Intonation on SG's without Saddle

methylatedmartyr

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hello all! after a lifetime of fenders I recently picked myself up my first SG, a pretty barebones 2011 Special. from the get-go I've been experiencing some ridiculous intonation problems, not least of all on the G string. not having a bridge saddle on this model i'm at a loss how to easily go about fixing it. any input or stories of experiences with a similar guitar would be appreciated, thank you for having me on this forum!

sample pic:
http://static.musiciansfriend.com/derivates/18/001/699/314/DV016_Jpg_Large_H79013.002_cherry.jpg
 

Guitarguy 1962

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I have a Pete Townsend Special with the wraparound bridge. There are two small Allen screws at either end of the bridge that will allow you some adjustments. The intonation will never be as good as a tune-o-matic, but with a little patience, you can get close. I find thicker gauge strings help, too.
 

TheBuffalo

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I have a Pete Townsend Special with the wraparound bridge. There are two small Allen screws at either end of the bridge that will allow you some adjustments. The intonation will never be as good as a tune-o-matic, but with a little patience, you can get close. I find thicker gauge strings help, too.

How do heavier gauge strings help? I'm not saying your wrong I'm just wondering because I thought that I should leave the same gauge string as the guitar came with for best intonation. Since the saddles ridges were made with that size string in mind

I hope your right though because I love playing with .11s and haven't put them on my PT sg because I thought it wouldn't intonate correctly

But my intonation is perfect right now
 

SG John

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You should have a couple of adjusting screws to get you close. If not, MojoAxe offers a couple of different variations that I have heard good things about. I bought the 60's version for the unwound G for a project guitar that I'm building. Can't wait to try it. I've used a few different tailpieces on my '62 Special and '69 Junior.

MojoAxe Replica Les Paul Pickguards
 

Guitarguy 1962

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How do heavier gauge strings help? I'm not saying your wrong I'm just wondering because I thought that I should leave the same gauge string as the guitar came with for best intonation. Since the saddles ridges were made with that size string in mind

I hope your right though because I love playing with .11s and haven't put them on my PT sg because I thought it wouldn't intonate correctly

But my intonation is perfect right now

I actually use .10s on mine,but I've had problems with .009s. Never tried .011s
 

Biddlin

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Hi, methylatedmartyr,
Is that a smooth bar or a lightning bar?
lpjr7.jpg

picture.php

Using the set screws, pick two strings to intonate and do it. I usually do the A and B, and the rest will be close. Make sure you have you string clearance/bridge height set, first.
Biddlin ;>)/
 

methylatedmartyr

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Guys, many thanks for the quick responses! I'm working with a smooth bar tailpiece. I'll give those screws a tweak and we'll see how it goes ; )
 

Guitarguy 1962

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Guys, many thanks for the quick responses! I'm working with a smooth bar tailpiece. I'll give those screws a tweak and we'll see how it goes ; )

Make sure it is the proper tailpiece for your guitar. The smooth bar tailpiece needs to be angled, as shown in the picture Biddlin posted. The lightening bar tailpiece like my PT Special is not angled, as shown in my picture. If you have the wrong tailpiece, it will be impossible to intonate correctly.
 

TheBuffalo

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I actually use .10s on mine,but I've had problems with .009s. Never tried .011s

Ah ok that explains it. Most gibsons are setup for 10s, that's why it's pretty hard to get it right with anything else.

As for intimating, you really just have to get the two outside strings (low and high e) and that's about all you can do. If the other strings aren't right after you do that then your going to need to change the gauge of some or all of your strings
 

nbeersiii

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I have the same guitar OP its called the special HH and the little grub screws on the back of the stopbar are for intonation adjustment. Actually the one on the high E side is all the way out. My intonation is pretty close to perfect. I use 10s as well. Great guitar for a bare bones workhorse.
 

SG John

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Make sure it is the proper tailpiece for your guitar. The smooth bar tailpiece needs to be angled, as shown in the picture Biddlin posted. The lightening bar tailpiece like my PT Special is not angled, as shown in my picture. If you have the wrong tailpiece, it will be impossible to intonate correctly.


This is how it should look with the smooth tailpiece.


 

methylatedmartyr

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well i got my tailpiece well angled, but i had also gone down to .09's which may indeed give credence to those who say a lighter gauge may cause intonation problems!
 

Col Mustard

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Welcome to ETSG, Martyr...

"Players who have guitars blessed by the Gibson wrapover bridge often will swear by its
tone and would not allow a tuna matic near their instruments." --Dan Erlewine (book)
"How to make your Electric Guitar Play Great"

I like the tuna matic, and have no tonal issues... so I'm perhaps not qualified to comment in this discussion. But I'll add this:

The wrapover bridge was invented for the SG prototype, the Gibson Les Paul. That was way back in the Day, Truman was President, running against Eisenhower (unsuccessfully). Guitarists all used heavy gauge strings... 11s would have been considered ultra lights and might not have even been available outside of Gotham city.

So, for users of modern versions of this early tuna matic prototype, 11s might be the string of choice. 10s might work, 11s might work better. I dunno.

Also, there are numerous modern aftermarket bridge makers who attempt to keep the tonal advantages of the wrapover design with modern intonation ease of use: check these out:
STEWMAC.COM : Electric guitar, non-trem tailpieces

And for those of us whose SGs all come with the tuna matic intonatable bridge setup, we can always top wrap our tailpiece and get the best of both worlds... precise intonation of every string coupled with the mojo and sustain of the wrapover design. nah nah nah nah nah...
 

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SG John

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Welcome to ETSG, Martyr...

And for those of us whose SGs all come with the tuna matic intonatable bridge setup, we can always top wrap our tailpiece and get the best of both worlds... precise intonation of every string coupled with the mojo and sustain of the wrapover design. nah nah nah nah nah...


Meh. Not the same.
 

Biddlin

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My brother has one of those Jr.s that populated S.F. and L.A. pawn shops in the late 60s. I have played it with the smooth bar, a Badass, the smooth bar with a short Maestro and now with a custom made compensated bar. With decades of reference, I can't really say that one worked better than any of the others. The Maestro had a tonal effect, giving it a little more bark in the lower range, but nothing too dramatic. The stopbar I scarred up with a mig welder gives it the best intonation, in its creator's humble opinion:naughty:. But I think the biggest tonal changes have occurred because the wood has "married," over the course of a half-century, making a very rigid 1 3/4" rail of the centerline.
Biddlin ;>)/
BTW Pythagoras used an angled twig on each end of his necks and pig intestines for strings, so I just play what I got, eh?
 

JimD

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Tonally I think Dave Gregory of XTC has some interesting thoughts talking about his SG Jr

Pick Of The Month - July 2000 (that link busts out of the frame-type website that is Guitargonauts - snip off the "pick-08.html" to get to the rest of the site and lots more tasty guitars).

In terms of intonation I have two guitars with wraparounds, neither of them lightning bars. One is my Melody Maker Flying V and one is an old Encore LPJR type that I made a bridge for by threading a stop-bar with two intonation screws. I own other axes with more complicated bridges but I am astonished on both guitars that the wraparounds "just work" and despite having very simple "adjustability" they both intonate great. I have no idea what strings I'm using on either but I'm impressed with whoever cut the fret slots! :D

My brother has one of those Jr.s that populated S.F. and L.A. pawn shops in the late 60s. I have played it with the smooth bar, a Badass, the smooth bar with a short Maestro and now with a custom made compensated bar. With decades of reference, I can't really say that one worked better than any of the others. The Maestro had a tonal effect, giving it a little more bark in the lower range, but nothing too dramatic. The stopbar I scarred up with a mig welder gives it the best intonation, in its creator's humble opinion:naughty:. But I think the biggest tonal changes have occurred because the wood has "married," over the course of a half-century, making a very rigid 1 3/4" rail of the centerline.
Biddlin ;>)/
BTW Pythagoras used an angled twig on each end of his necks and pig intestines for strings, so I just play what I got, eh?
 


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