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  #16  
Old 01-11-2022, 01:31 PM
Taylor Ham Taylor Ham is offline
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How often to you use the E and A strings above the 12th fret?

You could have a bass saddle made that shifts the take off point of those strings back so they're even flatter, afaik you should have enough room.
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  #17  
Old 01-11-2022, 02:44 PM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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Without seeing the guitar, my first thoughts are bridge compensation compensates for string bending from action height and relief. So the compensation required will vary based on those things, plus string gauge. My instinct from your noting that middle frets, where relief is most prevelant, are sharp is that the relief is still too high. I like .005" or so. Action height at the 12th fret should be around 1/16" high E, and rising to 3/32 low E, a kind of normal action for most guitars. Higher action height requires more compensation. The third thing is that compensation depends on the core wire diameter for the wound strings, some strings have low tension and smaller core wires, you might be able to find some info on the makers web site. The final thing is that a straight bridge is always a compromise, often the bridge is located so the two outside strings are pretty good, often the second and third string get some extra love in terms of a bridge ramp, but the other strings are catch as catch can. https://www.liutaiomottola.com/formu...mpensation.htm

The final final though is that since the guitar is an equal temperament instrument and our ears are just temperament in how we hear, almost every note on the fret board is more or less out of tune depending on what key you are in, what chord you are playing, if the note is the third of fifth or sixth of the harmony at that instant. So sure, I adjust the intonaton on electric guitars with adjustable bridges to be dead on, just because it's as easy to do that as to adjust it wrong, but my archtops, where I make a hand carved bridge, have a straight across bridge with no ramps and I frankly can't tell the difference EXCEPT when I compare the octave and the harmonic at the 12th fret. Only then can I tell, surely not when I am actually playing the thing, bending notes, a little vibrato, all that stuff.
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  #18  
Old 01-11-2022, 03:10 PM
canyongargon canyongargon is offline
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The angled, compensated saddle on an acoustic guitar is almost always a compromise - the angle gets things 'close enough' and the compensation gets it a small hair closer but it's not really realistic for it to be dead-on perfect on every string. Not to mention that intonation will change for different gauges, and even on strings of the same gauge that have differences in core and wrap dimensions.

Some builders utilize a much wider saddle to achieve a greater intonation range and carve the compensation much more precisely to give as "perfect" as possible intonation (given a particular set of strings, as noted). Jason Kostal's guitars come to mind:

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  #19  
Old 01-11-2022, 03:59 PM
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Brucebubs Brucebubs is online now
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Came across this interesting saddle design with extra 'overhang'.



Not cheap - https://www.chrisalsopguitar.co.uk/s...r-saddle-PS010
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  #20  
Old 01-11-2022, 05:01 PM
nikpearson nikpearson is offline
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Default Lowden instruments have a split saddle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Young25 View Post
Hello,

I recently purchased a new Lowden O22c and upon receipt am having some intonation issues. I was wondering if the issues described below are within reason to be addressed through a set up or if the guitar was just not constructed well enough from the factory.

I have changed the strings twice to ensure that those were not the issue and slightly adjust the truss rod to bring the relief down a bit. I feel like it can be brought down more but I am hesitant to do any further changes as the dealer is still allowing me to be in a trial period to figure out the intonation issue before shipping back.

Using a Stroboplus HDC and tuning each string to pitch using the 12th fret harmonic, here are the big issues I am seeing:

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.

A string when in tune at 12th harmonic. 10.2 cents sharp at the 12th fret. Frets 1 though 11 are in tune to about 2-3 cents sharp. Frets 13 and higher are between 10 to 11 cents sharp.

The other 4 strings are 1 to 2 cents sharp at the 12th but reasonably in tune over the fretboard.

Again, just wondering if any techs out there saw this issue, if it would be reasonable to address or too much without significant work or something major like moving the saddle.

Thanks for the input
Lowden use a split saddle to allow greater compensation on the 2nd (B) string. I’ve owned several of their instruments and never had any significant issue with intonation. It’s reasonable to expect all strings to play within 1-2 cents along the fretboard. The saddle pieces are quite thin so any further compensation there is limited. Lowden factory setup specification is between 0.15 and 0.25 mm of neck relief, with 6th and 1st string actions of 2.5 mm and 2.0 mm at the 12th fret respectively. This is a little higher than say Taylor or Collings, but I suspect this might be down to Lowden guitars often being played in dropped tunings. With this setup I can go down to C tunings with little or no fret buzz; something I cannot do on my other guitars with lower actions.

So, my advice would be to:

1) Check the neck relief - the truss rod (5 mm hex) is a pain to adjust because it’s hidden behind a brace. I made my own U-shaped wrench to allow for easy adjustments.

2) Check the action at the 12th fret.

If these are both within ideal range then I’d want a good tech or luthier to diagnose the issue. My best guess is that the action is currently too high and that this is causing the fretted notes to play sharp. I’d be very surprised if the bridge/saddles are incorrectly positioned. Using alternate tunings can exacerbate intonation issues. One other possible cause is a heavy fretting hand, often more noticeable with the larger diameter wound strings.

The retailer should be your first port of call. They may suggest a local person if getting the guitar back to them isn’t practical.

Lowden’s customer service has always been exemplary in my experience. George and his team will want to resolve this issue for you. So the retailer could contact Lowden or you could do this yourself.

I hope you get this resolved quickly as the big Lowdens are really special guitars.

Last edited by Kerbie; 01-11-2022 at 07:51 PM. Reason: Edited quote
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  #21  
Old 01-11-2022, 05:06 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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The Lowden 022C has a split saddle that should help it to intonate correctly.

Double check the setup, including proper relief and remember that string gauge choice will effect your intonation.

Light gauge strings can easily be pulled sharp of their intonated pitch, so that's another thing to consider.
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  #22  
Old 01-11-2022, 06:37 PM
Young25 Young25 is offline
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Thanks everyone for the replies.

I am working closely with the dealer who has been awesome.

We've reached out to Lowden and they suggested just a store fairly local to me in Southern California to check it out but unfortunately my visit there was not the best. The person there said they can't fix intonation on acoustic guitars and after eyeing the relief and playing a few chords said "it sounds good to me." Even though he wasn't a tech, I was not going to leave it with him to try and explain my issues.

Now I'm hoping the dealer will let me take it to another shop to be reviewed and see if it's fixable.

nikpearson - Thank you for that factory spec information. I'll take it with me to the next shop if I can. I did a rough check on the relief at the 7th fret with some feeler gauges and a metal ruler and it seems it's maybe around .32mm so still a bit high.

I do plan to use alternate tunings a lot with this guitar (DADGAD or some slightly lower) so I really want it to be addressed now or I'll be in a really bad spot with a guitar I can't return.

I'm also seeing if I can purchase an extra nut and saddle in case that's an easier option for a tech to work with.

Thanks again!
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  #23  
Old 01-11-2022, 07:04 PM
Jamolay Jamolay is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brucebubs View Post
Came across this interesting saddle design with extra 'overhang'.



Not cheap - https://www.chrisalsopguitar.co.uk/s...r-saddle-PS010

Wait, not cheap? On a forum where people are selling guitars in the $5-10k range? $60 or so is pretty minor.
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  #24  
Old 01-12-2022, 12:06 PM
tadol tadol is offline
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It feels like youíve already spent more than enough time trying to figure this out. Getting things within 2c seems pretty darn good to me, but if it needs to be closer for you, then maybe you should try a couple different guitars and see if you can find one that meets your expectations more closely, and send this one back.

If you are planning to play in tunings lower than DADGAD, youíll probably need heavier strings, and if you set the action too low, youíll have other problems. You need to find a really good luthier as a starting point. But it sounds like this guitar just isnít going to make you happy -
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  #25  
Old 01-12-2022, 01:01 PM
nikpearson nikpearson is offline
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Default DADGAD fine with light gauge

Quote:
Originally Posted by tadol View Post
It feels like you’ve already spent more than enough time trying to figure this out. Getting things within 2c seems pretty darn good to me, but if it needs to be closer for you, then maybe you should try a couple different guitars and see if you can find one that meets your expectations more closely, and send this one back.

If you are planning to play in tunings lower than DADGAD, you’ll probably need heavier strings, and if you set the action too low, you’ll have other problems. You need to find a really good luthier as a starting point. But it sounds like this guitar just isn’t going to make you happy -
I use light gauge strings on my O25 for DADGAD and even CGCGCD tunings without issue. Action very close to Lowden specification with no buzzing or intonation issues. Experimented with mixed garage strings previously and there were advantages but also drawbacks when using a range of tunings.

The relief sounds too high at 0.3 mm. I aim for 0.15 - 0.20 mm measured with feeler gauges. Decreasing relief will likely bring the action down a smidge. Once everything is dialled in you can then assess intonation issues properly.
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  #26  
Old 01-12-2022, 08:04 PM
Young25 Young25 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tadol View Post
It feels like youíve already spent more than enough time trying to figure this out. Getting things within 2c seems pretty darn good to me, but if it needs to be closer for you, then maybe you should try a couple different guitars and see if you can find one that meets your expectations more closely, and send this one back.

If you are planning to play in tunings lower than DADGAD, youíll probably need heavier strings, and if you set the action too low, youíll have other problems. You need to find a really good luthier as a starting point. But it sounds like this guitar just isnít going to make you happy -

2c would be great! It's the sharp 10c on the 12th fret and up on the A string that is killing me. I could live with tuning the E slightly flat to get everything else a bit closer..but the A is a bit of a deal breaker.

I went to another reputable shop today in Socal and they did a quick measurement on the relief and said it seemed okay. No value was given to me though. They said they would probably only adjust the nut to bring the action down but that probably wouldn't affect the intonation that much.

Part of me thinks I need to find a shop/luthier that to an extent cares about these fine details? Both shops I've been to have told me the same "intonation is set from the factory" and "Acoustics are never perfectly in tune." I'm not sure I've found a place that wanted to sit down and look at the problem in depth and solve it.

In any case, I think unfortunately this guitar is going to have to get shipped back. I can't really afford to be driving around to different shops and not playing a guitar that will hopefully find a fix.

Thanks all for your insight and help. If anything good pops up, I'll be sure to update the thread.
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  #27  
Old 01-13-2022, 02:15 AM
nikpearson nikpearson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Young25 View Post
2c would be great! It's the sharp 10c on the 12th fret and up on the A string that is killing me. I could live with tuning the E slightly flat to get everything else a bit closer..but the A is a bit of a deal breaker.

I went to another reputable shop today in Socal and they did a quick measurement on the relief and said it seemed okay. No value was given to me though. They said they would probably only adjust the nut to bring the action down but that probably wouldn't affect the intonation that much.

Part of me thinks I need to find a shop/luthier that to an extent cares about these fine details? Both shops I've been to have told me the same "intonation is set from the factory" and "Acoustics are never perfectly in tune." I'm not sure I've found a place that wanted to sit down and look at the problem in depth and solve it.

In any case, I think unfortunately this guitar is going to have to get shipped back. I can't really afford to be driving around to different shops and not playing a guitar that will hopefully find a fix.

Thanks all for your insight and help. If anything good pops up, I'll be sure to update the thread.
I think you’re probably making the right decision, that is to return the guitar. You presumably paid a significant amount of money for this instrument and shouldn’t need to be trying to resolve the issue yourself at a cost to your time.

Acoustic guitar setup requires both knowledge and skill, and on an instrument of this calibre everything should be just right. A good tech or luthier would have been able to identify the issue quickly to determine whether or not it was a setup problem, a technique issue, or the less possibility that the saddle placement is incorrect.

One last thing: don’t let this out you off Lowden. I’ve never encountered this problem, in fact the Lowden’s I have owned have had excellent intonation, in part I suspect because of the split saddle. The O models are particularly special, offering a very unique sound for finger style playing, full of overtones and wonderful sustain.

All the best,
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  #28  
Old 01-13-2022, 01:20 PM
tadol tadol is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Young25 View Post
2c would be great! It's the sharp 10c on the 12th fret and up on the A string that is killing me. I could live with tuning the E slightly flat to get everything else a bit closer..but the A is a bit of a deal breaker.

I went to another reputable shop today in Socal and they did a quick measurement on the relief and said it seemed okay. No value was given to me though. They said they would probably only adjust the nut to bring the action down but that probably wouldn't affect the intonation that much.

Part of me thinks I need to find a shop/luthier that to an extent cares about these fine details? Both shops I've been to have told me the same "intonation is set from the factory" and "Acoustics are never perfectly in tune." I'm not sure I've found a place that wanted to sit down and look at the problem in depth and solve it.

In any case, I think unfortunately this guitar is going to have to get shipped back. I can't really afford to be driving around to different shops and not playing a guitar that will hopefully find a fix.

Thanks all for your insight and help. If anything good pops up, I'll be sure to update the thread.
Honestly, the finest set-up and playability Iíve ever found on a guitar is one of Bruce Sexauers - it may be that he puts so much care and attention to those details throughout his build process, but on occasion Iíve played a different guitar that heís done a full set-up on, and its still incredibly nice. The problem is he doesnít do work on other guitars any more - but its proven to me that the more skilled the luthier is in set-ups, the finer playability you can get out of an instrument. Too many luthiers are great builders, but donít have the finesse to do a great set-up, and many will say so themselves. Santa Cruz has fine-tuned their PLEK machine and their process so itís amazingly good, especially with the hand work they do as well, but its still not the same as being in the shop with a master luthier who can listen and tweak things as you play and respond. If you ever make it to Petaluma, give Bruce a call - itíll open your ears -
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  #29  
Old 01-14-2022, 09:54 AM
Young25 Young25 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikpearson View Post
I think youíre probably making the right decision, that is to return the guitar. You presumably paid a significant amount of money for this instrument and shouldnít need to be trying to resolve the issue yourself at a cost to your time.

Acoustic guitar setup requires both knowledge and skill, and on an instrument of this calibre everything should be just right. A good tech or luthier would have been able to identify the issue quickly to determine whether or not it was a setup problem, a technique issue, or the less possibility that the saddle placement is incorrect.

One last thing: donít let this out you off Lowden. Iíve never encountered this problem, in fact the Lowdenís I have owned have had excellent intonation, in part I suspect because of the split saddle. The O models are particularly special, offering a very unique sound for finger style playing, full of overtones and wonderful sustain.

All the best,
Thanks for the input and encouragement. It is a bit of a sour note to spend all the time to try and have it resolved locally only to have to send it back in the end. I guess it's part of not being able to travel around and try guitars in person. Next time I'll really push the shop to check intonation before it gets shipped out and hopefully I won't run into this problem again.

There is a potential chance that the dealer I purchased it from can take deep look at it and understand what's needed to fix it. If it's reasonable I would probably take the guitar back. But any major work just seems like it would starting off on the wrong foot with a new guitar.

As a side note, I was chatting with the Lowden support on their website as I purchased a few maintenance items in anticipation of keeping the guitar (called that one too early I guess.) But they seem to be very helpful and responsive and are on the look out for any contact from the dealer.
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  #30  
Old 01-14-2022, 09:57 AM
Young25 Young25 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tadol View Post
Honestly, the finest set-up and playability Iíve ever found on a guitar is one of Bruce Sexauers - it may be that he puts so much care and attention to those details throughout his build process, but on occasion Iíve played a different guitar that heís done a full set-up on, and its still incredibly nice. The problem is he doesnít do work on other guitars any more - but its proven to me that the more skilled the luthier is in set-ups, the finer playability you can get out of an instrument. Too many luthiers are great builders, but donít have the finesse to do a great set-up, and many will say so themselves. Santa Cruz has fine-tuned their PLEK machine and their process so itís amazingly good, especially with the hand work they do as well, but its still not the same as being in the shop with a master luthier who can listen and tweak things as you play and respond. If you ever make it to Petaluma, give Bruce a call - itíll open your ears -
100% agree with you. Finding one locally seems to be the hard part but does make me think it might be worth it save up for a more custom guitar where I can work one on one with a luthier. Thanks again for all of your input!
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