Intonation and Moving Saddles

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by wishface, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. wishface


    Jan 27, 2012
    I've been having a go at the intonation on my bass, most of the trings are sharp and so needed lengthening (as is my understanding). However the low E (4 string bass) is now pretty close to the back of the bridge and I'm worried this puts more tension on the string. Is this natural?
  2. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    It's normal for the heavier strings to be longer, with their saddles set back further.
    The saddles take on a characteristic pattern, with each saddle a little further back,
    going from lighter string to heavier string (from G to E). That small amount of extra
    tension is also normal and not a problem.

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  4. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    There is no extra tension.
    Tension is how many pounds of pull you have to exert by cranking the tuner to get the string to pitch. It will be exactly the same.
  5. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    B's are usually the furthest back, yet are lowest in tension from 'standard' sets.
  6. wishface


    Jan 27, 2012
    Truss rod adjustments are meant to be made before adjusting intonation. Is there a particular reason for this and can they be safely made afterward?
  7. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    They can be made any time. If you make them first, you will not have to re-do much.

    Frankly, I've never found minor truss rod adjustments to change intonation at all.
  8. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    The E string has a normal length that is longer than the scale length. So in that sense,
    it has no "extra" tension. It has a tension that is normal for that string gauge and length.

    The extra tension I am referring to is the extra tension that an E string would have when
    it is intonated, compared to an unintonated string set equal to scale length.
    In other words, an intonated string at 34.25" will have a little more tension than a string
    at 34.0", when tuned to the same open pitch.
    In fact, the tension would be 1.01476 times higher.

  9. wishface


    Jan 27, 2012
    Not to change intonation, I just have a little bit of buzz and the B 9th fret D string is not sustaining so it's just catching on the fret. I was going to put some relief on the neck to sort this because I don't really want to alter the action.
  10. If you change the relief, you change the action.
  11. wishface


    Jan 27, 2012
    I mean that I don't want to raise/ tower the Saddes independent of neck relief.
  12. wishface


    Jan 27, 2012
    I don't know what that means.
  13. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Make sure the string has a good bend over the bridge saddle. Thick strings can have wonky intonation if they don't have a sharp enough angle there.
  14. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    I agree with gkgrow:l witness the strings. You'll be moving that E saddle forward and get it intonated easily. Once you do it right the first time, you'll be a pro. There is no magic involved, just physics.

    Next, learn a full setup and DO IT!
  15. wishface


    Jan 27, 2012
    I'm not sure I follow; the string is already in a straight line.
  16. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    The straight line mentioned is looking at the string from the side, not from the top. With a poor witness point the string can actually bend upward over the saddle ever so slightly causing intonation problems. With a good witness point the string makes that bend over the saddle more sharply and can help minimize intonation problems.
  17. wishface


    Jan 27, 2012
    Is there a clip of this online?
  18. wishface


    Jan 27, 2012
    how much pressure are you meant to exert? This seems like something that could be damaging.
  19. mrbell321


    Mar 26, 2012
    N. Colorado
    That may be true... I'm not sure...

    but sharp bends put high stress points in the string and on the bridge. Those are points that won't last. They'll smooth themselves or be the point where something breaks.

    BTW, that b-string doesn't look like it's under tension...