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Is it normal that fretted notes on a bass are ...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by terribilino, Apr 27, 2009.


  1. terribilino

    terribilino

    Nov 22, 2008
    ... slightly sharp? (As compared to the the open strings, I mean.)

    I ask because I was noodling around with my bass plugged into my Pandora px5d today, and I noticed that the fifth fret on the E string was showing slightly sharp, whereas the open A was fine. Is that normal?

    I'm very new at this, btw, so don't jump all over me if I just asked a stupid question.
     
  2. portmanteau

    portmanteau

    Nov 16, 2008
    Palo Alto, CA
    What you need to do is check the intonation on your strings.

    There should be screws at the bottom of your bridge that you can use to move the saddles back and forth.

    You want to move each saddle and tune the string until the bass makes the correct note open and at the 12th fret.

    http://www.tunemybass.com/bass_setup/setting_bass_intonation.html
     
  3. zachbass02

    zachbass02 One Hairy....squatch.

    Jan 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    you need to have your intonation adjusted
     
  4. droskobass

    droskobass

    Oct 8, 2007
    Montreal, Canada
    Former Part-Time, Non-Commission Employee MOOG Audio
    you may need to adjust your bridge saddles to correct your "intonation"

    1. tune the open string with the tuner.
    2. fret it at the 12th fret and check the pitch
    3. If the fretted note is sharp you need to lengthen the string by tightening the screws that hold the saddles to the bridge. If the fretted note is flatt shorten the string by losening the saddle screw.
    4. retune the open string and adjust again as needed.

    you'll need to do this if you changwe string guages.
     
  5. Probably, but not necessarily. He could simply be pressing down too hard which will cause the fretted note to be bent sharp, especially with jumbo frets.
     
  6. Another possibility...or the action could be too high.
     
  7. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers
    Ever-so-slightly sharp is just a consequence of physics, but you may have unneccessarily high action causing your fretted notes to be unnecessarily sharp...

    Jacob Hamilton
     
  8. terribilino

    terribilino

    Nov 22, 2008
    Thanks, all. Live and learn. Is intonation string specific, btw? The top two strings seem fine from the open to the 12th fret. It's the A and the E that are a bit off.

    You're probably right too, lonote. I'm still trying to teach myself to relax my fret hand. But there's still a difference, even if I press very lightly.
     
  9. terribilino

    terribilino

    Nov 22, 2008
    Ah, could be action as well, could it? I think it is a bit high, yes. Bought this bass used, and it probably needs a proper set-up.
     
  10. I vote one for lowering the action.

    My guitar player has high action, and it gets anoying when his fretted noted are always more sharp than mine
     
  11. CosmicRay

    CosmicRay Supporting Member

    Yeah, I would get new strings, and a complete set-up. Action, intonation, and check the neck to see if it's bowed.:cool:
     
  12. It's always going to be a smidgeon off unless you have something like the Buzz Feiten tuning system.

    But there are ways to minimize it as suggested in the previous replies
     
  13. basmartin

    basmartin

    Aug 6, 2007
    Sweden
    The nut might need some dressing.
     
  14. anon65884001

    anon65884001 Guest

    Feb 1, 2009
    Also, you could be bending the strings when you press them down
    So because you do not press them down perpendicularly, the intonation could sound a bit sharp
     
  15. +1 - The harder you push especially right in between [centered between the frets] the frets actually bends the string a little causing it to be a tad sharp.

    Don't press any harder than nessesary to make a clear sounding note, and try to press just behind the fret.

    This is probably what your hearing if the intonation is correct.
     

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