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Intonation issue - BB435 with Flats.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Lowend65, Jan 24, 2021.


  1. Lowend65

    Lowend65 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    San Jose, CA
    I'm having a odd intonation problem that before dropping the bass off at my luthier I wanted to share here.
    Bass Yamaha: BB435 less than a year old
    Strings: D'Addario Flats, strung through the body.
    Tuner: Korg Pitch Black, and Tech 21 DUG onboard tuner (both are consistent with each other)

    I'm noticing that my E and B String are going sharp around the 4th fret, but at the 12th fret and most everywhere else, the bass is dead-on.
    I've adjusted this a few times, and keep ending up at about the same spot.
    Did the setup myself, setup the neck relief at ~.015 at the 9th fret and have played around with it a bit to get a good feel/sound.

    Wondering if this could be a flatwound string thing? People talk about some flat wound sets having intonation issues;I've used Flats in the past, but always on fretless so this issue would have been masked. Considered that I could bend the strings by accident in a few places, but have been very conscious of this and fairly certain that's not happening while checking intonation.

    Maybe the 4th fret has a high spot? I don't feel any ramp...

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Have you set the witness points at the nut and bridge? Also, I don't think it's a good idea to string D'Addario flats through the body. That could also contribute to intonation problems.
     
  3. redstrand

    redstrand Supporting Member

    May 18, 2007
    Saint Louis, MO
    Fool For Four Strings
    It’s a 45 degree bend so that shouldn’t make a difference, I put dr legends on my 734a when I had it and they intonated fine
     
  4. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    So did you or did you not set the witness points?
     
    legalbass likes this.
  5. redstrand

    redstrand Supporting Member

    May 18, 2007
    Saint Louis, MO
    Fool For Four Strings
    I’ve never set witness points. I understand what they are, never bothered. String it up, careful not to twist the string, tune it and then set action if needed while intonating. All my basses are spot on
     
  6. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    I guarantee they are not spot on.
     
  7. redstrand

    redstrand Supporting Member

    May 18, 2007
    Saint Louis, MO
    Fool For Four Strings
    Ok. Thanks. That’s amazing that you can tell that from that far away. Anyhoo. With the yamahas you don’t have the harsh break and they should be fine, but he’s got a problem. Let’s solve that rather than assume.
    What’s going on with the saddles? Pics? Check to see if the string is still solid, the Dunlop’s I have on my acinonyx were weird on the top load bridge, I had to trim the silk a little.
     
  8. Dean N

    Dean N

    Jul 4, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Redstrand, with all due respect to you, if Turnaround advises on anything regarding bass guitar repair, setup, or maintenance, it would be wise to listen carefully.

    If he told me that I could correct my bass's intonation by strapping on a clown suit and clown shoes, I'd be perusing the Amazon Clown Suit Store.
     
    Fishheadjoe, sissy kathy and Joshua like this.
  9. redstrand

    redstrand Supporting Member

    May 18, 2007
    Saint Louis, MO
    Fool For Four Strings
    I’m sure he rocks, but all my basses are spot on. If he guarantees they are not from that far away, that’s cool. Not because I’m better or know more, just that folks have taught me how to string, do intonation and adjust everything. For that I’m grateful. His comment to me doesn’t fix the guys bass. I was addressing the fact that it’s not a traditional 90 degree string through and that the 45 should be fine as it was with the DR legends that usually aren’t used in that manner, they tuned and intonated fine.
     
  10. Lowend65

    Lowend65 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    San Jose, CA
    To as we the question, yes I set the witness points.

    The BB series have the strings through the body at a 45 degree angle, specifically to support flats. It’s a pretty cool design
     
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  11. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    I don't have to see the instrument to know that unless the witness points are set there will be inaccurate intonation.
    It has nothing to do with the break angle. It has to do with the registration points of the string. It is important to set end vibration points or there can be a number of problems, the most obvious of which is an intonation problem. Setting witness points is a key part of the process. If the witness points are not set the intonation cannot be optimum.
     
    legalbass likes this.
  12. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    I agree- it’s better than the extreme angle if some thru-body bridges. Are you sure the intonation is good on frets 1 thru 3?
     
  13. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    I haven’t completed my investigations on the clown suit solution. So far I have found that it’s hard to take intonation seriously while in costume.
     
  14. redstrand

    redstrand Supporting Member

    May 18, 2007
    Saint Louis, MO
    Fool For Four Strings
    Actually if you can’t see it you wouldn’t know. But that’s fine. I guess I set my basses up well and by my guess correctly, the tuner doesn’t lie. I’ve never had to bowing problem and must have been seating my strings well the whole time. Like I said I know what witness points are, the pros at two shops and the other musicians that taught me, just did it right and that’s what I’ve done since.
    Again look at what I posted and answered. A pic would be worth a thousand words.
    But help him and quit assuming things about me.
     
  15. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    12th harmonic is matching the 12th fretted? Your relief is a little high at .015" which may or may not prove to be problematic.

    Riis
     
  16. Lowend65

    Lowend65 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    San Jose, CA
    Adding a few photos for the record. I agree the .014 ( mis-typed earlier) action is a little high, I was having issues with the strings contacting pick up poll points. The instruments actually quite comfortable to play. For the record I set my Dingwall at .010 so I know the benefits of the minimal relief.

    The fourth fret thing is strange, I’ve checked tune on all of the frets, 3-4 are the only ones that seem to have issue mostly on the E string.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  17. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I really don't like the saddle break despite the ~45 degrees. I enlarged the photo and, while inconclusive, the B appears to be departing from the rear aspect of the saddle. I'm also seeing a fairly severe separation of the wraps in that proximity. As @Turnaround suggested, I would trial the strung-thru-bridge approach to see if the situation improves. Downside: if the existing bend appears in front of the saddle (vibrating string path), this can cause a myriad of additional problems. This is the best argument going for bridge-loading thicker gauge strings.

    Edit & afterthought: The strings are hitting the pole pieces?!? Raising the action or introducing addt'l relief wouldn't be my first remedial response. Any way you can drop the pickup height? A too-high pickup can draw a string sharp in some instances which will play havoc with tuning and intonation.

    Riis
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
    Turnaround likes this.
  18. Lowend65

    Lowend65 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    San Jose, CA
    The strings hitting pole's is a technique issue for me on lower strings (I draw downwards on heavy attack, it's a residual upright technique), everything else I own has solid pickup covers to compensate. The BB435 neck pickups are bottomed out on the B-side
    This evening I will top load the lower strings and see what shakes out.

    Question: I've contemplated switching to Tape-Wound D'Addarios. Been using them on my Fretless and love them. My understanding is that these are actually round-wound under the tape. Would the TW's be more or less prone to break-angle issues than Flats?
    It may be silly, but I like the idea of thru-body strings on the BB. Seems like a waste of cool tech otherwise. Ultimately I want a good instrument more than I want to use the tech, so I'll do what needs to be done.
     
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  19. skycruiser

    skycruiser Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2019
    Texas
    If the strings have already been installed thru body they may have developed a kink that will move past the saddle if you switch to stringing through the bridge. I haven't set witness points before but it looks like a reasonable and very easy thing to do. Looks like you just press down on the string past the saddle (and in this case maybe between the thru-body hole and the saddle) to make sure it is fully formed to the shape of the bridge parts. Looks like a good thing to do every time you install new strings.
     
  20. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    How sharp in cents is it at the 3rd and 4th frets?
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    May 14, 2021

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