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Thread: Vintage Viaten intonation

  1. #1

    Default Vintage Viaten intonation

    Hi,
    Just bought a Viaten, my first look at tenor guitar coming mainly from a 6 string background. I have the Viaten strung with D'Addario EJ66 medium P/B strings and find the intonation to be quite poor above the 5th fret. For example, if the D at the 7th fret of the G string is in tune with the open D strings, the G at the 5th fret on the D string is slightly out of tune with the open G string.

    I'm hoping this is just a string issue.

    Anyone with any suggestion ?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Vintage Viaten intonation

    Don't know about Viaten's, but intonation problems related to strings are pretty common in the mandolin world.
    We are additionally spoiled by mandolin bridges that are movable, string weight changes are easily adjustable to restore proper intonation up the neck by sliding the bridge as needed, assuming the bridge itself is properly compensated.

    Guitars are harder, as the bridges are attached to the top, so changing string gauges requires a trip to a luthier to have it altered to play in tune again. Optionally you simply return to the string gauges the guitar is adjusted for.

    Looking for pics of the Viaten on the interwebz, I see what looks like a normal (small) guitar body and fixed bridge. So your options fall into the guitar category.

    This may help:
    Lighter strings cause things to go flat up the neck, so the bridge has to move closer to the nut on that particular string.
    Heavier strings cause things to go sharp up the neck, the bridge must move further away from the nut on that string.

    If your problems are things going sharp, try light strings (instead of mediums), that would be my guess at a quick solution.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Viaten intonation

    I have a Viaten, and haven't had any particular intonation issues. However, I use custom gauges and have mine set up for GDAE. I haven't personally tried CGDA tuning but have seen other comments that the Viaten responds better to the lower tuning.

    The d'Addario set you have is medium gauge for a 23" scale. The Viaten has a 22" scale, so all your string tensions will be lower at the same pitch. To compensate for this, you may want to try heavy gauge strings.

    Martin

  4. #4

    Default Re: Vintage Viaten intonation

    Thanks for the replies.
    All the strings are 10-20cent sharp when comparing the open harmonic to the 12th fret note so lighter strings might help.
    Hopefully I wont have to go down the road bluesbean took to sort it out.....
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lL1S...re=em-comments

  5. #5
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Viaten intonation

    I would strongly suggest that the cause is due to poor intonation, it would be worth a visit to your locale luthier or some careful DIY.
    There is a chance the fret spacing is not accurate but unlikely, far more likely the saddle will need adjusting (replacing) the nut may be a causing an issue too.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Vintage Viaten intonation

    Quote Originally Posted by fox View Post
    I would strongly suggest that the cause is due to poor intonation, it would be worth a visit to your locale luthier or some careful DIY.
    There is a chance the fret spacing is not accurate but unlikely, far more likely the saddle will need adjusting (replacing) the nut may be a causing an issue too.
    You are right.... however, I don't much feel like paying more to a luthier to correct the problem than I paid for the guitar !

    I have a simple (though rustic looking !) fix. I removed the saddle and am using a cut-down nail as a saddle held in place by two inserts in the original saddle slot. This adds about 3.5mm to the string length and corrects the intonation. G, D and A are in at the 12th fret to within 1 or 2 cent and the C is within 5 cent, quite acceptable.


    Pic attached. A string is missing as it snapped with all the tightening/loosening.
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  8. #7
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Viaten intonation

    Quote Originally Posted by martindiggins View Post
    You are right.... however, I don't much feel like paying more to a luthier to correct the problem than I paid for the guitar !
    .
    Good ingenuity fix there!
    So did you get the guitar really cheap or do you have a very expensive luthier?

  9. #8

    Default Re: Vintage Viaten intonation

    Quote Originally Posted by fox View Post
    Good ingenuity fix there!
    So did you get the guitar really cheap or do you have a very expensive luthier?
    Bit of both really !

    He's the tidied up version: original saddle sanded down and the nail propped behind it after curving it slightly to fit the curved bridge surface. Still waiting for new strings....
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  10. #9
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Viaten intonation

    This doesn't look right at all. I have just checked the intonation on my own Viaten -- it's just fine on all four strings. 3.5 mm difference in saddle location is a lot, so unless somebody moved the nut it looks like the factory got the bridge placement wrong on yours. Is this a new instrument? May be a warranty claim.

    Martin

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  12. #10

    Default Re: Vintage Viaten intonation

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Jonas View Post
    This doesn't look right at all. I have just checked the intonation on my own Viaten -- it's just fine on all four strings. 3.5 mm difference in saddle location is a lot, so unless somebody moved the nut it looks like the factory got the bridge placement wrong on yours. Is this a new instrument? May be a warranty claim.

    Martin
    Bought second-hand "as is" - so no warranty option. No sign that anyone moved the saddle or bridge, so guess it was just a mistake at the factory. Though, given bluesbean had a similar problem, it's not a unique mistake. Have to say that I've come across Vintage guitars in the past and all have been of very good standard for the price, so this is not typical of the brand.

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