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not happy with tuning up and down fretboard - Godin Solidac

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not happy with tuning up and down fretboard - Godin Solidac

Postby Mudchild » Sun Nov 15, 2020 1:23 pm

I really like my Solidac overall, but something just isn't right. Tuning just feels a bit sour on certain chords, even after setups and intonation tweaks and everything. I'm not a complete tuning fascist, and I'm aware that the guitar is an 'organic' instrument, so to speak, but I'm playing some fingerpicky stuff and certain parts just sound a bit off. I compare it the tuning on my Martin acoustic, which just always feels right. I tune that up and I can be confident that all chords will sound just fine.

How common is this? I'm not a guitar expert at all, I just do my thing. There's nothing visibly wrong with the guitar to my eye. What could be the cause? Is that just the way it is sometimes?

Thanks for any input!
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Re: not happy with tuning up and down fretboard - Godin Solidac

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:32 pm

I suppose the fretting could be out but it's very unlikely (and it's surprising how little difference a couple of 1/10ths of a mm make at the lower frets at least, don't ask me how I know...). More likely is the nut or bridge but your setup guy should have picked up on that. Are you using light strings, they are less forgiving of fretting pressure than 'standard' gauge. Also if you have high frets on the Godin then it will be more sensitive to uneven finger pressure.

You can eliminate the nut by using a capo and check the intonation fretted to the octave harmonic to see if the bridge saddle is the culprit.
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Re: not happy with tuning up and down fretboard - Godin Solidac

Postby zenguitar » Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:50 pm

It's almost impossible to to answer how common this is because there are just so many variables at play. Someone else could pick up your Godin and not think anything is wrong.

It really could be as simple as your being so used to your Martin that something that is slightly different sounds wrong.

Theoretically, there could be errors in the fret/nut location, but Godin are highly reputable and skilled makers. So I would discount that as a likely cause. More likely the answer is to be found in the set-up and/or string selection.

The important thing to understand about guitar set-up is that there is no such thing as a perfect set-up, there is just the set-up that is right for a specific guitar and a specific player. You mention that you have had set-ups and intention tweaks, did you do these yourself or did you use a reputable guitar tech?

I don't know, but I would expect that the strings you use on your Martin are very different from those you use on your Godin. A good left hand technique for an acoustic might be a little too heavy for the lighter strings on an acoustic, so there is always a possibility that the tuning differences could just be down to how hard you are pressing with your fretting hand. A decent tech would try intonating slightly flat on on some/all of the strings to account for your technique. You might try experimenting with heavier gauge strings on the Godin, and different materials/makes/construction. The ratio between a wound string's core thickness and wrap thickness does change the inharmonicity of the string, which is how out of tune the harmonics are relative to the fundamental.

All guitar strings have inharmonicity, because they have thickness. Changing gauges, construction, or material will give you a different bunch of inharmonicity.

Finally, how you have your trem set-up on the Godin might be pulling notes slightly out of tune, especially when fingerpicking using fretted and open strings.

So, lots of things to explore and tweak that might reduce or eliminate the issues you experience. But ultimately you may well have to get used to it and learn to live with it.

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Re: not happy with tuning up and down fretboard - Godin Solidac

Postby Mudchild » Mon Nov 16, 2020 11:06 am

Thanks so much for your replies guys, a few things to investigate there. In response, the setups have always been done professionally. The strings are a bit thicker, 10s, always have been. But yes I will look into the points raised! thanks again
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Re: not happy with tuning up and down fretboard - Godin Solidac

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Nov 16, 2020 1:04 pm

I'd consider 10's to be light in comparison with a typical Martin acoustic which would normally be strung with 12's or 13's. If you use the same technique on both the chances are you are over fretting and bending the strings out of tune on the Godin. Try deliberately being as light as possible with your fretting hand and see if that improves matters.
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Re: not happy with tuning up and down fretboard - Godin Solidac

Postby Murray B » Mon Nov 16, 2020 11:25 pm

Just a thought as the Godin has lots of pickup pole pieces that may be pulling on the strings - try lowering the pickup heights - your set-ups should have addressed this, but you never know. it's probably worth making a note of the existing heights before you do it Just in case it
makes no difference...

You can also try some fine adjustments on the intonation by playing scales up and down the string and tweaking it so that it sounds in tune for you.

Other than this I've nothing else to add to the wisdom in the previous replies and it's really easy to push a little too hard or bend the strings a little when you are playing.

If it's any consolation I fine tune my guitars (all well set up by a skilled luthier) by ear for the key I am playing in and if the next song is another key I will fine tune it again. Always being in tune is a tricky business and has been covered in this forum and elsewhere in a lot of detail - the summary being it's always a compromise especially if you are playing in more than one key.
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