Intervals uneven below the bridge

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by greitzer, Jun 17, 2005.

  1. Reading some past threads about whether the portion of string between the bridge and tailpiece should be 2 octaves plus a fourth over the string above the bridge, etc., I checked my strings and found the following.

    When I play only on the portions of the strings between the bridge and tailpiece:

    the interval between the E and A strings is an even fourth.
    the interval between the A and the D is only a major third, and the interval between the D and G is also only a major third.

    When I play the regular part of the strings (above the bridge), they're tuned perfectly and the intervals all are perfect fourths.

    Is this normal? Does it matter? It doesn't seem to affect my playing, but it does seem odd.
  2. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    If you're happy with your sound, then don't worry about it. I think it's rare to find an instrument where the afterlengths are tuned in exact fourths.
  3. Thanks for the reply. Glad to hear it's inconsequential.
  4. Compare the pitch of the afterlengths to the pitch of the string. I think that is more important (if any of it is) than what the intervals between the afterlengths are. It will not be possible on most basses to tune all of the afterlengths to the same partial of the open string without one of the fancier Pecanic type tailpieces.

    As to which partial to tune the after length to, there have been different suggestions here and there. What you found suggests your instrument may have been set up similar to a new one I just got. On mine, the A string afterlength is tuned to the same pitch as the harmonic at the M3rd position (C#) exactly. The other afterlengths are as close to this as the tailpiece construction allows, but the low B string afterlength is off a good bit.

    I think it's a nice detail if your luthier paid attention to tuning the afterlengths to some partial at least instead of it just being random. Any changes that you make to the instrument/strings/bridge are liable to change this of course.
  5. Silver -- thanks for the info. I believe the afterlengths on my E and A strings come out to an octave and a fifth above the regular part of the string. I can't remember at the moment what the D and G are, but I remember they're not the same as the E and A. So I don't think the luthier who set mine up paid any particular attention to this, but you never know. Thanks to all for the replies.

    By the way, have you tried the Pecanic tailpiece?
  6. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL