Raise Action and Intonate!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Gabu, Oct 14, 2001.

  1. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Howdy guys,

    tonight I will raise the action just a smidgeon on my steinberger and then have to re-intonate it. I have never done this before so ... any advice?

    I know I asked this a couple of months ago... but never followed through then. Now I am going to do it because I am ready to strangle my cat over the buzz my steiny is getting.
  2. Can you tweak the truss rod a bit, Or are you adjusting the bridge?
  3. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    i was just thinking of adjusting the bridge... that seems easier and safer for someone who has never done it before. :)
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Get an electronic tuner.

    Play the natural harmonic at the 12th fret and compare it to the fretted note.

    Is the fretted note sharp compared to the harmonic, move the bridge saddle away from the neck.
    Is it flat, move it towards the neck.

    That's it.
  5. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    Well you are in luck because I have done this a hundred times. :)

    To raise the action, you just have to get a small allen wrench (or whatever kind of screws your saddles have) and raise the saddles a little bit. When you raise a saddle, there is a very dramatic effect, so just do it a little turn at a time. You can get the action VERY high if you make the saddles too high. Also, make sure the saddles follow the curvature of the fretboard. IE the E string and the G string should be lower than the A string and D string because their part of the fretboard is higher than the other parts.

    For intonation, its much easier. Just tune a string perfectly (as exact as you can get it on pitch - this is important for accurate intonation) After you tune the string, play the note at the 12th fret. If that note is exact also, you have good intonation. If the note is SHARP, loosen that one string so its totally floppy, then turn the screw at the bottom of the bridge that adjusts the scale length CLOCKWISE. Just turn it a little bit at a time. If the note is FLAT, loosen the string and turn the scale length screw COUNTER CLOCKWISE. After you make your adjustment, you need to start at the beginning and tune your string. Then check the 12th fret again. When the 2 notes are both exactly the same, you are in perfect intonation.

    However, I wouldnt recommend that you raise the action unless you have very little relief to begin with. When I got my first bass, it had a bowed neck with way too much relief and it buzzed even though I had normal action. It buzzed in the high frets. So I overcompensated by raising the action way too high. Now I had a bass that was impossible to play. Before you adjust your action, you should probably take a look at your neck. If theres too much relief, you should forget about changing the action and concentrate on your truss rod. Roger Sadowsky's rule of thumb is there should be just enough relief to fit in a Fender thin pick at the point of most relief. Or, when you press the string down against the first and last frets, the place where the string is the highest, there should be a space between the string and the fret that equals the distance of a Fender thin pick. I use a .60mm pick for this because I dont have a Fender thin pick. Theyre about the same.