I have a funny ear, I guess— oh, make that TWO!
For as much as I love my Ceccherini, I have not been able to get used to how high the first and second frets are tempered: Painfully so; a simple V-I cadence from the second fret to the next open string, a jarring, microtonal interval. *teeth grinding in pain*
Baffling as this might have been, it was clearly Umberto C.'s intention. What to do? The Dogals the instrument was strung with were so stiff that they started off the (brass) nut at an arch; could that be it? Also, because of the same stiffness, it was next to impossible to bring the bridge any further down, cramped as it was by the characteristic "anchors".
So, then: Yesterday I switched to Marí lights (031, 021,012, 009). Now the strings come off the nut perfectly level; now I could move the bridge further down, i.e. closer to the anchors. The action, of course, feels like butter on a hot, summer day.
BTW, I did break an E at the loop upon stringing; had flashbacks of horror stories, as told by Jeff Shuniak. Still, at $3 per set of strings, I was not about to pick up the phone and holler at the Better Business Bureau.
My report on the results (mixed, at best): The first two frets are still sharp, but tolerably so; the instrument reaches p-e-r-f-e-c-t intonation around the 5th to 7th fret —Halleluja!— The octaves (i.e. at the 12th fret) are by natural consequence flat, but not horrifically so, piano-like.
The "topic" of this experiment was, of course, intonation. The tone-quality of "silver"-wound strings is not ideal. Perhaps next time around I will use Lenzner lights, thereby combining the new and intonationally improved setup with my favorite tone of bronze.
As said, a funny ear...
It is not man who lives, but his work. (Ioannis Kapodistrias)