intonation and saddles

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by eno50, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. eno50


    Jan 31, 2009
    North of Memphis
    Hello fellow bass players ,I have a wierd question..
    Most basses you see have the staggerd saddles, starting with The E string saddle farther away from the neck to the G string saddle closest to the neck.
    With each saddle sort of stair stepping to the G
    Is that how they should look when the intonation is done right? If so I must be doing something wrong.
    On one of my basses the D and G saddles are even.
    dose it really matter as long as your 12th fret harmonic and 12th fret fretted note are the same.
    And on another bass the saddles are staggerd differently,one of my friends said it may have something to do with string guage too..
    Maybe a set up guru can help with this.
  2. J.D.B.


    Mar 11, 2007
    The saddles are set by tone, not visually. Is the intonation correct? That's all that matters. Yup, gauge affects the set-up.

  3. I think it will very bass to bass and string brand to string brand and nut shape to nut shape. On of my basses had the D almost maxed while the other are in typical positions.

    Basically I dont think there is a cookie cutter visual .

    I simply dial in the string with a tuner and then play the 12th fret through the tuner and adjust from there.

    Is it the best way.....I dunno but it gets me pretty close
  4. On about half of my basses after intonating its usually g string shorter distance with d a and e being equally a bit further. But on the other half it can be helter skelter. I've always wondered if on these basses whether it was a new string issue or not. I know on some of the uneven length bridge saddle basses that sometimes new strings will bring them back to an equal tapered length, but not always. I just put some shortscale flats on my EB3 and after intonating the BA bridge saddles are now uneven when it before it was equally tapered?? The earliest basses had no adjustment just a solid bridge with no adjustment for intonation other than moving the whole bridge like beatle basses. I hope this makes sense?
  5. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    The thicker the string, the farther from the witness point (where the string actually contacts the saddle) it actually starts it's vibration. That's why the thicker strings have saddles farther back.
  6. JLS

    JLS Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    "dose it really matter as long as your 12th fret harmonic and 12th fret fretted note are the same."

  7. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I just checked 5 different five bangers and yes, the G and D saddles are pretty much neck 'n neck. The other 3 saddles fall back incrementally as you mentioned. Note: intonation of a tapered B string will require the saddle to be advanced forward, frequently beyond the E saddle.