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B string intonation

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Schwinn, Feb 9, 2003.

  1. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    I won't call this an intonation "problem", but I'm curious if this has ever happened to anyone else...

    The intonation on all the strings is great...

    except notes on the B string seem to be slightly sharp (using an old Korg pocket tuner). I've got the saddle almost about as far back as she goes.

    Do you think this is a neck problem? Or maybe it is my tuner? Or a dead string? (2 months old).

    Any ideas???
  2. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Are you using a tapered B string? That is supposed to help with intonation problems. Somehow. I guess. :D
  3. I'm not sure if this applies here or not but...

    Trev Wilkinson (yep, the Wilkinson of bridge fame) has introduced a new bridge allowing for adjustment of the break angle over the saddle. From the Gotoh catalog:

    Using a tapered string would result in less of a break angle over the saddle so maybe this is why the tapers seem to solve the problem.
  4. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    Thanks guys.

    Actually I am not using tapered strings.

    I'll be putting a new set on in a couple of weeks so I'll be on the lookout for a tapered set.
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I don't know if this is relevant, but I remember reading a lot about the development of the Roscoe Beck bass and how adding a B string to the Fender Jazz wasn't as straight forward as it seemed.

    So they mentioned how pickups that were just extended, caused intonation problems on the B string - the strong magnetism needed was pulling the B towards it, causing intonation to be off. They solved the problem by using a larger number of smaller magnets ....maybe it's an issue with some pickups that haven't been so carefully designed?
  6. related to the "false intonation point" idea, in BP's guide to restringing they recommended pressing down the string with your thumb just in front of the saddle to create a well-defined bend in the string as it passes over the saddle.
    maybe this will help bring the intonation point within the adjustment range of the bridge.
  7. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL

    Mock Turtle, that actually worked! I applied pressure to the B string right in front of the saddle, tuned up, and the intonation on the string was much better...

    Maybe, due to the thickness of the string, the "bend" was not over the saddle but a little farther up. This would make sense, since to fix sharp notes you have to move that angle back by moving the saddle. By applying pressure, I correctly defined this angle over the saddle. A tapered string wouldn't be this thick and probably wouldn't have that problem. Does this sound like a reasonable explanation?

    Thanks for your help guys :D
  8. Damn! We actually got one right!! :D
  9. *Van Driesen from Beavis & Butthead voice on*

    and remember that doing good can have you feeling good....

    *voice off*

    I think that the string system is always a compromise- the thicker the string, the further away from the supported end of the string the intonation point will be due to the inflexibility of a thicker string,
    so a tapered winding or even exposed core brings the intonation point forward.
    the trouble is that tapered windings deviate from the uniform mass-per-unit length of standard strings-
    I've heard/read techs say that setting intonation is more difficult with tapered strings as a result.

    I suppose the ideal would be a set of strings all with the same gauge (maybe G string gauge), same tension, but the correct respective pitches- impossible without using different density materials, but which would mean tonal inconsistency.
    maybe one day a solution could be found.

    this idea appeared in an April fool's joke in Guitarist magazine a couple of years ago- by stringmaker "Tolo d'Abril":D

    but only if it could work......