Posted by The Anti-Fender Society on December 04, 2000 at 15:49:48:
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....
: Pat H
I don't know nuthin' about calculus and I thought Plato was some kind of political cat. What I do know is that your totally right on when it comes to screwing with your bridge. Because of the simple fact that the 12th fret has to be EXACTLY in the middle of the vibrating portion of the string, manufacturers put those adjustment screws in so that you can adjust it in case something gets changed. (An example would be raising the bridge. As you say, rasing or lowering the bridge...even a couple of millimeters would chang the length of the vibrating part of each string. So, if you did that, the next step would be to re-adjust those saddle screws.)
That's what the saddle screws are there for...to keep that exactly accurate. If some freak show is taking about messing with those things for some other reason, I don't even want to know why. And I definitely, definitely, definitely do not want to hear the dude play.
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