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Intonating a b-string

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by carl-anton, Feb 21, 2003.

  1. Is there a special way to intonate a tapered b-string? When I play above the 12th fret on my new slowound B it sounds like theres chorus on. I don't normally play that high up the neck, but I thought that when the harmonics on 12th fret and 19th fret matched the fretted note, it was supposed to play in tune all over the neck. Is there another way to intonate a b-string?
  2. IMO, that rule does'nt work for B strings. I've found the best way to intonate it is to just intonate the area on the B string you play on, in my case that was up to the 10th or 12th fret. I never played the B higher than that because I never had need to. It seems to be more important to get the area from the 3rd fret to the 10th in tune. Sometimes harmonics are not a good way to tune a B either. Just my opinion, of course.
  3. I normally don't play any higher than 5th fret on the b-string. How do I intonate for that then?
  4. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    a tapered b string will intonate much better.
  5. True, but when I only use the first 5 or 7 frets, should I intonate it differently than the other strings? Is there another method? And when rightly intonated, shouldn't the higher notes sound right too?
  6. hand it over to a pro to set it up. its worth it.

    it takes a lot of skill to setup a bass. its a much sought after skill to do it well.
  7. Ziggy


    May 9, 2001
    Orange County, CA

    Intonation is indeed a tricky area. Doing the
    'standard' 12th fret intonation, and leaving it at that, is going to give up a bit as a compromise elsewhere along the neck... a few 'cents' here or there.

    As others have mentioned, put the intonation in the pocket around the area you're playing in. Then, the 'few cents', will be on the outer perimeters from that point... you can dial it in with other 'harmonic' / octave notes.

    At worst, take it your fav guitar repair and let them deal with it..
    michael s.
  8. What's all this about tapered b strings?
    i have never heard of that?
    are there other benefits other than what you said before, the better intonation?
  9. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Why would anyone want to "half intonate" a string, even if they rarely use it? Take the extra hour if you have to move it in microns! Here's what I suggest (and do this on an accurate, but not overly-sensitive tuner, as it will drive you nuts):

    1) Set the height of the string according to the way you like it
    2) Move the saddle as far towards the neck as it will go
    3) Tune up to "B" and hit harmonic (should be "B" as well
    4) Fret the 12th fret. Chances are it will be sharp.
    5) Move the saddle back a bit
    6) Repeat until 12th fret and 12th harmonic are the same.

    This is a somewhat stupid way to do it, but it should insure accuracy. Yes, a pro will do it... and they require money and at least a week of waiting. F that! Save money for beer or more basses.

    And here's a little fact. Tapered strings tend to allow the saddles to be set further forward and be intonated. If you use non taper strings, they usually come to rest in a stepped formation.

    In response to "Why use them?": The smaller contact area with the saddle allows the string to move better and the break angle over the bridge is more extreme (when compared to non taper), giving it higher clarity and better sustain. Although I hate the Labellas, they work. Ken Smiths are my fave because they taper, but they are strong. Have a set on my warwick that I've been using for over 1 yr (although it's a backup bass).

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