this correct?

    Thanks!
     
  2. IGC

    IGC OCDG

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    For intonation to be correct, the saddle needs to be set to the correct scale length of the guitars fret board. Who ever made your guitar cut the fret slots based off of his/her original intended scale length /lengths for that guitar. :D
     
  3. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    If sharp, move saddle away from fretboard. If flat, move saddle towards the fretboard.
     
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  4. Wolfos

    Wolfos Guitarded

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    Ok, thank you I was kind of thinking that. Sevenstring has become my new Google for these kind of questions lol.
     
  5. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Not exactly.

    Scale length determines fret placement. Intonation compensates for a specific string gauge and tuning on that scale length.
     
  6. Sogradde

    Sogradde SS.org Regular

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    "Setting up intonation" means you adjust your strings scale length to the actual scale length of the guitar. Your reference point for this is usually the open string and the 12th fret. Your goal is to have the open string read an E (for example) and to also have an E at the 12th fret. If your 12th fret is lower than the octave of your open string, your string scale is too long i.e. you have to loosen the saddle screw. If your 12th fret is higher than the octave of your open string, your string scale is too short and you have to tighten the saddle screw.
    You want the center of the string scale to sit right on top of the 12th fret, that's all.
     
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  7. IGC

    IGC OCDG

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    I'm confused where did you get this information?
     
  8. Sogradde

    Sogradde SS.org Regular

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    What information?
     
  9. IGC

    IGC OCDG

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    I was asking max of metal...about the string gauge intonaton thingie, but any how Nevermind. Yeah adjust the saddle forward or backward based off the 12 fret octave tuner gauge reading (sharper/flatter vice versa) when the OPEN string is tuned to E or A or whatever string you are trying to tune.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
  10. Wolfos

    Wolfos Guitarded

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    Yes, in an uneducated, estimated way this is what I was doing haha. I wasn't specifically hitting the 12th fret, but I was gauging how chords sounded after the open strings were in tune. Also, because I dropped down my string gauge from .070 to .064 I naturally assumed I had to loosen the screw to extend the scale a bit.

    Thank you for explaining it for me, now I know the methodology behind it. I ended up being out just a tad still after trying your 12th fret thing so now I'm 100% bang on!
     
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  11. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    The scale is the scale, it determines fret placement. Your logic behind wanting to lengthen the string and slightly increase tension for the smaller gauge makes sense, but it doesn't work like that. Thinner strings need to be shorter to produce the correct notes in line with the frets. Thicker strings need to be longer. You can observe this pattern across the entire bridge (aside from a discrepancy between plain and wound strings).

    But yeah, for any given string - make the 12th fret produce the same note as the open string. If the 12th fret is flat, the string needs to be shortened and vice versa.

    Worth noting that even with it perfectly set up, 'intonation' can still be 'out' even though the physical intonation is set perfectly. This may be because the action is too high (either at the bridge, or too much truss rod bow) meaning the string is being bent to reach the frets. Or because the string is just too loose and can't hold pitch well when picked. This is the difference between intonation (tuning of the notes when playing) and intonation (setup of the guitar to get the frets in the right spot for the string gauge).
     
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