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Author Topic: Intonation  (Read 7465 times)
P. Bass
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« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2011, 05:17:26 AM »

Using my new strobe tuner I have noticed that string intonation requires some adjustment after a couple days on a set of new strings. Is that normal or am I missing something in my method? I even noticed that I get a different reading if I use only fretted notes & harmonics as opposed to open strings in the process. The touch on the neck does seem to have a bearing. 5th / 17th fretted notes seems to be the most reliable.  Thanks in advance.
B.


Hey Blair,

     I understand the physics behind the proccess and how I have tu turn the  screws but every time I intonate an instrument I always need to finetune (pun intended Grin) by trial and error and I won't stop until I see that the fretted notes play in tune all over the neck (1,3,5,7,12,15,17 frets), I can get to do this on all the Sadowsky basses I have worked on, but it's been impossible with many other basses.

I know exactly what you're referring to Fran. There are many new really good tuners on the market that are all very capable. But this strobe is so sensitive that once I manage to get each string perfect, all the strings sync up very well because the frets are positioned to perfection. The nice thing about it is that I can watch the strobe as it slows down to a standstill & the degree of "sharp" or "flat" is based on the speed of the strobe movement not on an LED that is on or off. This is really a new experience for me. The only way to get the bass intoned is to do it while it's on the strap in playing position because if it's lying down the weight of the neck throws out accuracy that will be had while in playing position. SERIOUSLY, even the pressure of turning the tuner key is relevant in that you have to let go of the thing to see how the strobe reads. That's why I find using 5th & 17th fretted notes work best for me so the reading of the strobe will be accurate as if while playing the bass in a fretting position. The open string & 12th fretted note is more difficult for me to do. Once the string is intoned an octave apart at fretted position, I check against 12th fret harmonic & 12th fretted note. Sometimes a minor tweak is needed. I have yet to get the strobe dead still on every position. I really think that's only possible in "Roger's World". LOL  
I was told by a tech here that it's a lifelong mission to accomplish "absolute perfect" tuning or build a device that will do it. Can't be done apparently. The Peterson strobe tuner has "sweetened tunings" that may be used for various instruments but I think the standard non sweetened tuning is great for bass. Maybe Roger has an opinion about that.

My method:
-- I tune the string at the 5th fretted note.
-- Then I check the strobe reading at the 17th fretted note.
   If the 17th fretted note is sharp, I lengthen the string by pulling the bridge saddle back ( turn the  screwdriver clockwise. NOTE: Each time a saddle adjustment is made the string must be re-tuned at the 5th fret again before checking the intonation.
-- The same process can be used by first tuning the 12th fret harmonic & checking the fretted note there. If the FRETTED note is sharp, pull the saddle back.(& re-check the harmonic as well as the fretted note)
 
B.
 
 
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 04:03:24 PM by P. Bass » Logged

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P. Bass
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« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2011, 05:25:50 AM »

Using my new strobe tuner I have noticed that string intonation requires some adjustment after a couple days on a set of new strings. Is that normal or am I missing something in my method? I even noticed that I get a different reading if I use only fretted notes & harmonics as opposed to open strings in the process. The touch on the neck does seem to have a bearing. 5th / 17th fretted notes seems to be the most reliable.  Thanks in advance.
B.


Hi Blair,

Welcome to my world!

Roger

Well it IS fun knocking on that door anyway.  Grin
Taking care of business is a joy with such a superb instrument Roger. That's where the inspiration is.

Blair.
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Fran Diaz
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« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2011, 08:59:07 AM »

Anyway, let's not forget that the "precision" that frets give us also condemn us to be unprecise (pun intended...again Grin). After four years devoted to the study of the double bass I start to hear and feel annoyed by the slight imperfections in tuning that most fretted instruments have; imperfections often agravated by poor quality and/or poor setup. I'm happy to be in a band where all the players care about their gear and their sound.

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« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2011, 11:29:14 AM »

Please bear with me for a non-technical observation:

Another thing I found that I needed to consider (mainly observed from using drop tuners) is that a little bit of the string tension applied when raising the pitch of a string can get "trapped" between the tuner post and the nut...as this tension eventually "leaks" past the nut to the string it can put the tuning out slightly.

This is worse the higher the break angle over the nut, so if you have left a lot of string wound onto the post to maximise the pressure over the nut it may be slightly more prevalent. Personally I try to leave a good 2.5 turns on the post but I know people often leave a lot more, especially on the A string to stop any buzzing past the nut.
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P. Bass
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« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2011, 11:45:27 PM »

Doing a bunch of home recording lately & using my new strobe tuner to good advantage. Have realized that the easiest way to avoid difficulty in setting up intonation is to turn the pan to the front pickup ONLY. Trying to intone Or tune accurately with both pups picking up a signal, (Pan @ detent), is something I've had problems with. Jus' sayin'.
Not sure how players using other types of tuners find that little tidbit but sure saved myself a lot of frustration.
B.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2011, 11:47:11 PM by P. Bass » Logged

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