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 Post subject: Light Gauge Strings Go Sharp...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:15 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2006 3:23 pm
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Location: Okanagan, BC
Has anybody noticed how the fretted notes play somewhat sharp, due to finger pressure and light guage strings?

Maybe I should tune to that condition and just avoid the flatted open string positions.

What would you do?

T


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 11:35 am 
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Personally, I'd try to ease up a bit on the pressure, and trust me, I know what you're talking about! I put some very deep grooves in the frets of my old guitar because I press so hard (the strings occasionally got caught when I was doing bends, it was so bad!). I've worked on that a bit, and things are much better. Plus, it's easier to play faster when you don't bear down so hard!

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 11:55 am 
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The basses are setup at the factory for a light touch. If you play with a heavy touch, you'll need to have a tech match the intonation to your playing style.

+ 1 on Darth's point too though.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 7:45 pm 
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My Dingwalls have allowed me to ease up on the pressure I have to apply with my fretting hand, because they will set up ridiculously low, especially my Voodoo. I've learned that less is indeed more on a Dingwall. Is it excessive fretting pressure that is wearing out the frets on the ABs?

Mark

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 8:03 pm 
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It's funny this came up now...I played a gig last night and used one of my old basses while my Super J is dismantled :( and when I picked my AB up again and started playing I found I was digging in like crazy. Playing Dingwalls has really gotten me back to a light touch, and I like that.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 8:05 am 
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I've never had a light touch and always admired guys who did. It's so much easier to play relaxed. But I don't think light touch is the issue here

It's just a fact with stringed instruments that they go sharp when you fret them--you're pressing them down, after all. The lower your action, the less you sharp the string when you fret it. It's still going to happen, though, and this is want intonation at the bridge is for--to compensate for the tendency to go sharp. But even that is just a compromise--perfect intonation at the 12th fret means imperfect intonation at the 1st.

Here's a couple things I do:

I never tune to open strings. My playing style has evolved to where I don't use the open strings much, so why tune to them? Instead, I usually use a tuner and tune at the fifth fret (C on the G string, G on the D string, etc.), which on gig is where I'll spend most of my time. Sometimes I tune to the seventh fret, but then I notice the low notes, down at the 1st and 2nd fret, are a little out of tune. But they're flat, which you can correct for "on the fly."

I set the intonation not at the 12th fret, but at the 7th fret. That way the area below the 12th fret is more generally in tune. The downside is that the notes above the 12th fret are more out of tune, but honestly I'm not up there all that often. I get better results intonating at the 7th fret

On the other hand, I recently posted a clip that's all above the 12th fret, and to due that I had to tune to the 17th fret. It sounded in tune in the clip, but if I'd played any low notes they would have registered as out of tune

Tuning on a fretted instrument is always a compromise--you're never, ever, going to be perfectly in tune. You might try tuning to the nioes you play most often, whatever your playing style is


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 7:16 pm 
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maxvintage wrote:
I've never had a light touch and always admired guys who did. It's so much easier to play relaxed.


Tuning on a fretted instrument is always a compromise--you're never, ever, going to be perfectly in tune. You might try tuning to the nioes you play most often, whatever your playing style is



Yeah, you never know what's "right". I have a buddy in town that ribs me about my "light touch", like it was an affliction. Mine really isn't so light a touch, and maybe his is "too heavy". If you're playing a bass that won't set up well (i.e. low), then you really have to work too hard, then you lose the character of the tone, and intonation, from beating the hell out of the strings. I've played his Alembic Epic at open mics, and it's like playing an upright- the most exausting electric I've ever played, because of the setup. It doesn't even sound like an Alembic to me because of the action being so high and the heavy string gagues he uses, but he has to set it high because he has a "heavy touch" and heavy strings. It's horrible, and totally against how Mr. W. intended his basses to be setup, IMHO. When I had my Series 1's it was low action, light strings, and a "light touch". Hmm, that sounds like how I set up my Dingwalls. Sheldon has talked about this in the past, IIRC.



I get what you are saying, but I would never tune to fretted notes because it's not a stable frequency due to finger pressure varying. I like the sound of open strings and I use them as much as is practical. True, 99.9% of the notes we play are fretted ones, but if the set up is right (low) and the intonation is set well, then fretted notes will only be a couple of cents off at most -maybe less- not enough to notice.


Mark

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 10:08 pm 
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Location: Katy, TX
You also have to take into consideration that if you have nickle frets and stainless steel strings the frets are going to flatten out, shifting a lot of fretted notes slightly sharp. "You're intonation goes out the window".

I'm a huge advocate of stainless steel frets because they are so durable and the crown lasts way longer preserving the factory intonation.

SS strings on SS frets is a good combination. SS strings wear out nickle frets, just the nature of the alloys. Opoxy is more resistant to wear than nickle IMHO. :shock:

You shouldn't have to chase the perfect set up through out a 5-8year period, releveling and crowning the frets, lowering the nut slots as the frets wear down. IMO you always want the string to wear out not the nickle frets. If a drum head flattened or dulled the bearing edge on a drum, drummers would absolutley avoid that head.

You also have to consider the neck PU is pulling the string sharp if the action is really low. Can you test to see if that's happening?

I agree w/other posts, high action makes you dig in and fret too hard. I prefer my action low 2/32G-3/32B.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 12:10 am 
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Funkshwey wrote:
...I agree w/other posts, high action makes you dig in and fret too hard. I prefer my action low 2/32G-3/32B.


+1. I prefer my action low and allow the preamp and amp to project me (having enough headroom allows for great dynamics without straining your hands; belive me that I know a thing or two on that)

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 Post subject: Re: Light Gauge Strings Go Sharp...
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:13 pm
Posts: 168
Location: West Coast
The Bass Sherpa wrote:
Has anybody noticed how the fretted notes play somewhat sharp, due to finger pressure and light guage strings?

Maybe I should tune to that condition and just avoid the flatted open string positions.

What would you do?

T

When you say "somewhat" sharp, do you mean it reads sharp on a tuner or does the note actually sound sharp to you? FWIW, I would check you're fretted notes against your open strings by ear(5th and 7th fret), if it sounds out of tune you may have some intonation issue(s).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 10:15 pm 
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Location: TN USA
Also, nobody has mentioned that the closer your fretting finger is to the actual fret, the harder it is to push it sharp. For example, if your finger was directly on top of the fret it wouldn't be physically possible to pull the string sharp w/ heavy touch. Of course the note would sound muted. So, for me the best compromise is to play just barely behind the fret, enough to NOT mute the note while also minimizing the heavy-touch/sharpness effect. Dingwalls w/ their small frets also helps minimize this problem, the string meets the fretboard wood quicker than it would w/ taller frets. Another reason to LOVE Dingwalls! :D

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