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Recently I got a brand new Ibanez AM93 Lefty. It's an hollow body so I am using jazz guitar strings. I think I did a correct setup:

  • Action is approx 1.8 mm in high E, and approx 1.9-2.0 at low E
  • Neck adjusted, truss rod set up. Very minimal relief, pressing the 1st and 16th fret (neck/body junction) high E string has only a business card paper can slide and the string actually keeps the business card from falling down.
  • Using flat wound jazz guitar strings, tried 3 different kind, all the same problem (string B is sharp).
    • D'Addario ECG24 Chromes Flat Wound, Jazz Light, 11-50 (B is 15)
    • D'Addario ECG25 Chromes Flat Wound, Light, 12-52 (B is 16)
    • Thomastik GB112 Medium Light George Benson Custom Flatwound Guitar Strings (B is 16)
    • Bridge is Ibanez ART1 adjustable fixed.

The action sounds a bit high (my Ibanez owner's manual recommends 1.5-1.8mm) but I can not lower the bridge more because it would be result fret buzz.

My main problem is that string 2nd (B) is still sharp but the bridge set up its longer long. If you examine the picture, high E and G also the longest, but in their case it is just in intonation.

Q1: What can cause that I must set my bridge for all strings so long and unfortunately for string B it is out of range?

Q2: I see that the adjustable piece is 180 degree reversed for the E, B, G strings than the D, A, E strings. As the profile of this piece (a wedge) is not symmetric, so rotating it for string B I got one more extra millimeter, which could be enough. The main questions are: Is it possible to rotate that piece or not? If it is possible, will it any drawback to sound of the B string?

(here is the pic, and note: it is a left handed guitar)

enter image description here

Thx in advance

  • I suspect the action of the treble strings is too high. What are those fret buzz problems you're talking about? If they occur mostly on the bass strings, just “roll” the bridge more (bass strings higher, trebles lower). If they occur on the trebles, but only on low frets, try relaxing the truss rod a bit. — For another thing: how and on what fret did you actually determine that the b string is still to high in intonation? – leftaroundabout Aug 21 '15 at 22:37
  • In case the action set to lower than current 1.8 the fret buzz is coming high E 10th, 11, 12, 13, B the same, and lightly some lower frets like B 3rd fret. G 3rd - 2nd etc. For lower strings the buzz barely hearable because of the flat wound string types. Also the lower strings have heavier tension (say low E is 53, A is 39) so they tend less to buzz. – g.pickardou Aug 22 '15 at 7:46
  • Look at 'What do I do if the saddles on my bridge...' also from yesterday. Same sort of problem. – Tim Aug 22 '15 at 9:27
  • @Tim: That bridge (in the Q/A you are referring: music.stackexchange.com/questions/36053/… ) is placed (accidentally or intentionally?) reversed. See the nut wide on the high E... – g.pickardou Aug 22 '15 at 13:19
  • Hm. Is it possible that the neck is twisted? – leftaroundabout Aug 22 '15 at 21:41
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In your photo, it appears that the saddles have a wedge-shaped top that is angled on one side only, while the other side is straight/flat. Three appear to be angled in one direction (reflecting the light) and three appear to be wedged in the opposite direction (not reflecting the light). If you reverse a saddle like this, you should be able to get some additional range of adjustment (equal to the thickness of the saddle).

  • Yes, my question about this:1) How can I reverse the saddle?, and 2) is reversing the saddle any drawback? (I suppose there is a reason that on every guitar the top 3 saddles are in reverse direction than the bottom 3... – g.pickardou Aug 21 '15 at 19:45
  • You'll need to release tension on the string, possibly remove it, and then examine the bridge construction. Look for a circlip retaining the intonation screw. Pop it off, remove the screw from the saddle, reverse it, and re-assemble. – Kirk A Aug 21 '15 at 19:51
  • @g.pickardou This answer is the best bet. The reason most guitars are like this is to compensate for different string gauges and relative tunings. If it does not work, you will be forced to go back to standard thickness strings, or if you are brave (crazy?) enough, have the bridge moved. An expensive invasive procedure. – user6591 Aug 21 '15 at 20:53
  • @KirkA: Thx for your answer. I still have no idea how to remove and flip the saddle, and see no circlip (whatever would be it is :-). Actually I see nothing else than the screw and the saddle. Anyway now I asked explicitly in Ibanez forum "How to reverse the saddle" (forum.ibanez.com/…). See if there will be anwers. – g.pickardou Aug 22 '15 at 7:52
  • @KirkA: Well, found the circlip. (It is only matter of some light and eyeglasses...) Still I am not feel to be prepared to pop it off (to some unknown location in my apartment). Do I need any special tool or trick to pop it off, then reassemble? – g.pickardou Aug 22 '15 at 8:10
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I have had the same type of problem with all of my Les Pauls which have the same type of tune-o-matic bridge and stop tail piece. I recommend that you try the previous answer and turn the saddle in question around and see if that gives you the extra room you need. If that doesn't give that extra room purchase a bridge that is wider and that will give you more movement. I have had to do this on all my Les Pauls because the tune-O-Matic bridges are very narrow. You can find many bridges that are identical in appearance but are slightly wider.

  • Yep. If the action is not too high, and the other strings play in tune on the frets, then you obviously need to get that B string saddle further down the instrument one way or another. As an instrumentmaker, I would take the bridge off, fill the screw holes, and put the whole thing down a good two or three millimeters. If you can get a wider bridge, that would be even easier and would certainly do the trick. Unfortunately, I don't think there's much you can do otherwise. Of course you can try flipping the saddle, but that might not gain you enough to solve the problem. – Scott Wallace Nov 1 '18 at 18:20
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You can try to change the top nut a little bit. Maybe carefully file out the slot/slit a little bit (so change it from the top). I did this with a an acoustic Suzuki Tree guitar and it made a small improvement.

  • I do not think it is a nut problem: If I tune the 3rd fret D, then 8th fret G is sharp. If I tune the 8th fret G then 3rd fret D is flat. I had to bend the D this case a bit, approx 0.5-1 to be in tune. Using the chromatic tuner in my amp I can detect that the higher frets the sharper gradually. So I think it is a simple saddle adjust thing, however the saddle positioned already to its limit. It seems it has nothing to do with the nut – g.pickardou Aug 22 '15 at 7:48
  • @g.pickardou In your comment, you refer to "the chromatic tuner in my amp". When performing a setup, a very precise tuner is required for the intonation. I will assert that a strobotuner should be used -- whether the old mechanical style (Conn), or a new digital style (Turbo ST-200). Many simpler tuners do not measure as well or provide a user interface with precise feedback. As for procedure, are you adjusting the saddle to match the 12th-fret harmonic with the fretted 12th-fret note? Or are you doing something else? – Kirk A Aug 22 '15 at 11:26
  • You are right the chromatic tuner in my amp is not precise enough. I am using multiple computer chromatic (some based on strobo principle) and my ear. The final decision is my ear. I am using the 12th fret as a starter, then the check the 13th and 11th, also cross checking the 3rd and 15th...The method I described in my prev comment (3rd fret D vs 8th fret G) is pure ear: I tune the D string and G string to perfect to each other. Then tune the B string 3rd fret to be perfect octave to the D string. Then the 8th fret G on string B is sharp with the G string. I am a serious cross checker... – g.pickardou Aug 22 '15 at 13:04
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Most guitars I see and have, even expensive ones , seem to be a kit of parts thrown together with no concern for intonation adjustment. These bridges are too far forward normally so the saddles on some of the strings are back as far as they can go and still the string is sharp when fretted at the 12th fret. I suspect the policy is. Throw the guitar together and take the money from the mugs.

Because who thinks about intonation when they buy a guitar, we expect it to be correct but it never is and most often cannot be corrected without finding a non standard bridge.

Guitars are not normally set up when bought new so the manufacturers never realise that the intonation can never be adjusted correctly. Also most players don't even know what intonation is. Fret strings normally on 12th fret and adjust with tuner to get same reading on the tuner for open string and 12 fret. The action height is irrelevant but will make a difference by pulling the string slightly sharper the higher the action. But action is dependant on style. Pickup pole pieces too near to strings will pull the intonation out. There is a bit of compromise so try other string fretting positions and minimise variation. A floating trem setup calls for saddles to be even further back. Strats have springs on the saddle screws preventing them from going all the way back. I would say most Strat bridges need to be at least 3/16 further back. Guitars are technical electromechanical devices but 99percent of guitarists and sales staff are not technically trained.

  • I do not think that a general negative opinion like complaining about practically everything from manufacturers through sellers to even players helps. – g.pickardou Dec 6 '16 at 5:59
  • I'd have to agree with g.pickardou here. Every guitar I own, from dirt cheap to very high end is properly intonated. Manufacturers invariably provide setup such that correct intonation will be somewhere in the middle of most ranges. And all shops I buy from have professionals to aid initial set up if needed. I think you must have had a run of bad luck. – Doktor Mayhem Feb 5 '18 at 8:41

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