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Out of tune?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by yomchi247, Apr 26, 2005.

  1. yomchi247


    Sep 6, 2004
    Hey, I was wondering if anyone could offer any insight...My 5 string Spector has recently had problems being in tune. If it's in tune around the first 5 frets, it isn't in tune past the 12th fret. It hasn't fell or anything like that. I really haven't had this problem in the past, so I am going to take it to a local music store for service, but I was wondering if anyone had any ideas so I know what to kinda expect when I take it in.
  2. If this is just a recent development, I would suggest that your strings may be dead. I've seen a guitar go many steps flat past the 12th fret with old and dirty strings. However, it's also possible that your bass has never been intonated properly. Moving the bridge saddles forward/backward will affect how in-tune the bass plays along the neck. Search the forum for intonation if you want to know more.
  3. yomchi247


    Sep 6, 2004
    it's definately not because of dead strings because I changed them less than a month ago...I was reading that changing strings can get the intonation out of "whack"...we'll see

    thanks for the reply
  4. Intonation is something that needs to be checked from time to time, especially if you aren't keeping fresh strings on the bass.
    If you're using the same brand and gauge strings on your bass, you'll find that intonation usually isn't out much after a fresh string change. But moving to different strings will usually require you to start adjusting.
    I've noticed lately that many guitar and bass players take their instruments in to a shop to have it "strobed".. They think this is some sort of complicated procedure that they couldn't do themselves. Of course, many shops have better tuners than some of us players have laying around, but you can easily use your pocket tuner to adjust intonation.

    "Here's how ya do it:
    Tune up the string and then play it at the 12th fret.

    If the note at the 12th fret is sharp
    the string is too short.
    Make the string longer by moving the saddle away from the neck.
    Tune up the string and try again. If the note at the 12th fret is flat
    the string is too long.
    Make the string shorter by moving the saddle towards the neck.
    Tune up the string and try again. "

  5. yomchi247


    Sep 6, 2004

    Yeah, I've never tried it, so I guess there is that "fear" that I'll wreck something. Maybe I'll give it a try with your advice though..thanks
  6. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    Just do what Magneto said. Adjusting your intonation is a quick and easy process, and it'll save you money. You can do it. :)
  7. yomchi247


    Sep 6, 2004
    yeah, the tone on the 12th fret octave is definately flat...any ideas of what kind of tools are needed?

    Again I have a 5 string spector bass with a brass bridge. Each string has a different part of the bridge that it sits on. It looks like to me that there are 2 different bolts that go through these, and possibly either screw into the body underneath, or just provide tension to stop movement.

    Sorry for not using correct terms, I've never really made an attempt at my own setup. Thanks for your patience :)
  8. yomchi247


    Sep 6, 2004
    well it's in tune open string, but when I play an octave on the 12th fret, the high A is flat
  9. yomchi247


    Sep 6, 2004
    the others aren't in tune either, but it doesn't seem as severe...I mean none of them are really that bad, but if I play chords or octaves you really notice it...

    do you think it might be the truss rod?
  10. yomchi247


    Sep 6, 2004
    cool, thanks...I'll give it a try
  11. yomchi247


    Sep 6, 2004
    ok, I read the intonation article on the Gary Willis site, and the diagram and bass used isn't the same bridge style. I searched for a pic of a spector bridge, and this is the closest pic I could find for an example of what it looks like.

  12. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    For a Spector, loosen the screw on both sides of the bridge then you can freely move the saddles. Spector is really about the worst bridge to do for intonation, but here's what I do:
    Keep the string mostly in tune, just drop it flat a little bit (a step, ish). Loosen the screws and then use the remaining tension in the string to hold the saddle in place, slide it forward/backward as needed, then tighten those screws again. Tune up and check intonation, repeat as needed. Good luck,


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