What's going on at my 5th fret?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by GManfromOz, Jun 12, 2021.


  1. GManfromOz

    GManfromOz

    Jul 27, 2016
    After not playing much for 15 months we've got a gig so I dragged out my gear, tuned up and set the intonation perfectly at the 12th fret. I found that I was out of tune - check tuning on open string, perfect - 12th fret, perfect.

    But at the 5th fret and below I was out by an eighth to a quarter of a step. What's going on here? I've had this Sadowski for 4 years and never had an issue.

    Any ideas on how to fix this?
     
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  2. Check both neck relief and action.

    If strings travel too far when fretting, notes can go sharp.
     
    BrentSimons likes this.
  3. J_Bass

    J_Bass Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2008
    Porto, Portugal
    Maybe try different strings?

    Does this happen with all the strings?
     
    BrentSimons and tindrum like this.
  4. GManfromOz

    GManfromOz

    Jul 27, 2016
    Action is good, lowish I guess. Should relief be concave or convex?

    QUOTE="kodiakblair, post: 25357497, member: 94708"]Check both neck relief and action.

    If strings travel too far when fretting, notes can go sharp.[/QUOTE]
     
  5. rickdog

    rickdog Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2010
    "Relief" means concave. It gives the middle of the string a little room to vibrate. If the neck is too straight, you need to set the action high to keep the string from vibrating against the frets.

    If the action is high, you stretch the string when you fret at the 12th fret, pulling it sharp. If you then adjust the intonation to compensate for that, lower notes may be flat because fretting them doesn't stretch the string as much.

    If the action is low and there's not enough relief, a string may vibrate slightly against the frets, causing it to go sharp.

    After 15 months of not being played, your relief may have changed. Or the strings could have corroded, which may also cause them to play out of tune. A new set of strings and good setup with them will probably solve your problems, not to mention you'll love the way it sounds.
     
    BrentSimons and GManfromOz like this.
  6. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    *How are you setting intonation? 12th harmonic vs 12th fretted? From the 5th and below: flat or sharp?

    Riis
     
  7. GManfromOz

    GManfromOz

    Jul 27, 2016
    12th fretted, 5th sharp.

    I'll change the strings today.
     
  8. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Does the 12th harmonic match the 12th fretted? If yes, what happens at the 6th fret and up?

    Riis
     
  9. 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.

     
    May 23, 2022

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