Interesting...a question

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Posted by Emptyeye on November 29, 2000 at 14:44:38:

In Reply to: Intonation facts and fiction posted by Pat Harrington on November 20, 2000 at 01:04:50:

: I just read a posting on another website by a very famous bassist
: saying that "pulling the bridges back will NOT affect tuning"
: This statement is not only ignorant but absolutely DEAD WRONG!!!
: A bass guitar (or ANY other stringed instrument for that matter)
: works on a MATHEMATICAL equation of incremental string lengths.
: (This was discovered by Plato, by the way) For instance, the
: Fender basses use a 34" scale. If you cut that in half, you have
: 17 inches, which will give you the 12th fret, the OCTAVE...
: As you go further and further up the neck, the divisions get
: incrementally smaller (as do the distance between frets) This
: technically is a CALCULUS FUNCTION, which determines the accelerated
: rate of change, (divisions of smaller and smaller divisions.
: Not only do we have this mathematical function over the normal
: notes (divisions of string length), but the string also has
: an overtone series ("harmonics" for the layman), just like a
: trumpet, guitar, whatever...SO.........If you wanna goof with
: your bridge saddles, and yank them all over the place, go right
: ahead, but your bass WILL NOT play in tune, NO WAY, NO HOW....
: The Fender type bridge has OVER 1 1/2 inches of adjustability in
: the travel of the saddle, this is nearly 5% of the total scale
: length...It may not sound so bad on the first couple of frets,
: but as you climb up the neck, it will get EXPONENTIALLY worse...
: Many factors affect intonation, especially string guage and
: the height of each saddle...If you drastically RAISE your bridges,
: you will marginally go out of intonation (remember the Pythagorean
: Theorem?). SO...if you want to your bass to play in tune, check
: your tuning with a GOOD tuner...Tune the open string, check the
: tuning at the 12th fret, and check the harmonic at the 12th fret
: as well...Leo Fender was no dummy...The 34 inch scale should be
: almost EXACTLY that...give or take like a 32nd or so of an inch
: to adjust for the differing diameters of the strings themselves..
: People can all kinds of weird OPINIONS about all kinds of crazy
: shit, but MATHEMATICS DO NOT LIE!!!!... Keep 'em in tune gang....

: Cheers,
: Pat H

Cool post. A couple questions though:
Playing an Ibanez SR-406, I decided to check the intonation on my bass, sure enough, it was flat. And you're correct about the whole math thing by the the 12th fret, I really couldn't tell unless I used a tuner, but by the 24 fret it was noticably off.
So I tried to adjust the intonation myself. Here are the results:
Reintoned (If it wasn't a word before, it is now) well: B, E and C strings
Reintoned acceptably: G-String (I now have slight fret buzz on the 12th fret)
Reintoned fairly: D-String (See above, and I didn't reintone it's no longer noticeably off though.
Reintoned poorly: A-string...for some reason, the saddle wouldn't move even when I adjusted the screws. It was weird; the screws were coming out, like they were supposed to, but the saddle wasn't moving. I also have fret buzz here, which annoys me. Tried raising the action, it didn't help (Buzz is when I play the 12th fret).

What did I do wrong? Particularly with that A-string. Keep in mind the bass still plays pretty well, but the buzz is annoying. )*&)*&^* Help! Thanks!

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