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Intonation question

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by gimmeagig, Oct 19, 2005.


  1. Hi,
    here's how I usually intonate my bass.I compare the harmonic on the 12th fret to the fundamental but then I will also check the notes all the way up the neck past the 12th fret and sometimes those are out.So I make the nessesary adjustments.
    It recently occurred to me that a piano is not tuned exactly to pitch as you go up.I think it is called a tempered scale.If it was tuned exactly to the pitch it would sound out of tune. I'm wondering if that is is something to think about when intonating the bass.It seems to me that the high notes are just a hair off when I pedal a low note and play over that.
    What do you guys think?
    Roxy
     
  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I agree.

    Someone the other day also posted that they checked the 17th fret v. 17th fret harmonic for intonation, but my assumption is that this might make you a bit out of tune down in the lower frets.

    The other thing I'd strongly suggest is that you use your 'playing' feel when you're checking your intonation. If you pluck/fret lighter than you play, you may find yourself out of tune once you hit the stage.
     
  3. Blues Cat

    Blues Cat Supporting Member

    May 28, 2005
    Katy, Tx
    Good point again BurningSkies.

    I like to intonate 3rd / 15th, 5th / 17th, 7th / 19th & split the difference between them. After you do this you will need to go back & tune your strings as you would normally.
    This is a common practice of Wolf Ginandes, the Berklee guitar tech. Written by Ed Fiedland in BP "The Ultimate Equipment Guide for Bassists", spring 2004.
     
  4. I agree with your point about retuning...people don't always realise that adjusting intonation affects the tuning and you must repeat the process several times (tune => intonate => tune) etc... also action adjustments can affect intonation, too...

    also, I rely on my ear heavily for the process...it just has to sound RIGHT...ya know?
     
  5. Blues Cat

    Blues Cat Supporting Member

    May 28, 2005
    Katy, Tx
    If you readjust the action then most of the time you have to start over, that's why I try to get action 1st.
    I have found that my ear is more accurate than a TU-2, I have strobe tuned a guitar & bass by ear & my Peterson was dead on.
    There's nothing worse than sliding from low G to 15th fretG & it being sharp, that's why when in doubt I will intonate barely flat & you can press harder or give the note some character & bend into the note. If your sharp there's nothing you can do.
     
  6. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    Not unlike intonating a non-compensated 3 saddle Telecaster bridge for guitars, where you have to average the two strings per saddle to get each as close as you can...

    I have to be honest, I like to take my time when just working at the 12th...working in sets like you suggest would probably drive me to distraction and take me all day!
     
  7. In the other thread, I said I check intonation at the 12th and 17th fret harmonics versus the fretted notes. In reality, the 12th fret notes and the 17th fret notes will seldom, if ever, BOTH be in tune at the same time. The key, IMO is splitting the difference. As I said in the other thread, I can really tell the difference when I double the guitar player. The bass sounds more in tune (to me) up and down the neck than using the 12th fret only. Of course, as always, YMMV.