Tuning Nightmare

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by voxtroller, Nov 7, 2011.


  1. voxtroller

    voxtroller

    Aug 20, 2011
    austin
    I have a EBMM Stingray 5 HH tuned to A#C#G#C#F# with Power Slinky 135,105,85,70,50. I took it to get set up by a professional before my band entered the studio. I picked up the bass and it felt really nice and sounded good until i got to the studio and layed down some tracks. The 2 higher stings sounded fine but the 3 lower were sharp, especially the lower C#, and got sharper as i went higher on the fretboard. Anybody have any experience with this and found a remedy?
     
  2. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I disclose nothing
    You need to set the intonation ... your bridge saddles have screws that move them.
     
  3. JLS

    JLS

    Sep 12, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    The person who set this bass up, is responsible for setting the intonation. Take it back.
     
  4. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Intonation should have been handled as part of the setup. Take it back to whoever did the setup and tell them your findings - they should put it right.
     
  5. voxtroller

    voxtroller

    Aug 20, 2011
    austin
    Ok, thanks quick response guys. I called him and he asked me to take it back and we can work on it together. This is most likely an intonation issue? This has been a very frustrating experience and not to mention the money and time wasted at the studio.
     
  6. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    JLS - you beat me to the draw by seconds...FAST!
     
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Be sure to make a point of your wasted studio time when you go back to the tech. He may not give you a financial break, but he should at least know how the problem impacted you. It's a big deal!
     
  8. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Inactive

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Yeah that sounds like he just missed intonating that bass.
    Personally I would use heavier strings for that tuning, but I know for certain that even DR Hi Beams .45-.125 will hold an ACGCF tuning just fine on an SR5, so you should be ok.
    Not every tech is great (I've found from wasted time and $$) at setting up a bass for anything but BEADG, so honestly I usually always ask ahead of time. Luckily my current tech is beyond awesome and am extremely happy w him.
     
  9. voxtroller

    voxtroller

    Aug 20, 2011
    austin
    There were 4 frets that were high and he took them down to even. Could that have anything to do with it? Would the tuning on a 34" scale have something to do with it as well? Thanks for any help
     
  10. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Inactive

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Possibly. Did he double-check his intonation? The 34" scale isn't as big of a deal as your strings would be.
    If you're going Ernie Ball I would get the .50-.110 Power Slinky set and add a low .135 for that tuning.
     
  11. lowfreqgeek

    lowfreqgeek

    Mar 15, 2010
    Tijeras, NM
    Setting intonation is one of the most basic skills any bassist should learn. Take care of this yourself and you'll never have to waste time and money on it again. I check intonation on every bass before a studio session. Even then, I've run into issues in the studio and it was a simple fix that saved the session. This was with a grammy-nominated producer sitting right there, too... Not exactly "low pressure". Took less than a minute and we were on our way.

    BTW - his comment after the session was that I was "on par" with Lee Sklar and Neil Stubenhaus (he's worked with both in LA) in regards to tone, preparation, professionalism, and playing. Imagine if I had to cancel the session due to bad intonation?!

    Scale, high frets, tuning, etc, have little or nothing to do with it. It's simply the longitudinal placement of the saddles along the string path. If the notes were sharp, the saddles on those strings were too far forward toward the nut - making the string length less than it needed to be. It really is as simple as turning a screw, though it does take a great ear, a HIGHLY accurate tuner, and some finesse. To get the BEST results, it's pretty imperative that the strings are plucked with the same force and in the same orientation as when *you* are playing the bass. That's why it's best if you can do it yourself.
     
  12. tekhedd

    tekhedd Tone chaser

    Feb 9, 2009
    Colorado, USA
    Owner/operator of BYTE HEAVEN
    Or, better, take it to someone who actually knows how to set up a guitar, and definitely not back to the "professional" who just set your intonation wrong. At least, that's how I do it.
     
  13. voxtroller

    voxtroller

    Aug 20, 2011
    austin
    I took it to Mark Erlewine @ Erlewine Guitars, a seasoned luthier. Im not going to poke my finger at him just yet. I'll let you guys know how that goes. Thanks for the advice.
     
  14. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    You paid for studio time and no one, not one person present can intonate a stringed instrument, not even the studio staff? C'est incroyable, pardon my French.
     
  15. tekhedd

    tekhedd Tone chaser

    Feb 9, 2009
    Colorado, USA
    Owner/operator of BYTE HEAVEN
    Dollars to donuts, apprentices did the work. Or maybe a "setup" doesn't include intonation?

    Actually, considering the weak dollar and the price of donuts, that expression needs to be updated.
     
  16. JLS

    JLS

    Sep 12, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Woulda been faster, but for the shocked disbelief...
     
  17. JLS

    JLS

    Sep 12, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    He certainly had better not charge for intonating this bass!
     
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I disclose nothing
    You should learn to set the intonation on your bass. It is simple.

    1 - get a digital tuner.
    2 - get a screw driver.
    3 - tune your open strings to pitch.
    4 - fret the 12th fret and check the intonation.
    5 - adjust the screws for sharp and flat adjustments
    6 - keep doing this until all 5 strings are in tune open and fretted at the 12th fret.
     
  19. JLS

    JLS

    Sep 12, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    There's some clown who advertises on the SF Bay area CL, "no frills" fretmills--he files them down, but doesn't recrown them, claiming that rounding over the fret tops is, "cosmetic".

    I can see a tiered setup system coming into effect: bargain basement setups, your instrument will play great, but not in tune! Or, you can pay for intonation, string by string.:D

    All things considered, this is not the end of the world, and everybody makes mistakes, shopmeisters and apprentices, both.
    I hope this gets taken care of to everyone's satisfaction.
     
  20. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto

    I've actually considered this myself - sort of. I have had a significant number of players tell me that they think that the cost of a full setup is too much. They wonder why it costs so much for a simple "crank of the trussrod". So I thought why not set a price for a simple trussrod crank, another price for a trussrod crank with a string height adjustment, yet another to include intonation, another including nut adjustments and a deluxe version including spot fret leveling, fret polish, instrument cleanup, etc.

    But in the end I decided I couldn't live with myself doing half a job. You want a setup from me -it's all or nothing. I would expect no less of a tech if I asked for a setup.

    Back to the OP - intonation should never be an option on a setup. Period.
     
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    Primary TB Assistant

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