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Intonation Problem!!!

Discussion in 'Ask Mike Watt [Archived]' started by siedow, Mar 8, 2004.

  1. siedow


    Jan 17, 2002
    Hi, I have a music man bass and have been playing for 9 years. I put new strings on my bass yesterday and the inonation is WAY off. I tried to fix it but nothing I tried worked. It didn't matter how much I adjusted it would not fix.

    I also have a fender precision and i changed the strings on that and SAME PROBLEM. I took off the new strings and put on the old ones to test and the intonation was way off. It didn't matter what I did in either basses, It wouldn't work. What am i doing wrong??? I've changed strings, fixed intonation many times over the years but im stumped!

    Im taking it in to get set-up tomorrow and try to get some answers....im leaving on tour in a few days and don't want this problem to happen consistently. Any help???????
  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Might try a different tuning instrument. Like a strobe or something.
  3. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Depending on your cash flow, I'd recommend getting them both set up so you have one to fall back on if you are touring.

    What conditions are you keeping your basses in? You aren't just leaning them on walls or setting them wherever are you? Not too humid? You aren't throwing pots of boiling water on them are you? If not, then when you get your bass/es set up, the intonation should say pretty nice for a while. Just ask the guy what he had to do after he's done and that should answer your question.
  4. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    After you tune the open string, fret the string at the 12th fret. If it's flat, move the saddle forward. If it's sharp move the saddle back.

    Retune the open string between adjustments then check the 12th fret again. Repeat until the open string tuning and 12th fret are the same.

    There's not much to it beyond that.

    Of coarse this is assuming that string height and neck relief are set properly.
  5. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    This is why getting it setup, regardless of the situation, is a good idea.
  6. watt

    watt the man in the van w/a bass in his hand Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2001
    san pedro, california

    one thing not mentioned here is the possibility of "pilot error" when checking intonation. you have to carefull to fret the string properly, not pulling on it cuz this'll make it go sharp. another problem can be neck wear behind the fret cuz you're finger will press the string down deeper, also causing it to go sharp. there can also be a problem w/a bow in the neck (you need some or you'll get fret buzz on the high notes). taking your bass to a really good tech pro is an excellent idea. you can also check on another tuner - one designed for bass cuz sometimes the guitar-only ones just can't read the low notes properly. maybe the tuner's wack, who knows? lots of things can be going on here is what I'm trying to say. good intonation to me means the bass will be in tune no matter where you play on it's neck. that's pretty intense!

    hope this helps.

    on bass, watt


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