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Young25 01-02-2022 06:35 AM

Intonation Issue with New Guitar
I recently acquired a brand new Lowden O22 but am having some issues with intonation and am looking for some advice.

I am still within the approval window (a bit longer due to it being new years) so I don't want to change strings or touch the truss rod unless given the "okay" by the dealer.

So far here are a few facts and things I've noticed since receiving the guitar:

- Guitar was shipped from the midwest over plane to Southern California where the change in temp and humidity was roughly a 35* increase a 20% humidity decrease (recent rain in CA has humidity around 60* when received). The guitar is stored by the dealer in humidity and temp controlled room.

- Action seems noticeably higher when played compared to my other guitars that have been set up. I don't have feeler gauges but just playing a few songs and then checking the neck relief by holding down the low E at the 1st and 14th fret and eyeballing the 7th fret distance, I can see it's noticeably higher comparably as well.

- Low E string is the worst offender at the moment. When the 12 fret harmonic is in tune and then the 12 fret note is played, it is slightly sharp. However when playing notes on the 1st-2nd frets they are sharp by about 5 cents and then getting to the 3-7th fret I can see them getting up to around 10-15 cents sharp.

- Tuning was checked with a clip on Peterson Stroboclip tuner (no sweetened tuning applied) and a Korg tuner with mic. I do notice that sometimes the Stroboclip will say a note is roughly in tune or very slightly sharp (say the A on the low E) but then the Korg will show it 5-10 cents sharp.

- From a pure hearing perspective, I do notice the sharpness of the notes when fretted and the work around has been to make the E string slightly flat to get the fretted notes back closer to in tune. These things might be more obvious too given the longer sustain of the Lowden O shape but I'm not sure.

- Other strings seem to be relatively in tune compared to the E although when I compare the guitar to my Furch, it's still lacks a bit in this department.

My questions would be if a set up would help get things back in order as I definitely would want the action to be lowered (which I believe should help a bit with intonation) and if the E string issue could potentially be sorted out with minor tweaks to the nut/saddle as I'm assuming a set up may not be enough to deal with it's more severe intonation issue.

Again I have to ask as a hypothetical as I have my hands tied a bit not being able to change out strings or adjust the truss rod at all so I'm trying to understand my options, knowing they might be limited during this "approval period". I personally would prefer to take it to a tech first to have them assess it but not sure if the dealer is okay with that yet. I love the sound and feel of the guitar and would prefer to keep it if I could get this sorted out a bit, but if the intonation is a bit stuck where it's at, I may have to request a return.

The dealer has been absolutely amazing to address this issue in our initial discussions, so I'm very thankful for them. They have reached out to Lowden to see if there are any local certified techs that could take a look but I'm not quite hopeful given the nearest Lowden dealer is a 4 hour drive away.

Thanks in advance for any input. I've read quite a few AGF threads on intonation and have a rough idea of what I'm up against, but I figured I'd throw this out there and see if any new knowledge/understanding or Lowden specific experience would pop up.

EZYPIKINS 01-02-2022 06:38 AM

Not a problem. Just needs a setup for your area.

Gian_luca 01-02-2022 07:23 AM

I own an old Lowden S12 and the frets are a bit high compared to, for example, a Taylor; I guess it could be only an high action problem, plus the high frets .
After setting the action lower, mine doesn't have the previuos slight intonation issue anymore, due primarly, I think, to the way I pressed the strings against the frets ...
Hope it can help

jklotz 01-02-2022 07:52 AM

Sounds to me like a setup will sort it out. Your having to push the string too far down and it's pulling it sharp. Really not a big deal. Having a tech look at it is never a bad idea.

egordon99 01-02-2022 09:43 AM

I would assume any instrument shipped to me would need some setup work done. That's just how acoustic guitars work.

tuner440 01-02-2022 10:01 AM

An overly high action would cause the guitar to fret sharp.

Shadowfox 01-02-2022 10:37 AM

Nothing to be concerned with, it is settling down to the new environment.

You would do well to get the humidpak new guitar pack, and let it sit. It should really be chilling for like a month or two before the setup because much of that is wood getting use to humidity.

buddyhu 01-02-2022 01:12 PM

It definitely needs a set up. And I would think that would take care of the issues. In wouldn’t anticipate a new Lowden would have intonation problems once it is properly set up.

dnf777 01-02-2022 01:51 PM

I may be at odds with the majority here, but I dont think a quality guitar should ever be received such that it NEEDS a set up in order to be playable or intonated at an acceptable level. Yes, I know many guitars are shipped with high actions that can be lowered to preference, and a personalized set up is always nice, but I would be leary of a factory or dealer set up on delivery that is unplayable.

Any local set ups or adjustments may render a guitar ‘non-returnable’ if still not acceptable, so I would seek an authorized set-up through Lowden, or return it and try again, anew.

Young25 01-03-2022 11:28 AM

Thanks everyone for the input. I'll see if the dealer has found a certified local tech will see if they will let them look at it before I officially take receipt of it.

Hollybrook 01-03-2022 11:35 AM

It seems to me that the truss rod needs adjustment for your environment. I think there is a reasonable chance the other issues will go away or at least be minimized once that is done.

Osage 01-03-2022 01:32 PM


Originally Posted by dnf777 (Post 6895502)
I may be at odds with the majority here, but I dont think a quality guitar should ever be received such that it NEEDS a set up in order to be playable or intonated at an acceptable level. Yes, I know many guitars are shipped with high actions that can be lowered to preference, and a personalized set up is always nice, but I would be leary of a factory or dealer set up on delivery that is unplayable.

In theory I agree but in practice, it's just not always possible, even from the best builders. I setup new guitars all the time for clients. Many manufacturers ship with slightly high action as it's always easier to lower but besides this, they are traveling literally around the world by plane, boat, train and truck. They make stops at warehouses. They go from hot to cold, cold to hot, dry to wet and back again. With all of this, there's just no way to guarantee that a fragile instrument is going to play great right out of the case.

Tony Burns 01-03-2022 02:01 PM

Ive bought guitars from alot of places and never came across this -
to my thinking it had this problem thats why it was sold -
If it was me ( and its not ) it would go back .

Jim Owen 01-03-2022 02:14 PM

Keep in mind, also, that strings can be culprits. A few years back, I was positive that my old Martin was seriously out of whack because the G string's intonation was seriously awry.

I put on a new string and suddenly was intonated. And if you've got round cores on and someone didn't bring 'em to pitch prior to snipping, that causes intonation issues.

Young25 01-11-2022 04:49 AM

A little update, the dealer allowed me to change the strings and slightly adjust the truss rod to my comfort level to see if things helped. I got the relief lower but not quite as low as I'd like but reasonable.

I also got a stroboplus hdc tuner to help narrow in on how many cents off notes were to be more precise especially with the fretted notes.

After the string change im still finding he following:

Low E when in tune at 12th harmonic is 2 cents sharp at 12th (seems reasonable). 1st and 2nd fret are in tune. 3rd through 10th fret up to 5 to 7 cents sharp. Been making the open E flat a bit flat to compensate which I could probably live with.

A string when in tune at 12th harmonic. 10.2 cents sharp at 12th fret. Frets 1 though 11 are in tune to about 3 cents sharp. Frests 13 and higher are between 10 to 11 cents sharp. Turns out the A string is really whats driving me crazy more so than the E I initially thought.

The other 4 strings are pretty decent all around.

I tried to take the guitar to a shop Lowden recommend but the guy I spoke with said they can't change intonation on acoustics. Granted he wasn't a tech but I had little faith in leaving it with him to try and explain it to a tech. Especially after he eye balled the relief and played a few chords and said it sounded fine to him.

Just wondering if the amount off is reasonably able to be fixed with a good tech and set up or if those values are going to require quite a bit of irreversible change. Trying to get a feel before I take it to another repair shop. Again the dealer is being awesome about the situation and willing to take the guitar back and take it up with Lowden.

Thanks for the insight!

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