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Epi EB-3 intonation and tuning problem.


slowfinger

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I bought a new Epiphone EB-3 in August this year, and have recently noticed a small problem with it's tuning and/or intonation. Basically, although the intonation is correct at the 12th fret, it goes noticeably sharp on the D and G strings around the 7th fret. I thought it sounded off up there, but only recently checked it against my tuner. I'll take it to the shop I bought it from (for our Melbourne guys - Billy Hyde in Blackburn) this weekend to have it looked at, but in the meantime, do you have any ideas about what causes this? String height maybe? Twisted neck maybe?

 

My workaround for the time being is to tune it so that it is correct at the 7th fret - I hardly ever play the D and G below the 5th fret.

 

The EB-3 (I call it 'Bigears') is shiny black and is not without faults (neck dive, silly strap button location, spaghetti neck) but she's lovely to play and has such a sweet, mellow voice. I love it to bits.

Epi EB-3

G-K Backline 600

2 x Eden EX112

 

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I don't know why it would go off at 7 but be in at 1 and 12. That sounds like bad fretwork, but it seems so unlikely (though not impossible). I'm curious to see what your shop says.

 

The neck dive/strap button location are connected. I beat this by getting a locking strap (mine is a Planet Waves version that they discontinued) with a movable pad. I feel comfortable letting go of the thing - the head dives for the floor and the the strap glides through the pad. No risk because the locks hang on and the head winds up being above my ankles. As to the weight of holding the neck while playing, I can't comment. Having played the thing for 30 years, I'm well used to it. And the thin neck is NOT a fault - it's a feature that's fun!!

 

Let me know what the shop says.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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After doing multiple setups on my basses, I have found intonation to be a balancing act between neck relief and saddle height, and not just getting the 12th fret right.

 

If the neck was too straight, and the saddles raised up to compensate, the intonation would be flat around the 7th fret, and sharp around the 17th.

 

The opposite would have too much relief in the neck, and lower saddles, resulting in sharp below the 12th, and flat above.

 

It took a number of times before figuring this out, and finding out just how I like things to feel. I've noticed as my skills improve, I like the action higher.

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Just come back from the shop - seems there was nothing physically wrong with it. I guess the difference is between someone who /really/ knows how to set intonation (ie Rob) etc and someone who /thinks/ he knows how to do it (ie me).

 

Aldena - thanks for your comment - on thinking about the physics of intonation later I thought it would be something like that - a combination of saddle height and relief.

 

Tom - I have a wide fabric strap that slows down the neck dive ok. When I said 'spaghetti neck' I omitted the adjective 'wet'. I love it's slinky slim feel, but crikey, it's bendy.

Epi EB-3

G-K Backline 600

2 x Eden EX112

 

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I did a little experiment the other day. One of my basses (Fender) has a minor dead spot on the G string at the 7th fret. I tuned the G down to F and the dead spot moved up to thte 9th fret. What this tells me is that the dead spot is not a problem with the neck at that spot but is a result of specific frequencies along the entire length of the neck. Comments?

Rocky

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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Another point about intonation-- the pitch in the first few frets is strongly affected by the height of the nut. If the slots in the nut are not cut as deeply as they could be, you're stretching the strings farther down to the fret than necessary, so the pitch will be high. I wouldn't assume that the nut is perfect right from the factory.

 

Ed

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slow - it's "bendy"?? Is the whole neck bending? That doesn't sound good, and it's not a problem I've had (or heard about).

 

Glad to hear that a proper set-up helped the problem. To add to Bruiser's comments, I'm very careful about how I fret the 12th when checking intonation. It's easy to push down close to the fret and make the note sharp. I also found that I can push down (so the string meets the fretboard) and then pull the string (in either direction) to throw it off. Now I slowly push down the string and make sure that my fingers don't make any other movements.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally posted by Tom Capasso:

slow - it's "bendy"?? Is the whole neck bending?

Not really - it just seems to flex more than the old P copy I played before. For example our git* players have decided to tune down a semitone, and I did likewise (but don't like 'cos the open E is floppy and lacks definition now). I then had to fiddle the truss rod to reduce buzzing. Now when I occasionally revert to normal tuning, my impression is that the strings lift by 2-3mm - quite noticeable.

 

Comments about fretting noted - thanks.

 

*I like using the word 'git' in this context because of it's other meaning - as in 'you stupid git'. ;)

Epi EB-3

G-K Backline 600

2 x Eden EX112

 

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Originally posted by Rocky3840:

One of my basses (Fender) has a minor dead spot on the G string at the 7th fret.

Rocky - the P bass copy I played did the same as yours. I gather it is a 'feature' of Fender Ps. You might find a spot that does the reverse - ie is louder that surrounding notes.

Epi EB-3

G-K Backline 600

2 x Eden EX112

 

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I could see that tuning down is not a good thing to do for that bass. To (mis)quote Scotty on Star Trek - "ya canna change the laws of physics".

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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