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Posted by El Pájaro on April 19, 2001 at 07:19:54:
In Reply to: Intonation Adjustments posted by DBS on April 18, 2001 at 11:24:28:
: The intonation on my strings seem to all run to the sharp side farther up the neck. I backed the bridge saddle nuts away from the pick-ups a little on the G-D-A strings and corrected the situation. I had to back the E string out further than the others. When I got to the Low-B, I had to back the saddle nut almost out to the limit. Do I have some kind of problem that requires a truss adjustment?
Once I read luthier Rick Turner said something very interesting about intonation: it's like painting the Golden Gate bridge; when you think you're done, it's time to start over again.
Due to the inherent intricacies of our Western tempered intonation system AND the nature of bass strings, the quest for perfect intonation is a neverending one. Since bass strings have mass (a lot of it, BTW), they will simply NEVER act like Pythagoras' theoretical string (upon which all string sound production is based). All of this means that the harmonics produced by a plucked bass string are NOT always perfect multiples of the fundamental, which in turn produces the intonation problems you mention.
Knowing this, all we can do is strive for an intonation that's not "perfect" but "close enough" instead. A bummer, I know, but that's the nature of the beast and there's little we can do about it. Buena suerte and keep that bass up front in the mix,
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