1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Settting intonation on a fretless with no markers

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Chef, Jun 2, 2004.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    *This is a cross post. I did post this in setup as well, and I'm looking for quick answers so I can gig this rig tonight, and report back in the am* -snip-

    My new Brice Douglass Jass5 fretless has dots on the neck, but not where the frets would be. This is making dialing in intonation somewhat problematic. I can find the 12th fret harmonic to initally tune the string, but then am unsure of exactly where to finger the 12th note on the fretboard to dial in intonation. I sort of moved my finger around on top of the string to find where the harmonic voiced itself most strongly, and then fingered directly underneath that...Is that about right?
  2. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Well, does unlined fretless intonation really matter? When you sense that something isn't at the right pitch it should be, you simply adjust.
  3. Right, as I said on the other post.


    I assume this is the bass.The Rondo site says, right in the item description, that the dots are not where the frets would be. That's a slack production misstep.
  4. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Fender and g&l fretlesses I own put the dots where the frets would be. The Brice puts them in between the frets, as in a fretted instrument. This is not my issue, and I understood that. Basic 12th position intonation needs to be set at a minimum, so that one doesn't have to adjust hand position for each individual string. It should be that hard. Once your hand is in the proper postion for 5th fret, that should be the same across all strings, but it won't be unless you set 12th position correctly. See my point?
  5. You may want to consider putting some kind of side marker to indicate finger positions if you are new to fretless (which I am guessing you are as you are asking about intonating it, apologies if I am wrong). To me, having side dots that are in the wrong place is worse than not having any.

    In the absence of fret markers, just pretend there is one there (or put one there temporarily with sticky tape or something). Figner the string where you would play the 12th fret, and play the 12th fret harmonic, and adjust intonation as you would with a fretted bass.

  6. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    I am not new to fretless, and I agree having dots in the wrong place is a bite:) They're in the right place on both my fender, and g&l, and I don't look at them much one I know where my hands are in realtion to the neck...

    My basic question is how to determine where to put the mark/dot/line for the 12th position.

    I know how to set up a bass, just never had to deal with "lining up where the frets would be" before...does that make sense?

    Determining where to put the other dots would be pretty helpful as well, so if some one knows the math for that, that'd be much appreciated.
  7. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    The easiest way to figure out where the dots should be is just to stick a fretted bass of next to the fretless (assuming you have one, and it has the same scale length) and use the frets as a reference point to add your markings. Much simpler than trying to use some sort of mathematical calculation to figure it out...

  8. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    I think after I get the 12th harmonic and fingered positions dialed in, I'll just continue using the tuner...finger the notes for the 3rd position, line it up on the tuner, mark it, move down the neck. That way I don't have to worry about scale being the same. Mark the dots with white out, then drill and fill with white plastic rod. Same thing for getting rid of the "wrong dots." Drill em out and fill with black plastic rod. No one will know on the ebony fingerboard:)
  9. Measure 17" from the nut - that's where the 12th fret would be.

    (assuming you have a 34" bass)
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    DING DING DING! We have a winner!
  11. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles

    and I use my fingernail right on the string to get exact intonation (for setup, not playing).
  12. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Please don't cross-post!

    Closed, and moved to Setup for consolidation with your other thread...

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.