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Artcore intonation

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by ciudadmarron, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. ciudadmarron


    Oct 16, 2009
    Ibanez AFB200.

    It's a floating bridge - officially t's 30.3 inches.

    I just can't seem to get the intonation right. I'm measuring it at the 12th fret - should this still be right? Or does the floating bridge mess with this? The harmonics are sharp it seems even though I keep moving the bridge back and back - no discernible difference.

    Any tips/suggestions?
  2. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    The fretted note at the F12, should match the harmonic there.
    To set intonation, you move the bridge/saddle to change the fretted note, not the harmonic.
  3. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Well, technically, the fretted note won't match the harmonic - but it will be so slight that you won't notice. The string is always longer than your scale length, so you need to make accommodations for that.

    Using a good tuner, tune the open note perfectly, and then check your intonation at the 12th. If it's flat, move the bridge towards the nut, shortening the scale length. If sharp, move it back. Re tune and do it again.
  4. ciudadmarron


    Oct 16, 2009
    Ok maybe I'm missing something but - move the bridge to change the fretted note? Surely that is a constant at the 12th fret if the string is in tune? Or is it that if the fretted note is sharper/flatter than the harmonic that is the basis by which you make the adjustment?
  5. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Yes - you're moving the bridge in order to change the scale length. You string is always longer than the scale length, so you are essentially compensating for string height and size when you're intonating.

    You can use the harmonic, but your ears will never be accurate enough to get really good results. Use a tuner.
  6. ciudadmarron


    Oct 16, 2009
    Thanks Ben! :)
  7. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    BTW - with floating bridges, you sometimes have to angle the bridge for intonation rather than keeping it at 90 degrees to the body.
  8. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Just like setting the intonation on any instrument. The harmonic IS exactly the octave of the open string, unless your strings are in really bad condition. The function of setting intonation is to move the strings' total length to get them to play relatively in tune while compensating for the stretch and the additional length they need when being fretted (pushing 'em from straight down to the fret).

    If the fretted note is sharp compared to the open string/12th fret harmonic, that means the distance from the 12th fret to the bridge is too short (just like fretting a string makes it shorter and causes it to be a higher pitch). So, you have to move that saddle further from the 12th fret to make the string longer. If the fretted note is flat, then you have to move the saddle closer to make the 12th fret-saddle distance shorter.

    On a floating bridge like this instrument has, measure from the leading edge (fingerboard side) of the nut to the center of the 12th fret. Then measure that exact distance from the center of the 12th fret to the middle of the saddle. That's your STARTING point. Then work to get the E and G strings to intonate properly (and the bridge will probably be slanted, like the bridge pickup on a Stratocaster or the bridge saddle on a flat-top acoustic guitar). Play it and see if the other two strings are acceptable. You may have to play around a good bit to get all four strings to play equally out of tune.

    Once you find that spot (which will only apply to the set of strings and action you have on it now, so if you go to a different alloy, gauge, composition, or brand of string you may need to repeat this) some people like to put a very thin bit of very fine sandpaper under the bridge feet to keep it from moving. I don't like that because if you accidentally hit it, it's going to leave a visible scar. Just be careful.


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