Suggestions for Flatwounds with Solid Intonation

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Brent's Groove, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. Brent's Groove

    Brent's Groove

    Mar 14, 2007
    About a month ago, I put a set of La Bella Original 1954 flats on my p bass. I loved the tone but I ended up having nonstop intonation issues, particularly on the E string. I had the bass professionally set up and the problem persisted. I've spent quite a bit of time researching troubleshooting methods and nothing seems to work. From what I've read, this seems to be a somewhat common problem with such a heavy gauge.

    Will switching to a lighter gauge help improve the intonation?

    If so, what would you suggest?

    (BTW, this is my first post on TB in literally years. It's good to be back.)
  2. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Inactive Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains:
    Did you press down on the string in front of the bridge saddle before and after making any bridge adjustments?

    I haven't heard that as being a problem...

    When intonation was set, was the string pressed down too hard resulting in a "sharper" result making for the intonation to be "flat" when playing lightly?

    Are you pressing down "harder" on the string as they are higher tension but pressing down too much that you are bending the string sharp?

    A lot of variables that could be at play here.
    Vinnie Boombatz likes this.
  3. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    You either have defective strings or a defective person set it up for you.
    Replace both with new and see if the problem goes away.
  4. Brent's Groove

    Brent's Groove

    Mar 14, 2007
    Yes, the witness points were clearly set. I can't speak to how the professional set it up, but when I took a shot at it, I don't believe I used excessive force when fretting at the 12th fret. The string height was relatively low, so it didn't require much effort to fret the note.

    The reason I'm interested in getting recommendations/information on lighter gauge flats is because it intonates perfectly fine with lighter gauge rounds.
  5. Brent's Groove

    Brent's Groove

    Mar 14, 2007
    Yeah, I'm not thrilled with the work I had done.
  6. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Are you referring to the 0760M set, with the .115 E string? I ask, because some people have trouble intonating a heavy B string when setting up a 34" scale bass BEAD - it's usually caused by lack of travel in the bridge. But, I can't recall anyone having this problem with a bent-plate Fender bridge. I'm inclined to agree that it's either a bad string; a twisted string (although that's not likely with a Fender bridge); or a bad setup. If you try a set of lighter gauge flats, try installing and setting them up yourself. That way, you can be sure that the witness points are set correctly, and the strings aren't twisted. Which pretty much leaves a dud string as the problem. But, personally? I have flatwound strings that heavy (and heavier, on my Carvin that's strung BEAD) on some of my basses, and I've not had an intonation problem. A 115 E string is really not all that heavy...:)
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  7. ginman


    Nov 9, 2018
    Hillsborough, NC
    I recently encountered weird intonation problems with LaBella Deep Talking Flatwounds (light gauge) on my new short scale Warmoth bass. I've adjusted intonation on numerous basses and taken the usual important steps -making sure pickups aren't too close to the strings and pressing down on the strings at the saddles, etc. Open string and 12th fret notes were spot on but notes on the A string started going bad on the low side at the 7th fret and got progressively worse down to the first fret. The problem was also present on the E and D strings but to a lesser extent. At first I suspected the new bass (freaking out) but then I swapped roundwound strings (also light gauge) from my Ibanez short scale and installed the flatwounds on the Ibanez. The same intonation problems moved to the Ibanez. Intonation was just fine on the Warmoth short scale with minor tweaks to string lengths. So it looks like a string problem to me. I have the same type of flatwounds on a medium scale bass with no intonation problems. So I do wonder if the short scale contributes to this type of problem whatever it is. I've seen many old posts from players that have never had problems with flatwounds on their short scale, so don't respond unless you have a good explanation.
  8. Stranger Danger

    Stranger Danger Feel Like A Stranger Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Denver, CO
    La Bella Low Tension Flats. Thank me later!
  9. Out of curiosity, where are you intonating the E? It may seem stupid, but I intonate my E to the 7th or 9th fret as I never play that string above those frets so I don't care what the octave is doing. On my B string It's the 5th fret. YMMV. But I have had good luck with Chromes.