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Intonation issue

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by stephenmeadbass, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. stephenmeadbass


    May 3, 2013
    Hey guys,

    Im sure this has probably been covered before so apologies but i really need a fix.
    Im tuning my bass with a standard Korg tuner, it tells me everything is in but when I go to play i need to take the open strings down as they are sharp...
    Now when fixing the intonation on this how do I go about tuning it...
    Should I tune the string to a piano and work from there? Or should I tune to the tuner even though its telling me Im in tune but I'm not...
    Argh so hard to put into words...
    Hope you can help

  2. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Tune 12 fret and its harmonic via bridge so they are in tune. This will also mean the open string will be in tune.

    Due to the design of the fretboard, most fretted notes will now not be perfectly in tune. But that's okay. Important for standard fretboards are the open string and 12th fret.

    Or did I misunderstand your question?
  3. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    If you tune the intonation to the 12th fret and the low frets are sharp, the nut slots are too high. The notes will be more sharp closer to the nut and less sharp as you move up the neck. If you don't play a lot of open strings, it shouldn't be a problem but it would be best to find a happy medium between low notes fretted and open. Using a compensated nut would help, too.
  4. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Tune the bass at the 12 harmonic (same as using open but easier for the tuner to read). Then, Check 12 fretted and adjust bridge to get 12 fretted to match the harmonic.

    Each time you move a saddle, you must begin tuning the the harmonic (open) first before you fret it again to check.

    And so on...

    NEVER tune down to your note, always move the machine lower than the note and then back up to pitch.
  5. stephenmeadbass


    May 3, 2013
    Ok heres my predicament... The tuner tells me I am in tune but when I play an open string to a piano note on Logic it is coming out sharp... I really dont get whats going on... When I tune by ear to the piano the tuner tells me my open strings are flat :-S Im really confused
  6. stephenmeadbass


    May 3, 2013
    Sonically I am 100% in tune... but the tuners telling me im flat
  7. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Well, the piano is not perfectly in tune either. Equal temperament vs just intonation. So that may be another factor!

    If in doubt, use the tuning that sounds best to you.
  8. Just a crazy suggestion, I had a similar issue that turned out to be that my electronic tuner had a button for dropping standard tuning by half steps and I had somehow pushed the button without realizing it. Add to this a lack of familiarity of that tuner and I didn't realize I was set to tune half step down... Does your tuner have a adjustment button that adjusts in cents that might have gotten reset by accident?
  9. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    Is the tuner set to A440? Korg tuners have the ability to change this standard tuning. If it is A440, then the piano is out of tune and your bass is fine.
  10. stephenmeadbass


    May 3, 2013
    It does have this button!!! Can My bass be in tune at 435?? The bass is in tune with every song I have just jammed to, but the tuner was saying flat, Ive set it to 435 and now its telling me im in... weird?
  11. You can tune your bass to any reference tone (440, 435, 430hz...)... If you are in tune with the piano when tuned to 435 then the piano is tuned flat (out of tune). If you are going to perform with that piano you will need to tune to it (adjust your tuner so it is reading in tune with the piano and remember that setting for future reference).

    Last thought, are the batteries good in the tuner?
  12. JeffVanter


    Sep 23, 2012
    Everyone is pretty helpful.
    Just keep in mind I thought intonation was my problem on my LOP bass when it was actually the neck was just shot. Is the neck warped?
  13. Razman


    Feb 10, 2005
    Orange Park, FL
    OP, many songs are played half a step down (whether that is 435 hz or not I don't know) so that's why you are in tune with the songs but not with your Korg. Tuning your strings to a song or to standard 440 or to a slightly out-of-tune piano is different than intonation. Setting your intonation correctly will make all of your fretted notes sound "in tune" with whatever tuning you set your strings to.

    Basically, there are 'imaginary' points on each string that represent the 'in tune' note that you play when you fret the string. By setting the intonation you are matching these 'imaginary points' on each string to the actual 'real' frets on your neck - so that when you play a note, it sounds in tune.

    This is performed by adjusting each saddle on your bridge either closer to or further away from the nut. To start, tune your "E" string to standard E. Then fret the string at the 12th fret. Check your tuner. If the note is sharp, that means that the vibrating portion of the string (between the 12th fret and the bridge saddle) is too short. Therefore, move the saddle away from the nut using whatever adjustment method your bridge has.

    If the note is flat, the vibrating portion of the string is to long - move the saddle closer to the nut. Only move in small increments; if it's held in place by a long screw, just a couple turns. You'll get the feel for this after doing a couple of them.

    Once adjusted, re-check the open tuning of the string (as it may change) and then check the notes past the 12th fret closer to the bridge. If set correctly, ALL frets on your neck - from 1 to 20+ should be perfectly in tune when fretted. If frets 1-3 are a little sharp, this means that your nut slots are a little too high - a guitar tech should be able to file them down for you.

    So there it is; once you learn this you'll save hundreds of $$ by not having to take your axe to a shop to have strings put on or adjusted.

    Next week, neck class 102 - how to set your action and truss rod...

    Rock on mate... :bassist:

  14. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Turn off the tuner. Play your instrument.
  15. don't forget that pianos tunings are stretched. The octaves as you move away from middle C are not pure. If you don't play the piano in the middle octave it will be off in comparison to a non-stretched instrument. The farther away, the more stretched the tuning. If you're down on the notes that correspond to the bass guitar, it will be off compared to a bass tuned to a guitar tuner. It's also the reason you can't use a guitar or even yet a "chromatic" tuner to tune a piano. Studio pianos are un-stretched a bit to make them play nicer with other instruments but they don't sound as in tune with themselves.
  16. stephenmeadbass


    May 3, 2013
    I would but I'm recording haha and I have the guitar to go over the top tomorrow. so wanted to be certain. Thanks everyone for your help, its all sorted, It was the tuner being set at teh wrong hertz... Wont be making that mistake again.

    Thanks again