Can putting on flatwounds change intonation?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Thom Fioriglio, Jul 24, 2020.

  1. Hi all, I just added flatwounds to my Fender Player P Bass and it looks like the E and G string are now slightly out of intonation. My question is can flatwounds or a change of strings cause that? I had Fender 7250 nickel roundwounds on it with gauge 45-65-85-105. I put on Fender 9050 steel flatwounds gauge 45-60-80-100. Would that make a difference in intonation? Thanks for any help.

  2. shawshank72


    Mar 22, 2009
  3. Every string change should include three basic things after the strings are installed and tuned up to pitch.
    1. Amount of relief - adjust by tweaking the truss rod.
    2. Action - set by adjusting the saddle height for each string.
    3. Intonation - adjust as needed by tweaking the saddle positioning.
    In that specific order, and especially when changing brand/type/gauges of strings.
  4. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    Those are stainless & yes any change in the string construction will affect the intonation, even hex-core vs. round-core.

    Florinda4, macmanlou, smogg and 7 others like this.
  5. Thanks all!
  6. To answer your question more directly... Yes, it's perfectly normal for any string change to require intonation adjustments. Just make sure to do steps 1 & 2 mentioned above before doing step 3.
    SteveCS likes this.
  7. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    ...and don't forget to set witness points. Even a new set of the same strings will not intonate properly with the old setup until the witness points are set on the new strings.
  8. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    @Thom Fioriglio In case you are not sure about witness points, they are set by simply pressing down on the string where it passes through the nut and over the bridge saddle to make sure that the sounding length is as straght and short as possible with no curvature in the string. See the image below. Viewed from the side, the string passing over the saddle should look like the green one, not the red one...
  9. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    is this a great place or what!?! ;)
  10. Thanks! I had heard of this but did not know what it was called or seen a diagram or why it was done. Very helpful. At what step do you witness the strings? Is that done before or after intonation is set? Does that in a sense lock in the intonation?

  11. Just curious, if I set the action and then move the saddle for intonation, say for example forward, won't that slightly change the action?
  12. No. When we're talking about intonation adjustment, it usually involves moving the saddle one way or the other by a very small amount, as in mm's. This shouldn't affect the action. But if you were to set the intonation first, then decided to adjust the action by either raising the saddles or lowering them, you may end up having to adjust the intonation again.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
    rollie 55 likes this.
  13. JW56789

    JW56789 Guest

    Feb 18, 2017
    Yes. Unless your new strings to install are the same set you're taking off, you will generally always have to fine tune your intonation.
    Wild_Bill_57 likes this.
  14. roborend

    roborend Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2012
    Rock Island Illinois
  15. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Putting on any strings changes intonation. Taking your strings off and then putting them back on does too sometimes.
  16. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    Any string change can & usually does change the intonation. Even different brands of strings in the same gauge can have very different intonation settings due to different core wire & different winding wire.
    Some brands of strings will have such different intonation setting requirements, your bridge will run out of adjustment range before you get the intonation set properly ☹️
  17. Yeah sure. Even the same type of string can cause that.
    All strings are slightly different gauge even when the package say its the same...
    JeezyMcNuggles likes this.
  18. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I'll second (or fourth) the yes. For a bunch of reasons.
  19. Lava

    Lava Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2014
    El Paso, TX
    Any string change could possibly throw the intonation off, even just a bit.
  20. Drumdialogue


    Jul 24, 2020
    I agree with other posters that a setup is necessary after any string change. Aside from that, a co-worker at my old job at Yamaha once told me that flatwounds should be have more precise intonation than roundwounds overall due to the contact point of the string and the fret being more consistent. Whether this is true or not is up for debate. Interesting point though.

    Drum Dialogue
    Thom Fioriglio likes this.