Intonation and bridge placement on ES 335 replica

Post Reply
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:06 am

Intonation and bridge placement on ES 335 replica

Post by edbanas »

On th kit ES 335 replica I purchased, the holes for the bridge posts are already drilled. So the distance from the nut to the bridge can be adjusted only by moving the pins on the bridge or possibly adjusting the "tongue" on the neck that fits into the pocket in the body. The scale length of the ES 335 is 628 mm. A line connecting the centers of the holes for the bridge pins is not perpendicular to the center line of the guitar. They are located so that the low E string is further from the nut than the high E string. I understand this is correct t and why it is correct. My question is where along the bridge should it be 628 mm from the nut? I know it is not at the low E. But where? Also, does action effect intonation?
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:49 am

Re: Intonation and bridge placement on ES 335 replica

Post by tubegeek »

I am building a similar kit and my understanding is that the high E saddle should be all the way forward at the scale length, and all the other saddles will intonate at scale length + an adjustment (the high E may need a small adjustment as well, may not.) In other words, no need to allow for any string to intonate any SHORTER than the scale length.
One thing I learned as I was building mine: the intonation adjustment screws belong on the neck side of the bridge, not the tailpiece side, so turn the bridge in that direction. I drilled for a stop tailpiece installation on mine (it was a trapeze as sent stock but the kit folks cheerfully included a stop bar, inserts and studs at my request.) That went OK.

I'd be very interested to hear what more experienced builders have to say here, especially as far as how action and intonation are related.

The problem with the kit neck joints is, there are no cheeks on the neck tenon (it's shaped to the full size of the pocket like a Fender screw-in neck) so as you say, you have to trust the pocket size and the tenon size to be correct.

Having said all this, I have not tried to do a full setup yet and so I cannot confirm that my guitar will perfectly intonate although it certainly doesn't sound like it is far off at all. My nut is still too tall and I expect I could need a slight truss rod tweak - the action is a little buzzy and still a little higher than I want it. Initial play sessions are promising but not perfect.

(I have an outstanding repair shop, RetroFret, nearby, worst case scenario I'll pay them for a setup if I can't sort it out. But first it has to get warm enough to spray a finish anyway.)

FYI My neck needed a very thin shim behind it to increase the neck angle slightly, in order to get the lineup with the bridge height correct (I was aiming for about a 1/16th to an 1/8th of adjustment off the bottom at the studs.) I maybe overshot slightly but there's really no downside to that as far as I know.

I opted to remove the binding under the neck at the body joint, and shaped a heel cap to complete the full depth of the heel down to the level of the back - this was an improvement to both looks and feel IMHO. I'll add a link to a topic I started with some pics of my adventures. ... =53&t=9156
Post Reply