Intonation maxed out on Wilkinson Strat tremolo

mistercharliemistercharlie Frets: 287
edited January 13 in Making & Modding
Yet another question about my current build.

I have a newly-built Warmoth Strat, and the Wilkinson trem won’t intonate. 

On the top 4 strings, the saddles are backed all the way back (longest possible setting), and yet the notes fretted at the 12th fret are still sharp of the open string. 

Any suggestions? Can I perhaps shim the neck by putting a few sheets of veneer in the end of the pocket?

Warmoth installed the bushings, and the neck and body were bought together.



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  • Here’s a photo of the situation. 
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  • PhilKingPhilKing Frets: 206
    Longer allen screws? It looks like there would be more adjustment available.  Have you measured to see what the length from the nut to the bridge is?
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1657
    Yet another question about my current build.

    I have a newly-built Warmoth Strat, and the Wilkinson trem won’t intonate. 

    On the top 4 strings, the saddles are backed all the way back (longest possible setting), and yet the notes fretted at the 12th fret are still sharp of the open string. 


    Are you checking the right thing?

    I may have misread what you say above, but you should be checking the harmonic at the 12th vs the string fretted at the 12th
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  • Did you unlock the top bolt/screw first? From the picture it looks as there's still room for the saddle to move.
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  • Yes. Looking at the photo again it seems like I may be adjusting the wrong way. I’ll check and report back. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 30885
    edited January 13
    Yes, those saddles can go miles further back - in fact the Wilkinson can be used to fix guitars which were built with this problem, like the Fender Cyclone, exactly because the saddles can move further back than any other Strat-type bridge.

    As guitarmangler said, just be careful to unlock the cap screws before you try to move the saddles or you can snap them off, either the heads of the bolts or (much worse) the posts they screw into - the ‘wedge action' force is huge.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • Did you unlock the top bolt/screw first? From the picture it looks as there's still room for the saddle to move.
    I did unlock. I think I’ve been adjusting in the wrong direction :( 

    I was going by ear, and adjusting to make the pitch drop. I feel quite stupid. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 30885
    mistercharlie said:

    I think I’ve been adjusting in the wrong direction :( 

    I was going by ear, and adjusting to make the pitch drop. I feel quite stupid. 
    Don't, it's an easy mistake to make - it does seem counterintuitive that you adjust in the direction which temporarily makes it worse :). You'll know in future ;).
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • ICBM said:
    mistercharlie said:

    I think I’ve been adjusting in the wrong direction  

    I was going by ear, and adjusting to make the pitch drop. I feel quite stupid. 
    Don't, it's an easy mistake to make - it does seem counterintuitive that you adjust in the direction which temporarily makes it worse . You'll know in future .
    It worked! This reminds me of the time a friend was nearly too late at the airport because he couldn’t turn the kitchen tap off. He was turning it the wrong way...
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 2580
    edited January 14
    I have a rule that helps me remember which way to move the saddle when intonating based on word length.

    If the fretted note is Flat=Left (move saddle left, towards nut in sitting position)
    &
    Sharp = Right

    Ideally get a tuner and use these Feiten offsets. 
    Open note & fretted
    E + 00 E + 00
    B + 01 B + 00
    G - 02 G + 01
    D - 02 D + 01
    A - 02 A + 00
    E - 02 E + 00 


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  • I have a rule that helps me remember which way to move the saddle when intonating based on word length.

    If the fretted note is Flat=Left (move saddle left, towards nut in sitting position)
    &
    Sharp = Right

    Ideally get a tuner and use these Feiten offsets. 
    Open note & fretted
    E + 00 E + 00
    B + 01 B + 00
    G - 02 G + 01
    D - 02 D + 01
    A - 02 A + 00
    E - 02 E + 00 

    I have a Music Man guitar with compensated saddles, and I should have gotten am Earvana nut with this one.

    Do you use those offsets for setting intonation?
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 30885
    No, don’t use the Feiten offsets.

    That will just confuse things and make the guitar play out of tune in some keys.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • If it’s in tune in G that’s all that matters. 
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 2580
    I use the offsets on all my guitars. Even without moving the nut I find that they're an improvement. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 30885
    I use the offsets on all my guitars. Even without moving the nut I find that they're an improvement. 
    Just out of curiosity, do you play in "non guitar" keys, or use a lot of barre chords or open chords high up the neck?

    I've been asked to set up a couple of Feiten guitars and in my opinion they do not sound properly in tune - unlike with just moving the nut forward which is the key (and of course not patentable by itself) part, which is actually correct and addresses the problem of the nut restricting string vibration slightly. Tuning normally with a 'Feiten' nut position does work well.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 2580
    @ICBM I do all of those things and find its sweeter above the twelfth fret. Also, I also don't ever tune straight off a tuner.

    I tune the D to -2 per Feiten then reference the rest of the strings to it by ear: tune the G to the D either with a G fretted at D's 5th fret or play a fretted 5th interval. Then I fret D on the B strings 3rd fret and reference to open D. Reference A by fretting the D string on the 7th fret and the low E by fretting D on the 2nd. On some guitars I use octaves at 3rth or 4yh position to get D & E better. Only string not referenced to D is the high E, I reference to the B string at the 5th fret or on some acoustics  by tuning to an open or barre chord. 
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