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Intonation on my Taylor

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Intonation on my Taylor

Postby Matthew Seed » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:10 pm

Hi guys i have a new Koa Taylor Limited edition acoustic. Beautiful guitar but it has an intonation problem. Its just the low E string that is out. What do you do in this situation ?

Thanks
Matthew
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Re: Intonation on my Taylor

Postby grab » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:59 pm

Send it back to the fiery chasm from whence it came! (Ahem.)

Actually, first thing is three stupid questions. First stupid question: have you changed the strings since you bought it? Old strings will be dodgy intonation-wise. Second stupid question: you are tuning to concert pitch EADGBE, aren't you? Dropped tunings will generally give you grief on intonation. Third stupid question: you're not leaning too hard on that bottom E, are you? Some players (especially the wrap-the-thumb-around-the-neck school of folk guitar) can grip the strings tighter than necessary and essentially put a slight bend on every fretted note. Hopefully they're stupid questions, but ruling out "user error" is always worthwhile.

Also check humidity in your house. If it's *very* dry air then this can be a problem as the wood shrinks. I've not personally found it a problem, but then the UK generally has a fairly moist climate, and a combination of drying clothes and damp dogs tends to keep our place fairly well humidified too. YMMV, especially if you're in the States.

Assuming the intonation is still duff though, take it back to the shop and don't try to sort it yourself. If the action at higher frets is a bit high too, it's probably just a truss rod tweak, but it's not impossible for it to be something more serious. I know most shops don't have enough margin to do a full setup on everything that passes through their hands, so most instruments will just be shipped as they come from the factory. So you don't want to mess with it yourself, else the shop will (rightly!) tell you that they can't return/fix it after you've buggered about with it.
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Re: Intonation on my Taylor

Postby Matthew Seed » Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:18 pm

Hi there, thanks for the response. Not stupid questions at all, but i have actually had the guitar about a year and i don't know why i hadn't noticed it too much before or maybe its just gone worse. And yes always 440. and not leaning going on either. the odd bit is if i tune all the strings perfectly to an accurate tuner even the the open E5 doesn't resonate right so never mind moving further up the fretboard where power chords are not really power chords at all. the other odd bit is the intonation on the rest of the guitar even moving up the neck is great.

The room i keep it in used to be very damp but every since i have had it there is a de-humidifier running in there 24/7 but it doesn't seem to effect my other instruments, i have a modern eagle PRS and a 5 string Warwick in there too and they are all fine and so was my last acoustic before i bought this one. like i said i have had it over a year or so now so i don't feel like i can go back to the shop. WORRIED !!!!!
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Re: Intonation on my Taylor

Postby zenguitar » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:59 pm

Does the intonation problem survive a change of strings? Could just be a worn out or dud E string. Or maybe the ball end wraps sitting on the saddle, some brands have longer string wraps than others.

Have you switched to lighter/heavier gauge strings than originally fitted ?

Has the neck settled over time and developed too much relief?

Finally...

If in doubt get the guitar to a decent luthier/tech with good knowledge of acoustic guitars. Most of these issues come down to worn/dud strings, if a new set of strings and a good clean doesn't solve it then it should go to an expert.

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Re: Intonation on my Taylor

Postby shufflebeat » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:05 pm

One more stupid question:

Is the interval between the open E and the fretted F a good one?

If the intonation goes out gradually up the neck then see above. If the E/F interval is out then you might just have a problem at the nut.
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Re: Intonation on my Taylor

Postby zenguitar » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:19 pm

shufflebeat wrote:One more stupid question:

Is the interval between the open E and the fretted F a good one?

If the intonation goes out gradually up the neck then see above. If the E/F interval is out then you might just have a problem at the nut.

Yep, a good point, especially if you've gone up a gauge step and the string is no longer sitting at full depth in the nut slot. A good test is to slap a capo at the 1st or second fret, retune and check the intonation.

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Re: Intonation on my Taylor

Postby Matthew Seed » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:29 pm

Thanks Zen & Shuffle, some great advice there. But no i have had the same string gauge and indeed make since i bought it and it had these on then too gauge 11 elixir. This set of strings has only been on about a week, new strings has made no difference at all to the problem i'm sorry to report. I tried perfectly tuning the low E and then gently playing first F and its very sharp. As i have been such close listening today i have also noticed that the A string is doing all this a little too, not as bad as the E but its there and both get slowly worse as they go up the neck. I made a few minor truss rod adjustments which slightly helped but not really. I noticed when i looked at the bridge saddle, they always have those peaks where the strings set some more forward or back than others, i have often wondered if they were put on as standard or a custom one for each guitar, as with mine the two lw strings E & A are set back from the D & G........i look at it and think if they weren't would it all be OK ? Or am i being naive and simplistic here.......bout time i had a stupid question. This is driving me mad this guitar was £3000.
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Re: Intonation on my Taylor

Postby zenguitar » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:21 am

Definitely try a capo at the second fret and tune for F#, B, E, A, C#, F#

If that makes things a lot better, then your nut is the first place to look.

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Re: Intonation on my Taylor

Postby Matthew Seed » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:43 am

Hi Andy

Just tried the capo idea and as i move up the board it gets just as bad, so i guess that means its more the saddle does it ?
I'm running out of ideas now and not sure what to do really. I don't really know any guitar techs local to me in Manchester that i could trust with my baby. What about trying a different saddle ?

Thank you, Matthew
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Re: Intonation on my Taylor

Postby zenguitar » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:29 pm

Well it looks like we have eliminated the nut.

A replacement saddle could be the solution, but again that's a job for someone who knows what he's doing.

The first thing to remember is that it is perfectly normal for a guitar to settle over time and reach an equilibrium that's slightly different to how it left the factory. With the width of the saddle there is a small range for fine tuning intonation. But the underlying reason for a change in intonation is usually a change in the required angle of the neck/body join as the instrument settles.

So, if the adjustment required is within the range available, a replacement saddle will sort things. But if not, the neck angle might need attention. This is nothing to worry about, Taylor guitars are designed with a bolt on neck using threaded inserts and they supply a selection of shims to their authorised repairers that are especially designed to fine tune the neck/body join with a high degree of accuracy. The same shims are used in the factory for the original set-up.

For that reason, I would strongly recommend using a Taylor authorised repairer. And maybe even consider asking for it to be done under the warranty, although it's just over 12 months old EU guidelines would suggest that the warranty should be 2 years.

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Re: Intonation on my Taylor

Postby Matthew Seed » Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:30 pm

Hi Andy

Thank you so much for that and for putting my mind at rest that its not a problem.....in the BAD NEWS sense !!!

i will track down a Taylor approved guy and get her booked in.

Thanks again for your help, i will report back once it is done.

Matthew
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Re: Intonation on my Taylor

Postby shufflebeat » Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:47 pm

Matthew Seed wrote: I don't really know any guitar techs local to me in Manchester that i could trust with my baby.

I'm going to assume you're in Manchester UK and not Manchester USA, a bit like my good lady wife who booked us a table at a very highly recommended vegetarian restaurant we'd somehow never even heard of (I've worked it out now) only to find it was thousands of miles away.

If you don't find anyone through the Taylor connection PM me and I'll send you some info.
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