HELP! My D string won't intonate correctly...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Dan Robbins, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. Dan Robbins

    Dan Robbins Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2006
    Central CA
    This is on an otherwise perfectly intonated American Fender Precision Bass Deluxe 5 string, in great shape with good frets. The D string intonates correctly at the 12th fret, but it is about 20 cents flat at the 7th fret and about 20 cents sharp at the 19th fret. My buddy says the nut must be chipped or incorrectly slotted, what do you think? This is a brand new set of DR Marcus Miller Fatbeams; the D is a .65. The nut does look a little jagged on the D string, but not too bad--is this definitely the culprit? Is it possible to fix without getting a whole new nut?
    Thanks in advance--
    EDIT: The D string saddle is very far forward; I wonder if it is just a bad string? I have never had this problem before. Any other ideas?
  2. Could be the string. I'm not a luthier, but I don't think it is the nut because when you fret a note, the nut is not affecting the string length - it is the distance between the fret and the bridge.

    What about the other strings - how do they perform at frets other than 12? My guess is they are off too because that's the nature of a guitar - but maybe they are not as bad?
  3. It could be the string.. If it is wider in diameter in some places and smaller in others, it would mess with your intonation. Do you have some used strings you can replace the D with?

    If the fretts were installed crooked, you would see it on all strings. Is you neck bowed or warped at all? Are your fretts flush with the neck wood?
  4. artdrtr


    Jan 24, 2008
    Redondo Beach, CA
    whats the issue about replacing the nut? -- there only $6....

  5. WRBass


    Dec 10, 2006
    Houston, Tx.
    I don't think it's the nut either. Try the string, but also put the D string saddle back inline with the others with the string height also close to the others and try again.
  6. Nick Kay

    Nick Kay

    Jul 26, 2007
    Toronto, Ontario
    I'd say the first culprit is a twisted string. Loosen the string, pull it off, hold it from the ball end with the tuner end free and let it relax itself, then reseat it and string it up again. If that doesn't work, I'd see if I have an old D string from another set to try, preferably of a similar composition and gauge. If the old D is a-okay and can be properly intonated, the D from the Fat Beam set is a lemon. DR is usually really good with customer support - give them a call and you'll be taken care of.
  7. Widdershins


    Aug 28, 2007
    If you are worried about the nut, eliminate it from the equation. Use a capo on the 1st, and intonate @ 13th.

    As others have mentioned, bad strings can be a bugger. However, how are you checking intonation @ 12? Fretting it or using harmonics?
    If your action is high you'll be increasing the tension getting the string to touch the fretboard/frets which will throw a monkey wrench in the whole works. Sure it'll be fine open & @ 12, but elsewhere...:meh:

    Don't worry about too much though, it'll never be absolutely perfect; unless you have a fretless. "Precision" is a bit of a misnomer huh?:D
  8. steve66


    Sep 17, 2005
    North Carolina
    Great idea
  9. Dan Robbins

    Dan Robbins Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2006
    Central CA
    Thanks for all your help--I'll try untwisting the string, I'll try another string, and all these other great suggestions. Too busy partying last night (July4th!) to fix it yet--I'll try today. :)
    Oh yeah the action is set very low, and I depress the string at the 12th fret to intonate. And, yes, Precision is kind of a joke...