Short-scale Tuning Problem

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Manuel_Cerda, Jan 24, 2013.


  1. Manuel_Cerda

    Manuel_Cerda

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    Hello All,

    I'm not a musician but I'm always supporting my 13 year old soon on music. I read a bit and I provide whats he needs to play. He plays guitar since he was 9 and now he want to learn Bass.

    I bough a budget ESP LTD Short-Scale 4 strings on-line.

    My son tried tuning it and 2 of the strings just blow out.

    My question is:

    Can we tune the short-scale bass as same way as a full-size with EADG??

    hope I placed this Q on the rigth forum.

    Thanks.
  2. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Standard tuning is EADG, one octave lower than the guitar. Scale length does not affect this.
  3. funnyfingers

    funnyfingers

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    My guess is that it was tune a good bit higher than EADG. Which strings snapped? Try tuning to a whole step lower and then check the tuning at the 12th fret. If the saddles aren't adjusted properly, the strings could be tighter than they need to be but I wouldn't see this snapping a string.
  4. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2004
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    If by "blow out" you mean "break", then the strings were tightened too much - probably tuned an octave too high as noted above.

    Scale length is irrelevant - all basses use default tuning of GDAE from high to low string. (Same thing 202dy said, just noted from high to low). Playing each string with the string depressed on the 5th fret should yield the same note as the next higher string: E string on the 5th fret = A; A string on 5th fret = D, etc.

    Once the open-string tuning is correct, you need to set intonation, meaning that the notes are correct as the musician plays notes on higher frets. The sticky posts at the top of the forum have links to helpful setup and intonation information.
  5. Manuel_Cerda

    Manuel_Cerda

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    thanks guys for your timely answers.

    After reading a little about Bass functionality I notice that my son was complaining about the "Action", the space between the frets and the string. With loose strings the action is causing a clack clack clack noise when playing, so this little guy applied more tension so the arm get straight...

    I didn't had a chance today to see if there is any adjustment bolt for the arm.
  6. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Arm = Neck.
    Relief = Curvature or Bow.

    The neck is adjusted by turning the truss rod nut. That regulates the amount of relief in the neck. The nut is hidden beneath the plastic plate installed at the headstock.

    The distance between the strings and the frets is called string height. It is usually measured at the twelfth fret. Normal factory set up is usually 6/64" at the E and 5/64" at the G strings, from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string.
  7. mongo2

    mongo2

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Downdashaw
    The click-clack can also be due to his technique. His instructor should be able to help him with that.
  8. Manuel_Cerda

    Manuel_Cerda

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    looks like I did not read so well

    is there some kind of gauge for that?

    Anyway, I finally contact a co-worker who is also a bassist and he kindly accepted to revise and help me to tune the bass.

    many of your comments are the same that he mentioned to me today so, if everything goes ok I will post my results here in order to allow others with same problem read about it.

    thanks Guys.
  9. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    You're doing fine.

    An inexpensive rule is good for measuring string height. Feeler gauges and a straight edge is the best way to measure relief. Relief is measured at the seventh fret with a straight edge. Some folks capo the first fret and hold the string down at the neck body join and use the string as a straight edge at the eighth fret. This method is harder to "feel" because the string will move whereas the straight edge will not.
  10. Manuel_Cerda

    Manuel_Cerda

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    Well guys,

    thanks again for your answers.

    I ended at the local music store (musikal Jireh) and the owner made the tuning and calibration.

    lessons learned:

    1. The neck was not adjusted. It took almost 4 turns on the truss rod nut to get ok.
    2. After adjusting the neck and the bridge we test the remaining original strings and didn't sound any good.
    3. We replace the strings with a new fender set 45-105 and now it feels and sounds really smooth.
    4. We also bought a $10 dlls Qwik Tune QT11 Chromatic Tuner to made easier the tuning.

    All the problem was initiated because we try to handle this as a regular guitar...

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