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 Post subject: 360/12 low E intonation problems
 Post Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:01 pm 
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Hi, I bought a 360/12 a few months ago and the low E's have always sounded funny. At first I thought maybe I was pulling the strings sharp since I wasn't used to fretting 2 strings, but tonight I finally decided to get to the bottom of it.

The intonation at the 12th fret was way too sharp, but the more disturbing thing I realized (with the help of an electronic tuner) was that the intonation actually got progressively worse as I went back towards the nut. I.e. F was the worst and higher notes were less sharp. I was able to almost get the 12th fret in tune but I'm at the end of the adjustment range. Now everything above A is pretty close but F is still really nasty (i mean it's probably 1/3 of the way to F#) and the action seems really high at the first fret. I had noticed when I got the guitar that the bridge was slanted lower on the low E side so I obviously wonder if this is all related. Also it seems like both strings are off by a similar amount.

Is it a problem with the nut? I'm still using the original Ric strings and they look like they're seated properly in the slot. Might the neck need adjusted? The other strings are pretty much dead on, though. The Bs were a bit out but fixing them just took a slight turn of the screw.

I saw a couple other similar threads on here, but I didn't want to reopen them. I'm planning to take the guitar to the shop but just wondering what I should expect them to have to do... or whether I should think about asking for a replacement guitar.

I've been a happy 330/6 player for ~20 years and that guitar has been perfect... so I expect the same from the new one.


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 Post subject: Re: 360/12 low E intonation problems
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:42 pm 
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Well, I took the guitar to the shop a week ago, I told them no hurry since I was out of town and of course that was a mistake :-)

Reading some more about this, it sounds like it's not completely uncommon and it's usually a problem with the nut. Although the fact I wasn't able to get the 12fr set properly still worries me.

I also discovered my 330 does suffer from the same thing, although to a much smaller degree. I can see it on the tuner but I can't really hear it - and that's just on the F, higher notes are much closer.


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 Post subject: Re: 360/12 low E intonation problems
 Post Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:01 am 
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Better than 90% of the time, this type of problem is caused by the neck not being adjusted very close to perfectly flat as described in the owners manual (located on the service tab). Get the neck squared away first and I'll bet that the intonation adjustment at the bridge will now function properly. It's also possible that the bridge has slipped or been knocked out of position slightly. You'll note that the two screws holding the bridge mounting plate to the body have slots so the assembly can easily be moved . . . but don't do this until you've taken care of the neck.


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 Post subject: Re: 360/12 low E intonation problems
 Post Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:58 pm 
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Thanks! They called today to say it was done so I'll be interested to compare your advice to what the shop actually did. I am not confident about making any of those adjustments myself especially involving the neck.

I'm definitely excited to get it back and hopefully it sounds better than new.


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 Post subject: Re: 360/12 low E intonation problems
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:11 pm 
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Are you using one of the recommended sets of strings, the RIC factory set or the PTOR TI nickel flats sets? These intonate once the neck is set properly.

I do confess to preferring and using conventional round wounds in lighter gauges, which will not intonate, and so I bought a blank bridge saddle and hand-filed it so the unison low E string intonates off the rear of the saddle and the octave E string intonates off the front of the saddle.

But before you take such extreme action, make sure to do what Mr. JH says.


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 Post subject: Re: 360/12 low E intonation problems
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:59 pm 
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It is the set that came on the guitar, but I had them put a new set of the same Ric strings on for good measure although they weren't that old. The shop was closed today so hopefully I'll have time to go get it tomorrow. I have a gig playing bass this weekend so my 4003 has been keeping me company.

This is why I try to avoid going to the shop - the Rics have a tendency of following me home. :-)


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 Post subject: Re: 360/12 low E intonation problems
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:40 pm 
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So, I got the guitar back from the shop. I asked what exactly they did to the guitar but I got absolutely no answer, other than "we did a full setup" - no notes, no offer to let me talk to the tech, kind of disappointing but maybe I expect too much.

Anyways, the guitar is definitely better, the 12fr is right on and the screw is no longer at the limit, although it's still closer than I'd like. The F note on the low E is still a little sharp but nowhere near as bad as it was - it's not audibly out of tune to my ears like it was before. So, overall I'm much happier now. And I had a fun time playing my 4003 Saturday night!

Thanks for the help!


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 Post subject: Re: 360/12 low E intonation problems
 Post Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:49 am 
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mr_salty wrote:
So, I got the guitar back from the shop. I asked what exactly they did to the guitar but I got absolutely no answer, other than "we did a full setup" - no notes, no offer to let me talk to the tech, kind of disappointing but maybe I expect too much.

You are not expecting too much. I am still leery of any tech who won't discuss matters. It is your guitar, after all. When I do setups for friends, I have them over, have them play the instrument, we discuss musical preferences, and I adjust it with them right there, and we recheck everything afterwards, making secondary adjustments as necessary.


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