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Tapered strings will not intonate!!!!

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by mastersrhythm, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. mastersrhythm


    Aug 28, 2006
    I'm having an issue with some new tapered strings (La Bella Super Steps)I just now put on. This gets me mad :mad: because it took some time setting up my 6 string for the tapered strings. My regular strings intonate just fine. And yes I know how to intonate (unless there is something special I should be doing)...I also have a Peterson Tuner that I'm using to do it. All my readings for open and 12th fret look great, but anything past the 12th fret starts to get real sharp. I try to include anything past the 12th fret in the intonation process and I can't seem to get a happy medium across the length of any string. Also, I realy do not like some of the natural harmonics these strings are giving, but that may be just because of the intonation issue.

    To throw another variable in there that should not matter, I'm using the Buzz Feiten tuning system (with my correct offsets)

    Disregarding that, any one else have this issue with the tapered strings????:bawl:
  2. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    I've never had a bit of problem with intonation. I use Smith Tapercores.
  3. Rodriguez


    Nov 6, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification & LaBella Strings
    Because they're taper core, make sure you readjust the action and make sure the strings are not too close to the pickups. Magnetism can cause some problems when the strings are too close ... false readings.

  4. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    You also need to make sure that the taper does not go too far beyond the bridge saddle, I've heard that can cause trouble too.

    Tell me this, if you capo the first fret and intonate the 13th fret and test from there, does it make any difference?

    Also, Rodriguez is spot on, if the pickups are too close to the strings they can cause inaccuracies. Have you tried lowering the pickups to see if it makes a difference?
  5. mastersrhythm


    Aug 28, 2006
    Thanks for the responses guys. I adjusted everything accordingly...saddles, bridge, and even a little truss rod.
    Have not heard of the 13th fret thing. I just use the capo to adjust the truss rod. I think I will try it though.

    I just don't know... I'm starting to think that the string is just too tights and when I press down past the 12th fret it gets too darned tight and hence the sharpness. I don't know... I'm just guessing. I'm calling La Bella today.

    Thanks again!
  6. mastersrhythm


    Aug 28, 2006
    OK, just got off the phone with La Bella. They seem to think that it is the Buzz Feiten tuning system that is complicating matters. Well, it's OK, I'm just going to use the E-G for my Jazz Bass and problem solved.
  7. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    That's what I was getting at. If you put a capo on the first fret you basically move the nut up. By tuning the string with a capo on the first fret to F, then checking intonation on the 13th fret (octave) you take the Buzz Feiten nut out of the equasion. If everything stays in tune all the way up the neck like this then it's the nut, if it's still going sharp, it's something else (possibly magnetic pull from the pickup?)
  8. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    Here is a thread where the exposed / tapered core problem is discussed.

    Edit: OMGWTFBBQ. I've got over 1000 posts already. I must get a life.
  9. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    set your intonation by the 17th fret instead of the 12th...
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Inactive Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    If you do that, then the notes in the first 5 frets will be flat. As you press down stopping the notes above the 12th fret, you are shortening the actual scale. The fret system does not compensate for string height. Also, unless you are perfect, when you press doen you can easily bend the string slightly or with the B-string, push it in towards the wood shortening it even more.

    Playing the B string above the first few frets is not the purpose of the string. It was made to play the notes below 'E'. I know everyone wants to really play guitar but with strings 1/8th" thick, playing the Bass makes it work better. You just can't go against physics. Try shifting a little more and being less lazy with all those upper string crossings and watch the intonation improve.

    Another point is that most if not all Necks have some curve relief. This also sharpens the note when pressed down in the upper frets as the Nut-Bridge is actually shorter but in the center of neck to bridge is longer in relation the the fretted scale. If the Fingerboard was 100% flat with no relief and the strings touching the Fingerboard, it would be perfectly intune. Since we don't actually play that way, thicker strings in higher positions are always sharp. Trying to intonate those upper notes will only flatten the lower positions down by the Nut.

    After all, isn't this a Bass and not a Guitar? Everytime I see a good Bass played in a famous group of behind a famous singer (4 or 5 string mainly), he rarely moves above the 7th fret on the G and hardly ever above the 5th fret on the E or B. Why is that? Maybe it's time the Bass became a Bass again and the Soloing went back to the D & G strings (or C on a 6). These guys play for a living and that's what's needed to be a Pro. If they tried some of the tricks and gimmics you guys do at home, it would be their last night on the gig.. NEXT! (as the throw him out and call the next player looking for the gig that is).

    I am talking to you as a player now with 20 years Professional experience (1968-1988) and not the builder most of you know me as. I still play out now but only on the DB in Symphony and some Jazz. I know the Bass as it's my life. I tried 30 years ago to figure out the fretting problems only to concede it's the player and not the instrument.
  11. Deep


    May 8, 2002
    Someone finally said it! AMEN KEN!! :hyper:
  12. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    Lots of good info in your post Ken, thanks.

    For the record, I got that "trick" from a pro setup guy with 30 yrs of pro playing experience. I'm already aware of the tradeoff. But if the original poster spends more time playing up above the 12th fret than he does below the 5th, it might help for his application. I'm not gonna tell him what notes to play on his bass. :p
  13. mastersrhythm


    Aug 28, 2006
    That is correct. When I have my 6 string in hand I am soloing 1/2 of the time.

    No worries anymore...I'm not using the tapered strings. They are nothing but trouble on my six string. I went back to using my Ken Smith Rock Masters. I just ordered two sets yesterday.
  14. mastersrhythm


    Aug 28, 2006

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