Friday, 20 April 2007
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I've had my AB1 5-string for a couple of weeks. I've been playing nightly to cd's and the radio. I'm in a band but we've not rehearsed (for various reasons) since I've gotten my new axe, so I've not yet played it with other musicians but will be soon. What's confusing my is that while I'm playing to cd's or radio -even though I've tuned it perfectly with my Boss TU-12 analog tuner (meter/needle - not led's) some but not all notes sound sharp to my ear. I'm quite familiar with intonation and have regularly adjusted the intonation of my Jazz Bass after changing strings. The intonation on my new AB1 was slightly off right out of the box. I had a great phone conversation with Sheldon (what a cool dude) and he explained in great detail about adjusting the truss rod to bring it into proper intonation. I did this - turned the truss rod an eighth of a clockwise turn because the fretted notes compared with the harmonics at the 12th fret were slightly sharp. By decreasing the bow of the neck (straightening it) it results in less stretching of the strings when fretting notes thus "flat-ing" the fretted notes. One last thing... my hearing is pretty good. I'm not saying I have perfect pitch but I'm good at telling if a note is off pitch. I'm the one in my band that is always telling my bandmates when they're out of tune before they realize it themselves. So I'm confused about why some notes are sharp (when checked with my tuner, and also sound sharp to my ear) even when the intonation is correctly adjusted at the 12th fret. Could this be due to the instrument being so precisely constructed that tuning it correctly requires a more accurate tuner (stroboscope)? Anyone else experience anything like this? [/i]
14 years ago
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#5777
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I'll offer that some guys might pick a DW up and attack it like they would a 34" with med high action. You can lighten up your attack. I use a Peterson strobo stomp. When tuning do you hit the open strings lightly with perfect technique, and then when you get to cookin' up some pocket maybe you're hitting a little harder and fretting harder? When you hit harder the string orbit increases making the string go sharp at the attack. Are you frettin' right up against the fret and not in the middle? You've only had it for a couple of weeks so your frets should be good. I've seen some really good bass players from my drummers throne at rehearsals pull down on the strings with their pinky just slightly when using trying to use proper technique sometimes. I'm probably guilty of it too. :oops: EDIT: Valkyrie, do you have any parallel fretted basses? Try the same thing with a 34" parallel fretted bass and tell us your findings.
14 years ago
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#5781
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A good tuner will give you a more accurate 'picture' of what is going on. I highly recommend the Peterson Strobostomp. I was tweaking the intonation on my AB-1 a few days ago and discovered a trick when working with the saddle for the B. It was slipping back toward the nut. The simple solution was to hold it in place with the eraser of a pencil inserted into the 'saddle channel' to hold the saddle stationary while snugging the locking screws. Just wanted to share that. Good luck tuning in! Ken
14 years ago
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#5783
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Another thing to consider is that it is your CD player that is out of tune! The pitch of the music youi are playing to is greatly affected by the speed at which the music is being processed by the player. I have a Tascam bass trainer that allows you to slightly slow down or speed up the speed of the music, to permit you to tune the player to your bass. I don't know how good the Boss tuner is (I also like the Peterson Strobostomp), but the chances are that the bass is in reasnably good tune and that it is your CD player that is out of tune with the bass.
14 years ago
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#5785
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Big thanks for all your suggestions. They make sense to me. Funkshwey... I think you may have nailed at least a few "issues". I definitely do dig in too much. When talking with Sheldon yesterday this came up. I want to re-train myself to play with a much lighter touch. In fact this was one of the main reasons I decided to go with a DW. Toward this end, Sheldon suggested adjusting the truss rod - to lower the action and have the fret buzz that will result from digging in too much be an immediate "negative reinforcer". He also suggested I turn my amp volume up louder than I normally would as an additional encouragement to play with a lighter touch. I like this idea too (what bass player wouldn't). Your other comment about exactly where I'm positioning my left fingers when fretting e.g. not right up against the fret, was something I wondered about affecting pitch. Again, I'm realizing I do need to do some retraining of my fingers to the fanned fretting. Spiritbass... you're confirming for me what I wondered about, i.e. maybe my DW needs a more precise tuner. Yesterday, I went to my local independently owned and operated music store and asked if they had any Peterson Strobostomp tuners (he didn't). The guy asked if I wanted to tune a cello or violin. I told him about my new DW (which he'd never heard of and tried to sell my a Lightwave bass) and he told me a strobe tuner for a bass is overkill! I don't agree and I'm glad to hear some of you do think our DW's benefit from extremely accurate tuning. Finally, BuffaloBob... I don't know if my cd player is out of tune. It's a Sony ES 555 (their "audiophile" line) player. However, I do find that almost every cd I play is not precisely in any particular key. More often than not, songs are between keys. I'm lazy and prefer not to retune my bass with each cd I play... but maybe I need to start doing this. Maybe I'll get the Tascam with adjustable pitch... Again, thanks mucho for all your intelligent suggestions and comments. I'll get back to you. Burt
14 years ago
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#5792
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I wanted to report back that I bought a Peterson Strobostomp 2. Wow... it truly does make a difference. I wouldn't have thought that the difference in tuning between the Peterson and my old Boss TU-12 would have been this significant. I've only played my AB1 for a couple of hours last night after tuning up with the strobostomp but I must say, it brought all the strings into very precise tuning. For the first time the instrument sounded in tune to my ear. For awhile there, I thought I must be nuts! The intonation (fretted note compared to harmonic at the 12th fret) isn't perfect - it's very close though. So, my next question is: Are the saddles adjustable on an AB1? They certainly appear to be, but in that conversation I had with Sheldon that I mentioned previously, unless I misunderstood him, I thought he said that the saddles were [i:bmhr1e8w]not[/i:bmhr1e8w] adjustable and that the only way intonation can be adjusted is via truss rod adjustment. Is this so? Thanks, Burt
14 years ago
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#5793
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I'm pretty sure your ABI has the same bridge as my ABII. In that case I think adjusting the saddles is simply a matter of loosening the two black allen screws on either side of the string height adjustment screws, sliding the saddle to the new location and re-tightening. I haven't had to do it, but that's what looks like all that needs to be done.
14 years ago
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#5794
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Hi Burt, As John mentioned, the saddles are adjustable via the two black allen set-screws which are used to lock the saddle in it's track. Intonation is very affected by action, so my suggestion is to dial in the action first starting with the truss-rod, then if needed adjust the saddles. Once the action is where you like it, then adjust the intonation. A couple of things that can throw things out are plucking intensity and string arc over the saddle. The harder you pluck, the sharper the pitch will start out at and the longer it will take to stabilize at actual pitch. It's interesting to pluck a sustained note and watch the pitch change on your tuner. When Mike Kroeger is in the studio, if he's playing a series of 1/8 notes, he'll have someone monitoring a tuner and adjusting his tuning key on the fly as he records. String arc over the saddle is caused by the string being too stiff to bend sharply over the saddle. Instead it forms an arc. This makes the tone a little woolly and throws out the intonation. The simple fix for this is using your fingers, apply a very SLIGHT downward pressure to the string on either side of the riser screws.
14 years ago
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#5797
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I'll also add Valkyrie to write down the adjustments you make to the bass, ie an 1/8 turn on the TR clockwise or saddles lowered or raised x amount of a turn. Sounds anal but if you adjust the bass slightly out of wack you can reset the action of the bass back to "zero" easily and quickly.
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