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ES 335 G string intonation


Markini

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I guess I have had bad luck. I have a really picky ear and I purchased a 2010 335 and chased the G string intonation for a month, it just kept coming up sharp. Very noticable when playing open chords, not so bad doing lead or on distort setting, but playing clean is quite noticable. I had 3 set ups done, last one the guitar tech replaced nut and spen t30 mintutes trying to intonate the G string. We even turned the saddle around to get more adjustment. Another thing even replacing the nut,(strings were not binding) but the guitar would not stay in tune

 

Note: The fit and finish, neck, frets etc were flawless.

 

I really liked that guitars mojo and overall it had a good sound, but I couldn't live with a sharp G string. (B string was off too, but I could live with it.) I ended up taking it back and trading up to as PRS SC HB II.

 

So I went to Sam Ash and GC and played three different 335s all had the G string sharp, like I said only really noticable on open chords like a D or an A.

Anyone else experience this? Or maybe I just ran into a bad batch.

 

I really like Gibson guitars and my two LPs have excellent intonation.

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.

Intonation problems on the middle strings, particularly G and B comes up here often enough (across all Gibson models) to say there's a problem. Usually it's the nut slot isn't cut deep enough so fretting the string in the first few frets, the bit of extra distance the string has to stretch to be fretted makes it sharp. However, you had a new nut made. The saddle flip trick. And I'm guessing you tried new strings. There are those who say you can't get perfect tuning anyway, so tune for the individual songs you're playing. I disagree with that. I'd would've taken another look at the depth of that nut slot.

 

.

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The tech who worked on it is so so and is paid by GC. I think your right I should have taken to my favorite tech (longer drive) and had a bone or graphite nut installed, the original nut was replaced with tusq (sp).

 

I really like the 335 sound and will probably venture out again and buy a used one in the future. The PRS SC HBII I replaced it with is pretty awesome too. You have two jacks, you connect the mag pup jacks to a distorted amp and connect the piezo pup to an acoustic amp. Balance the levels and the soumd will send shivers of delight up and down your body. I was actually getting body rushes from the tone. Its apure clear tone intertwined with a nasty distort, just heaven.

 

 

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Good advice as usual [thumbup]

 

Personal 0.02 would be to live with it :blink:

 

Every acoustic or semi I've ever owned has had some micro intonation issue or other

 

Most often the 'extra pressure' inherent in the 'open' position chords

 

Playing some mean, low down dirty blues with alcohol and laughter can help at times [glare]

 

The ES 335 is too good to be without....

 

V

 

:-({|=

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The tech who worked on it is so so and is paid by GC. I think your right I should have taken to my favorite tech (longer drive) and had a bone or graphite nut installed, the original nut was replaced with tusq (sp).

 

I really like the 335 sound and will probably venture out again and buy a used one in the future. The PRS SC HBII I replaced it with is pretty awesome too. You have two jacks, you connect the mag pup jacks to a distorted amp and connect the piezo pup to an acoustic amp. Balance the levels and the soumd will send shivers of delight up and down your body. I was actually getting body rushes from the tone. Its apure clear tone intertwined with a nasty distort, just heaven.

 

 

I'm sure that your problem can be fixed. What I suggest is find the best tech going around and let him sort it.

 

I have a large collection of guitars and a couple of times when I bought the guitar, the shop would provide their tech for a set up free of charge as part of the purchase. So I bought an L5 and an SJ200 Acoustic from the same place. The guitars both badly needed a set up. I took both guitars to their tech 3 times without ever achieving a satisfactory result. In the end he started telling me the guitars had neck issues that couldn't be resolved.

 

So I took it to the tech that I'd used for years and his first comment was that these guitars needed to be set up and hadn't been yet. He set them up and they were perfect - so much for the story about the guitars having neck issues.The necks are perfect!!

 

Get the best tech possible. Good luck.

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Unless I missed it, I didn't read what gauge strings you are using. If your using 10's, the wound "G" will make a difference, your going from a .017 to a .018 gauge.

 

I'm lucky with my 2005 ES-335, I had 10's on it, and switched to 9's, which I really like. The unwound "G" is still true using 10's or 9's.

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My former ES 335 I had factory Gibson 10s, I tried Elixer 10s, then I tried Gibson Masterbuilt 9s. The 9s did not cut it for me. Besides the problem was the G string intonation and none of the string changes helped. As I said before I am sure I will buy another one in the future, probably used and with no intonation problems.

 

 

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.

Intonation problems on the middle strings, particularly G and B comes up here often enough (across all Gibson models) to say there's a problem. Usually it's the nut slot isn't cut deep enough so fretting the string in the first few frets, the bit of extra distance the string has to stretch to be fretted makes it sharp. However, you had a new nut made. The saddle flip trick. And I'm guessing you tried new strings. There are those who say you can't get perfect tuning anyway, so tune for the individual songs you're playing. I disagree with that. I'd would've taken another look at the depth of that nut slot.

 

.

 

 

This is it right there. Nut slot depth almost always. Put a capo between the second and third fret. Should be a .005" gap and no more between the string and the top of the first fret.

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The wound G is how I handled the same problem on a newer 335 of mine. My old ones have never presented such. But then, I prefer wound G strings from the outset and have them on most of my Gibsons. Really not hard to get used to bending them.

 

 

Steve

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Folks always advise the poster with intonation problems to lower the strings in the nut slot.

Not everyone wants the lowest action possible at the nut, for various reasons.

Sharpness at the first fret can also be adjusted by changing the take off point of the string.

In other words moving the nut.

Until the issues of player preference regarding string height at the nut is addressed the "setup" is incomplete.

If your "tech" can not make the guitar play in tune , you have the wrong tech.

Most commercial factory made guitars are made is such a way as to force you to lower the nut height for first fret intonation to the point that any forceful picking results in mechanical noise on the open strings.

Thats not acceptable for players who use the whole instrument and want the full range of instrument dynamics and tone.

Nut placement is simply a part of a "true" professional set up.

Its a matter of the tech. adjusting the instrument to the players needs , not the player adjusting to the instrument .

The store "box boy" will not be able to adjust an instrument for actual professional use.

Most amateurs will not require an instrument adjusted for professional playing, in fact they likely would not be able to play an instrument set for a professional.

Which is why companies set them as they do. They know who buys the instruments they build.

The hobbyist.

The amateur with perfect pitch or even good relative pitch needs to speak to a professional who is able to balance the first fret with the other ranges of the neck as regards intonation .

If you can't play an A major chord at the second fret and be in tune with an A major chord played at the 14th fret your guitar is not adjusted correctly.

No amount of "tinkering" will allow you to play a first position E major followed by a C major with the G string in tune unless the nut is adjusted for placement and height.

Remember the factory knows what its doing and how to do it. The instrument is set for the average player taking into consideration that any new instrument made of wood will move a lot in the first year of its life.

Issues of intonation and pitch vary with the player and instrument.

Later production is much closer to ideal than older production in this regard.

If you like a low action most factory product will allow for that. People who like medium or higher action at the nut will be forced to make adjustments or suffer the consequences .

Cheers !

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I've done the wound G thing .017 and .018 and they both sounded great but neither one lasted doing bends. The outer winding breaks usually in several spots and slids on the core. I'll have to look into the nut slot depth maybe that's the problem, could be off just a touch. Can really hear it when playing cords in the first 3 frets. No problems like this with any of my other guitars just the Gibsons. The B string is off sounding also.

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I guess I have had bad luck. I have a really picky ear and I purchased a 2010 335 and chased the G string intonation for a month, it just kept coming up sharp. Very noticable when playing open chords, not so bad doing lead or on distort setting, but playing clean is quite noticable. I had 3 set ups done, last one the guitar tech replaced nut and spen t30 mintutes trying to intonate the G string. We even turned the saddle around to get more adjustment. Another thing even replacing the nut,(strings were not binding) but the guitar would not stay in tune

 

 

Since you flip the saddle (G string) to get more lenght for the correct intonation, are you saying that it cannot be intonated correctly? I read that it does "not stay in tune" implying that you can correctly intonate it prior to playing or bending the G string. If so, the nut needs to be widen a little. You can fold a 1000 grit sandpaper and widen the slot. You could also angle the slot towards the tuner to minimize nut contact with the string. Then put a little graphite or even chapstick on the nut to lessen the friction of the string on the nut...works on mine with periodic chapstick application. [flapper]

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Folks always advise the poster with intonation problems to lower the strings in the nut slot.

Not everyone wants the lowest action possible at the nut, for various reasons. .....

 

NOT lower (all) the strings. Lower THE slot that has THE string that is going sharp when fretted. This has nothing to do with the action. It has to do with the fact that the nut slots should be cut so that when strings are fretted in the first two or three frets the distance traveled is close enough so that one string doesn't stretch more that the others when fretted. You can set the height wherever you want it as long as the slot depths have the proper depth relationship to each other.

 

You can usually see this problem where a nut slot depth is incorrect. Look at the nut slots in the pic below, where the strings come through them over the first fret. They should all be very close to the same height and more or less follow the fretboard radius. But due to the size of each string the low E is higher than the high E and the middle string heights are graduated along the radius. It's pretty obvious when one of slots is not deep enough. In the pic below - old Mr. G String is sticking up like a flag. Because it is higher (beyond the radius) than the rest of the other strings as they come out of the nut slots, when you fret that G string in first two or three frets, it is stretching farther than any of the other strings causing it to be have more tension than it should and it sounds sharp in comparision to the other strings. The pic below shows the typical problem with Gibson factory nuts - many times the G and/or B slots are cut too high.

 

imgp10019691884.jpg

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NOT lower (all) the strings. Lower THE slot that has THE string that is going sharp when fretted. This has nothing to do with the action. It has to do with the fact that the nut slots should be cut so that when strings are fretted in the first two or three frets the distance traveled is close enough so that one string doesn't stretch more that the others when fretted. You can set the height wherever you want it as long as the slot depths have the proper depth relationship to each other.

 

You can usually see this problem where a nut slot depth is incorrect. Look at the nut slots in the pic below, where the strings come through them over the first fret. They should all be very close to the same height and more or less follow the fretboard radius. But due to the size of each string the low E is higher than the high E and the middle string heights are graduated along the radius. It's pretty obvious when one of slots is not deep enough. In the pic below - old Mr. G String is sticking up like a flag. Because it is higher (beyond the radius) than the rest of the other strings as they come out of the nut slots, when you fret that G string in first two or three frets, it is stretching farther than any of the other strings causing it to be have more tension than it should and it sounds sharp in comparision to the other strings. The pic below shows the typical problem with Gibson factory nuts - many times the G and/or B slots are cut too high.

 

imgp10019691884.jpg

 

Exactly right!

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NOT lower (all) the strings. Lower THE slot that has THE string that is going sharp when fretted. This has nothing to do with the action. It has to do with the fact that the nut slots should be cut so that when strings are fretted in the first two or three frets the distance traveled is close enough so that one string doesn't stretch more that the others when fretted. You can set the height wherever you want it as long as the slot depths have the proper depth relationship to each other.

 

You can usually see this problem where a nut slot depth is incorrect. Look at the nut slots in the pic below, where the strings come through them over the first fret. They should all be very close to the same height and more or less follow the fretboard radius. But due to the size of each string the low E is higher than the high E and the middle string heights are graduated along the radius. It's pretty obvious when one of slots is not deep enough. In the pic below - old Mr. G String is sticking up like a flag. Because it is higher (beyond the radius) than the rest of the other strings as they come out of the nut slots, when you fret that G string in first two or three frets, it is stretching farther than any of the other strings causing it to be have more tension than it should and it sounds sharp in comparision to the other strings. The pic below shows the typical problem with Gibson factory nuts - many times the G and/or B slots are cut too high.

 

imgp10019691884.jpg

 

I'm not sure I understand the point of your quoting my post .

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Folks always advise the poster with intonation problems to lower the strings in the nut slot.

Not everyone wants the lowest action possible at the nut, for various reasons.

Sharpness at the first fret can also be adjusted by changing the take off point of the string.

In other words moving the nut.

Until the issues of player preference regarding string height at the nut is addressed the "setup" is incomplete.

If your "tech" can not make the guitar play in tune , you have the wrong tech.

Most commercial factory made guitars are made is such a way as to force you to lower the nut height for first fret intonation to the point that any forceful picking results in mechanical noise on the open strings.

Thats not acceptable for players who use the whole instrument and want the full range of instrument dynamics and tone.

Nut placement is simply a part of a "true" professional set up.

Its a matter of the tech. adjusting the instrument to the players needs , not the player adjusting to the instrument .

The store "box boy" will not be able to adjust an instrument for actual professional use.

Most amateurs will not require an instrument adjusted for professional playing, in fact they likely would not be able to play an instrument set for a professional.

Which is why companies set them as they do. They know who buys the instruments they build.

The hobbyist.

The amateur with perfect pitch or even good relative pitch needs to speak to a professional who is able to balance the first fret with the other ranges of the neck as regards intonation .

If you can't play an A major chord at the second fret and be in tune with an A major chord played at the 14th fret your guitar is not adjusted correctly.

No amount of "tinkering" will allow you to play a first position E major followed by a C major with the G string in tune unless the nut is adjusted for placement and height.

Remember the factory knows what its doing and how to do it. The instrument is set for the average player taking into consideration that any new instrument made of wood will move a lot in the first year of its life.

Issues of intonation and pitch vary with the player and instrument.

Later production is much closer to ideal than older production in this regard.

If you like a low action most factory product will allow for that. People who like medium or higher action at the nut will be forced to make adjustments or suffer the consequences .

Cheers !

 

Al: I feel your frustration as a "high nut" player

I am of the opposite persuausion, in that I prefer a much lower cut to the nut than typically comes with a factory setup. Fortunately for me, lowering the nut usually results in reasonably good intonation at the first fret, as 90% of factory set-ups seem to be sharp at fret 1 when the intonation at the 12th fret is good. However, If you want a high nut and the best possible intonation, moving the nut back is the only solution. I agree from experimentation that all fret placement is a compromise based on the average action and nut depth, and if one's preference is not this averge, things can get tricky. On one particular instrument , I was reduced to re-crowning some frets off center to get rid of mid neck intonation problems. . . .

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Al: I feel your frustration as a "high nut" player

I am of the opposite persuausion, in that I prefer a much lower cut to the nut than typically comes with a factory setup. Fortunately for me, lowering the nut usually results in reasonably good intonation at the first fret, as 90% of factory set-ups seem to be sharp at fret 1 when the intonation at the 12th fret is good. However, If you want a high nut and the best possible intonation, moving the nut back is the only solution. I agree from experimentation that all fret placement is a compromise based on the average action and nut depth, and if one's preference is not this averge, things can get tricky. On one particular instrument , I was reduced to re-crowning some frets off center to get rid of mid neck intonation problems. . . .

 

Hi

No frustration. Just airing the topic so there's more understanding of it.

Every string needs its own setting for height.

Factory setups on the "big" strings are left high and I agree with that , its good for several reasons.

In practice nuts are most usually moved forward to correct sharpness.

The nut then adjusted slightly higher for the trebles and about the same for those pesky larger strings.

The nut can be tweaked back slightly under the smaller strings if necessary , but on steel strung guitars its usually unnecessary.

YMMV

Its good that people know there is a choice involved.

Cheers !

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  • 3 weeks later...

Your post is exactly why I just joined the forum. I am so in love with the tones and versatility of this guitar for my style of playing, but I am disappointed with difficulties tuning the G and B strings. To date, all I've tried is changing the strings, which made it better. I've read on here that getting an expert to file the nut might be the solution. I sure hope so. If I can get that fixed, it will be the perfect guitar for me. I just bought it new in December 2011, and I think it is sad that I have to deal with this for a brand of this caliber.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Your post is exactly why I just joined the forum. I am so in love with the tones and versatility of this guitar for my style of playing, but I am disappointed with difficulties tuning the G and B strings. To date, all I've tried is changing the strings, which made it better. I've read on here that getting an expert to file the nut might be the solution. I sure hope so. If I can get that fixed, it will be the perfect guitar for me. I just bought it new in December 2011, and I think it is sad that I have to deal with this for a brand of this caliber.

 

All brand new guitars need a proper "setup" and a setup to the individual preferences. Most problems with the G and B strings is the nut slot. After bending the string or even fretting, the string binds on the nut and does not move back to its original tension. Eliminating this binding requires polishing the nut slots and also lubricating the nut slot. Easy fix is to fold sand paper and just run it through polishing the walls of the slot. I also use sand paper around feeler gauge. You can also angle the string slots toward the tuners. Most of the time I use chapstick to lubricate while at a gig.

 

Hope this helps a little..

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I have a 339 whose G and b strings have bothered me for some time now. Assuming my nut was a bit off, I treat the slots in the nut and the bridge with Big Bends nut sauce and at least they stay in tune. But the intonation has been off -- all over the fretboard.

 

So I took it in to the guy I use for a pro set-up. I should have done it sooner. He had to ever so slightly file a slot in the bridge -- adjust the trussrod -- it was off slightly -- although the tech said "It was way off" but I am assuming a bit of hyperbole -- maybe, maybe not. The tech thought the nut wasn't off enough to mess with. But time will tell on that opinion. He felt the neck angle was the source of my problems. At any rate, all is well and the guitar now sounds the way a Gibson should sound.

 

Nothing like a pro set up.

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I would strongly advise against filing the nut slot yourself/at all! What will most likely happen if you deepen the nut **** is that your intonation on the G string will improve in the first 3 frets but will dramatically worsen from fret 5 onwards.

 

My advice: Take the guitar to a decent tech and have it set up. With a lot of Gibsons it is the case that the nut is simply to high. Also if your G string or B string goes out of tune quickly (not the same as intonation problems) use, as someone stated before a lubricant for the nut slots. I use a pencil.

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