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Intonation Question

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Mr.Phil, Aug 5, 2005.


  1. Mr.Phil

    Mr.Phil

    Apr 9, 2005
    Upstate NY
    This morning I put a set of gut strings on my bass... Best musical decision I've made, they are very warm, deep and powerful... Here's my problem, they won't stay in tune very long (like half a song). I know this is sort of normal for new strings, but how long does it take for gut strings to settle? My steel ones set pretty quick, can I expect the same? Help would be appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. Tbeers

    Tbeers

    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    What kind of gut? Are all 4 strings plain gut? I would think a plain gut A or E string could take a while to settle on pitch. Wound gut might be a different story...
     
  3. 4x4Given

    4x4Given

    Jul 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    It might help to know what brand / type / guage of strings you installed. Also while new strings (particularly different than what was on there) may require adjustment to "Intonation" (the title of this thread), the symptom you described really isn't an intonation issue. ;)
     
  4. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Gut strings can take up to a month to settle, and even then you have to constantly tweak them in tune as they change with weather and humidity. Pain in the neck, but the sound is worth it!
     
  5. Mr.Phil

    Mr.Phil

    Apr 9, 2005
    Upstate NY
    Thanks for the help guys!

    They are Lenzner guts, plain G D A, wound E. I thought intonation was the ability to play or sing in tune? By that definition I thought the tilte was related to the topic. Sorry about the confusion. If you could, please provide me with your definition so I can prevent myself from making the same mistake again. Unless it had something to do with string length and placement of the bridge, then I think I might get it. Thanks!
     
  6. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    I would call it "Tuning" or something like that. I think of intonation as the ability to hear intervals accurately and therefore produce notes that are in tune.
     
  7. 4x4Given

    4x4Given

    Jul 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Hey Mr. Phil,

    I hope I didn't come across wrong in my earlier reply. I went back and read it just now. I certainly didn't mean to. :cool:

    Anyway, I would define intonation as it relates to a bass or a guitar as being "the accuracy in which a guitar or bass guitar can produce a fretted note at each interval. Setting the intonation is the act of adjusting the length of the strings (by moving the bridge saddles) to compensate for the stretching of a string due to pushing it down to the fret board to produce a note. To adjust the intonation of your guitar or bass, you move the bridge saddles toward or away from the fret board until the 12th fret octave and its harmonic are equal and the same open-string note is exactly one octave below those. Accurate intonation is critical to sound quality".

    (disclaimer - the "definition" as posted here was unabashedly plagarized from http://koivi.com/guitar-intonation.php) :D
     

  8. This sounds like a bass guitar definition.
     
  9. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    Well, seeing as how DBs have neither frets nor string saddles at the bridge, I'd say it most certainly is a bass guitar definition.

    Regardless, arguing the semantics of the definition of "intonation" is pretty pointless. At a recent debate on the AAJ Forums, one guy thought intonation meant rhythmic phrasing! :eek:

    How's the settle period for synthetic core strings...for instance, Obligatos?
     
  10. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Oblis were pretty stable in 3-4 days, in my experience. Maybe a little more if you don't play as much as I do.
     
  11. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    How much do you play? :p
     
  12. I used to have Oblis on both my basses - and I seem to remember that they took at least a couple of months to settle in, but after that they were very stable…

    - Wil
     
  13. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I don't know about Lenzners but most guts I've used whether wound or unwound, take about a week to come up to pitch/stop stretching.
     
  14. Tbeers

    Tbeers

    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I had Oblis on my instrument for about 6 months. On the 5th day after I put them on, they stayed in tune pretty well.
     
  15. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Several hours a day, 6-7 days a week.