Intonation and pick up height

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Chains, Apr 2, 2014.


  1. Chains

    Chains

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2014
    Noob to set up issues. I am working with a Fender Blacktop Jazz.

    My question is how much of an adjustment is necessary for these settings. I have lowered the pick up height a little bit with no noticeable differences in volume. Also, my E is a bit sharp at the 12th fret, so I made some small turns, but still no difference.

    Should I keep adjusting? I do not want to break anything!
  2. rob_thebassman

    rob_thebassman

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Location:
    Sheffield
    Disclosures:
    playing bass since 2005
    You just need to turn the saddle screw clockwise until it is in tune, make sure the open note is in tune too while doing this. Also I find that rolling off the tone helps setting intonation so the tuner doesn't pick up as much string noise. Setting the intonation on a bass can be frustrating and time consuming, especially with new strings.
  3. rob_thebassman

    rob_thebassman

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Location:
    Sheffield
    Disclosures:
    playing bass since 2005
    Oh and counter clockwise if the tuning on the 12th fret is flat
  4. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    Your pickup height will not impact your intonation unless the pupsa re so high they are pulling on the strings.

    To adjust the intonation, tune all the strings. Fret the string at the twelfth fret. If it sis sharp, move the bridge saddle back a bit. Re-tune and check. If it is flat move the saddle forward. Repeat until it is in tune at the twelfth fret and the open string. Be aware that the intonation is the last thing you do in a setup, after setting the relief and the action.
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  6. Chains

    Chains

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2014
    Thanks, i made about 2 complete turns with the intonation screw with no change. I will try rolling back the tone.
    My D and G seem louder. Is there a significant lowering of the pup needed. I have done a small lowering so far.
  7. lz4005

    lz4005

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    Tone controls and pickup height have nothing to do with intonation.

    Take it to a professional for setup before you damage it.
  8. Chains

    Chains

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2014
    Correct, these are two separate, unrelated set up things I am workng with.
    I have been making very small changes with each one.
  9. JoeWPgh

    JoeWPgh

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    You should have no trouble adjusting the bridge saddle for intonation. They have all that room to move for a reason. Pickup height is a personal preference, once you have them reading the strings equally. Lowering them will reduce their output and result in a 'mellower' or muddier sound. Raising them increases the output and will give the instrument a more 'aggressive' sound. But it's a personal preference as to where they should be. Salt to taste.
  10. Lakland55

    Lakland55 From the topping with no stopping!!! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    In regards to string height - you can use a ruler where the neck meets the body and measure the string height then make saddle adjustments to see what feels best for string tension.
  11. 1bassplayin

    1bassplayin

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2003
    Location:
    The land of fruits and nuts
    Sounds like if you are loosening the screw, the saddle may not be moving due to string tension. Give it a nudge to make sure the screw head actually butts up against the bridge plate.
  12. Chains

    Chains

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2014
    All nice ideas, thanks.

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