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cant intonate E string, saddle moved all the way

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by m84, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. m84


    Nov 30, 2011
    I was setting up a bass I just got the other day..

    I got the intonation set on all strings except the E.
    I moved the saddle all the way back on the bridge, but 12th fret note is still a fairly sharp E note.

    I do play the E that high on the neck sometimes, so I'd like it to be in tune.

    Any ideas? thanks!
  2. Most likely a defective string. I've seen it before.
  3. AmadeusXeno


    Mar 8, 2011
    Did you adjust your truss rod already? If your neck has too much bow in it you won't be able to get the bridge saddles back far enough.
  4. Sorry, but this is nonsense.
  5. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Yep. I had a new set of DR Hi Beams one time that had bad G and D strings. Couldn't get either in tune. Tried new strings and bam.
  6. TRichardsbass

    TRichardsbass Banned Commercial User

    Jun 3, 2009
    Between Muscle Shoals and Nashville
    Bassgearu, Music Industry Consulting and Sales. Tech 21, NBE Corp, Sonosphere.
    Happens all the time. I was trying to put a set of GHS Boomers on my Kubicki Key Factor and couldn't get it to intonate on the A string. I wound up just tuning to the fretted D and E on the A string and let the A open be a touch flat.

    Has to do with a lot of things. String, guage, break angle of the string over the nut, yada yada. I find often when you don't have enough wraps on the E or A string on many basses you have intonation problems because the angle isn't sharp enough. I've seen many forums where uber guitar techs talk about maxing the wraps as much as possible because of it.

    Phil and Dave Petillo always say that the string angle should match the headstock angle when possible. More applicable to guitars, but does make sense for basses.

  7. m84


    Nov 30, 2011
    very interesting, these are GHS boomers too. I'll change them and wrap them a bit more as well. Thank you all.
  8. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses


    Witness point? Often the culprit.
  9. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    That would be my first suspicion. Set the witness points at the bridge saddle and nut. Also verify the nut slot, itself.

  10. F-Clef-Jef


    Nov 13, 2006
    Neenah, WI
    Does anybody have a good explanation of how/why the string would cause this? I am not disagreeing with you in any way, but I'm wanting to understand what can happen with a string that would cause this.
    Could it be a flaw in the winding that would cause the nodes to be moved slightly? Uneven wire gauge on the winding? I would think you'd be able to feel if that was the case.

    Any thoughts??
  11. If we're talking bolt-on, a shim- one or two business cards' thickness, at the bridge-ward end of the neck pocket- will slightly increase the neck angle, sometimes adding enough scale length to fix this issue. It worked on my Jazz 5's B.
  12. I can't explain it. I've had it happen with new, and old strings. Nothing you could see or feel. But it's GOT to be a mass variation, along the length of the string, I think.
  13. AmadeusXeno


    Mar 8, 2011
    If your truss rod is too loose and your neck has lots of bow in it the string length between nut and saddle is shortened and can cause you to not be able to move the saddle back far enough for proper intonation. How is that nonsense? I have seen people try to just always adjust their bridge and nothing else and ended up with the same problem as the OP. The problem they had was that their neck was not properly adjusted. After adjusting the neck on their instruments the bridge saddles had to be mover forward closer to the neck for the intonation to be correct. The bridge saddles are not the only thing that affects intonation.
  14. "How is that nonsense?"
    I think you've been led astray somehow. There is no way that adjusting the bow of the neck can change the nut/bridge distance as much as you're suggesting. We're talking about 1/2" or so of movement. Can't happen. I can make radical adjustments to the necks on any of my basses, and there is almost no impact, or none at all, on intonation.
  15. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    wow, some good ones in this thread! :rolleyes:

    one string out of an otherwise OK set that won't intonate no matter where you put the saddle means a bad string, pretty much every time.

    too much neck bow will very much throw off intonation, not from any nonsense about changing the scale length, but because the increased string height from really high action stretches the string sharp by the time you get it pushed down to the fret. this problem would most likely show up on all the strings, though.

    +1 to the witness point thing; make sure the string is in a dead-straight line along its entire vibrating length, or it will be off; any up-curve at the ends will throw off the intonation (especially important on the fat, stiff, loose low strings).
  16. Yes, it would show up on all strings, and unless the bow was enough to render the bass unplayable it would be minimal. But most important, it would NOT prevent getting the correct setting at the12th fret.
  17. azfryguy


    Feb 2, 2010
    Queen Creek AZ
    I have had this happen with a few basses and i just pushed down (towards you in playing position) about one forth of an inch away from the saddle on what ever string has the intonation problem. Sometimes the string has a hard time clearing any gaps. Also i think if the neck is bowed and you straighten it out its gonna be sharp but if you tune and lower the strings to the correct pitch in theory would maker the string longer i don't know by how much i'm not as pro or anything. That its an interesting idea.
  18. is the spring behind the saddle out? If not try removing it.

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