Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Anyone have any hints or tips on how to deal with the intonation on a fretless accurately. I've done it plenty of times on fretted basses, which is dead easy, so I know how it's done.

Doing it accurately with no frets is a bit of a different potato. Surely it can't just be a case of holding down the sting and hoping you're not too far out? 

BTW. I have posted this on the repairs and tech forum as well. Just thought a few more of you might see it here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a very good question. I guess I’d always assumed that it was less of a concern on fretless given that it’s...well...fretless. Finger positioning can be adjusted slightly in a way that frets can’t.

Ignoring the above, use harmonics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, CameronJ said:

Ignoring the above, use harmonics.

I might be missing something here... but won't harmonics always be in tune?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest subaudio
Posted (edited)

Oops, didn't read the thread properly.

Edited by subaudio

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, Marc Day said:

 

Doing it accurately with no frets is a bit of a different potato. Surely it can't just be a case of holding down the sting and hoping you're not too far out?

That's all I've ever done on unlined fretless basses and it's worked well enough. If there's a better technique I'd be interested to hear it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, knirirr said:

That's all I've ever done on unlined fretless basses and it's worked well enough. If there's a better technique I'd be interested to hear it.

Me too. The board isn't lined either. Think what I'll do is put a temporary line square across the neck as a reference and hold the string down with something fairly narrow like the edge of a spoon handle. Should work.

I thought about using harmonics as well. Obviously they won't ring properly if you don't hit them in the right place, but you can still be a bit out and still close enough for it to work. Also, and I'm not really sure this, but with the intonation being out, because the string length out, wouldn't that put the sweet spot of the harmonic in a slightly different place too? We must be talking about very small margins here, but it makes sense to me.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Marc Day said:

Also, and I'm not really sure this, but with the intonation being out, because the string length out, wouldn't that put the sweet spot of the harmonic in a slightly different place too? We must be talking about very small margins here, but it makes sense to me.

 

 

I'm not sure either, but I suppose you could make several adjustments using the harmonics each time.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, knirirr said:

I'm not sure either, but I suppose you could make several adjustments using the harmonics each time.

 

Strangely a guitarist mate just called me about something else and I asked hi what he thought and without being quite sure himself, he reckons I'm probably right. Quite honestly, since there doesn't seem to be a method I didn't know about, I think I'll go with plan A, which should work well enough and leave it at that. Thanks everyone for your input though.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The answer is simple.
 

The position of the harmonic won't ever be the same as the correct spot.

What matters is if you go to finger the octave, you get the octave. The most accurate position will vary with your fingering technique and the shape of your fingertips, action, string type etc.

Aim to finger as accurately as you can in your ideal 'twelfth fret' position adjust the intonation so this note is in tune with the harmonic.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why, @Marc Day do you have 2 threads to ask this question?

As I've said in the other thread:  

Use a cocktail stick under the string at the line position,  with your finger fretting the string behind the stick.

You can use tape to hold the stick in place if you can't work out how you can get the string to hold the stick in place when you push it down.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gentlemen,

Thank you all very much for your input. I think I have enough info now to deal with this little issue, if it actually does need to be done in the end. The discussion has taken up a good deal of my time today and looks like it will still run on for a while, so I'd prefer to bow out at this point. Please don't think me rude if I don't respond to any messages etc, it's just that I have a lot of other things to attend to and simply don't have the time.

Thanks again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Grangur said:

Why, @Marc Day do you have 2 threads to ask this question?

As I've said in the other thread:  

Use a cocktail stick under the string at the line position,  with your finger fretting the string behind the stick.

You can use tape to hold the stick in place if you can't work out how you can get the string to hold the stick in place when you push it down.

 

 

Being fairly new to the site and not that familiar with how it works, I felt that although the repair and tech forum was the right place for it I wasn't sure it might reach more people in general discussion so I did both. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to Basschat. This is a pretty active forum. So it doesn't matter where you post, it all gets read.

Good luck with your bass. If you need more help do come back.

See you around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 19/05/2019 at 19:32, Marc Day said:

Surely it can't just be a case of holding down the sting

image.png.704dfc3780ceb4c6ceefbd1ca9b20fd1.png

 

Edited by SpondonBassed
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

make the G string 34" (if that's the scale length), set the D string saddle further backby the thickness of the D string, and so on. Will be pretty close.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

use an accurate tuner to find out exactly where the 12th fret should be and put a piece of tape across the fingerboard so you don't lose your place. I then use my fingernail at the line to compare with the harmonic and adjust accordingly.  

Or. Follow carol kaye's advice and pull all the bridge saddles right back against the  stops cos no-one can tell the difference in intonation anyway. ( I read this in an interview she did, tried it then decided she was talking shite BTW). 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you’re playing an unlined fretless, then you are (by default) a superior musician to all others in any band situation. Therefore all other instruments are out of tune with you.

This revelation has helped me enormously and haven't bothered setting up intonation or tune my fretless for years. Let the peasants fret about that.

🧐

  • Like 2
  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, oldslapper said:

If you’re playing an unlined fretless, then you are (by default) a superior musician to all others in any band situation. Therefore all other instruments are out of tune with you.

This revelation has helped me enormously and haven't bothered setting up intonation or tune my fretless for years. Let the peasants fret about that.

🧐

Seconded. If anyone tells you you're out, just start explaining 'just intonation' to them and after ten minutes they will zone out and never hassle you again.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 20/05/2019 at 03:28, Grangur said:

Welcome to Basschat. This is a pretty active forum. So it doesn't matter where you post, it all gets read.

Good luck with your bass. If you need more help do come back.

See you around.

Point taken, thanks very much. Looks very much like it is as Hit and miss as I was sure it wouldn't be. I have the info I need and a plan to deal with it, so I should be fine now. Cheers mate. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, oldslapper said:

If you’re playing an unlined fretless, then you are (by default) a superior musician to all others in any band situation. Therefore all other instruments are out of tune with you.

This revelation has helped me enormously and haven't bothered setting up intonation or tune my fretless for years. Let the peasants fret about that.

🧐

Might not be much help, but that's definitely the funniest comment so far. Nice one!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Marc Day said:

Point taken, thanks very much. Looks very much like it is as Hit and miss as I was sure it wouldn't be. I have the info I need and a plan to deal with it, so I should be fine now. Cheers mate. 

What matters is that the intonation is set at least as accurately as you can place your fingers in a real-world playing situation.

This can be done easily in a relaxed situation working on one note at a time.

If you can do this any errors will be masked by the bigger ones you will inevitably make when playing. Most of these will be inaudible and if not you will learn to correct them as you go along (although despite what some people say it's only when playing fairly slowly that you get enough time to hear a note and correct it before moving on to the next one, in practice I find I rely mostly on muscle memory and listen out for my hand position drifting rather than individual bum notes).

+/- 5 or 6 cents is meant to be about the limit of what the ear can detect under ideal conditions. In practice you need to get notes within about +/- 12 cents of the right spot to not sound out of tune (bear in  mind the bass is rarely playing in unison with another instrument which makes exact pitch less critical as you don't get beats etc.) That means the 'critical' zone to get your finger in is about 1/4 of a semitone wide, although most of the time you probably do  better than that!

Get the intonation set to match where you finger naturally falls and it will maximise the chance of you hitting the zone when you are really shredding.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bloody typical! After all that b*****ks the intonation was fine anyway. The up side was that the method I devised worked really well. It meant that I was able to check it properly this time and if I ever actually have to do it I'll know how. 

It might come in handy for some of you other smoothies out there, so this is what I did. It's very simple, but it works well.

Cut a narrow strip (about 2 mm) of tape and place it as squarely as poss across the neck on the octave as a reference.

Instead of holding the string down with your finger, use something narrow and rigid, so that there's far less margin for error. Anything will do, but the Allen key for the truss rod was handy and I used that. Job done.

Looks like I answered my own question in the end, but thanks again everyone for your input.

  • Like 2

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.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



  • Similar Content

    • By Marc Day
      Anyone have any hints or tips on how to deal with the intonation on a fretless accurately. I've done it plenty of times on fretted basses, which is dead easy, so I know how it's done.
      Doing it accurately with no frets is a bit of a different potato. Surely it can't just be a case of holding down the sting and hoping you're not too far out? 
    • By olliedf89
      Hi All,
      Last year I bought a brand new MIM Precision from GAK but I'm having an issue with the E string tension...
      Basically, the E string does not carry the same tension as the other three strings, and as a result sounds much more dead than the others and seems to dull much quicker. This means that when you play the E string it doesn't react or 'bounce back' the same way as the others do. This is noticeable with all techniques but mostly recognisable with fingers and especially with the open E. For example if I'm playing a simple riff that involves open notes and fretted notes, it will often feel like I'm playing out of time because the string doesn't react in the same way as the others.
      Playing in a covers band this is really noticeable when I drop to D or have to pedal an open E note, and when I play through my 410 I notice just how dead and lacklustre the E sounds. It's like someone's secretly muting the E string for me. Just doesn't cut through the same.
      Raising the action does alleviate the problem slightly but by the time it becomes comfortable, it has thrown the feel of the whole bass off and I feel that having to adjust a brand new £600 bass to a stupid set up just to alleviate a problem shouldn't have to happen.
      Also, tuning the E up to F or F# greatly alleviates the problem and increases the tension, but I'm not entirely sure what to do with that information! 
       
      I had this same problem with a Squier 60s CV bass a few years back, and ended up selling the bass after I got nowhere with the issue. I also had a similar problem with a MIM PJ passive Deluxe which I bought off here second hand, though I fixed that issue with a new bridge eventually (something I will try next).
      When I previously took a bass with this problem to a tech, the responses have been a mixture of "no problem here" to "it's your technique not the bass" and I even had a local tech phone me up to tell me it was because I bought a Squier (from the shop HE worked with) and then took the time to explain the differences between Squier and Fender.
       
      The things I have investigated:
      New strings (I've owned it 6 months and replaced the strings frequently- always D'addario XL170s (45-100s) I have heard that people regularly do just get dead strings but this has happened so consistently now that I feel I can eliminate that as an issue) 
      A proper set up (as of now I had the bass set up professionally a week ago with new strings by a chap I trust and have used before, though I'm not saying he's perfect)
      The pickups are owned from new Fender 62RIs (which I also had in the 60sCV which had the same problem, but as I had the problem before the pickups I think I should eliminate them as a problem, though I'm happy to change them if needs be).
      My technique- I do dig in hard, I was bought up on RHCP lines so think a bit of Flea, but never had any issues on any other basses regardless of strings, set up or any other components. (I own several other basses- G&L L2000 Tribute, Lakland Skyline 44-01, 3x Ibanez ATKs, Fender PJ and have played other people's basses too)
      I've played plugged and unplugged and the problem is definitely apparent without amplification but definitely exacerbated with a large amp. It is made better when I use my compressor, though.
       
       
      Next things for me to try are:
      New bridge (Northwest Guitars are out of stock currently) unless anyone can recommend anything else?) They're sub £20 on there and I have had success with them previously.
      New string guages... thicker? thinner? different brand? should I have to adjust my string preference just because a bass doesn't get along with them?
       
      Apologies for the essay! I'm all ears for any responses! Thank you!
       
       
       
×
×
  • Create New...