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intonation problem

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by cubeenz, Aug 16, 2001.


  1. Okay, I can't seem to get the intonation right on my bass. If I tune to a fretted note on all strings, all fretted notes will tune great, but the open notes are a little flat. So my strings will be in tune, but not when they're played open. I've messed with saddle positions and all that fun stuff, but nothing seems to work. Could it be bad placement of the nut, causing only open notes to be off?
     
  2. Aaron

    Aaron

    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    i have no idea, but it may help if you tell us if you're neck is curved or at an angle, or as strait as a board.
     
  3. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    When you press down a string you will stretch it. If, for any reason, the strings are high from the fingerboard, the note will be noticeably sharp (compared to an open string). This will be more noticeable closer to the nut.

    So the reason(s) can be: much neck relief, high action and/or high nut.
    And the remedy should be searched addressing the setup in that order.
     
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    That's right - I think cubeenz is looking at this the wrong way round. Open strings should be tuned to pitch first and then what is happening is that the fretted notes are sharp.

    This is quite a common problem - you can see Jaco correcting for this during the opening titles of his instructional video, on the "pickup" bass he is using.

    So he is checking the fretted notes against open strings and then filing down the nut with a needle file, making the strings sit lower until the fretted notes (around 1st to 3rd frets) are no longer sharp compared with the open string.

    As Suburban says, this is probably the last thing you should do after dealing with the truss rod and bridge saddles.
     
  5. well, the action's great, and the neck is in great shape... So it could just be the hight of the nut causing the fretted notes to be sharp?
     
  6. BigJH

    BigJH

    Jan 20, 2001
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I need some help intonationing my bass. All of my strings are flat. I have a pretty straight neck. I use roundwound strings. I have adjusted the saddles but nothing seems to happen. I raised the string height that didn't work. I played with the nut that didn't work. So I just need to know what the more experineced members have to say about my situation. Thanks in advance.
     
  7. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i bet your nut's a bit high.
     
  8. BigJH

    BigJH

    Jan 20, 2001
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Forgive me for my ignorance, But what exactly does the nut do besides keep the strings down? Also how would that change the pitch of all of my strings?
     
  9. Aaron

    Aaron

    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    the nut talks to her/himself.
     
  10. BigJH

    BigJH

    Jan 20, 2001
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    My zero fret is missing could that also be a factor for all of my strings being flat? P.O.T. what is that supposed to mean?
     
  11. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    the higher the nut is, the more out of tune the first fret fretted note will be.