I have for some time now been building CBGs with a fret scale of 25.5 inches. I also laid out a template for fret spacing by matching it up to my acoustic Fender guitar. The old scale template came off a Samick electric. Same scale length but the spacing between frets is different from the Fender layout. So I went with the Fender layout. My question is how do I check or achieve perfect intonation and will it change due to acoustic qualities of different boxes. I attempted to mark notes as they changed on the neck(done with a brass rod and tuner) marked flats and whole note changes. This layout is really different

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Intonation has nothing to do with the box. It's all in the actual vibrating length of the string.

1st-"Perfect" intonation is not always gonna happen ....... I'm near 50 builds now and only the last 20 or so have I been routinely getting perfect intonation.

2nd- copying frets from another instrument is a bad idea IMHO. If you do, you have the determine the scale by measuring from the nut to the 12th fret and doubling it.


Best bet use a program or Old Crow's math method and mark your own fret to what ever scale to pre-determined to use.

Doing this, you set it up for nut to bridge.

Then, you tune the string, and then play the string open and fretted at the 12th fret. The open note and the 12th fret note should be the same. If they aren't, slide the bridge back or forward, re-tune, re-check.



guess I am not with you on the copying thing. Its a Fender and I did copy the length bridge to nut and fret spacing. I figured Fender to be a safe bet. My open G and 12th are usually spot on. more troubles the closer I get to the nut. All the instruments i have built are fretted and sound good I guess its the quest for perfection that troubles me. Thank you for the advice.

fender got started by copying his scale from an epihpone..

no shite..

its all in fine tuning the bridge

the tricky part of copying a guitar neck is the taper.

i slotted a bit of pine a few years ago and i copy mine off that.   If i want a shorter scale i just start with my nut at a different slot..

if you start with a nice fat saddle you're giving yourself more adjustment later..

Imma with Matt on this one. Intonation is not hard to achieve yet you will never achieve perfect intonation. You might get close but will still be off. My B and G strings (I use DGBe strings) are always out a little. But if you think of it, no matter what you do, you will never perfectly achieve exact tonality by sheer nature of the strings, their mass, the gauge, the type, what note is their root... There is a great article that explains this all.




I especially like page 4 where they go into intonation at the nut. Diane (in Chicago) and I both have used this method. Werks Reel Well.



I know how to intonate ... been doing it on guitars and basses before doing it on cbg's.

If it gets worse as you get nearer the nut, then it's probably a nut height issue.

See, it's not all cut and dried easy. I would say string action/nut height is too high. You'll stretch the string more with a higher nut, Stretch fretted string = a sharp note. I an assuming it's going sharp.


What exactly is it doing, and when, where?




btw- for what it's worth, on a straight one piece bridge, I just do the top and the bottom strings .... can't do anything about the middle with out making a compensated saddle.

I had intonation issues with my first few builds, but i found that keeping the action relatively low and trying to keep the strings consistently at the same distance from the fret board will go a long way towards getting you there. If you still aren't able to get it close, then the problem is most likely with your fret spacing. wFret is an awesome program that will print a template for you that you can tape straight down to your neck and either mark from there or just saw right through the template.
well thank you all for your input on this issue and thank you Matt for shining the light on the probable cause. I believe it is probably the nut height. being that fret spacing is directly related to the length of the scale I dont think spacing is my issue. It is also good to hear I probably will never get to a perfect intonation but still I will get as close as possible. String gauge can be another issue but not as much as the nut height. Thanks again to all

On my last one I thought that I would get pretty much perfect intonation by using an adjustable bridge. Tuned the strings (playing thought my computer and checking intonation using the tuner in Garage Band). Strings in tune when open. Strings in tune at the 12th fret. Fine. Now, as I get nearer the nut the pitch goes a little sharp (only a little). Going from the 12th towards the bridge it goes a little flat. Turns out that the issue is nut height as mentioned above. This article seems to give the answer. Also the fact that the fret positions are based on equal temperament, which is always a compromise.

I haven't got round to undercutting the nut yet, but it's something that I will probably do at some time and will do on future ones.

Now, if you really want to get picky, how about this. I don't even what to think how you would cut for those frets.

try a zero fret roadkill, answers a lot of problems...

thats a just intonated neck huh ?

if u ever wanna get serious about part frets drop me a line, its easier than it looks//

An adjustable tail piece could go along way to help the fine tuning of all strings as well. I have used them with my six string build but have not done so with my 4 or 3 string builds yet, but as I strive towards perfecting my craft I might find this to be a big help
... That or check the nut height. The higher the nut action, the higher the possibility that the pitch will be sharp at the first thru third/fouth fret. A zero fret would be best as its just slightly higher than the first fret.


Jef Long said:

try a zero fret roadkill, answers a lot of problems...

thats a just intonated neck huh ?

if u ever wanna get serious about part frets drop me a line, its easier than it looks//

Jef. I've wondered about that. How well does a zero fret work with slide?

I've just had another look at your Mundfick doubleheader. All credit to you for doing that, but as a someone new to playing that would give me nightmares, as would the neck above.

Jef Long said:

try a zero fret roadkill, answers a lot of problems...

thats a just intonated neck huh ?

if u ever wanna get serious about part frets drop me a line, its easier than it looks//


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