Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

some more intonation questions

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by dadodetres, Nov 9, 2005.


  1. dadodetres

    dadodetres

    Dec 19, 2004
    URUGUAY
    hi!
    i just got a warwick corvette fretless, sounds great!

    but it was with the intonation horrobly set up. i wanna have the intonation perfect as soon as possible, cause it my 1st fretless and i need to practice in staying in tune, so intonation is very important here.

    i put a set of earnie ball 0.45 flats, waited a day, and set intonation, but the A and E string dont reach the correct place. even with the saddle closest to the bridge and the spring with the maximun presure its not enough.

    should i take the spring out? maybe get a smaller one (i dont want to cut the original).

    maybe adjusting a little the truss rod?



    thancks for any help!
     
  2. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Actually, a fretless doesn't require intonation. What amounts to intonation is accomplished by your finger position on the neck. If you'll notice, a double bass, violin and cello have no means of intonation adjustment other than to very slightly skew the bridge to make the lowest pitched string a tiny bit longer.

    Your best bet if it really is noting out wrong is to use the bridge saddles to adjust the string lentgh to the scale length of the bass. Set them straight across to the proper length and then adjust the E string longer by the diameter of the string. Now adjust the D and A string length to form a straight line across the saddles.

    What you're trying to simulate is a straight bridge with just a slight skew counterclockwise looking straight down on the bridge.

    Adjusting the truss rod to clear up any sort of compensation, or intonation problem is a big no. The TR has no bearing on what you are describing.

    Believe me, the step by step sounds a lot more complicated than it really is.

    Unless you are a very accomplished player, just lining them up straight across at the correct scale length will likely play satisfactorily.

    By the way, congrats. Sounds like a nice bass.

    If someone can word the procedure clearer than I did, feel free to jump in.
     
  3. Intonation is important on a fretless. Sure, you can compensate, but you should just set it up so you don't have to in the first place.

    Maybe this bass was designed so that your fingers fall just behind the lines (I'm assuming it's lined). Could you just pick a point a little closer to the nut to be an octave up and intonate to that?
     
  4. dadodetres

    dadodetres

    Dec 19, 2004
    URUGUAY
    it is not lined, but it has the spots in the neck marking 1, 3, 5, 7 , 9 12, etc...

    and what i mean is that 12th "fret" is not E when i tune in E.

    i want toi set this right so i have those dots as reference...
     
  5. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    May I suggest that you go to the sticky at the top of the forum and pull up the Gary Willis setup site. Go to the last illustration in the intonation section.

    If you choose not to believe him either, I suppose you're on your own.

    Perhaps Lemur will be a bit more specific and all of your questions will be answered. :)

    Anyway, good luck. I hope you get your prob resolved.
     
  6. TrooperFarva

    TrooperFarva

    Nov 25, 2004
    New City, NY
    Some fretless basses have the dots not at the fret locations, but in the middle of the frets, basically, in the exact same positions as they are on a fretted bass. So you can't play right where they are, you have to play past them. If you are playing right where they are, then yes, the bridge saddles will not offer enough play to allow you to intonate the bass.
     
  7. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Corrupticut
    This isn't a personal attack: I disagree with the whole post, except for the kudos on the bass. That statement above is just wrong. Intonation matters. Take that statement over the URB forums and see how far you get with it.

    Get the bass set up correctly the first time. The only thing harder than training your hands and brain to intonate well on fretless is to retrain them after being sabotged with bad advice like that.

    For starters: You might be having problems setting the intonation because you are new to intonating a fretless, or because there is a problem with the brige or nut.

    Start on the G string (this is a 4, tuned EADG?) and measure from the nut (the side closest to the 1st fret) to the saddle (where the string hits the little peak in the slot), and set it to 34 inches (34 inch scale, right?). Play the 12th fret harmonic and see where the matching fretted 12th fret note puts your finger.

    That sets you up for the other strings. Some folks use a credit card (or something similar) to fret the string. You could use a pencil to temporarily mark the 12th fret position on the board. Set the others so that the same fret position matches up with the 12th harmonic.

    If you run out of saddle travel then you may want to double check that your setting on the G string is right. Maybe it is too far to the rear to start with. You can also set the intonation slightly behind the dot, which is not unusual and you won't have any problems by doing that.

    Good luck!
     
  8. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    I wont take it as a personal attack but you are using some pretty strong words for a simple disagreement.

    I'll address some of the things in your post but I don't care to get into a big argument over who's right or wrong.

    "Take that statement over the URB forums and see how far you get with it."

    An URB has a straight saddle. How do you explain the fact that they play just fine with nothing more than adjusting the scale length by positioning the STRAIGHT saddled bridge in line with the nibs?

    " Intonation matters"

    If the octave harmonic is struck it will always fall exactly in the middle of the string no matter where the saddle is positioned. The problem is that the twelvth line will be the only fretted note that is exactly in tune if you note exactly on the lines. Again, look at the last illustration in the Gary Willis setup site. That is exactly why the scale length must be correct to start with.

    "The only thing harder than training your hands and brain to intonate well on fretless is to retrain them after being sabotged with bad advice like that."

    I resent that statement! Is Gary willis also a saboteur? He very clearly shows that the notes will not line up with the dots as you go up the scale. Has to do with the fact that a fretless is not bound to the tempered scale like a fretted instrument is, hence, no need for mechanical compensation. The "compensation" is corrected by the finger position on the neck.

    Your disagreement is welcome. Your choice of wording is not.
     
  9. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Corrupticut
    No sweat.

    I have a simple disagreement and I used one sentence of my post to make the point. I don't see how that was so offensive.

    ... but telling someone to adjust to a poorly intonated bass is IMO bad advice. Also, there is some compensation done on URBs and other viola-family instruments. It is similar to the compensation done on an acoustic guitar, which is a straight, but slightly angled saddle.

    While you can argue about how well the intonation fits the dots on a marked board (which are approximate in most cases), you still need to have consistent intonation across all of the strings. If you don't then, for example, your octave from the E to D strings would be different than your octave from the A-G. Gary Willis doesn't advocate leaving an instrument with a bad setup, I know that for sure.

    Saying: "Actually, a fretless doesn't require intonation." ss either a result of a misunderstanding of the instrument, or you meant "compensation" which would be wrong as well, but not as damaging. All of the setup rules that apply to fretted instruments apply to a fretless, but you have some flexibility in how you decide to fine tune the intonation. Compensation is nothing more than compnesation for differing string diameters and the presence or absence of frets, or fingerboard raduis, etc.. have nothing to do with it.
     
  10. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.

    You are arguing in a circle.

    " Also, there is some compensation done on URBs and other viola-family instruments. It is similar to the compensation done on an acoustic guitar, which is a straight, but slightly angled saddle."

    Is that not exactly what I said when I said to look straight down on the saddles and they will have a skewed appearance etc. Did you totally miss the part where I said that URB, cello and violin sometimes skew the bridge to accomplish the same result?

    "I have a simple disagreement and I used one sentence of my post to make the point. I don't see how that was so offensive."

    unlike some other boards, we don't normally expect "one free shot" to be a rule here. Disrespect is wrong whether it's one word or a whole thread.

    "Gary Willis doesn't advocate leaving an instrument with a bad setup, I know that for sure."

    Then you quite obviously haven't been to the site that I pointed out. The bad setup part is nothing more than your opinion.

    " but telling someone to adjust to a poorly intonated bass is IMO bad advice."

    You seem to have a problem with remembering what you read. My intention was to point out a technicality IE "A fretless bass doesn't require intonation". I went on to explain the adjustments in great detail.

    Now, if I may pass an opinion: There are a number of people that are frequenting the set up that spend way too much time trying to find some error in every post they read. My opinion is that thier time would be better spent by contributing something other than dissention.

    There are always going to be differing opinions. There is no reason that everyone can't express thier opinion but to cut a thread all to pieces isn't what most of us want out of Talkbass.

    With that said, one thought for you. This seems to have come down to a win or lose situation, so YOU WIN.

    Now to anyone else that's keeping up with this drivel, I trust all of you to be able to seperate the chaf from the wheat.

    That's my final word on it.
     
  11. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I've never seen a DB with the bridge slanted on purpose. The one at my house certainly is not.

    A DB bridge, or any classical viol/violin family bridge, is fitted to the highest of tolerances. It is essential that the feet rest perfectly and fully on the top to maximize performance. They even use carbon paper to make sure the fit has no gaps.

    A luthier fits a bridge so that it is correct in one place and in one place only. That place parallel to the nut, perpendicular to the axis of the fb/bass and aligned with the notches in the ff holes.

    It ain't crooked. Not even a little. If moves, you put it back.
     
  12. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    As for the post. pkr2 is right. Intonation is not really an issue on a fretless. If the bass is quality and otherwise healthy, which I would expect with a Warwick, it could never be off enough to actually impact the way you sound.

    In about a 10th of the time it would take achieve the muscle memory to stop every string in EXACTLY the same spot on the FB and thus make intonation matter, (above the 12th stop, you have about 1/64" tolerance or less, depending how high you are) you could train train your ears to play a fretless.

    But, if you just got to have it "right" be sure to use a capo to stop the string at the 12th stop before using your tuner to check the pitch. It gives you a really clean witness point and a clean enough edge that you can actually get it close.

    Plus, the use of vibrato, rolling into the pitch, and even being slightly off sometimes, is what gives the fretless sound its character.
     
  13. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    If you are going to use any visual reference marks on the instrument - side of the neck, fingerboard dots or lines - as reference, it would be least difficult to intonate the saddle positions to those reference points. If you are a blank plank kind of player and never look at anything on the instrument, then that aspect would be less important. However, in either case, you would probably want the harmonics to line up in some sensible way across the strings.

    Any kind of sweeping statement that intonation does or does not matter is premised on a presumption of technique regarding reference points. If you use visual reference points, then you need to intonate to them. If not, then there may be many possibilities. Bottom line is that you'll want to be in tune at the gig. No one really cares how you do it. Discussing the methods among ourselves is useful. Criticizing different approaches without constructive dialog is pointless.
     
  14. Rene

    Rene

    Mar 8, 2004
    Canada
    For any information on Intonation to any stringed instrument visit this site:

    www.13thfret.com

    click: articles of interest
    click: INTONATION by Mike Doolin
    There is an 8 page article that explains how intonation
    is realy done on any striged instrument
     
  15. +1 Joshua

    My experiences with intonating a fretted...

    I use my tuner AND my ear and set the saddles to where it best suits what sounds correct, even if it may be a few cents out on the tuner...give this same instrument to someone else and this could vary slightly.

    my experience with intonating on a fretted...

    I use my tuner AND my ears and set the saddles to where it best suits what sounds correct, given the position that I FEEL is correct...give this same instrument to someone else and this could vary quite a bit.

    but in either case, intonation is STILL important...
     
  16. Just my experience on this. I own a great sounding Warwick corvette fretles as well. I set the intonation up with my finger behind the line on the 12th fret as Gary Willis suggests. I too had to nearly max out the saddle to get it intonated like this. Maybe it is somehing to do with the warwick?? It plays great though and intonation is spot on (the basses not mine!)
     
  17. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Out of curiosity, what is the rationale for intonating behind the fretline? That just sounds wrong. I would think you would want the stop length right on the line, even with a capo'd witness point for accuracy, as previously suggested.
     
  18. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    Gary Willis interview May 2004 excerpt:
    http://www.instituteofbass.com/archive/artist_profiles/2004/gary_willis/

    I hope this helps.
    Joe
     
  19. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Thanks, that's interesting, and I see what he is getting at. It sounds a little like the Buzz Feiten system.