9-string Acoustic Done (hopefully) Well

Discussion in 'Extended Range Guitars' started by TheOnlyKtulu, Nov 30, 2019.

Would you like a 9-string acoustic for your unplugged... Djent sessions?

Poll closed Jan 18, 2020.
  1. Yes

    42.9%
  2. No

    57.1%
  1. TheOnlyKtulu

    TheOnlyKtulu SS.org Regular

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    Some more
     

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  2. jack_cat

    jack_cat SS.org Regular

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    Yes, on the subject of the spacing of the adjustment intervals of the saddle, the reason that I ask is that
    I have been working with a multi-scale from 60 c to 72 c, and the adjustments that I have made by filing notches in the saddle are 2 mm or less, and these fine adjustments are indeed significant in adjusting the intonation of each string at the 12th fret. Therefore, from my own experience, I would expect that incremental adjustments of 4 mm would not be fine enough for the kind of tuning accuracy that I myself would like to achieve on my own instruments, a challenge I am still working with. This is why I ask if you have noticed any problem in attaining an accuracy of tuning sufficient for your own purposes. ET is of course an ideal which can only be approached, never achieved, and different musicians have different tolerances for the amount of deviation. If you're happy, well, you're the guy playing it!

    I should emphasize that the adjustment of the saddle for each string is chiefly aimed at correcting the intonation at the 12th fret, where thicker strings fret sharper. Getting the 12 fret right means that the other frets high on the neck will be "as good as can be expected", considering that they are conventionally set to a straight logarithmic scale which is uncompensated for string variables. It is my observation after reflecting on my two multi-scales and the third which I hope to build, that for my purposes I MUST develop a method of empirically checking every fret location BEFORE installation, with my electronic tuner with the cents gauge, because it is clear that the math and the reality diverge in the upper registers because of string stretch and because of the different responses of different materials and diameters of the strings. (Making an intonation map of the fingerboard with strings installed but no frets is the chief R-n-D task facing me for the next build.)

    Also, I notice that you have made no compensations at the nut. On many guitars there is quite a bit of difference between the intonations of the fattest unwound string (your 2nd) and the thinnest wound string (your 3rd) when fretted at the second or third fret, enough to make first-position chords sour. On my unwound nylon strings, of which I have four, I shorten the string length progressively at the nut, with the thickest, my G3, compensated the most, so that it does not fret sharp at the second fret. Although my implementation of these adjustments is crude, I have significantly improved the intonation from what it was with two straight bones at the string ends, and I expect to do better on the next build since I will be thinking about it from the get-go instead of after the instrument has been built, and trying to fix it.
     
  3. TheOnlyKtulu

    TheOnlyKtulu SS.org Regular

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    You're British, right? No, I'm not laughing, it's just that you didn't answer me before.
    I'll reply in a bit.
    Mainly, that compensation on the nut is a general BS, contrary to what guitarists think. You only have to be an engineer to understand it. Math says it all.
     
  4. TheOnlyKtulu

    TheOnlyKtulu SS.org Regular

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    --> Yes, that's precisely where I get the pitch (fret no. 12). No, the other frets can INDEED be at pitch, provided some measures are being taken. No, math & reality (physics) never diverge.
    So let me explain: yeah, string diameter is the only variable here, all else can be calculated or... Well... Experimented. Along the neck, you need to have as much parallelism between the fretboard and the strings as possible. Imagine archtops and LP designs (well, not the original '52 LP, hahaha!) -> the neck is placed at an angle, because of the arched top. Because otherwise... Well, otherwise it would simply be an augmentation of the problem that you just described, the strings would be farther & farther away from the board, as you approach the bridge. And this is your problem -> too much distance between the string and the board gives you too much room to push the string, and it translates into pitch going upwards. It's similar to too much bending, and you're out of pitch. And it can also happen under normal circumstances, if you have jumbo or extra-jumbo frets, if you hold the note too firmly and push your finger against the fretboard too much, you'll find yourself playing a different note, usually 1/4 step up.
    So again, it's ideal to have close to 100% parallelism between the strings and the board. In that circumstance only, the mathematics will always be right.
    Problem is, we all like to have the strings as close to the fretboard as possible, otherwise... Well... Hand/Wrist fatigue, right? So some of us are always looking to first get the nut as low as possible. Well there you go, first no-brainer :)
    [​IMG]

    --> yeah... so why did I call this BS, right?
    Well, it's not me. All, and I mean ALL the luthiers I met (a handful, but it's enough) told me it's BS.
    You really have to think math here aswell. Distances are given by calculations. And if you do end up having differences, then that's what adjustable bridges are for :) Those differences are indeed expected to be, and the adjustable bridge will offset/shift everything towards the desired pitches.

    Now... For the sake of the discussion & the figure of speech, you can never attain 101% pitch perfect tuning (not 100%, but 101%, hehe...).
    Why am I calling it 101%? Because NO ONE is going to hear that 1% of a difference.
    Notice here that I like to think that all of us can attain 100% (given that we have the means to it), the rest of 1% will only be observed by the tuners, not by our ears.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2021
  5. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Is there any concept based on a continuous measurement that doesn't have this statement apply? ET is totally a concept of compromise of what our ears really want to hear anyway, so why does it matter?
     
  6. jack_cat

    jack_cat SS.org Regular

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    "
    yeah... so why did I call this BS, right?
    Well, it's not me. All, and I mean ALL the luthiers I met (a handful, but it's enough) told me it's BS.
    "
    We can agree to disagree on this one. Maybe I have met a lot more luthiers than you have!
    Luthiers don't play guitar for a living, and _I do_, and I'm the one who plays the thing, and that's why
    I do my own intonation on every guitar that I have had built, because I KNOW it's not going to be right.
    I want it like I want it, and if a luthier disagrees, all I have to do is try one of his guitars, and check the
    intonation. I agree that nut comp cannot be determined mathematically - it is entirely empirical, but the
    results can be measured precisely with a strobe tuner on every fret. If your so-smart luthier's 2nd and 3rd
    frets play 8 cents sharp as with many, because of a badly set nut, then you have a right to make your own
    decisions instead of meekly accepting a line of crap. Greg Byers's article on nut compensation has been
    criticized, because he tried unsuccessfully to determine a workable mathematical formula, but that does not
    diminish the value of the process, it only means that a mathematical approach gets you close, and the
    rest is empirical. As I say, the results of nut compensation are measurable, I have measured them
    myself and I know exactly what I am talking about, whereas you are reporting 2nd hand opinions.
     
  7. jack_cat

    jack_cat SS.org Regular

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    - "ET is of course an ideal which can only be approached, never achieved,"
    - "Is there any concept based on a continuous measurement that doesn't have this statement apply? ET is totally a concept of compromise of what our ears really want to hear anyway, so why does it matter?"

    It only matters if you want all of your chords to play equally in tune in all keys. If you only want to play in one key at a time,
    which is a perfectly valid way to go, then you can get much better results than ET by tuning for that key, and if you really
    wanted to, you could also adjust the frets themselves to play better in that key, as was done back in the 16th and 17th centuries
    when movable frets were used.

    What I say is based on being a working musician who plays with other musicians who expect professional results and no fooling.
    ET at A4=440 hz is the basis of the musical lingua franca of our time; to not observe this standard is to remove oneself from the
    marketplace. I grant that many who read and post on this site are not working musicians, and that every one has the right to
    musical freedom. There are many threads on this site and others dealing with other methods of tuning besides ET. These are
    very valid musical choices and paths. The choice between ET and some other system is basically an issue of access to the
    marketplace. To use some other system is like going shopping with a non-standard currency. You have to find your market.
    If you don't need a market, you are free. This is what it means to be a Liberal Artist: you don't have to make a living doing it.
     
  8. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Not sure what you're getting at, but you do you. BTW, probably more people than you think here are either professional or retired professional musicians.
     
  9. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Nut slot compensation is not BS, it is logical if you think it through.
    Someone who is an engineer would probably understand why nut slot compensation is logical, and the mathematics actually supports it.
    I could go into detail about this but do not have the necessary time or energy at the moment.
    (Since it is relevant here, and since you made a silly claim about engineers, i will reluctantly state my qualification =S I have a physics degree and come from a family full of engineers. I have natural engineering talent and am very technically and mathematically minded. I have a good understanding of the science of music and guitars.)
    No you do not =)
    Correct, but this is just another effect that steadily increases up the frets, therefore it can be compensated for by saddle intonation adjustment.
    Incorrect. Intonation will not become mathematically correct when string height is constant along the fretboard. Intonation is always mathematically incorrect due to the many other real world factors.
    This handful of luthiers are wrong. Luthiers, even very talented and respected ones, are often wrong about certain things and often believe crazy things.
    Again you are stating that mathematics is on your side of the argument, it actually stands against your argument.
    If you understood how intonation works you would know that saddle intonation adjustment cannot fix a nut slot being out of tune with fret 1. This is because saddle intonation adjustment has a pitch altering effect that steadily increases up the frets, so cannot create the necessary 'jump' in intonation between nut and fret 1. Only compensated nut slots can do this, which is why they are not BS =)
     
  10. TheOnlyKtulu

    TheOnlyKtulu SS.org Regular

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    I'm sorry, Ixl, I'm only seeing this now, thought I'd already been notified about further replies.
    Everything you said does in fact (and I by God I fully agree with this, it's why I first discussed that BS statement) sum up to the following:

    "saddle intonation adjustment cannot fix a nut slot being out of tune with fret 1"

    Yesss, correct! If the nut is out of tune, then you do have to correct it. But when does that happen? Well it's only when the frets aren't placed 100%. That's why math always works.
    I guess I should've added that, but mind you, I was walking off by thinking a guitar will always be build correctly. It will probably not. I'm more of a dreamer, really, lol.
    I mean, of course if one's findings afterwards suggest frets have been slightly misplaced (usually fret no. 1, right?), they won't take them out again, as that would be costly as hell. An intonated nut will usually work.
    Don't ask me if I'm suggesting modern Music Mans are faulty, I won't answer.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2021
  11. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    • Left-side Toan
    • Woods harvested during full (¿or was it new?) moons
    • Tonewoods have predictable, identifiable and consistent affects on "tone" in electric guitars
    • The whole "Fanned Fret" patent/trademark/bogus layout technique/extortion-ring nonsense
    • You can only trademark/patent headstocks, not body designs
     
  12. TheOnlyKtulu

    TheOnlyKtulu SS.org Regular

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    That's so f. funny! Lol
    Although I think they (the ones saying those things) were actually being sarcastic, comical, and up to the point of really messing with the customer's head. Well I should know, cause I've had my share, lol! After which, feeling sorry for what they've done to me, started being more serious.
    They're the luthiers after all, not we. Then again, if one wants to think he's better, he should go ahead and make a name of himself. If not..."mouth shut and go jogging" it's what would likely be translated from my mother tongue
     

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