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Intonating

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by thebassmuchacho, Mar 22, 2004.


  1. My bass has always been perfect, it hasnt needed a tune up, except for the occasional truss rod adjustment or something, but now after a flight from cali to boston, the intonation seems to be messed up, ive never really learned how to do this correctly....anyone got any tips?
     
  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    First tune the bass with an accurate tuner. Get all the strings 100% in tune.

    Now, hit the harmonic on the 12th fret of G and fix:compare the 12th fret harmonic to the 12th fret fretted, if it is still 100% on then you are intoned, if it is not intoned, then you take a philips screwdriver to the back of the bridge and...I always forget which way you turn for if it's flat or sharp, I think right will raise the pitch while turning it to the left will lower the pitch. So then you just adjust accordingly.

    When you are finished, check your tuning again.

    btw, intonate isn't a word ;) it's intoning would be the correct form for your use.
     
  3. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Sorry to disagree, WW, but the harmonic is always in tune with the open string, even if the bridge is totally misadjusted.

    In the past several of us have described the setup procedure with various degrees of success. I suggest that you go to the Gary Willis or the Fender websites. Both give excellent setup instructions.with good graphics. A pix is worth a thousand words. A quick search through the TB archives and you'll find page after page that goes into the subject in great detail.

    If anything is not clear after reading over these sites, hit base with us again and I'm sure someone can help you.

    WW: good call on the intonation definition. I looked it up and, your right, it isn't a word. But,and however, since we at TB use the word "intonate" regularly, I hereby declare INTONATE a bonafide, official word. :) :)


    Harrell S.
     
  4. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    whoooooops!

    sorry about that, dur, I knew that, I just posted way later at night than I should have! :)

    I hope I didn't confuse you mike.
     
  5. Perfect-Tommy

    Perfect-Tommy

    Mar 28, 2004
    Ohio
    This may be a silly question, but could you tune up then just use the tuner to check the pitch of the octave rather then use the harmonic. I personally don't have a problem ear tuning (most the time.... nothing like magically losing all sense of pitch the night of intense playing...), but some might find it hard. Is there any reasons why this wouldn't work? Also, how accurate would it be using the tuner?
     
  6. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.

    It's not a silly question at all. In fact, I've said it before and I'll say it again: If you are using a tuner to set your intonation the harmonic of the open note DOES NOT even figure into the procedure! Just tune the string to standard and then adjust the bridge saddle so the note is in exact tune at the 12th fret.

    Honest, that is ALL that intonation consists of! No harmonic needed.

    If the same people jump on me this time for speaking the honest truth (exactly what happened in another post on the same subject), just save your breath. You were wrong then and if you say that you can't intone accurately w/o using harmonics, then you are still wrong. No matter how golden you think your ears are, You STILL don't need to use the harmonic. If you are relatively new to setup, save yourself a lot of confusion. Forget that you ever heard the word "harmonic". I've seen more confusion over this one point than you would believe on this forum.

    To answer the last sentence: your intonation will be just as accurate as your tuner. Trying to remember what the pitch of the harmonic is while you try to adjust the bridge is much less accurate!

    Those of you who insist on trying to intonate using only the harmonic as a reference, no skin off my nose. Do it however you choose but I'm not going to get in another argument with people who assume the position of expert with VERY little to offer except confusion.

    Good luck.
     
  7. Perfect-Tommy

    Perfect-Tommy

    Mar 28, 2004
    Ohio
    Good to know. Despite the formentioned total loss of pitch because of .... brain damage... <shrug>, I have near perfect pitch so ear tuning is pretty skippy for me. I just wanted to be clear on it ebcause I have some friends that have no natural pitch and if they ever asked me, I wanted to have an answer for them.

    I can understand why the harmonics method is seen a little better, because I know that personally when I tune all strings with a tuner, rather then tuning the E and then working my way up tuning to the strings, that sometimes they just don't sound correct. I mean, if you have the ability and the ear, what sounds right shouldrule over all.

    Thanks for the great feed back.

    <goes off to check the intonation on his P-bass since he knows it's wrong since he changed strings....>
     
  8. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I have less than perfect pitch, ok way less, but I have also noticed that if I tune all the strings using a tuner, then use the "harmonics" method, the strings sould slightly out of tune. Anybody got an explaination for this?
     
  9. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    your bass is not intoned. :meh:
     
  10. Perfect-Tommy

    Perfect-Tommy

    Mar 28, 2004
    Ohio
    Well in my case I blame it on a crappy tuner :p I don't really use harmonics, I'm just playing an A on the E string and listening. I honestly don't use harmonics when tuning a lot of times. I reckon I should, but never got into the habit of it. I mean, I always get the tuning close enough for funk.... :D
     
  11. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Oops, you are right. When I changed to flatwounds, I decided to wait a couple of days for the strings to settle in .... a few uhhhh months later, I have not corrected :oops:

    When I am practicing, most of the time I don't even check the tuning. If it sounds ok, I go with it. Exceptions are playing with others and ear training.