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Help...intonation!!!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Jay, Mar 23, 2001.


  1. Jay

    Jay

    Oct 19, 2000
    Bidwell, OH
    So I was fixing my intonation today on my Ibanez EDB405 and came to a problem with the G and D strings...I couldn't for the life of me get the intonation set. :confused: The B, E, and A are set perfect, but for some reason the G and D remain sharp on the 12th. I did notice that the saddles were almost all of the way to the edge of their screws but changing this didn't work. To clarify: the scale on the G and D saddles is almost as short as it goes but making it longer didn't change the pitch of the strings at all. Hope I didn't botch that too much. :D Thanks ya'll.
     
  2. dwynsen

    dwynsen Guest

    Aug 31, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    You say the scale on the D and G strings is as short as it goes AND the strings are sharp at the 12th fret. That makes sense. You need to LENGTHEN the scale to bring the intonation directionally from sharp to flat. In other words, pull the saddles towards the bridge. Retune the OPEN string, then check intonation. If it's still sharp, then pull the saddles more towards the bridge. Tune the open string, then check intonation. I'm wondering if you are moving the saddles but NOT retuning the open string before checking intonation. Could that be part of your problem?
     
  3. Jay

    Jay

    Oct 19, 2000
    Bidwell, OH
    dwynsen- You're right, it does make sense that I need to lengthen the scale and retune then recheck intonation...and I did. The problem is no matter how much I pull the saddles back to the bridge, the tuning does not change for both the open string and the 12th fret. That's what I'm getting at. I did as you suggested: adjust saddle, retune open string, check 12th, but it did not work. I'm so confused. :confused: Thanks. :)
     
  4. dwynsen

    dwynsen Guest

    Aug 31, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    The laws of physics have mutated!!! If you lengthen the scale, then the intonation HAS to go lower unless your bridge is on backwards! I had a couple of weird thoughts: as the string passes over the saddle does it bend sharply so that it's immediately parallel to the body of the guitar? I ask because my string-through-body guitar requires that I apply a little pressure to the string on the pup side of the saddle to get it to bend flat. Secondly, how much neck relief do you have? (Did you change guage of strings?) This can affect intonation. Lastly, is your nut seated properly? Sometimes they come off and can be seated backwards. Are the strings properly seated in the nut? (Again, can be a problem if you increased guage of strings.) Is your neck seated properly? Is it in perfect alignment with the body? Man, if all this checks out, I'm clueless! Best of luck! And let me know what you find.
     
  5. Jay

    Jay

    Oct 19, 2000
    Bidwell, OH
    Alright....checklist: (Bass on my lap as I type)

    1) Bend sharply: No
    2) Neck relief: Yes, I just went to a slightly smaller guage. Note the slightly.
    3) Nut seated properly: Yes
    4) Strings seated properly: Yes
    5) Neck seated/aligned properly: Yes and Yes

    Only thing that I would think is that the switch in guages threw it off, but I have no clue as to why it will not fix. The last three strings I adjusted and are now perfectly intonated, but the first two are buggering me. :eek: Would switching from rounds to flats have anything to do with it? The flats are less tense than the rounds were but not to the point, I think, that it would affect something. :confused: No clue....
     
  6. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    hey chief

    one thing to remember is that any changes in your bridge saddle will require you to retune the open string - make sure you retune after you change the saddle position.

    also, remember that small saddle changes don't necessarily make that big a change, especially when the intonation is out pretty badly. you might need to move the saddle back about 1/4 " to get near where the intonation should be and then fine tune it.

    hope that helps.
     
  7. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    metalarch69

    I'm assuming that you didn't have the problem before the strings were changed. I would put the old D and G strings back on and see if they will intonate properly.

    Bad new strings aren't rare although I've never seen a bad string cause your problem, much less two at the same time.

    If you have the A string intonated right, adjust the D and G string saddles to the same string length as the A string. adjust the D string shorter by the diameter of the D string. Adjust the G string shorter than the D string by the diameter of the G string.

    That will rough in the intonation fairly close. If the intonation checks way out (more than 3 or 4 cents), it's almost for sure that it's a string problem.

    Again, the quickest check is just to substitute the strings.

    Please keep us informed. This is an interesting problem.

    Pkr2
     
  8. Jay

    Jay

    Oct 19, 2000
    Bidwell, OH
    Hey ya'll....I did retune the string after adjusting...then rechecked the intonation and no go. I moved the saddle back a whole bunch and nothing. pkr2, it could be the strings. I don't remember having a problem with my intonation with my other strings, but I didn't set my intonation that time, my friend did. I have no clue...I'm gonna tinker in a lil while with it.
     
  9. I asume you adjust the saddles by turning screws and this moves the saddles. Are the saddles actually moving, i mean do you see them move as you turn the screws? they could be stripped. If they are they may move back, but move to the original position when you retune. Dude if those saddles are moving, the pitch has to change, it is just one of those weird universal law things...
    let us know how you make out
    eddie
     
  10. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    pkr2 has a good point - if those strings are non-taperwound and they have a loose or otherwise bad internal winding, that could be the problem right there.

    those strings may be the problem
     
  11. Jay

    Jay

    Oct 19, 2000
    Bidwell, OH
    Well...I just got time to take a shower and check up on TB...barely got to play bass today. Mom's already gone to bed, so I can't play. Walls aren't soundproof ya know. Couldn't mess with it, very busy, but I'm dreading that it's the strings, cuz I've fallen in love with them or something. :D Actually, I stretched the strings a little and retuned and they were closer to intonated but still a wee bit sharp.

    basseddie - Ya know...I'm thinking this could be it, because the saddles weren't moving much at all when I turned the screw. I didn't even think about it being stripped. Damn...I'll mess with it tonight, see if I can figger it all out. :D Thanks ya'll.
     
  12. hmm, what a pickle. only one solution, time to buy a new bass!! yaayyy!
     
  13. Jay

    Jay

    Oct 19, 2000
    Bidwell, OH
    One question...who's paying? Ain't me, I'm too poor. :)
     
  14. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania

    I also went from rounwound to flats, and the flats I found to be tighter, I went from light round's to light flats. The flats didn't have any impact on my bass. Did you try fooling around with your intonation afterward? And you DO realize that harmonic tuning won't work very well with flats, considering they get next to no harmonics, right?
     
  15. Jay

    Jay

    Oct 19, 2000
    Bidwell, OH
    Well, to tell you the truth, I did not know that flats don't get good harmonics by default, I thought it was just the nylon tape (LaBella nylon tapewounds). I haven't been tuning the 12th harmonic, but just the 12th fret.
     
  16. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Flats get plenty of harmonics. Especially if you know how to get harmonics. ;)
     
  17. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    That was the intention of what I meant, just because you don't understand completely what I say, I think you should focus more. I'm using proper grammar, and you just try to bitch about things that weren't even said. It's really getting quite annoying/frustrating.

    Yes, flats get harmonics.
    They're hardly distinguishable though.

    Don't think you've got any kind of skill if you think it's something difficult to do a harmonic... heh

    I learned them naturally about a week after I realized what a harmonic was.
     
  18. dwynsen

    dwynsen Guest

    Aug 31, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    Any success in getting the saddles to move all the way back away from the neck?

    Had another thought: Are you using tapered strings? If so, is your axe a string-thru-body? Also, how much taper is on the neck-side of the saddles? I ask because my experience with tapered strings in my string-thru-body axe is that only a very small length of the taper (less than an inch?) ends up on the neck side of the saddle. If you don't have string-thru-body, you might have 2 or 3 inches of taper on the neck side of the saddles. It seems to me that could be a problem, but I'm unsure. What do others here think?
     
  19. Jay

    Jay

    Oct 19, 2000
    Bidwell, OH
    No, it's not a string-thru, and I don't know much of anything about strings except for what I like. By taper you mean...? Forgive me for being string-ignorant, this is as much a learning experience for me as some other newbies lurking here.

    The intonation isn't quite as bad as it was on the upper strings, but it still isn't perfect. (I have a pretty good ear and if it isn't perfect, it hurts 'em :) ) Could this have anything to do with the stretching of the strings? I have been using two different tunings: Bb Eb Ab Db Gb and BEADG and tuning between the two, if I'm right, would have some affect on the intonation. I've checked it in both and it is the same. I'm quite novice (3 1/2 yrs) so someone with more experience fill me in. This is, afterall, my first trial of flats.

    BTW, I'll get back to ya'll on the saddle moving. I've had absolutely not time til now and I'm fixing to get off of TB and go mess with that. Later ya'll. :D
     
  20. Jay

    Jay

    Oct 19, 2000
    Bidwell, OH
    Heck yeah ya'll, I fixed it!! Don't know what the hell was wrong with it, cuz I just retried moving the saddles back and this time it worked. :confused: My guess is that it was the strings stretching or doing something. Now I'm am perfectly intonated. Phew...that's a load off my back and maybe even some of ya'll's. Thanx everyone. :D