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Changed string gauge, intonation went nuts.

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by edpal, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    I'd been using medium gauge nickel-wounds for ages, general D'Addario XLs - reasonable price, consistent, I've been happy. My most recent bass purchase was all dialed in on the intonation. Then I changed to ProSteels which were .005 thicker. I carefully dusted the nut slots open just a little so they would site in the bottom of the slots correctly. Intonation wasn't off much at the 12th and beyond but the lower register was 20-30hz/cents sharp. Thinking it was a string break issue I took the nut slots down more, and more, and more. I'm a former toolmaker so I am able to accertain I am down to about .015 over the height of the first fret now. Brought it in slightly but still not right. Out of disgust I changed back to some light gauge and it's dead-one (with great lower action). Maybe one of our luthier types could chime in - would frets be spaced slightly different for someone who uses really heavy stiff gauges? Anyone experienced this?
  2. It's normal. You just have to do a setup. It's good to do a setup every time you change strings unless it's the same brand and gauge strings you are replacing.
  3. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I'm confused. Did you try to adjust the intonation by filing the nut without first adjusting the bridge?
  4. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
  5. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Yes, that's always my first step in adjusting intonation. I had this ax dialed in so nicely, I felt like I was going insane when this occurred. I even adjusted the saddles and height to where I was starting to lean toward "flat" in the upper register and risking some buzz if I dug in hard. All before going after the nut further. Nut is now at point where string height over 1st fret is about "credit card" high, which feels insanely low but I'm not getting any buzz. Only positive is that I this is now the lowest action of any bass I own. Shame I had to pitch a set of strings. Maybe I'll try them on my Steingberger just out of curiosity.
  6. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    IT got a setup but it stll refused to dial in quite how I wanted. At the end (with the ProSteels) I could have left it, going 6-10 cents sharp in the first three frets, mainly on the low B and E wouldn't be the end of the world but it messed with my head. Reminds me of a time a few month back I had to use some old-timers Squir bass which had never been setup - time you got to 8-9th fret you were a solid half-tone sharp. Try doing the bass parts to Clapton's "LEt It Rain" with the upper register out like that. A bullet would have been merciful.

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