Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Cambass, Feb 24, 2001.

  1. Today I lowered the saddles on my 4 string bass and I can't believe how much better it feels to play. My only concern is my naivety in doing this. It is the first time I've played around with them so I'm fully aware of the implications of my actions.

    I managed to get the strings tuned up pretty well after that as I noticed that they went flat after lowering them . They also went flat when I moved the saddles back and forward. I looked at several pictures of basses and the saddles were positioned with the E string furthest back, then the A string a little bit more forward and so on. Is this for a reason? I copied these positions (roughly) but the intonation is out on some strings and frets.

    Have I done something I shouldn't have? I prefer the low action and as long as it is in tune then I can't see a problem.
  2. armidex


    Apr 28, 2000
    Australia, Sydney
    Those saddles basically lengthen and shorten the strings

    to adjust them correctly
    play the not on the 12 fret of the string and compare it to the harmonic on the 12 fret
    if the fretted note is higher than the harmonic it means that the string length is too short therefore u should lengthen the string ie move it back
    conversely if the fretted not is flatter than the harmonic then the string is too long and u should shorten it by moving it forwarrd
    hope this helps
  3. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    You're doing it in the right order. You set the action (height) to your playing taste, then adjust the intonation as armidex has said.

    Cool, ain't it? Almost like getting a new bass...
  4. You haven't screwed anything up permanently or anything. You just have to set the back-and-forth position to the correct spot so all your notes up and down the neck will be in tune. Do it by ear using the 12th fret harmonic versus the 12th fret fretted note, then check it with a good tuner. Like you found out, any adjustment throws you out of tune, so make sure you retune after every adjustment before checking the 12th fret thing.

  5. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    Don't be afraid to learn how to do your own setup. With the bridge there isn't much you can really damage. And if you can't get it "right" take it to a pro.A word of caution though. When you start playing with the truss rod make sure you turn it in small increments 1/8 to 1/4 turn maximum at one time. Fast overtightening or loosening of the truss rod can really screw up your neck.
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member