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Sep 23, 2020 - 7:41:12 AM
5 posts since 9/17/2020

Hi folks - just acquired a Paramount tenor banjo. Loving it. Bridge placement was a bit off as the intonation went sharp as I traveled up the neck, so I pushed it back a bit toward the tailpiece and that helped, except at crest 1 and 2 on the low G string. If I play a 2300 F chord for example, that A note is really sour. Nut problem Any advice appreciated. Thanks!

Sep 23, 2020 - 8:28:13 AM
likes this

1426 posts since 4/13/2009

A too-high slot will make notes sharper, with that sharpness diminishing as you move toward the bridge.

Sep 23, 2020 - 8:42:08 AM

180 posts since 2/27/2009

I have a 1970's Great Lakes 5-string that had intonation problems that 5 different places in Chicago could not figure out - until Cremer Guitarworks in N Aurora IL found that the length from the nut to the first fret was 1/32 (or some tiny bit) too long. He took off the nut, shaved the fingerboard and solved the problem.

This might be worth looking into on your instrument.

Sep 23, 2020 - 9:14:34 AM

7734 posts since 8/28/2013

I don't understand what you mean by crest, don't know what you mean by the low G string (there is only one G string on a tenor banjo, and it's not the lowest string) and I also can't figure a tenor F chord being 2300.  Is this formation going top string down or low string up? I suspect you may be using an odd tuning to begin with, which could affect intonation. Standard tenor tuning is CGDA (low to high).
 

Sep 23, 2020 - 9:46:27 AM

beegee

USA

21895 posts since 7/6/2005

You could always compensate the nut or the bridge or both. You need to do a strobe tuner analysis of each note in the scale for each string. Without know what each string is doing, you can't fix it.

Also consider the action and relief in the neck. String deflection in a high action can mess up intonation, even if the distance is supposedly correct.

Sep 23, 2020 - 9:49:46 AM

5 posts since 9/17/2020

thanks everyone for weighing in. First, it's in GDAE tuning, not that uncommon, I think. Like a mandolin 2300 is an F chord (A F A E). I just said low G to be clear that it was the lowest string on the instrument. Anyway, also, I did move the bridge toward the tailpiece and it did improve the intonation on the D A and E strings up in the nosebleed region above fret 5 but not on the G string, especially, as noted (pun kind of intended) at the first two frets. I suspect it is indeed a nut issue but also, as a newbie to banjo, I understand that tuning can be finicky, in general but that A note really is off. The hunt continues.

Sep 23, 2020 - 9:50:39 AM

5 posts since 9/17/2020

quote:
Originally posted by beegee

You could always compensate the nut or the bridge or both. You need to do a strobe tuner analysis of each note in the scale for each string. Without know what each string is doing, you can't fix it.

Also consider the action and relief in the neck. String deflection in a high action can mess up intonation, even if the distance is supposedly correct.


OK great, will pursue this. thank you!

Sep 23, 2020 - 1:24:05 PM

7734 posts since 8/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by shaundeane

thanks everyone for weighing in. First, it's in GDAE tuning, not that uncommon, I think. Like a mandolin 2300 is an F chord (A F A E). I just said low G to be clear that it was the lowest string on the instrument. Anyway, also, I did move the bridge toward the tailpiece and it did improve the intonation on the D A and E strings up in the nosebleed region above fret 5 but not on the G string, especially, as noted (pun kind of intended) at the first two frets. I suspect it is indeed a nut issue but also, as a newbie to banjo, I understand that tuning can be finicky, in general but that A note really is off. The hunt continues.


With that Irish tuning, many times string gauge will affect intonation. The heavy and thick string that's needed in order to achieve the required tension will many times produce odd ball overtones that the ear perceives as being out of tune. The stretching of a heavy string when it's fretted will increase this tendency.

The first thing I would do would be to try a different gauge G string, perhaps a little lighter. If the problem persists, you might try a classical guitar low E string, which is made differently (wound on a stranded nylon or silk core) giving it more flexibility and thus truer harmonics.

I have a 17 fret tenor with a short scale, and had the exact problem you describe, although it was tuned CGDA. The C note just never worked with the tenor sets available, and when fretted was always sharp (and also harsh). I used a guitar A string, and the problem solved itself. It also blended well with the steel of the other notes. It was a bit tricky to install, due to having to tie a knot to hitch it to the tailpiece, but it was well worth it.

By the way, I should have realized you were in GDAE tuning. I guess my brain was still not quite awake when I first responded.

Sep 23, 2020 - 1:53:43 PM

5 posts since 9/17/2020

quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie
quote:
Originally posted by shaundeane

thanks everyone for weighing in. First, it's in GDAE tuning, not that uncommon, I think. Like a mandolin 2300 is an F chord (A F A E). I just said low G to be clear that it was the lowest string on the instrument. Anyway, also, I did move the bridge toward the tailpiece and it did improve the intonation on the D A and E strings up in the nosebleed region above fret 5 but not on the G string, especially, as noted (pun kind of intended) at the first two frets. I suspect it is indeed a nut issue but also, as a newbie to banjo, I understand that tuning can be finicky, in general but that A note really is off. The hunt continues.


With that Irish tuning, many times string gauge will affect intonation. The heavy and thick string that's needed in order to achieve the required tension will many times produce odd ball overtones that the ear perceives as being out of tune. The stretching of a heavy string when it's fretted will increase this tendency.

The first thing I would do would be to try a different gauge G string, perhaps a little lighter. If the problem persists, you might try a classical guitar low E string, which is made differently (wound on a stranded nylon or silk core) giving it more flexibility and thus truer harmonics.

I have a 17 fret tenor with a short scale, and had the exact problem you describe, although it was tuned CGDA. The C note just never worked with the tenor sets available, and when fretted was always sharp (and also harsh). I used a guitar A string, and the problem solved itself. It also blended well with the steel of the other notes. It was a bit tricky to install, due to having to tie a knot to hitch it to the tailpiece, but it was well worth it.

By the way, I should have realized you were in GDAE tuning. I guess my brain was still not quite awake when I first responded.


Thanks, George. More good information. I appreciate it. When the banjo arrived, the strings were loose for shipping and as I brought them up to pitch I was a bit too enthusiastic :-) and broke that G string. I replaced it with a .40 from a mandolin set - so at least I know it's new. I'll play around a bit more but will probably end up taking it a mile down the road to Tucker Barrett a local and outstanding luthier. Either way, I'll report outcome in case it's useful for some other person down the road. No matter what, I'm really enjoying this new experience. A lot of fun. 

Sep 24, 2020 - 4:07:08 PM

kww

USA

607 posts since 6/21/2008

I'll put in a brief plug for GoldTone's ZeroGlide nut system, which converts any instrument into a zero fret. Works great, and getting that nice guaranteed-consistent surface and wider slots so that nut friction isn't an issue has improved the intonation of every instrument I've put one on.

Sep 24, 2020 - 5:47:12 PM

5 posts since 9/17/2020

Thanks, Kevin. Had an interesting experience today when i put a capo on 5th fret. Ta dah: intonation issue fixed. Gotta be a nut or setup issue. Still researching.

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