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Intonation problems - HELP!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by chrisborgia, Apr 21, 2006.

  1. chrisborgia


    Apr 21, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    I brought my bass (warwick 5) into the shop for a routine setup, and it came back nice and shinny, but my intonation was still a problem. I reset the string lengths according to the 12th fret harmonics like you're supposed to, but on my E and A strings, the notes on the first few frets are sharp to the open string. In other words, on my E string the open E and 12th fret harmonic are both in tune, but my F on the first fret is sharp.

    Do I need to get my bass refreted? My neck looks straight, but is there a truss rod adjustment I need to make?

    Please help,
  2. Masher88

    Masher88 Believe in absurdities and you commit atrocities

    May 7, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    If you took your bass into a professional tech to get a set-up...you shouldn't be having these problems. You shouldn't have to "adjust" things after it comes back. Making your bass "shiny" isn't what I consider doing a set-up. If there is something really wrong (nut being cut poorly, frets need leveling etc..) with your bass...the tech should have notified you about these issues. Your bass should have come back from the tech with a straight neck, the action the way you like it and the intonation being spot on. I suggest a new tech guy. You also have to remember that a fretted bass isn't going to be exactly perfectly in tune all over the neck, however it should be really darn close (within a few cents)
  3. chrisborgia


    Apr 21, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Yes, the first few frets above the nut are sharp. I have a warwick, and the adjustable nut is set to as low as possible. How do i know if the frets are level? There doesnt seem to be any significant wear on them. Any ideas?

    And yes, I agree that the shop did a very poor job.
  4. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    I'd still look closely at the string heigth at the nut. The strings should be just clearing the first fret. About the same clearance as the second fret with the first fret fretted.

    The fret spacing has to be OK since all the strings arent affected. A high fret would show up as a buzzing problem moreso than an intonation prob.

    Bad strings are remotely possible but more than one string having such an oddball problem would really be coincidental.

    Were you having intonation problems before the bass was was "set up"? Were the strings changed as a part of the setup?

    As Matthew pointed out, the method that you are using to check the intonation is faulty unless your original post was in error as to your method.

    There is definitely no point in adjusting the truss rod for your type of problem.
  5. chrisborgia


    Apr 21, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    well, i set the nut to as low as possible, and that has helped a bit. i did give a little tightening to the truss rod to see if it would do anything, and that helped a bit too. after doing these things, i had to adjust the bridge height to help the fret buzz.

    After resetting the intonation (which I have been doing correctly, it's the one thing im sure of), my bass is much better than it was when i first posted. next time i change strings im going to do some more work to see what results i get.

    thanks for all the advice!


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