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Intonation problem?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tommythebass95, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. Tommythebass95


    Nov 14, 2012
    Hey guys I hope you can help me out with this one. I've bought a spector rebop a couple of days ago. First I noticed that the bridge had the action set as 0, so I adjusted it my question about this is, is it fine if I have some strings higher than others?? Like having the B and E set high for slap and the other stings a bit lower for fingerstyle?

    Well anyway the real issue is that i sometimes find that the notes change a lot from any string to the B when I play towards the end of the fretboard , and I mean quite a lot, it doesn't make it to a whole semitone but could easily be a quarter of a tone, this is anoying to the point where there are a couple of frets which I can't go down from the E string to the B. So is this an intonation problem? Can it be that the intonation in the bridge doesn't come set up like the action and I have to set it up, is it just the B string that sounds like that (this is my first 5 strings), or is my bass a bit screwed??

    Please help me because I bought it over the internet so if it was screwed I still have time to give it back
  2. nikolozj


    Dec 15, 2011
    String action depends on player. Some like it really high, some like it low, some have fretbuzz problems and have to raise some strings, but ideally, action must be set according to radius.

    Best way to check intonation, get a tuner, tune the open B string on right pitch and check if it's same as its harmonic on 12th fret. Then you press on 12th fret, and watch the tuner, if it's away from the actual pitch, you either shorten the string from bridge or longer.

    If it's higher the string is short, if it's lower it's too long.

  3. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    My favorite set up videos:

  4. Ian_Flash


    Jan 17, 2013
    I doubt there's a problem with your bass. Intonation is based PRIMARILY (but not totally) on 2 things:
    1. String length between the nut and bridge saddle. This is adjusted by moving the saddle towards or away from the nut so that the fretted note at the 12th fret matches the 12th fret harmonic OR the fretted note at 12 is exactly an octave above the open note.
    2. AFTER this adjustment is made, further compensation may be needed to account for a higher action "Pulling" the string sharp and rendering it off of the octave.

    Usually, after the action at the highest string/last fret is adjusted to a player's liking, the progressively lower strings are set progressively higher while FOLLOWING THE FINGERBOARD RADIUS. This is the most "natural" feel for many players.
    There is nothing wrong with setting some strings higher and lower if it doesn't feel weird to you, and if it doesn't interfere with good technique, but you may want to experiment with buying individual strings rather than sets, to make this kind of setup work.
  5. B strings often have problems like this, especially high up on the neck. It's the string, not the bass. It's just one of those things. Don't play on the B that high and it's fine. In the real world you don't need to.
    Having said that, do check and adjust intonation as well as you can(we have a sticky on that here), and if it's still really bad, change the string. Having one string bad, causing this problem, is not unusual.
  6. Tommythebass95


    Nov 14, 2012
    thanks a lot guys, I've checked the intonation the way you told me and apparently its completely wrong, but hold on because now I've started having fretbuzz problems in the frets from 4 to 7 in all strings, I don't know if this is normal and its just a matter of adjusting something or what, I'll probably take it to the luthier to see if there is something serius going on because I'm starting to freak out a bit with this bass
  7. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    No reason to freak out; it just needs a setup. :)

    Once you've had a pro set it up and know what it's supposed to feel/sound like, you can learn how to make minor adjustments yourself using the sticky links on this forum.
  8. sloasdaylight

    sloasdaylight Banned

    Feb 4, 2009
    Tampa, Florida, US
    Likely what happened there was futzing with the intonation and the action tightened some of the strings, which may mean you need a truss rod adjustment to correct any neck bend, which is why people usually get uniform fret buzz.
  9. Ian_Flash


    Jan 17, 2013
    Agreed. Intonation adjustments can affect overall tension and sometimes even string height on certain bridges. If you are able to, you can adjust your truss rod as needed and save a trip to a tech. Jerzy Drozd has an excellent setup tutorial on his site. If you want to, you can also PM me and maybe I can talk you through it.
  10. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Well, OK, but only by very tiny amounts. If you adjust a saddle back away from the nut, the tension in the string has to increase to achieve the same note because the speaking part of the string is longer, but it's such a micro amount that you'll never notice it.
  11. Ian_Flash


    Jan 17, 2013
    Yes it is small but if the action is close to begin with.... It's really more apt to be break angle and saddle height/rake rather than tension ASSUMING that the guitar is tuned after the saddle is adjusted.:cool:

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