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New Bass = Intonation Nightmare

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mulepods, Mar 30, 2006.


  1. mulepods

    mulepods Guest

    Feb 20, 2006
    USA
    I'm hoping someone can help me. I just picked up a used 2002 Jazz Bass and I'm having a nightmare getting the intonation set on the E string. When I play the 12th fret, my tuner shows flat regardless of where I set the saddle. I moved the saddle all the way to the front and it didn't help a bit. Then I listened to the bass plugged in and noticed that from about the 10th fret and up the notes sounded out of tune with themselves. What I mean is, I play only the 12th fret (E) and I hear two pitches, very out of tune with each other. I guess that's common with bad intonation, I've just never heard it that bad before.

    Any ideas? The neck seems ok, and the other strings are fine. I even tried replacing the string and swapping the bridge, but neither helped.
     
  2. savit260

    savit260

    Mar 6, 2006
    Boston
    When you say towards the front you mean towards the Pickups correct? The strings are new? Old strings might be the cause. Are the Pickups set real close to the strings. This can create wierd overtones you're speaking of and probalby play hell with intonation.
    If new strings and a pickup adjustment don't do it. Take it to a local shop, and I'm sure they'll be able to get it back in tip top playing condition. Heck, if you just bought it from a shop, they ought to do that for free.
     
  3. this goes in setup forum.
    Bring your twelth fret into tune, then check with the tuner and harmonic and get them to allign. Two notes thing doesn't ring a bell with me at the moment... sure u're not just hearing overtones of other strings ringing or something?
     
  4. If you're hearing the two notes when unplugged, it's possibly the length of string from your finger to the nut that's vibrating. E string, fretted at 12, will play E, and behind your finger, something close to F.
     
  5. Are you experienced? Have you ever been experienced?

    What I mean is; Do you know how to correctly adjust and set up your bass? It is not an easy task if you are not experienced in such a craft. What I would do, and what I HAVE done with my basses, is take your bass to a qualified technician who specializes in doing setups on instruments. Sometimes they are willing to share what they do with you so you may be able to do it yourself from then on, but I recommend highly taking that bass to someone who knows how to set it up and pay them to do it. It is well worth the money.
     
  6. mulepods

    mulepods Guest

    Feb 20, 2006
    USA
    Yeah, I mean I move the saddle towards the pickups.

    I've always setup my own basses before, but I've never encountered anything challenging like this. I guess I will take it to a pro and let him figure it out!
     
  7. toad

    toad

    Jun 26, 2002
    NYC
    To add to what the others have said, also check your witness points coming off the nut and the saddle. For example, if the saddle is so low that there is not much of a break angle on the saddle, it might mess with your pitch. Make sure there is proper break angle and just press down on the string on either side of the saddle and the nut and see if that helps.

    IF the saddle is all the way to the base of the bridge to get the action you want, you might have to add a shim to the neck pocket to raise the saddle height and increase the break angle. If you are not familiar with any of this, take it to a pro.
     
  8. Make sure the distance from the top of the pickup(s) to the bottom of the string is adjusted per Fender spec. The magnetic "pull" from the magnets in the pickup can have a surprisingly big effect on tuning / intonation if the string is too close.
     
  9. Greenman

    Greenman

    Dec 17, 2005
    Ontario Canada
    The same thing happened to me last week and by pressing firmly down where the string leaves the saddle eliminated the problem.:)
     
  10. Dbassmon

    Dbassmon

    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Alot of good advice so far in this thread.

    Start with a new set of strings.
     
  11. ehque

    ehque

    Jan 8, 2006
    Singapore
    im thinking your action is a tad too low, resulting in your string bouncing off the next fret - giving you that classic two-tone sound. i know, i got it for a while when being overzealous in lowering my action.

    id try the new strings if this doesnt work.
     
  12. Check your pickups aren't too high. If they're too close to the strings, their magnetic pull will **** up the strings way of vibrating. Happened to me once, lowering the pickup sorted it.
     

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