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Thread: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

  1. #1
    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    I just picked up this 80's Kentucky 5-string, and the straight bar bridge leaves a lot to be desired as far as intonation goes, especially the low C string.
    I'm thinking about just relocating the post on the bass side-moving it back just enough so that the thumb wheel covers the original hole. This would give the low C another 1/8" in length.
    Thoughts? Has anybody come up with a different solution? Thanks!Click image for larger version. 

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    The other thing to do would be to leave the posts where they are and get a custom-milled, intonated saddle. Kurt Gisclair made me one out of fossilized walrus ivory. But that's a lot of work.

    My first electric was one of those Kentuckys. I've had several of them; the bridge is always a bit of a problem.
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    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    Yes, I'm sure I could get Ryan Rukavina to make me something, but he's busy and I don't want to sink a ton of money into something that I'm probably going to sell soon. It's not a bad little electric, but it can't compete with my new mandola.
    What do you think it's worth? I can't find a single one for sale.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    Good find. I have a Mando-bird 8 string, so this may not be the most informed suggestions. If I'm right in thinking that your Kentucky 5 string is a solid-body, you could conceivably exchange the tailpiece and bridge setup for a top-loading bridge from MoongazerMusic. Like their replacement bridges for Mandocasters, Mandobirds, etc., these are all intonable.

    Of course, your solution would be cheaper.

    If you really catch the electromando bug, you'll want to consider their Moongazer/AllMuse pickup upgrades anyway.

  5. #5
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    The potential drawback to StuartE's solution is that installing a hardtail bridge might leave the post holes exposed, as well as the screw holes from the tailpiece. It might require cutting a notch in the pickguard. You might also have to change the neck angle if you did that.

    You might be surprised what these will sell for; I can move them at around $550–600. Let me know if you want to trade it for something ...
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  6. #6
    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    Quote Originally Posted by StuartE View Post
    If you really catch the electromando bug, you'll want to consider their Moongazer/AllMuse pickup upgrades anyway.
    I got this Rukavina mandola about a month ago,With Ryan's hand wound pickup so I don't really need the Kentucky.
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  7. #7
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    DIY? drill 2 holes a bar of aluminum and shape with some files? if not getting a tune-o-matic type made?

    have a 8> 4 string conversion, bought... for CGDA, they went with the latter option..

    that worked super..


    yea I see the issue being passed on to the Buyer, the Ky 5 str is in the classifieds..
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  8. #8
    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    It's raining today, so I couldn't go to work. I decided to see if my idea on moving the bass side of the bridge back would work. I relocated the bass bridge post as far back as I could, while making sure that the thumb wheel would cover the original hole-about 1/8". Everything went according to plan, and it really helped. Before, the intonation on the low C string was off by almost a half step at the 12th fret. Now, it's just barely off, and the intonation at the 5th, 7th, etc. is spot on. Moving the bridge also helped the intonation on the G string. It sounds much better now. Compare this picture with the bridge pic above:
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    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    The downside here is that the slots are at an angle to the string so you may get some buzzing. Wish I had seen this earlier, I just found a bunch of wood tune o matic blanks that I used to use on my instruments. It isn't a big deal to make one.
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  11. #10
    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    I thought about that, but it doesn't seem to be a problem so far. I'll probably have my neighbor, Ryan Rukavina, who built my mandola correct the angle of the string slots just in case.
    Those wood tuneomatic bridges are very nice!
    Check out the bridge Ryan built for my mandola:
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  12. #11
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    Hey Andrew, maybe I can hit you up for one of those Tune-O-Matics. I have one of those Kentucky 5-strings sitting here...
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  13. #12

    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    Hey Andrew, maybe I can hit you up for one of those Tune-O-Matics. I have one of those Kentucky 5-strings sitting here...
    What is the post to post distance from the center of the posts? Shoot me an email and we'll discuss it.

  14. #13
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    What's interesting, boys, is that the mid-'80s version of the KM300E did have a Tune-o-Matic. What John's got hold of in this thread is a late '80s version, which has the bar bridge.

    I guess I'm a little slow on the uptake or I'd have already realized this. There's a mid-'80s version from Hungary in the Classifieds today, and here's a photo of the one that I have sitting around:

    http://s568.photobucket.com/user/ema...tml?sort=3&o=8
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  15. #14
    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    So the fancier tuneomatic version was before the more "primitive" bar bridge?
    Do you have any links to info on these, Martin? I can't find anything.
    "it's not in bad taste, if it's funny" - john waters

  16. #15

    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    I thought the bridge that the OP posted is a replacement bridge. I didnt think KY ever had that type of bridge. I thought they switched from the TOM bridge to the more traditional shaped bridge on their four strings and then quit making the five string.

  17. #16
    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    I can't find any pictures of one of these with a bar bridge like mine, so maybe it's not original. It doesn't make much sense to go from a tuneomatic to a bar bridge, but I've seen stranger.
    Martin?
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  18. #17
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    I bought one in '89 and I'm pretty sure it had the bar bridge. There's one photo of me with it, but I think my hand is covering up the bridge.

    Here are photos of another one I had with a bar bridge.
    http://s568.photobucket.com/user/ema...?sort=3&page=1

    The 5-string KM300E and 4-string KM400E were imported for a few years in the '80s and then discontinued. There was a gap of almost 20 years before Kentucky introduced the current 4-string KM300E.
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  19. #18
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Rosett View Post
    So the fancier tuneomatic version was before the more "primitive" bar bridge?
    It's not uncommonGIBSON for instrument makersFENDER to introduce mandolins with quality componentsBREEDLOVE and replace them with inferiorOVATION versions later on.
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  20. #19
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    The KM300E also once had a tuneomatic style bridge.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  21. #20

    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    Interesting, I don't think I've seen one with the bar bridge nor with a tapered side on the upper, rear bout.

  22. #21
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Correcting intonation on a Kentucky 5 string?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob View Post
    The KM300E also once had a tuneomatic style bridge.
    And now it seems to have a white Corian compensated thingy. So Kentucky went from a TOM to a bar bridge once and evidently they'll do it again.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Calling the new 4-string a KM300E is a pet peeve of mine. Why use the same model number as the earlier 5-string?
    Last edited by mrmando; Oct-10-2016 at 12:17pm.
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