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intonation and string diameter

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by thumbzilla, Jun 9, 2007.

  1. thumbzilla


    Apr 28, 2006
    Mentor, Ohio
    I have a Squier P-bass Special 4 string. I have the E string downtuned to D because alot of the music I play calls for low D. I am working on intonation--my Es and Fs were very sharp. I have the string as long as it will go and am still somewhat sharp, about 40 hz on my electronic tuner.

    Will going to a .125 string, tuning it up to D, and then adjusting intonation help?

    Thanks awfully...
  2. rsautrey

    rsautrey Inactive

    Jul 27, 2000
    A couple of questions for you first:

    1. What is the current gauge of your D tuned E string?

    2. How high is your basses action?

    3. How hard do you fret the strings?
  3. thumbzilla


    Apr 28, 2006
    Mentor, Ohio
    E string is .100 (stock on this bass).

    Action is medium, I guess. Enough so there is no fret rattle. I never measured it...

    I fret hard enough to get the pitch and no buzz. My notes are alive.

    I was talking to a friend and he pointed out that the bridge saddles also have up/down adjustment. Never noticed that, but seems like that would raise/lower the action not change pitch.
  4. SGT. Pepper

    SGT. Pepper Inactive

    Nov 20, 2005
    A couple of questions?
    1. Do you just downtune just the E string?
    If so you can get a 115 or a 120 and drop to D with no problem. A slight neck adjustment may be necessary {straighten}. I know guys who use a 120 for low B tuning with no problems so going up two whole steps to D should be great. In fact, you could probably get away with a 115 guage.
    2. If you are downtuning the whole bass to D tuning D,G,C,A, you would definitly need an entire set of heavier strings and a complete set-up. GHS boomers come in a 55-115 set and D'Addario comes in a 55-110 set,
    or you could buy a light 5 string set and just ditch the G string,
    I don't know if you are drop tuning just the E string, or the whole bass to drop D. If it's just the E all you need is a single, 115 to 120 would be fine. I hope this helps. God Bless! :)
  5. I recently did a drop-tune job for a client (www.aroarah.com) who is leaving on tour. She needed her 4-string bass optimized for permanent drop tuning.

    I installed GHS Boomer Heavy (0.050~0.115) to compensate for tension lost from drop tuning. These heavy cables gave her back a good amount of what was missing. I did notice that setting intonation using my TU2 required significant saddle position changing. All the strings intonated as sharp at the 12th fret, so I had to push the saddles much farther away from the nut.
  6. thumbzilla


    Apr 28, 2006
    Mentor, Ohio
    This all good, thanks. I downtune only the E string. I arbitrarily said .125 because both the Squier and Fender P-bass Vs come stock with a .125, which I guessed was B.

    I have thought about drop tuning the whole thing, Sarge, but I am just getting automatic on this! So my reasoning is correct: heavier and tighter rather than lighter and looser.
  7. thumbzilla


    Apr 28, 2006
    Mentor, Ohio
    Went today and bought a .125 string to go in the E position. It was what they had. Put it on and have got much closer to intonation goals. I now get a little green on the electronic tuner for E, F and G on my downtuned "E" string. Or should I say uptuned B string? I realize I'll never get everything perfect, but it at least they are in the ballpark and won't make my bandmates cringe (I hope).
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