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How to intonate; open/12th or 5th/17th?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by MPU, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. MPU


    Sep 21, 2004
    Valkeala Finland
    Which way of intonating your bass do you prefer, open/12th or 5th/17th? What are the pros and cons of both ways?
  2. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009

    tune open, then check all over.

    i'll usually just check from about 9 through 15, and see how they "average".
  3. keith christian

    keith christian

    Jun 27, 2012
    Hi MPU Happy new year. I have imtonated a lot of guitars and basses. Basically what your'e doing is compensating for the amount you pull the string sharp when you press it down to the fretboard. If your action is high you set the intonation longer and vice versa. So the first thing to do is make sure the action is right -the neck is straight - the nut is the right height. then if you set it at the 12th fret ,it should also check out at the 5th 7th and 19th fret. Keep in mind you can always bend a note sharp but you can't bend it down flat.Hope that helps good luck-riverboat
  4. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Harmonic 12th vs. fretted 12th for setting intonation, then I check at the 5th fretted.

  5. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    I check the open string, then the harmonic 12th and fretted 12th. Then I check the 5th and 7th fret.
  6. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    This is the standard practice because it evenly spreads inaccuracies all along the neck.
    There are other ways to do it, depending on your playing style.
    For people who mostly play money frets, it can be better to intonate for an accurate 5th or 7th fret.
    You can also intonate differently for each string, based on the logic that strings aren't all used the same. Most people rarely play on B and E strings higher than the 12th fret.
    In this context, it can makes to intonate at 7th fret for B and E strings and 12th fret for higher strings.
  7. MPU


    Sep 21, 2004
    Valkeala Finland
    That makes sense. I'll intonate like this and give it a listen.
  8. edpal

    edpal Inactive

    Oct 3, 2007
    Absolutely agree - I think the D string is generally the oddball of intonation. Something about the thickness and tension makes it need the saddle positions substantially differently than the others even with the action seemingly the same.

    I personally intonate at 12th because:(a) I play a lot in 10-16 range, even on B and E, and (b)small intonation discrepancies are not as apparent in the money fret range, imo.

    Useful/Good thread!:bassist:
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    Primary TB Assistant

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