the neglected post

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bassplayajew, Mar 18, 2002.

  1. bassplayajew


    Mar 14, 2002
    Bethesda, MD
    When I try to intonate the strings the indication needle on my tuner jumps around so much that it makes finding a steady and accurate reading very difficult. The problem has even more presence in the B and E strings. I use D'addario Slowounds but I've replaced the B string with a Ernie B because the Ernie sounds better to me. I've tried DM2000s but I don't understand how people like JT use those exposed core strings because they sound, to me, sooo incredibly weak. I know to tune the 12th fret harmonic to the 12th fret note and adjust the saddles n such. Unstable reading or not, I've gotten the intonation as close as I can but the 24th fret is always too sharp. Can someone tell me what causes this, and/or how to fix it? As always, any feedback is greatly apprieciated and needed.

    Yes I'm very aware how disorganized and nonlogical this post is. And i've just realized that this is in the wrong forum. please move to "SETUP"
  2. you could of done it yourself, but what the hey...
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I'm not sure if I got you right here, but if a string is sharp @ the 24th fret you need to move the bridge saddle away from the neck. Then check again by tuning the 12th fret harmonic and comparing it to the fretted 12th. Repeat until they match.
    Your 24th fret should be ok then.

    If it's still sharp, then....hmmm.
    Maybe you're pushing the string sideways, making it go sharp, or you have way to much neck bow, which messes up intonation. I don't think that the frets are messed up, even the cheapest basses are fretted correctly in my experience.
  4. bassplayajew


    Mar 14, 2002
    Bethesda, MD
    That's what I'm asking. I get the 12th fret intonation but the 24th goes out. I can't get both at the same time. Am I doing it wrong?
  5. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i've never had any problems with the output of my tapered strings, and they intonate much better than the non-tapered. i get super strong low end, even out of the low F#.

    i don't know what to say, personally. what you are describing is just the nature of bass strings. even taper core strings have that to some extent, but not nearly as bad as the non tapers.

    as scotty would say, you canna break the laws of physics, captain.
  6. bassplayajew


    Mar 14, 2002
    Bethesda, MD
    What do you mean? If you're referring to the 12th and 24th fret intonation, I've played basses where its as close you can tune the open string. I know the whole "There is no such thing is a bass that plays in tune, only equally out of tune" thing but that doesn't help me. Does it have anything to do with the string height? Also, without the full mass of the string over the saddle, wouldn't the vibration be unsupported, and therefore weaker?
  7. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    OK, you've got the 12th fret in tune. Good.
    Thet's in the middle of the string. Hence, pushing down the string anywhere else will increase the tension of the string. But not enough to make your tuner notice @ 24th!!! There will perhaps be a notisable impact on frets 1 and 2, but nowhere else.
    Such much for tension/action as explanation....

    Fret placement, then.... That needs more precision, the more you shorten the string. Meaning that if the fret is slightly misplaced at 1st or 5th, it doesn't matter much. If it's as slightly misplaced @ 24th, it makes a lot of difference. And I'm talknig 1/100 mm or less! (Why d'ya think Leo stopped at 20 frets???)

    Remedies: defret or forget.
    I mean, if the tuner notices, but not you.....who is to decide? Man or machine? And exactly how often do you play around 24th?
  8. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    You know, if you press the string down too hard, it will go sharp as well. Lighten up your touch, maybe...
  9. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    It is very possible that you are simply dealing with the flaws of the fretted instrument.

    If you are are getting an in-tune pitch at the 12th fret when the open string is also in-tune. Then you have set the intonation according to the most-readily practiced method.

    It is very possible that you are doing everything exactly correct and the bass will still not be in tune at the 24th fret. I have seen many basses like that. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen a bass that plays perfectly in tune all the way up and down the board. The higher up the neck you go, the more accurate the fret placement must be to get proper tuning. Even a few a few thousandths of an inch off would cause problems at the 24th fret.

    There is nothing magic to using the 12th fret. I often set the intonation of basses by correcting the pitch of the 12,14,15th or whatever fret. I just use whichever note will give me a consistant tone. All you are doing when you set intonation is fine tuning the scale length to match the fret placement.

    Just play with it. You really have to set it up to match your playing style. If you play a lot on the top of the neck, you may want to "over correct" the intonation to play more in tune in the upper register.

    Remember, with fretted instruments, intonation is always a compromise, you just have to decide what compromise you want to make.

    Lastly, I do not recommend using harmonics to set intonation, as harmonics don't always exactly align with the fret positions.

    Think of the saddle adjustment as fine tuning. Tune the open string, play a fretted note at the 12th fret or above, and then adjust the saddles accordingly. Retune the open note and repeat until when open note is in tune, the notes at and above the 12th fret are also in tune or as close as possible.

    If you are absolutely unable to get it acceptable, consider filing down the upper frets a bit. As pacman mentioned, extra tension can stretch notes sharp. Lower frets will help you out.

  10. bassplayajew


    Mar 14, 2002
    Bethesda, MD
    I see what you all are saying...
    I'm sort of one of those people who'll get pissed at the guitarist when he says his guitar is in tune enough. I'm just crazy like that, the littlest things bother me, it may be because I have a great ear and its physically painfull to here people play out of tune, I don't know. I mainly want to fix it because if I am playing something up high on the B string and I'm peddling the octave, well its just disturbing to listen to. I assume that the equal problem would be (for drummers) that pesky snare rattle, which I understand is something you just really have to say "f**k it" to. Am I gettin it or are y'all just hazin the newbie?
  11. bassplayajew


    Mar 14, 2002
    Bethesda, MD
    Its not really the 24th fret but if I play the note on the E than I can't get a tri octave effect. So insteresting thing I noticed today, I put new strings on and I'm intonating the bridge when lo and behold, the octaves are all dead on but from the 7-11th fret its off
  12. i dont know if it applies to bass but i heard that system works wonders with guitars.

    thats my 2 pesos
  13. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Sep 26, 2021

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