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  • Earvana nut > 1st fret?

    Just had a refret job done, and my strat with Earvana that used to be spot-on perfect intonation around 1st few frets, now is out. I dont expect the luthier to do this micro-adjustment tbh.

    Its a stepped affair, jutting out into the G and B strings.

    I cant seem to find any info on setting its distance to 1st fret, by way of adjustment of the 3 screws.

    Any help appreciated. Thx SC.

  • #2
    Wouldn't you just tighten or loosen the 3 screws to move the nut to where it sounds right? Wouldn't a refret include setting up, or at least checking, the intonation?

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    • #3
      Here's a pretty good vid on the Earvana nut installation.
      Per video, looks like the nut set up, & string slots should have been done by your Luthier that installed it.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3C5kgLwukRE


      "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
      Terry

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      • #4
        Originally posted by tedmich View Post
        Wouldn't you just tighten or loosen the 3 screws to move the nut to where it sounds right? Wouldn't a refret include setting up, or at least checking, the intonation?
        Well Ive been trying this for ages, but not getting satisfied results/ I cant be sure Im meant to be guestimating it by ear, (and by which fret specifically?)- so I posted the thread assuming there is a specific way. There must be instructions of some sort. Nothing on the site tho.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by big_teee View Post
          Here's a pretty good vid on the Earvana nut installation.
          Per video, looks like the nut set up, & string slots should have been done by your Luthier that installed it.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3C5kgLwukRE
          I went thru this vid. Its about fitting the nut in (and a solid one-piece affair afaict not a top section that is adjustable) filing slots etc (which is all done for me) rather than adjusting it- which it doesnt mention.

          The nut was in place when I gave it to the luthier, so no string slotting or fitting the nut or any nut work needed to be done. Sayong this the top section he -did- twiddle as I noticed it poss different position, but the intonation was far from perfect. I dont expect him to do this to perfection as he did the job for me 1/2 price (but I wonder if it needed twiddling at all if before it was spot-on perfect: I assume the new fret height meant it needed twiddling.. I dont know).

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Sea Chief View Post
            Just had a refret job done, and my strat with Earvana that used to be spot-on perfect intonation around 1st few frets, now is out. I dont expect the luthier to do this micro-adjustment tbh.

            Its a stepped affair, jutting out into the G and B strings.

            I cant seem to find any info on setting its distance to 1st fret, by way of adjustment of the 3 screws.

            Any help appreciated. Thx SC.
            Since you had the refret, it now had bad intonation? If this is the case, it's probably because the new frets are higher or lower than the old ones, so when playing first position chords, it's not intonated well because the string height in the nut relative to the fret height has changed, so the intonation has gone bad.

            The reason these first position chords are not iontonated well is because when you fret close to the nut, it pulls the string down at a sharper angle relative to the nut than when you fret farther away from the nut. This pulls the note sharp because of this sharper angle. Since you had a refret, chances are that the frets are a different height, resulting in different intonation. It would seem that tedmich's suggestion of sliding the nut one way or another will help at least some. If it doesn't, then you will either have to put up with it or have the nut slot depths changed so it will be right. I also agree with tedmich and would think the intonation would be part of the refret if the luthier is a competent one. He should be aware intonation should be part of the refret and include a setup.

            Also, make sure the standard intonation process every guitar should have is set first by adjusting the bridge saddles. Use a tuner for this for sure. Also sight in the neck to see if a truss rod adjustment is necessary. It could have changed in the refret process.
            Turn it up so that everything is louder than everything else.

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            • #7
              Hi DRH- comprehensive answer there. thanks.

              I too agree that the fret H difference is one reason, as there is a noticeable difference in these new (IMO) 'medium/ average/ normal' (as what I asked for) frets' height. Just more pronounced evenly all the way tip to toe. Silky smooth to run up n down, and beautifully done with edges as good as my gibson's for eg.

              I understand that pressing down hard on the strings will bend them befre frets making the note's pitch change: but even lightly pressed say a D chord the top E and B strings' finger positions' notes are flat/ badly so, as when I rcvd the neck back with the nut shifted fractionally by the luthier.

              I must give him his dues: these nuts must be an utter nightmare for him to find on a neck, to have to deal with resetting after the refret. Also is he a competent luthier.. well, if he's Mark Knopfler's luthier/ refretter as he is, then prob just up to par for me..!

              I have had a few emails from luthier himself, seemingly slightly anxiously and very helpfully trying his best to offer to send whole gtr up foc (cant send my strat/ besides another 25 courier w'out insurance, no) and/ or pointing me to some earbana discussions on www. But I said look dont fret (clever: pun intended) if it can only be a Q of shifting the thing a few mm's I can do it:- but surely there's an optimum fig to set for eg the two E strings at relative to the crown of the 1st fret.

              Or, maybe its a Q of raising the nut top section-? Ive just thought there might be a direct contact to Earvana Co. themselves to help maybe.

              Neck truss rod is set ideal (a tiny tweak was all it needed once strings on).

              Im not sure you see how Im meant to make sure of intonation process firstly by adjustment of bridge saddles.. if the scale length isnt yet set spot-on due to the nut not being precisely set: I would've thought this is fundamental to get correct -before- anyhting else is set, as all other (saddle adjusting / scale length) will be reliant and relative to the nut position.

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              • #8
                I read for a 25.5" scale length, a standard (not Earvana) nut > 1st fret should be 36.3mm.

                Why then do I measure 36.6mm on my CIJ tele? and also my takamine? (36.6 spot-on, from nut edge to fret crown/ centre/ midpoint).

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sea Chief View Post

                  Im not sure you see how Im meant to make sure of intonation process firstly by adjustment of bridge saddles.. if the scale length isnt yet set spot-on due to the nut not being precisely set: I would've thought this is fundamental to get correct -before- anyhting else is set, as all other (saddle adjusting / scale length) will be reliant and relative to the nut position.
                  The intonation process is as follows: First plug into a tuner. Then play the open string harmonic at the 12th fret(octave) and compare the reading on the tuner with the fretted note of that 12th fret. The pitch should be the same +/- a cent. If the fretted note is sharp, lengthen the scale by moving the saddle back until the harmonic and fretted notes match. If it is flat, the saddle should be moved forward. Usually, it won't take much movement to accomplish this. Go in small increments and try again until it matches. When finished, retune all strings with the tuner and repeat the process to ensure all strings are still matched according to the above process. I would do this with the Earvana in the central position as this will allow you forward or backward adjustment of that nut.

                  To answer your next Q, The 25.5" scale a standard the same as an 8 ohm speaker is a standard. It is many other impedances at different frequencies. I suppose also it's to differentiate between 24.75" for Gibsons. The exact scale is determined by the intonation process. Usually, it won't take much movement of the saddle to get it right, so I doubt if measuring with some sort of ruler is the way to go anyway.
                  Turn it up so that everything is louder than everything else.

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                  • #10
                    I'm probably going to take a beating for this, but...

                    I'm in total disagreement with compensated nut systems. When you consider that the entire fingerboard is designed with tuned intervals, my logic reasons that changing only the first interval will invariably render it incorrect. How is it even possible for that first interval to play in tune if it doesn't follow the same gradient as all those after it. Compensating at the saddle is even a compromise, but the best one we have. Compensating at the saddle allows for averaging the amount of "out of tune-ness" across the strings fretted length. Ideally, compensation would be done at each individual fret. This is, of course, impractical for a number of construction and operational reasons. My point though is that compensating at the nut, by my limited reasoning, seems like the worst possible place. I'm sure there are some good sounding explanations by those that make and market nut compensation devices for why it works, but I wouldn't be surprised if only certain reasons are addressed while other considerations are ignored. It's my opinion that these systems, while they look cool and high tech, are the result of a limited view of the whole system, can't work and are only being sold because people buy them. In the whole picture it doesn't make sense to me. And I doubt you will ever be able to tune the guitar satisfactorily before the compensated nut system is removed and replaced with a normal, straight nut in it's proper location relative to the first fret.

                    I'm going to pop some corn.
                    "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

                    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

                    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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                    • #11
                      I am aware of three different approaches to improving intonation: Earvana, Feiten, and multiple scale (fan-frets).

                      I am in no position to compare them, but I'd be interested on folks' experience with them or any discussion on the pros and cons of these various approaches.

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                      • #12
                        I always have problems tuning the 3rd string, unwound G. My 'nut compensation' routine is to ensure that the string is in tune at the second fret A so that the "rock" chords all sound in tune. The open G is a tiny bit flat, but not so much as to be noticeable. I think I'm really splitting the difference there. The guitar has a fixed bridge, so once the bridge is intonated it's a matter of majority rule for the individual strings!

                        I'm thinking to intonate the bridge on a guitar with a compensated nut (see post #9) you'd want to pick a fret (3rd? 5th?) and capo there to get the bridge set, then worry about the nut after that's done.
                        If it still won't get loud enough, it's probably broken. - Steve Conner
                        If the thing works, stop fixing it. - Enzo
                        We need more chaos in music, in art... I'm here to make it. - Justin Thomas
                        MANY things in human experience can be easily differentiated, yet *impossible* to express as a measurement. - Juan Fahey

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DRH1958 View Post
                          ...it's probably because the new frets are higher or lower than the old ones, so when playing first position chords, it's not intonated well because the string height in the nut relative to the fret height has changed, so the intonation has gone bad.
                          I would think it is the above^^ As the intonation is flat at the first few frets I'd try moving the nut back (to make the string longer). If that doesn't fix it the action at the first few frets will have to be adjusted by raising or lowering the nut. SC are the new frets higher or lower than the originals?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Chuck H View Post
                            And I doubt you will ever be able to tune the guitar satisfactorily before the compensated nut system is removed and replaced with a normal, straight nut in it's proper location relative to the first fret.
                            Nah. What he needs is a zero fret.

                            I'm going to pop some corn.
                            Me too. This should be fun.

                            -rb

                            PS- Possibly useful suggestion (just guessing)
                            If your fretted notes are flat, that suggests to me that your frets are now higher than they were before, so the fretted strings are now being stretched less than before. Moving the nut closer to the first fret should stretch the fretted strings more, raising the pitch of the fretted notes. (Raising the nut would also stretch the strings more, but I don't think you'd want to do that unless the strings are buzzing on the 1st fret). The limit for adjustment would be that you don't want to get any closer to the first fret than where one would place a zero fret (according to that square-root-of-twelve formula, whatever it is). If you get any closer than that position, all fretted notes will be sharp. I think.
                            Last edited by rjb; 01-25-2016, 05:38 PM.
                            DON'T FEED THE TROLLS!

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                            • #15
                              When I intonate my guitars, I generally tune all strings to pitch, then for low E I'll check 3rd fret against G string, 5th against A, 7th against B, 10th against D, etc. I actually don't sweat the open string, I rarely play in open position. For the low E I prioritize the 3rd to 7th fret range, high e, the 10th to 15th fret range. I usually check tuning at the 5th fret playing octaves, 4ths and 5ths. There can be a bit of tail chasing but when it works right it's great. I figure any sort of inaccuracies from fretting are accounted for this way. Sometimes open position chords sound bad and I have to change things but the middle of the neck sounds great.

                              I developed this system after reading that the Buzz Feiten system relocates the nut but leaves the frets in the same place. I reasoned that if I didn't reference the open string I could achieve the same effect over the rest of the neck.

                              I have read that harmonics vibrate slightly sharp of the expected pitch, relative to the fundamental and this is the reason for the tempered tuning of pianos. I imagine that with an open string the pitch is the result of the tension vs the mass of the string but at the higher harmonics the string's resistance to bending is more of a factor.

                              I believe guitarists should be do their own intonation. I'm gonna grab the strings differently than you and that will affect intonation. As far as fixing the Earvana intonation, I would get the fretted string intonated and the move the nut to get the open strings in tune. I would probably try to get the E and G strings intonated and see where the others were, I imagine that the E and G strings are the most sensitive because they have the least stretch. You'll probably find 2 strings that will determine the the whole thing the best.

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