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INTONATION

OVERVIEW
ADJUSTING INTONATION
ADJUSTING A LO PRO IN FACTORY SETUP
USING THE LO PRO ADJUST
ADJUSTING THE EDGE PRO IN FACTORY SETUP

 

OVERVIEW

I set intonation to the last fret fretted at the pressure you would normally play that fret. Given this is the shortest string length playable on the guitar it compensates for the lack of accuracy found in most of the tuners that will be used to set the intonation. The open string and 12th fret usually used is a very inaccurate way to set intonation and in fact if you read the instructions Peterson includes with their strobes it recommends using 2 different spots on the neck such as the 5th and 17th [or a mid scale combination an octave apart]. Not many will have a Peterson strobe tuner, and using this "last fret" method in relation to the open string and 12th fret, you will not need one. Usually the action is a little higher at the at the last fret [and all the way up to it] and since you're actually going to be fretting strings from the 16th to the 24th I like to set intonation to the shortest scale length I can. On a 24 fret guitar this is an octave node so the fret is in unison to the open string. On a 22 or 21 fret guitar I will set it at the last fret but always double check against the same note before the 12th AND the 12th fret fretted because of the inherent inconsistencies found in fretted instruments. If you have a 22 fretter check the 22nd against the 10th, then double check that the 12th is in tune. If you start checking every fret you'll find out just how terribly intonated a guitars fretboard is, just an inherent defect in fretted instruments and equal temperament tuning. The reason for the Feiton mod which helps to pull the intonation of all frets closer to perfect pitch..

Using my "normal" tuner [the type I figure most of you are using, so good for everybody] I can move a saddle almost a mm and the 12th fretted and harmonic will not change. Fret the 24th and move the saddle 1mm, big change. If I set it to the 24th and check the 12th everything is still dead on. I just feel it's more accurate, and the notes and chords in the upper register sound way more in tune. I have a Peterson but have checked it against intonation set at the last fret using my Sabine1000 and the results are always very accurate and only fluctuate with the very small differences in fretting pressure. All I can say is try it, if you don't like it go back to the 12th, but I think you'll find the same thing I do. ;)

If your trem is not in factory spec then you can eyeball it close and then tweak it to perfect. If you have the Edge intonation tool that's correct for your trem type this job will be much easier than if you don't. If you don't, look in the mirror and say goodbye to a few thousand hairs before you begin. If you have an Edge Pro [where there is no tool] say goodbye to your youthful appearance. [It's really not that bad!!]

 

ADJUSTING INTONATION

With all the open strings in perfect tune fret the high E at the last fret with the same pressure you would use when playing [or D on a 22 fret, etc.]. Check the tuner. [read the last section above for details on last fret intonating]

Setting the intonation itself is very simple. If the note at the 24th fret is sharp the saddle is too close to the fret and needs to be moved back. If the note is flat the saddle is too far away from the fret and needs to be moved closer.

If you are using the tool that is available for the Edge, Lo Pro Edge, and TRS/Floyd Rose, attach it to the saddle and tighten it up. Loosen the saddle lock down screw [which I call the intonation screw] just enough to move the saddle, adjust the saddle, retune, and with the tool still in place recheck the last fret fretted. Adjust until correct then tighten the screw. Remove the tool and retune the string. Move to the B string and repeat. Every 2 strings recheck the tuning of all strings and make sure they are all in perfect tune before continuing. Work from the high E to the low E. When every string is correct make sure to check the trem angle again as it will move slightly as you intonate the entire bridge. Note - The saddle lock down screws are fairly soft, and in older Ibanez, also have a shallow head. I highly recommend the 2mm Allen wrench is either new or in perfect condition. If it has any rounding to the tip at all you will more than likely round off the head of the lock screw when you tighten it.

If you are not using the tool you have two options. You will either need to slack the string enough to be able to move the saddle by hand without the string tension interfering. Retighten the screw, retune, recheck, and then repeat with continued slacking the string to make any further adjustment. Or, I use my clamp to clamp the bar to the body effectively slacking all the strings at once and allowing quick return to tune to check the progress. Pay very close attention to where the saddle was, where you moved it to, and approximate how far it will need to move to intonate the string, this will save you alot of time just blindly moving the saddle and hope it's in the right spot. You can easily see how large a pain in the ass this will be. Expect to spend at least an hour intonating alone if you're a novice.

 

ADJUSTING A LO PRO IN FACTORY SETUP

The factory intonation pattern on the Lo Pro was always way out as shown here.

This Lo Pro is still set where Gotoh jig set it at assembly. The high E looks a little too far rearward but I'll adjust it as is for demonstration. Here's a close up of the saddles.

Follow these instructions to set the intonation on all Edge and Lo Pro Edge trems that are still in factory jig setup. I always remove the trem with strings on for this and then reinstall, retune, and reset the trem angle if needed before checking and tweaking the result. For the intonation to be correct the trem angle and action height must be correct and how the guitar will be played.

Unwounds
Leave the B alone, it's the only one that is in the right spot.
Look at the nose of the saddle and you'll see the angle [/] on each side at the front.
Move the E so that the back point of the angle lines up to the very front edge of the B.
Pull the G screw and put it in the front hole and set it so that the very front edge lines up with the back point of the angle [where the angle meets the side of the saddle] on the B.

Wounds.
Pull the E screw and put it in the back hole then snug the saddle all the way up against the screw.
The D saddle is set at 1/2 of the length of the angle in front of the G.
The A saddle splits the difference even between the E and the D.

This should show the angle referred to above.

You will get some minor inconsistencies, and every guitar or string isn't equal, and the inserts in some aren't in perfect placement, but as a starting point that usually is dead on it works for me. Very minor adjustment may  need to be made from this starting point, but it's usually close enough you wouldn't bother if you don't have an intonation tool.

The results show the saddles just a little close together on the wounds which usually means the jig was definately off a bit.

Now I need to check the results on the tuner.

 

USING THE LO PRO ADJUST

This shows how to use the Edge Adjust tool and how it mounts on the Lo Pro. The allen wrench on the intonation screw. [yes, my tool has been wounded and repaired, whatever works to get the job done ;)] The tool allows you to pull on the saddle against tension or to let it slide forward under control, either making minor or major adjustments.

When checked by fretting at the last fret [and 12th fret] this whole bridge is way flat. The saddles needed to be moved much closer to the nut. With the whole bridge now intonated you can see how far I've moved the saddles, including putting the low E saddle screw back in the front hole. Unusual, more on that later.

Close up you can still see how nearly identical the relationship pattern between the saddles is on the "eyeball adjustment" and the "tuner adjustment"

This should help to explain why not every guitar will intonate to the same spot. You can just barely see that the neck was not seated all the way to the very end of the neck pocket [only visible is where I could get light in and still take the shot], about .6 or .7mm out. You can just see the thin line of the base of the neck pocket highlighted against the black shielding paint of the edge of the p/u rout.  This means that the intonation points on the bridge should also be that far toward the headstock to compensate.

The stud inserts have also been set just a bit too far away from the head, illustrated by the slightly larger gap between the front of the trem and the body, also meaning the saddles move toward the head to compensate.

You can see how close the high E is to the front edge of the trem, very close, and caused by the placement of the neck and stud inserts, proving just a few of the reasons why you really can't perfectly intonate all guitars to a picture, but the pattern is the right starting place to further tweak to perfection ;o}

From scratch.

If your trem is not in factory spec then you can eyeball it close and then tweak it to perfect. If you have the Edge intonation tool that's correct for your trem type this job will be much easier than if you don't. If you don't, look in the mirror and say goodbye to a few thousand hairs before you begin. If you have an Edge Pro [where there is no tool] say goodbye to your youthful appearance. [It's really not that bad!!]

 

ADJUSTING THE EDGE PRO IN FACTORY SETUP
The new Edge Pro has a fairly correct intonation jig set from the factory. If they ever get it started in the right spot I'll let you know! Primarily it's usually set too flat on all strings. There is no intonation tool currently designed for the Edge Pro bridge and considering they designed out the typical attachment point [the head of the string lock screw] there most probably never will be one.

You'll find the pattern shown above for the Lo Pro after setup is nearly identical to the final setup on an EP but generally the G string saddle will want to be much further flat on the EP.

The easiest way to set the intonation on the EP is to adjust the intonation on the high E saddle and use that as the starting point to adjust the rest of the saddles using the Lo Pro example above, with the noted exception of the G saddle being 1-2mm further flat. After you've set all the saddles by eye go through them one at a time and adjust them accurately using the instructions at the top of the page.

 


Copyright 2000 Ibanez Rules!! All rights reserved.
Revised: June 24, 2009.