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Why is the A Note out of tune on my E string?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ricman28, Feb 7, 2005.


  1. ricman28

    ricman28

    Oct 23, 2004
    When I was tuning up today, i noticed that my A note on the E string is sharp, while the E string itself along with all the other notes are in perfect tune while that one is sharp. This is on my Rickenbacker by the way. Does anyone know why this is happening? :confused:
     
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    If only one note is off, then most likely there is something wrong with the string. Try a different E string.
     
  3. [Capt. Obvious]
    intonation? check the pitch at the 12th fret. if it's out, it's most likely the itonation.
    IIRC there are some FAQs in the setup forum to lead you to setting intonation.
    [/Capt. Obvious]
     
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    He said that only the A was sharp. If it was an intonation problem, it would get worse further up the neck.
     
  5. yeah, I wasn't sure if he was referring to only the E string or the notes on the other strings:
     
  6. mattwells

    mattwells

    Mar 19, 2003
    GA
    How sharp/flat? A few cents? If that is the only one that is flat/sharp consider yourself lucky. Most fretted instruments have inconsistencies throughout the neck. The lower-grade instruments have SERIOUS inconsistencies.
     
  7. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Perhaps I misunderstood him.

    ricman, can you clarify your post?
     
  8. you were probaby right the first time. ;)
     
  9. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I have a problem on my P bass with the F on the E string being sharp. I think it is because the previous owner cut the nut lower on the E side. As long as I don't fret too hard and try to play right over the fret, it is fine.

    I keep meaning to fix the nut.......
     
  10. Bob the Bass

    Bob the Bass

    Aug 13, 2004
    UK
    It is a Rickenbacker - hardly a "lower-grade" instrument !! :cool:
     
  11. BassFelt

    BassFelt

    Mar 26, 2002
    The problem with the first positions been sharp comes up when the bottom of the nut slot is significantly higher than the top of the frets. If, as you indicated, the nut might be cut (too?) low, the problem could be a buzzing open string.
     
  12. DemoEtc

    DemoEtc

    Aug 18, 2004
    Do you ever drop the E down to match certain songs? Like to D or lower?
     
  13. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    First off, it might be an intonation problem. Check that easy solution out first. You may very well only notice the "A" note more than others.

    If all is well with that, check the slot in the nut on the "E" string. Again, you may notice the "A" note more. If the nut is too high, it will cause the notes on that string to be sharper becuase you must press down further to make contact with the fret. If the neck has a little too much relief, the contact point at the fifth to eighth frets will be where the strings get bent the most if the relief is too great and the slot in the nut is too high.

    The action might be high enough to not cause a buzz, but you might have a fret that is slightly higher than others that could be causing it as well.

    Some notes are more dominant than others...especially those in the middle of the neck (fifth to eighth frets) and that may cause you to notice the discrepancy more in that area, on a particular string.

    Make sure the bass is setup properly all the way through, from the intonation to the slots in the nut, as well as the neck relief and then put on new strings. If all is well, then check every note on every string, on every fret with a good tuner. You may find a lot of notes that are a bit off even if everything is setup properly. But you may only notice a few that appear to stand out more than the others.

    Very few basses are perfect all the through.
     
  14. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Yeah that makes more sense. The E has been cut down at the nut, but I have not looked too carefully at the fret. Maybe the fret is worn?