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intonation- note too high at octave

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by arther daily, Jul 3, 2001.

  1. ok, i just changed the strings on my 5 string, from tapered to non-tapered. The set up survived fins on all strings except the B, where the intonation went out completely.

    As the note is too high at the 12th fret, I presume I should lengthen the string and/or lower the action to compensate for the fatter string?

    Please help!!
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    If it's too high - lenthen the string with the bridge saddle. If it's too low - shorten it.

    Usually with 4 strings you get a position pattern with the bridge saddles that is a straight line angled perhaps 5° relative to the bridge. G is the shortest string, and the others a little longer than the next higher one. E is longest.

    The B breaks the pattern. Check with a good tuner and adjust string length acordingly.

    Very very high action can result in your fretted notes being too sharp, but with a reasonable setup adjusting the string lentgh should be sufficient for setting up intonation properly.
  3. This confirms what I thought, thanks.

    One further question: is it normal for the bridge saddle to be at it's shortest - like practically touching the back edge of the bridge?
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Ideally, the saddles should be in the middle, so that you still can adjust in both direction.
    In your case you can leave it if you can adjust your intonation within that range.
    If you can't do that because of the bridge position, you can ask a serviceperson to move the bridge a little away from the neck.
    You can do this yourself, but only when you have some experience in servicing an instrument.
  5. "The B breaks the pattern. Check with a good tuner and adjust string length acordingly."

    Aah right, I was used to the pattern with the other 4 strings... I take it the B is usually longer then?
  6. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    It depends a lot on the type of string you use.

    In any case, go by what your tuner tells you, not on the pattern on the bridge.
  7. OK. I'll trust my tuner... and my ears.

    Thanks again.
  8. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    The magnetic pull from your pickups may be affecting intonation; the effect is particularly noticeable on the B-string high on the neck. Try lowering your pickups on the bass side if nothing else works.
  9. Now that's interesting, I've never heard that before... I'll double check that. cheers.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Yes - that's one of the things that Roscoe Beck mentioned when he was designing the RB5 signature bass - there is an article on his website about it that was printed in Bass Player.

    It took him a long time to get the pickups right with the guy who made the pickups and is one of the reasons for the "custom" pickup layout on the RB5.

    So this is the quote :

    "Another important element of the instrument's fat-and-round sound is the pickups' alnico "Tri-Pole" magnet configuration. Although the pickups appear to have 12 polepieces each, there are actually 22, as each string has two dedicated magnets directly below it, located underneath the pickups' covers. Fender says this arrangement reduces the "double-beating effect" for better intonation past the 12th fret, because the magnets have a softer magnetic pull, especially on the B and E strings. It works, as the bass has a very clean and stable sound in the upper positions, even along the B. "

    From RB's website here :

  11. Oh no... I hope that's not the case, otherwise I'll have a mare getting rid of it.

    I was tweeking with it last night again and I think the fact that the bass came with tapered strings and the ones I'm trying to put on are standard roundwounds might be effecting it?

    The fatness of the string prevents the string from sitting lower on the bridge, making the string tighter when the octave is fretted -?

    I'm gonna try some tapered strings today and see what happens?

    If this sounds like rubbish, then please contact me before lunchtime!
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think this can be a problem with heavy gauge B strings - D'Addario were saying that they were going to make all their sets with tapered Bs.

    I remember reading a lot about the RB5 and interviews with Roscoe Beck when it came out, where he explained that it wasn't as simple as just adding an extra string to a Fender - the original designs only just worked and anything that changes that, almost requires you to start from scratch.

    I must say that all the 5 string Jazz basses that I've tried, have definitely had problems as compared to the RB5. But the Precision Deluxe 5 got good reviews as far as I remember, so maybe it is just a case of getting the right strings.
  13. Yeah, I have a review on it in an old-ish bassplayer and they didnt mention any problems with intonation or set-up. I think it is purely the fatness of the string at the bridge - The saddle wont go back far enough to lower it to the corrcet pitch on a the 12th fret.

    New strings here I come... hopefully the bass centre will give swap the ones they gave me for another tapered set?

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