Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Strange intonation issue with new strings

  1. #1

    Question Strange intonation issue with new strings

    Hello there,
    I have a strange issue since I have put new strings (Optima) on my beloved MD305. The A strings are not well in tune together, a weird intonation when I go up the fret. All the others strings are good.
    What would cause this ? I didn't have this issue before with my Thomastik.
    Eastman 305
    Thomastik Strings

  2. #2
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Statesville, NC
    Posts
    3,041

    Default Re: Strange intonation issue with new strings

    Are the Optima A strings wound? (not that that would necessarily make a difference)
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” ≠ “Accidentals”

  3. #3

    Default Re: Strange intonation issue with new strings

    Things I can think of to check:
    - strings seated well in nut, meaning same height, a badly cut nut can do some very strange things. If the new strings are heavier gauge this would focus suspicion here.
    - same check at the bridge.
    - technique, pressing one string harder.
    - bad string.
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  4. #4
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    SD
    Posts
    2,731

    Default Re: Strange intonation issue with new strings

    I had a goofy issue recently on a guitar and found the nut was ever so slightly back cut, gave me fits. My A on the Oldwave with TI's is off but moves progressively flatter while moving up the neck. I got some wood from a forum member here to redo a saddle but decided to just shim the front edge of the A course at the bridge. How does the intonation change on yours as you move up the neck? Or is it different between the two strings?
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Strange intonation issue with new strings

    Yes they are wounded.
    I will check the nut and the bridge.
    Eastman 305
    Thomastik Strings

  6. #6

    Default Re: Strange intonation issue with new strings

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bertotti View Post
    How does the intonation change on yours as you move up the neck? Or is it different between the two strings?
    It is flatter up the neck, but only on one string, this is the weird thing.
    Eastman 305
    Thomastik Strings

  7. #7
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    SD
    Posts
    2,731

    Default Re: Strange intonation issue with new strings

    Quote Originally Posted by Herrmann View Post
    It is flatter up the neck, but only on one string, this is the weird thing.
    My guess would be bridge or nut slot, although it is possible to get a odd string I haven’t seen that happen myself.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  8. #8
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Beautiful Salem County, NJ
    Posts
    1,483

    Default Re: Strange intonation issue with new strings

    Quote Originally Posted by Herrmann View Post
    Yes they are wounded.
    I will check the nut and the bridge.
    Herrmann, are you saying that the 'a' strings are wound, and that when they are in tune open, one of them is in tune as you move up the neck and the other is not? If so, you likely have a defective string. This happens. It is not common, but it does happen. Do you have another set of the same strings on hand from which you can swap out an 'a' string to try?

    Before I'd mess around with the nut or bridge too much, I would want to make sure it is not simply a bad string. Simplest solution first, and do no harm in the process.
    Purr more, hiss less.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,987

    Default Re: Strange intonation issue with new strings

    I have had bad strings several times over the years. When I bought strings by the dozen, I have had a bad bunch in the dozen. Way more than one string.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  10. #10
    Paul Wheeler
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    St Albans, VT; soon to be Greenfield, NH
    Posts
    397

    Default Re: Strange intonation issue with new strings

    If your former Thomastik A-strings were plain, and your present A-strings are wound: that may be your problem since they have different scale-lengths (shorter for the wound ones). I don't remember the underlying physics, but I do remember having to custom-make a bridge saddle when I went from regular D'Addarios to flat-wounds.

    The default pattern on a regular saddle (assuming wound G and D, plain A and E) as you proceed from low to high is long, shorter, longer, shorter -- the transition from wound D to plain A calls for a longer scale on the A; and for either wound or plain, the higher-pitched string needs a slightly shorter scale.

    If you have a wound A-string instead, the low-to-high pattern is long, shorter, shorter, longer: as the wound strings progress to a higher pitch they need slightly shorter scales; and when you finally transition to a plain string the scale-length becomes slightly longer.

    I went through this with switching to flat-wounds on my (former) Lyon and Healy, where the A-string was driving me nuts. Joe Cleary (of Campanella Strings) teamed with me to make string-by-string fine measurements of the optimal scale length. From the results we created a plus/minus chart of how much front-end to remove from a blank saddle, at appropriate points, to get correct compensation for the new strings. The outcome was fabulous. I'm sure he under-charged me. -- Paul
    Last edited by twaaang; Jul-17-2019 at 7:33pm. Reason: momentary reversed logic
    He joyously felt himself idling, an unreflective mood in which water was water, sky was sky, breeze was breeze. He knew it couldn't last. -- Thomas McGuane, "Nothing but Blue Skies"

  11. #11
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Statesville, NC
    Posts
    3,041

    Default Re: Strange intonation issue with new strings

    Thomastik A strings are wound.

    IF intonation was fine with TIs, why would you suspect nut or saddle? Change the strings.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” ≠ “Accidentals”

  12. The following members say thank you to Philphool for this post:


  13. #12
    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Rockville, MD
    Posts
    1,590
    Blog Entries
    7

    Default Re: Strange intonation issue with new strings

    It would be a vendor mistake, but I (at least once) have had a packaged set with mismatched gauges in a pair. A micrometer would be handy, or by feel check if the flat one has less tension.
    Blog--Miniature Orchestra
    Sound Clips--SoundCloud
    Videos--YouTube
    The viola is proof that man is not rational

  14. #13

    Default Re: Strange intonation issue with new strings

    The tests I have done : inverting the strings invert the issue, so the issue is definitly the string. I will buy another set and see.
    Eastman 305
    Thomastik Strings

  15. #14
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Beautiful Salem County, NJ
    Posts
    1,483

    Default Re: Strange intonation issue with new strings

    Hi Herrmann,

    Good; that is the simplest fix. I have had this problem. There was one brand of which had some bad strings go out and I was unfortunate enough to encounter them twice. In each case, though, they made good on it. You might want to email the manufacturer to see whether they will send you a replacement string. I would guess that they will.

    Best wishes,

    Bob
    Purr more, hiss less.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •