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Intonation issues on 60th Jazz Bass


sirmuppet
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Hi All. I have a question regarding the intonation on m Jazz Bass. I have a 60th anniversary one and it's been setup a few times. By me, then a local store and by me again. It seems the intnation is a little out and I'm really noticing it while practacing along via headphones to some songs. So I've set it up as per Fenders guide. Tuned to Open and also harmonic notes. Then fretted (pressure as per how I would play) on the 12th fret and it's bang on. Used a pitchblack custom stobe tuner to do so. When I check the note closer to the nut, the get sharp. Towards the bridge they're flat. 

 

I have another standard jazz bass I just got and checked that. This doesn't have that issue. I've taken measurements of both below. 

 

Relief: I've check under both the E & G strings, cappo on first fret, held down on the last fret and measured between the string and 8th fret. Standard Jazz .60mm / Anniversary .35mm

Action: Checked at the 17th fret, unfretted. Standard 2.75mm on both bass & treble side / Anniversary 3mm oon the bass side and 2.5mm on the treble side.

Height above 1st fret (Measured with a feeler gauge): Standard E=.65mm, A=.65mm, D=.75mm, G=.75mm / Anniversay E=.70mm, A=.70mm, D=.60mm, G=.55mm

 

The standard is obviously not set to Fender specs and is 9.5" radius while the Anniversay is set to Fender specs albiet with the action a tad higher as I play with a pick and it's 7.25" radius. 

 

Is there anything here to anyone the would suggest why the anniversary when intonated open and fretted at the 12th would be sharp as it gets to the nut and flat as it gets to the bridge? Pictues of the respective bridges are attached. The one with the gold strip is the anniversary on. Any advice would be great. 

60th.jpg

standard.jpg

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My only comments are, a fretted instrument will never be exactly in tune at all frets. 
You don’t say if the problem is with all strings. 
I note the bridge saddles on E and A on the Anniversary seem to be a long way back compared to my own, albeit very much older, Jazz, and your Standard. 

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10 minutes ago, Cliff Edge said:

My only comments are, a fretted instrument will never be exactly in tune at all frets. 
You don’t say if the problem is with all strings. 
I note the bridge saddles on E and A on the Anniversary seem to be a long way back compared to my own, albeit very much older, Jazz, and your Standard. 

I'd have to check but from memory it's all of them, some more so than others. I could do some measurements to see how much they are out by. 

 

I did also note that about the saddles. I could move them back and see if it intonates there. That said I'm running 105-45. Would that make a huge difference given the D & G would be thinner? On my P-bass it's more even as you'd expect but on that it's 105-50.

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105-45 LaBellas here. When I used the Fender setup guide I couldn’t get it right. 
How I do it now, after checking relief, tune the open string then check at the 12th fret, not the harmonic. Adjust the saddle until both are in tune then check the 12th fret harmonic which should also be in tune. 
String height is a matter of taste so go with what suits you..

I repeat, the instrument will not be in perfect tune at every fret but this method is as close as I get. 

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28 minutes ago, Cliff Edge said:

105-45 LaBellas here. When I used the Fender setup guide I couldn’t get it right. 
How I do it now, after checking relief, tune the open string then check at the 12th fret, not the harmonic. Adjust the saddle until both are in tune then check the 12th fret harmonic which should also be in tune. 
String height is a matter of taste so go with what suits you..

I repeat, the instrument will not be in perfect tune at every fret but this method is as close as I get. 

How do you measure the relief on your neck? I know there's a few different ways of doing it. 

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2 hours ago, sirmuppet said:

It's all strings and the lower notes that are sharp. Anything above the 12th fret is flat. 

 

Sorry, I miss-typed.

If the nut is cut high, fretting lower notes means you have to overstretch the strings making the notes sharper the closer you get to the nut. Combined with excessive neck bow this could cause the symptoms you describe.

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1 hour ago, Stub Mandrel said:

 

Sorry, I miss-typed.

If the nut is cut high, fretting lower notes means you have to overstretch the strings making the notes sharper the closer you get to the nut. Combined with excessive neck bow this could cause the symptoms you describe.

Yeah, that's how I figured it might go. Do you think the spacing I mentioned on the first fret would suggest a high nut?

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Neck Relief... fret at 1st and where the neck joins the body... 16th - should be about a credit card-ish gap to the string at 7 and 9 fret wires...

 

Nut Height... fret at 3rd... should be a slight 'tap' to the 1st fret wire...

 

So your numbers look good...

Edited by PaulThePlug
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8 hours ago, PaulThePlug said:

Neck Relief... fret at 1st and where the neck joins the body... 16th - should be about a credit card-ish gap to the string at 7 and 9 fret wires...

 

Nut Height... fret at 3rd... should be a slight 'tap' to the 1st fret wire...

 

So your numbers look good...

 

Cool. I'l check those a little latter today.

 

My neck relief was measured cappoed at the first, held down on the last fret and checked at the 8th. 

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I'm intrigued ! Seems nut is good, relief is good, tuning accuracy (open) good, good on 12th. Sharp in lower range, flat above 12th.
I don't think there are many things this could be. I have known strings stretch over time (very small amount but enough to produce intonation issues). The string core doesn't stretch in a uniform way so on some frets it may be a tads flat, others a tads sharp. But the idea all 4 strings are uniformly off says it isn't the strings.
The only other way I could possibly imagine is the actual frets are wrong... surely not, but you've eliminated everything else.
Don't know where you are but I'd probably take it to a good maker/luthier for a check-over. Down my way that would be Martin at Bass Gallery (maker of the excellent Sei).
I'm interested, let us know if and how you resolve this.

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15 minutes ago, Soledad said:

I'm intrigued ! Seems nut is good, relief is good, tuning accuracy (open) good, good on 12th. Sharp in lower range, flat above 12th.
I don't think there are many things this could be. I have known strings stretch over time (very small amount but enough to produce intonation issues). The string core doesn't stretch in a uniform way so on some frets it may be a tads flat, others a tads sharp. But the idea all 4 strings are uniformly off says it isn't the strings.
The only other way I could possibly imagine is the actual frets are wrong... surely not, but you've eliminated everything else.
Don't know where you are but I'd probably take it to a good maker/luthier for a check-over. Down my way that would be Martin at Bass Gallery (maker of the excellent Sei).
I'm interested, let us know if and how you resolve this.

I'm up in Scotland. I'll have it checked out again. The strings are new and TBH I don't normally play D'addario. So I may pick up a set of Ernie Balls for when I need to restring, just in case it's the strings. 

 

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The question that has to be asked is - how flat/sharp?

 

The Westone I have next to me, when tuned so E is in tune open and at 12th fret, but the first fret (F) is a tiny bit  flat (in tune indicator and the one to the left both lit) and the 20th fret (C) is tiny bit sharp. A Squier Jag SS is spot on.

 

That's with a Snark Super Tight.

 

 But you are the second person to report this issue in a few days with a Korg Pitchblack Strobe.

 

"the new Pitchblack Custom has an incredible +/- 0.1 cent accuracy".

 

Bearing in mind that the ear can typically detect errors of around 2 cents, and most tuners are sensitive to 1 cent, what this  really means is that "the new pitchblack custom magnifies any tiny tuning errors making you paranoid".

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1 hour ago, sirmuppet said:

'm up in Scotland. I'll have it checked out again. The strings are new and TBH I don't normally play D'addario. So I may pick up a set of Ernie Balls for when I need to restring, just in case it's the strings. 

I'd place a hefty bet it isn't the strings, provided you are finding all 4 are somewhat sharp at say 5 or 7 frets. Uniform wrongness doesn't happen. Also D'Addario are good anyway.

Stumped ! You say in OP you hear the flat/sharp when playing so the high resolution of the tuner isn't presenting the problem. I have found guitar or bass 'techs' are a mixed lot, but a reputed maker / luthier may get inside the issue.

Keep us posted.

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4 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

The question that has to be asked is - how flat/sharp?

 

The Westone I have next to me, when tuned so E is in tune open and at 12th fret, but the first fret (F) is a tiny bit  flat (in tune indicator and the one to the left both lit) and the 20th fret (C) is tiny bit sharp. A Squier Jag SS is spot on.

 

That's with a Snark Super Tight.

 

 But you are the second person to report this issue in a few days with a Korg Pitchblack Strobe.

 

"the new Pitchblack Custom has an incredible +/- 0.1 cent accuracy".

 

Bearing in mind that the ear can typically detect errors of around 2 cents, and most tuners are sensitive to 1 cent, what this  really means is that "the new pitchblack custom magnifies any tiny tuning errors making you paranoid".

Interestig that someone else reports that. I'll check how sharp it is. What is each block on a tuner equal to? I mean I can say "x" amount of block but unless we know what each is equal to we won't know how many cents off it is I guess.

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3 hours ago, Soledad said:

I'd place a hefty bet it isn't the strings, provided you are finding all 4 are somewhat sharp at say 5 or 7 frets. Uniform wrongness doesn't happen. Also D'Addario are good anyway.

Stumped ! You say in OP you hear the flat/sharp when playing so the high resolution of the tuner isn't presenting the problem. I have found guitar or bass 'techs' are a mixed lot, but a reputed maker / luthier may get inside the issue.

Keep us posted.

Yeah, I heard it at first which is why I initially checked it. I've got a gig tomorrow with a new band. So I'll check what it's out by and let you know. 

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39 minutes ago, sirmuppet said:

Interestig that someone else reports that. I'll check how sharp it is. What is each block on a tuner equal to? I mean I can say "x" amount of block but unless we know what each is equal to we won't know how many cents off it is I guess.

 

Do you have the 'new' Pitchblack Custom? If so it's 0.1 cent.

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1 hour ago, Stub Mandrel said:

 

Do you have the 'new' Pitchblack Custom? If so it's 0.1 cent.

I the pitchblack custom but I've had it for years. Doesn't look any different to the one that's out now, though I'm sure I got mine near release. 1 cent is the accuracy you're right. Is each bar 1 cent though? It seems the amount of bars isn't any more than most tuners. 

 

I've just tried it quickly with 2 snarks, both different models. They show it more or less fine up to the 2/3 frets where it's about by between 2 and 3 bars on the snark (Sharp). 

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This reminds me of  an old old story...

 

Little old lady gets given a Morris 1000. After a week she takes it back to the dealers complaining of rough running and rubbish fuel economy. Leaves it with them and goes for a haircut. 2 hours later she's back and the mechanic tells her he can't find anything wrong with it. He asks her to demonstrate the problem. She hops in, pulls out the choke out of the dash, and hangs her handbag on it.

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7 hours ago, Downunderwonder said:

This reminds me of  an old old story...

 

Little old lady gets given a Morris 1000. After a week she takes it back to the dealers complaining of rough running and rubbish fuel economy. Leaves it with them and goes for a haircut. 2 hours later she's back and the mechanic tells her he can't find anything wrong with it. He asks her to demonstrate the problem. She hops in, pulls out the choke out of the dash, and hangs her handbag on it.

As old as I am, I'm not old enough to have owned a car with a choke. Lol. 

 

If you're suggesting it's something I'm doing then it's possible but it doesn't occur on any other bass that I play or setup. My conclusion is it might be the nut. 

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