Not Enough Intonation Screw Length!!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by StringyPete, Jun 5, 2021.


  1. StringyPete

    StringyPete

    Apr 13, 2018
    I bought this wonderful Gretsch Semi-Hollow style bass a week ago (Model: G5442BDC) , was clearly untouched in a long while, been in a case with old strings etc, so i went about a fresh setup with new strings and i just cant get it intonated.

    The neck releif is great, it has a nice low action with no buzz, but i cant get it to inotate on the E string. It has a tune-o-matic style bridge. Ive flipped the saddle for the E, and its made a bit of difference, but its still sharp even maxed out. No more adjustment.

    I found by lowering the bridge as low as possible this improved the intonation slightly more (im no expert, but feels as though this has lowered string tension slightly, so made it less sharp?). but im all out of ideas, it is a very audibly out still, especially amplified with a band.

    Any ideas? or is it just a duff guitar?
     

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  2. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    Did you set the witness points at the bridge and the nut? Failure to set the witness points is the primary reason for running out of room for intonation.
     
  3. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Re-setting your witness points is a good idea.

    When you say "max'd out", do you you mean fully back towards the tail piece? Is that a "true" floating bridge?

    Riis
     
    digmeout and StringyPete like this.
  4. StringyPete

    StringyPete

    Apr 13, 2018
    i had'nt heard the term 'witness point' until today, but ive given them a pinch as suggested, though they were already looking pretty bang on before. Will be doing this every time i setup from now on! It is a floating bridge with the adjustable height screws on either side, achoring to a raised wooden block thats glued to the body.

    Its still a little sharp - do you think having the saddle reversed will be causing an issue with the witness point aspect? should i swap it back to normal now ive set the witness point?
     
  5. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Okay, not a floating bridge. I'd swap the the saddle back to its original orientation just to see what happens. You are matching the 12th harmonic vs the 12th fretted?

    Witness points don't happen by accident. Do set the same at the nut and machine head posts.

    Riis
     
    StringyPete likes this.
  6. StringyPete

    StringyPete

    Apr 13, 2018
    Well, to be honest i think this is genuinly a lesson in witness points. I did some googling, and stretched them all out, the tuning machine post, either side of the nut (and as this is a tune-o-matic style) either side of the saddle as reccomended on another forum. And yea, im on it with the 12th harmonic method rather than open note :thumbsup:.

    For the first time since i picked it up this bass the intonation is now Flat on the low E! I now have enough travel to reverse the saddle on the A string again, but the E is only juuuuust away from maxed out still, and flipping it moves the contact point just slightly too far towards the nut for perfect intonation. After adjusting, i noticed the stability of the note is now incredible, no short drift sharp when the notes are first struck as well for all strings.

    I guess you can literally play for years without ever finding out about some things until they go wrong haha. Thanks for all your help, saved me from returning a wonderful bass!
     
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    A pointer for those who are not up to speed on witness points:

    Stringing, Tuning, Intonation and Witnesses

    Never mind the goofy guy in the first video. I'm actually sorry I posted that video because it sidetracked the thread.
     
    cpeterso and StringyPete like this.
  8. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Before you set the witness points as set forth above, if the bridge is moveable, you may have to move the entire bridge back, bringing the G string saddle closer to the neck in order to have enough travel for the E string saddle, or even rotate the entire bridge, as even Sir Macca has had to do on his Hofner.
     
  9. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
  10. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Not trying to ask a dumb question, was it intonated fully prior to changing strings?
     
  11. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Try a different string.
     
  12. StringyPete

    StringyPete

    Apr 13, 2018
    yea, its not the style bridge depicted in that, looks like a gibson tune-o-matic.
     
  13. StringyPete

    StringyPete

    Apr 13, 2018
    nope. was even worse than when i made this post, almost half a semitone out
     
  14. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    understood. but is it attached to a rosewood mount or not?
     
  15. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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