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String change has put my intonation all over the place.

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by jazzyvee, Mar 27, 2021.

  1. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    United Kingdom
    I'm still a beginner and for a while now the first two fingered notes on my A,D,G strings on my EUB especially the A on the G-string have an unpleasant and uncomfortable buzz under my fingers when playing that note. I don't get it anywhere else except those strings and it does not seem to appear on the output that I can hear in my amp.
    But I decided to re-string the bass with some D'addario Low Tension strings (no idea what the model name is), that were previously on my old acoustic double bass when I had it set up. I removed them when I sold it as they were expensive and hardly used.

    Anyway these strings are much more flexible, less tension and more comfortable under my fingers. However, now my notes are not where they were previously like the intonation has gone off. Should I angle the bridge to adjust the speaking length of the string in order to get the notes to work or should I just be re-learing the intonation and keep the bridge where it is ?

    At the moment I am tempted to put the previous strings back on and live with the buzz.
    Any advice will be gratefuily received.
  2. Videojunkie


    Jan 19, 2021
    Omaha, NE USA
    Check your bridge to make sure it hasn't moved when you changed the strings.
    Michael Drost and nbsipics like this.
  3. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Agree with this - not sure what kind of bass your EUB is, but if you just changed the strings and intonation is off, then the bridge is likely to be out of alignment. Also make sure that the bridge is vertical, and that the top of it isn’t tilted either towards the fingerboard or tailpiece. If you post some photos, we can take a look at it.
    Videojunkie likes this.
  4. In fact, a bridge should be asymetrical.
    One side should be perpendicular to the feet, and that's the side towards the tailpiece.
    Look at this:
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2021
    Hummergeist likes this.
  5. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    It will take time for you to relearn the intonation of the instrument. The bridge should remain properly positioned.
  6. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    United Kingdom
    I changed the strings one by one to minimise the chance of movement. is not leaning towards nut or tailpiece.
  7. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    United Kingdom
    Sorry Francois, i can't visualise what this drawing is trying tell me. can you explain please.. thanks
  8. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    United Kingdom
    Last night i decided to put the old strings back on until i fully grasp what i need to do understand and do when changing strings. Now these older strings are back on, the notes are where my evolving muscle memory expects them to be.

    Please continue with your advice as the new strings felt much easier and warmer sounding so i would like to use them once i know how to make the change confidently.
  9. This is a side view of a virtual bass.
    Shows how the bridge should look like, shows which side should be toward the tailpiece.
    Please take a few pics of your bridge so we can see if something is wrong.
  10. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I am not sure I understand. The bridge goes in exactly the same place regardless of the strings. The feet should be flat on the face of the instrument or they will bite into the wood and damage it. So you can't tilt the bridge to change the vibrating length of the strings.

    Since there is no intonation compensation on the instrument, you have to get used to the way the way it intonates with the new type of string. In other words you must compensate for the change.

    There may be some other necessary changes to the setup. For example the new strings may be a larger diameter, so the slots at the nut and bridge may be the wrong size. Keep in mind, it's much easier to make the slots larger than to make them smaller. Also since the tension of the new strings is lower, you may need to adjust the length of your bridge (string height) to compensate...assuming you have bridge adjusters installed.
    jazzyvee likes this.
  11. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    The image would be better if it included the front panel and fingerboard. To my eyes the image creates the perception that the bridge is tilted back massively towards the tail piece, and I have never seen a properly adjusted bridge that looked the way this image appears to me.

    The angles may be correct, and the missing front panel creates sort of an optical illusion. Or perhaps the angles are exaggerated for effect...I can't tell.

    Image from Gollihur's website.
    jazzyvee likes this.
  12. It was just a quick drawing I made years ago.
    It was of course somewhat exaggerated, but it was meant to show the assymetry in a properly made bridge.
    There's a right angle with the feet plane at its back side.
    jazzyvee and Wasnex like this.
  13. Lower tension strings (and more than that easier stretching strings like synthetics and gut core) rise the tension less when stretched by a constant amount which happens when you press down a string. That‘s the reason why it has happened if the bridge is kept in place and perpendicular to the top.
    That‘s the way it is. You will adapt after a while.
  14. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    United Kingdom
    Thanks, what was confusing me was the word Top at the bottom of the picture, so i was thinking the image was with the bass on it's back and looking down from above and the bridge being thicker where the E string goes over it and thinner where the G string goes over it. Which is not how my bridge looks. but the photo makes your point clearer to me. It's too challenging at the moment for me to compensate so i will leave well alone until i understand what i am doing.
  15. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    United Kingdom
    I don't have a side view of the bridge but this might help you see how it is setup.

    Attached Files:

  16. Thanks.
    It seems there’s no indication as to where the bridge should rest.
    On a DB, it’s the inner notches on the F-holes.
    On my EUB, there’s a beveled area on the tone bars that support the bridge.
  17. I would check if the bridge could be a seventh of the full vibrating string length away from the middle of the pickup. That way the inharmonic (to the classical just intonation) seventh partial gets eliminated from the amplified sound. At least it would make some sense sonically.
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