EB Tone Squad
Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: SBMM cutlass intonation

  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    SBMM cutlass intonation

    I have an SBMM CT50HSS and my high e string is currently still a bit flat and the saddle is already up to the trem post so I can't move it any further.
    I have 9 gauge on it right now and the trem is floating (about 3 mm) and I'm not sure decking the trem will give that much more room. Is there any other option other than moving to a thicker gauge (it originally shipped with 10's). I don't mind doing that just wondering if there's any other way to adjust.

  2. #2

    User Info Menu

    Standard checklist for things like these...

    1) Is your tuner accurate enough? +/- 1 cent accuracy is a bare minimum in my opinion. But finer accuracy is preferred. If there is a strobe mode on your tuner, use that rather than needle mode.

    2) Use neck pickup, tone control rolled all the way off.

    3) It may be a funky string. Are the strings new? If yes, then try changing that one high E string. (Buying some spare single strings is always a good idea).

    4) Always check intonation with the guitar in playing position, not lying on its back, especially with floating bridges.

    5) Check the pickups are not too high. That can cause all kinds of troubles.

    6) The nut can cause some issues too, one way around this is to compare two fretted notes 12 frets apart, e.g. tune to capo on 3rd fret, test fretted 15th fret. On my old strat that was the only way my ears were happy with the intonation (and even then low E string was always a problem).

    7) I have forgotten what 7 was. No matter.

    8) There is no such thing as perfect intonation. With a really precise tuner we see small changes in intonation and fingering position and pressure changes everything anyway. Close is good enough. And if you don't notice any problems when playing real music, you are absolutely good to go.
    Forum Moderator, Guitar Teacher and Guitar Tech, Folder of Underpants, Stubber of Toes.
    Irish/American in Paris

    Silhouette Special (2005 Buttercream Limited Edition)
    Cutlass HSS (2018 Roasted Special, Ivory White)

    Click here for my Music Man photo albums


    Ernie Ball Customer Service
    Music Man Customer Service


  3. #3

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by p4t4h View Post
    I have an SBMM CT50HSS and my high e string is currently still a bit flat and the saddle is already up to the trem post so I can't move it any further.
    I have 9 gauge on it right now and the trem is floating (about 3 mm) and I'm not sure decking the trem will give that much more room. Is there any other option other than moving to a thicker gauge (it originally shipped with 10's). I don't mind doing that just wondering if there's any other way to adjust.
    +1 to everything DrKev said.

    Assuming you're doing everything DrKev said, if it's still bothering you, there are further options:
    - If the nut slot is worn back a little, moving the break point back, you may need a new nut, or perhaps the nut is sitting back a little in its pocket and could be repositioned. Alternatively, you may be able to fill the slot with a little glue or epoxy, and recut. This may or may not mess up the intonation of the lower frets, depending on how close it's now.
    - Similar to that, you could look into something like an Earvana nut or the Buzz Feiten system, although those usually require a visit to a luthier. If you're going that route, you could just have the luthier do a setup and intonation first and see if that's better.
    - On the other end, you could modify the saddle itself (e.g. bending up if it's bent steel) so that the break point is closer to the neck. That would effectively shorten the string further. Is the saddle worn? That can cause the break point to move back. Also a combination of both, the nut and saddle, but again, that may result in worse intonation elsewhere.
    - Is this a used guitar? If so, perhaps just replacing the saddle, if it's worn, will be enough.
    - That last point has me thinking, depending upon the geometry, decking the trem may actually work (I think cutlasses normally come with decked trems), especially if the saddle isn't perfect or is worn. The float up may be moving the contact point on the saddle back too far.
    - If all that doesn't suit you, then you could try loosening the neck and seeing if it could move a little further into the pocket, slightly shortening the scale length. If it's shimmed for length (not tilt), use a smaller shim or remove it. You would have to reintonate all strings and again, that may cause intonation problems elsewhere.

    If you want to go into major surgery land:
    - You could deepen the neck pocket slightly so the neck sits closer to the bridge. How feasible this is depends on how close the neck pickup is. At some point, the spoke wheel will run into the pickup.
    - Alternatively, you could slightly move the bridge up. This likely would require filling the existing post holes with dowels, then redrilling. Hopefully the trem route has enough clearance.

    EITHER OF THESE ARE FAIRLY MAJOR SURGERY, and you can easily screw up your instrument, so make sure you know what you're doing, otherwise - just pop for the cost and take it to a luthier.

    As DrKev said, perfect intonation doesn't exist. Guitars are an exercise in compromise, for various physics and mathematical reasons; they aren't perfectly tempered.
    2018 EBMM Axis BFR in Steel Blue
    2021 EBMM Sabre BFR in Coral Blue Burst
    2020 SbMM Axis in White
    2021 SbMM Axis in Neptune Blue
    ...and some other, lesser, non-MM guitars.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ernie Ball Forums