Josh’s setup video

I found a video last night where Josh shows how to do a setup. I followed along on the intonation part. Never really understood what that was, still don’t really. But I did the adjusting on my 3 four string Basses because they have the same bridge that his has, and I was curious to see if I would notice a difference.
First off it was fun tweaking my Basses, I started with my SBMM Stringray late last night, was too tired to stay up and play when I finished so I left playing for today. I did my Dean Edge and Squier Precision today, haven’t played them yet. I did play the Sterling today. It sounds great, played for about 45 minutes. Always loved playing that guitar, now even more. Even my nonexistent slapping skills sound better.
I’m thinking maybe I’ll play the Dean tomorrow and save the Squire for Monday. You know, spread the joy out longer.
Thanks for the video Josh. If somebody could explain what intonation is that would be cool.


Intonation is lining up where the notes occur on a sting to match the fretboard. They will be slightly off without intonation.

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Intonation is correct when the bridge saddles are set to the exact point where the string length from nut to saddle allows a note to be in tune, one octave apart, when plucked open and at the 12th fret.

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I think intonation is a fascinating thing and when it’s explained properly, it makes sense.
Most of us may know that the “Precision” bass was called that because Leo Fender inferred that because the neck had frets positioned at the mathematically correct spots for each note, you would actually get that note when you wanted it. Double bass players of course, had no frets.

But seeing as the frets weren’t able to be moved, what happens if the fret position isn’t in the right place?
We change the string tension to get the strings in tune for the set length of the string. But if the frets are in the wrong place, only the open strings will be in tune. Dilemma!

So the saddles were designed to allow the length of the open string to be varied a bit.
By varying the length of the string and tuning it to the appropriate note, we can match up the permanent divisions set by the frets to the appropriate points on the string to produce the desired note. (with the least compromise in accuracy)

This is why you have to remember to keep the right sequence of:

  1. Change string vibrating length with the saddle.
  2. Tune string with tension.
  3. Check tune at 12th (and sometimes 24th) fret
  4. Repeat if needed.

Handily, my stroboscopic tuner rotation shows me which way to turn the screwdriver.