Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
christofloffer

bass wont tune up right

Recommended Posts

i am getting an infuriating problem wit my bass. its pretty cheap and not the best by any means and the strings are old but i cant see any reason for this.
i can tune it up with the tuner, relative, piano or with various tone generators online and it seems fine. it also holds that tuning for a long time without issue. but i keep trying to play along with tunes on youtube as a bit of practice for learning to keep time with other stuff going on and its never quite in tune. i have spent hours trying to suss this out and i am none the wiser.
i thought that maybe the set up was wrong so i spent a couple of days checking and adjusting. the intonation is ok, neck relief and action seem fine. i cant see any twisting in the neck either.

i am honestly at a loss with it. its not that its massively out, as its really close but just never quite there. i play along with songs on the guitar all the time whilst learning to play things and i use the same tuner. the strings are really old (8+ years, i know i know, they will be changed soon though) but they stay in the tuning according to the tuner for plenty of time so its not that they are just slipping out once its tuned. i get the feeling that i am missing something fundamental.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you checked fretted notes against your tuner? With ancient strings, just because the open note and octave are in tune, doesn't mean the rest are!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds likely that it could be the nut sots, these can throw out intonation quite badly if too high or uneven. Your best bet would be to take it to a tech or luthier and explain your issues to him.

Edited by Manton Customs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Change the strings first. If that doesn't fix it, then go to a guitar tech or luthier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try playing against a CD player as opposed to a tinterweb or MP3 source and see if you have the same problem.

I had this on multiple basses for a while and it turned out to be the digital sources a couple of percent out on the playback speed. YT is especially bad for this, (bloody miles out, actually!). If it carries on with a CD then I'd look at the bass.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's also possible that the problem is with your tuner. Many tuners allow you to change the reference frequency that you are tuning to. For us it should be A=440Hz. It could be that you have accidentally changed this setting without realising.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='keving' timestamp='1448445387' post='2915413']
It's also possible that the problem is with your tuner. Many tuners allow you to change the reference frequency that you are tuning to. For us it should be A=440Hz. It could be that you have accidentally changed this setting without realising.
[/quote]I've been guilty of that, it's so easy to do :blush:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='christofloffer' timestamp='1448310131' post='2914402']


the strings are really old (8+ years, i know i know, they will be changed soon

i get the feeling that i am missing something fundamental.

[/quote]

I would start with the obvious. Even lightly used strings will be knackered after that long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Start by changing your strings.

When you say they are in tune is it at every fret or are you just checking the open strings? Even strings that are less than a year old can wear away at the point where they come into contact with the fret. Once this happens the unit mass of the string is no longer consistent along its length and the fretted notes will never be in perfect tune any more.

Of course it may be that the recordings you are playing along to simply haven't been recorded in standard pitch (A=440Hz). There's no reason for them to have been. Anything recorded to tape may have been vary-speeded up on down the get the right tempo which will have changed the pitch. Also anything recorded before the mid 80s when electronic tuners started to become more common will have been tuned to what ever was a convenient reference in the studio - normally something like the in-house piano or an instrument that the band used that was difficult to retune. There is no guarantee that any of these were exactly at "concert pitch" so long as the whole band was in tune with each other it didn't matter.

Edited by BigRedX

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Change your strings, plug your tuner in and see what note you are getting from each open string, then check that these are the same notes at the 12th fret. It may also be worth going through the full range of notes from open to the 12th fret and check that they are all correct, it may be that its just one string that has a problem with its set up and is throwing everything else off when you play.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='RAY AGAINST THE MACHINE' timestamp='1448473192' post='2915749']
If you're playing along to black sabbath or korn,( or even Metallica ) it's not gonna matter much, anyway
[/quote]

Fixed. :mellow:

...

:lol: :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ok, i got some new strings. fairly budget but the most i could afford to throw in at this particular moment. i got a set of picato stainless flats as i liked the look of them. if nothing else comes from this, i think i will be sticking with flats from now on, absolutely love the feel and sound of them. :)

still having some issues with her though. i have been messing with the set up a little and using two songs as a reference. on the CD player i have been using pink floyd's money and on youtube i have been using jamiroquai's too young to die. those songs just because they are what i have been on lately. it doesnt sound out on the CD player so perhaps it is that video that is sped up/slowed down that caused the problem there.
it has thrown a couple of new issues into the mix though (inevitably there all along but at least now the strings are not the issue). i tuned up on the tuner to 440Hz (checked against the guitars to be sure of it) open strings and found something odd. it tunes up fine on the open strings but fretted at the 12th fret E+A read a little higher and D+G read a little lower. i did the various adjustments, action, intonation and neck relief, and i am happy with how it plays but i worry that this indicates a twisted neck.
i'm not sure how worthwhile it would be going to a luthier to be honest. the bass is cheap so the build quality wont be that good, would probably be better putting the money towards a better quality one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='christofloffer' timestamp='1448651299' post='2917233']
ok, i got some new strings. fairly budget but the most i could afford to throw in at this particular moment. i got a set of picato stainless flats as i liked the look of them. if nothing else comes from this, i think i will be sticking with flats from now on, absolutely love the feel and sound of them. :)

still having some issues with her though. i have been messing with the set up a little and using two songs as a reference. on the CD player i have been using pink floyd's money and on youtube i have been using jamiroquai's too young to die. those songs just because they are what i have been on lately. it doesnt sound out on the CD player so perhaps it is that video that is sped up/slowed down that caused the problem there.
it has thrown a couple of new issues into the mix though (inevitably there all along but at least now the strings are not the issue). i tuned up on the tuner to 440Hz (checked against the guitars to be sure of it) open strings and found something odd. it tunes up fine on the open strings but fretted at the 12th fret E+A read a little higher and D+G read a little lower. i did the various adjustments, action, intonation and neck relief, and i am happy with how it plays but i worry that this indicates a twisted neck.
i'm not sure how worthwhile it would be going to a luthier to be honest. the bass is cheap so the build quality wont be that good, would probably be better putting the money towards a better quality one.
[/quote] Sounds like the nut is at fault here as Mr Manton Customs said earlier on in the thread if the strings are good and the basic set up is good (or very close) cant be much else other than the nut or a buggered neck, out of interest if it has a bolt on neck are the screws nice and tight?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='christofloffer' timestamp='1448651299' post='2917233']
it tunes up fine on the open strings but fretted at the 12th fret E+A read a little higher and D+G read a little lower. i did the various adjustments, action, intonation and neck relief, and i am happy with how it plays but i worry that this indicates a twisted neck.
[/quote]

If the open string is in tune but the fretted 12th isn't then you haven't got the intonation right IMHO. If the E and A are sharp then the saddles need moving back. If the D and G are flat then the saddles need moving forwards. If the intonation is out you'll only ever be in tune with anything else when you play open notes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='christofloffer' timestamp='1448651299' post='2917233']...
still having some issues with her though...
[/quote]

Any mileage in suggesting a meet-up with a more experiences BC member somewhere in your vicinity (around M[color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]arket Drayton, Shropshire, I think..?)..? Someone who could have a look at your set-up and help out with intonation guidelines, truss rod, neck relief, nut..? I'm too far away, of course, but if you ask nicely (and could offer biscuits... ;)), there may be someone close by..? Just sayin'. B)[/font][/color]

Edited by Dad3353

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='Dad3353' timestamp='1448658866' post='2917307']
Any mileage in suggesting a meet-up with a more experiences BC member somewhere in your vicinity (around M[color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]arket Drayton, Shropshire, I think..?)..? Someone who could have a look at your set-up and help out with intonation guidelines, truss rod, neck relief, nut..? I'm too far away, of course, but if you ask nicely (and could offer biscuits... ;)), there may be someone close by..? Just sayin'. B)[/font][/color]
[/quote]

Good thinking Batman. If that's correct and the location is Market Drayton then I pass through fairly often (next due 2 weeks ish), so I could collect it and deliver it back also :). I haven't got quite so desperate as to accept biscuits as payment for services yet (next year maybe!) but I could definitely give a decent sized BC member discount. Send me a PM or email if you like, I'd be glad to help a basschatter out :).

Robin (that means I get to call people batman :P)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well, thats a really kind offer but i have made a bit of a call. i asked my mum the very rude question of how much the bass cost in the first place and the whole caboodle was under £100 new. taking into account the fairly neglected life its had up until recently i dont think its worth messing about with it.


instead i am just going to start looking at a better quality bass. this one can just go as a spare and a travelling hack. when i picked it up in earnest i was going to play for a while before deciding wether or not i was going to stick at it or not. i am enjoying it far too much to be dropping it so its worth a better bass. doesnt seem wise to me to spend anything on something that i am thinking of replacing in the near future anyway really. i may have you take a look at the new one once i get it to make sure i am starting with it set up properly.
perhaps once i have a better one to hand i will strip this one down and use it as a learning experience. i am not lost on woodworking so it might be a chance to learn some new skills.

Edited by christofloffer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='HowieBass' timestamp='1448656985' post='2917291']
If the open string is in tune but the fretted 12th isn't then you haven't got the intonation right IMHO. If the E and A are sharp then the saddles need moving back. If the D and G are flat then the saddles need moving forwards. If the intonation is out you'll only ever be in tune with anything else when you play open notes.
[/quote]

First thing I`d look at at.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='christofloffer' timestamp='1448793903' post='2918115']
well, thats a really kind offer but i have made a bit of a call. i asked my mum the very rude question of how much the bass cost in the first place and the whole caboodle was under £100 new. taking into account the fairly neglected life its had up until recently i dont think its worth messing about with it.
[/quote]

As I mentioned above, I suspect you might not have the intonation set correctly. This is a very easy adjustment to make yourself needing only a decent tuner and a screwdriver. This would be the first thing I'd check and get right, particularly as you can see the tuning's out when you fret at the 12th. When you know what you're doing it's a 10 minute job at the most.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...