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Intonation Problem

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by dremy2006, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. dremy2006

    dremy2006 Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2008
    Miami Gardens, Fl
    34” scale length… my saddle are all most all the way up… toward the neck and at the 12th fret I am still flat.. does that mean I would have to move my bridge up or back….??? Thank you
  2. waterdog


    Nov 14, 2007
    Treasure coast
    Check the fret crown very carefully.
  3. dremy2006

    dremy2006 Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2008
    Miami Gardens, Fl
    ... its fretless....
  4. standupright


    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    you said 12th fret

    it's a fretless.

    what are you using for a marker?
  5. dremy2006

    dremy2006 Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2008
    Miami Gardens, Fl
    /\..... I have lines... walnut lines.. or veneer... Im trying to intonate.. my bass at the 12th fret or line..:confused:....but my saddles are all the way u... so I would like to know do I have to move my bridge up... or move it back.. so that I will be able to get the right scale lenght.... 34"... ??????
  6. jworrellbass

    jworrellbass Commercial User

    May 17, 2009
    Colorado Springs CO
    Owner, builder: jworrellbass
    The way I intonate a fretless is; tune the open note (with a tuner), then I puck the 12th fret harmonic and adjust the saddle untill both are the the same. Then I check the 12th fret harmonic again and push down on the fb and puck the string. I'll check to see what that note is, I want all three to intonate the same. It works for me, I'm sure others have their own technique.
  7. rythman6969


    May 29, 2007
    if the 12th position is the only one that seems to be off maybe the line its self is what's off. check the measurements very carefully. if they are in the right spots then all positons should be on or off, but not just the 12th position. i would check the measurement on the 12.
  8. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    I use a credit card in the exact spot of where the 13th fret is. Essentially, I do 3 spots;
    open, 12th harmonic and the 13th position,, You get all these very close and you've got it. If you're flat, you may need to move the bridge a bit forward,so you can actually move the saddles back a little, just in case you use different gauge strings at any given time and have no issues with intonation.
  9. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    Put on a fresh set of strings before you try anything drastic.
  10. Tusec


    Jan 10, 2010
    If the fretted note is flatter than the harmonic, the saddle needs to move forward towards the neck. If it can't move any further forward then moving the entire bridge forward might be a solution.

    But big +1 on trying new strings before you do anything drastic. Has the bass had this problem before?
  11. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    And of course, are you playing your 12th position on the line or behind the line?
  12. TortillaChip520


    Jun 3, 2008
    try measuring the distance from the nut to the 12th fret line, then from the 12th fret line to the point which the strings touch the saddles. ONLY if from the 12th fret to the saddles is longer than from 12th fret to the nut (and longer by more than just a little bit) should you move the bridge. I'd go through as many options as possible before moving the bridge. The last thing you want is to start drillin holes and realize you really didn't need to.

    Is it a really cheap bass?
  13. HogieWan


    Feb 4, 2008
    Lafayette, LA
    did you convert this to a fretless? if so, did you lower the nut slots?
  14. Get an unlined neck & use you ears.
  15. VinKreepo


    Nov 13, 2009
    First, I had the same prob when I converted my bass to fretless. When I got the E and A right the G and D were screwed up. I tried new strings everything. It was fine before, but now it was screwed. So one day as I was looking at it from all different angles I notice the neck was crooked (the strings weren't exactly centered). I pulled off the neck and sure enough.... the shim that was in there from the factory had shifted when I placed the neck back in the slot.... it threw everything off. After placing it back to its stop with a lil glue that time it was perfect.

    Second, please tell me you aren't pressing BEHIND the line.... then yes, it will be flat. Press ON the line. Think about it, where does the string contact? On the fret, so place your finger on the line.
  16. dremy2006

    dremy2006 Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2008
    Miami Gardens, Fl
    ... yeah.. that was it... I had to move to bridge u... thanks
  17. Tusec


    Jan 10, 2010
    You mean the saddle had to move forward, right?
  18. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    This is PRECISELY the problem when a builder makes a fretless bass - do you put the lines where the frets normally would occur, or where the player should place his/her finger? It's not the same. And if you are intonating based on one understanding but the builder used the other option, you will never get it right.

    BTW, in my book fretlines are inadviseable. Double bass players have not needed them for centuries, they only lead to the problem I mentioned and create an unncecessary dependency on the part of the player. Down with fretlines - up with ears.
  19. wideyes


    May 9, 2007
    Eugene, OR
    dremy, please be a little clearer with your posts. I think we're all struggling to see what your problem really is. It will help us help you :)
  20. archer121


    Apr 12, 2009
    Break out the tape and squares then measure and check the length from the nut to the twelfth fret. It should be 17" dead on at the line. After that, measure from the twelfth to the bridge saddles. This measurement should be close to 17" and the center-line of the bridge in-line with the center-line of the neck all the way through the bridge unless you're using a floating bridge (which you're not, FWIG.) If this all checks out good, look at your saddles and the action. If you have adjusted saddles forward or back all the way and they are still not right, try lowering the action and check it again. Keep doing this until you're happy with it. If it still isn't right, check your nut and make sure it's filed properly. There are two schools of thought to what makes for a properly filed nut. One side says the center lines of the strings should be even while the other side says the bottom of the strings should be level and both methods are in relation to the FB radius (which is very important.) Whichever method you use, make sure you use the same method when filing the saddles to keep all things equal. If this all checks out and you still can't intonate properly, your bridge is probably not in the right place and should be moved accordingly. All of this assumes your strings are good.
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