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Strange Tuning Problem

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by malthumb, Jul 31, 2005.


  1. malthumb

    malthumb

    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Not sure if this belongs here or in BASSES, but, in the event that it's a setup problem, I dropped it here.

    The past week or so, when I've tuned my Marchlewski 5 string by ear, I get what I think sounds correct. Then I plug it into my rack, which includes a Korg DTR-1 Tuner. G, D, and A strings are spot on. An open E reads on the high side of F and an open B reads on the high side of C. If I tune to what the DTR-1 tells me, it sounds horribly out of tune.

    If I repeat the process with any of my other basses, the tuning is true. My E string reads E, my B string reads B.

    I then tried the same process with the tuner in my Korg PX3B. Exact same results. I think I've eliminated the tuner as a culprit. What about the bass could cause this strange situation? The bass is still playable, as long as I don't mind having my tuner standing behind me yelling "WRONG!!"

    Peace,

    James
     
  2. Shootin' in the dark here Jame's so bear with me...

    Are the saddles of those two strings further back than the others? And if they are, are they back in a pronounced way? If they are to the point that the stiffest part of the end of the string is very close to the saddle the problem may be a too pronounced break angle across the saddle. Happens on the big strings because they have such a large minimum radius before they loose their flexibility. this causes a "false" witness point in front of the saddle and that would indicate as a sharp note. Wilkinson's newest and best bridges have and adjustable rear mount to compensate for just htis phenom.
     
  3. If this is the case, this would mean that there are some very wierd harmonics going on in the string which would probably make the sound unpleasant. In addition, these harmonics would probably tend to dampen the string's vibration and so, sustain could also be an issue. YUK!

    In lieu of changing out the bridge, how about using taper wounds?
     
  4. A perfectly sound solution! :D
     
  5. malthumb

    malthumb

    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Guys,

    Thanks for chiming in. Just for the record, I was starting to think that taper wounds were the problem. That's what I've been using. Ken Smith Rock Masters (I think) with tapered B & E.

    I also took a close look at the saddles. My B & E saddles are closer to my A saddle than on any of my other basses. Would "too close" cause any of the problem I'm seeing?

    Peace,

    James
     
  6. malthumb

    malthumb

    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    I finally got around to changing the strings. Same brand and gage. Seems like the issue just went away with the string change. I wish I understood what caused it in the first place. The other strings had been on at least a couple months with no issues. I find it hard to believe that dead strings would cause tuners to read inaccurately.

    I'll just have to keep an eye on this one.

    Peace,

    James
     
  7. spacecanoe

    spacecanoe

    Aug 6, 2002
    canaduh
    probably just an intonation problem. ive had string sets that wouldnt intonate properly . its mainly from un even windings in the string. too much mass in the wrong areas make the string vibrate a few cents out of true tune. usually only happens with cheap ass strings though. not kens stuff hes pretty anal about quality