Strings and Intonation?

I’ve just changed strings on my bass and am having an issue. No matter how far I put the saddles forward, the intonation is still flat. To the point that I can’t put them forward anymore.

They are a different string manufacturer. The new ones are Dunlop Superbrights. After doing some research, others have had the same issues with these strings. The issue is consistent across all four strings.

I’m fairly confident that it is not anything else on the bass. I’ve checked the truss rod, etc. Intonation was not an issue with the previous strings.

Also, the strings that were on it (Sadowsky Blue Label [I think]), I don’t think they make anymore. The threads I saw about this issue recommended D’Addario strings instead.

I’m trying to understand this though as it is not something I’d expect to happen. Anyone have anything to say about this? Is this a tension thing?

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Not sure why the heck this would happen.
I only use D’Addario strings but have to say this is a really weird issue and it will be interesting to see what others have to say.

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You have stumped me.
Did you stretch them good? This should flatten out the pitch and cause you to tighten them up even more.
No idea if this would help, stabbing in the dark.

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Yeah I would say make sure they are adequately stretched. Bummer though.

You weren’t seeing this with the previous strings? If this happens with lots of strings it may mean the bridge is mispositioned, but I seriously doubt that.

Is the tension on these strings significantly different? Did they lose a lot of neck relief or something and thus artificially lengthen or shorten the scale a bit? Trying to imagine what could cause this.

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Good point Howard. Check neck relief.
And neck bolt tightness

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Check your witness points at the saddle and the nut.

If you lowered your action, check your pickup height. It could be that the pickups are too close to the string and the magnetic pull is affecting the way the string oscillates and the intonation. I’ve seen this happen before but usually on the E string.

Also, if the tension on this set is a lot lower than your previous one, that could cause the neck to be back bowed and it would flatten your intonation. I think I saw you mention in your last video that you had string buzz after changing the strings, this may be happening and you may need a truss rod adjustment.

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I don’t know the tension of the previous strings as they aren’t published and those strings are discontinued now.

I did have to adjust the truss rod a bit after changing the strings, but nothing significant.

The neck relief is fine. All the bolts are tightened. I’ve gone over every other thing multiple times and it is all correct. It’s just that all the strings are flat at the 12th even with the saddles all the way forward.

I even measured the scale length just to be sure that wasn’t it, but it is a standard 34" scale with the 12th fret exactly at 17". Everything is pointing to the strings being the issue. I’m just baffled by that. Going to write to the retailer now and see what they say. I guess these would fall under faulty strings. It’s a shame as I like the tone a lot from these strings.

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I’m trying to picture how this could even happen due to some property of the string itself.

All the intonation is doing is setting the midpoint of the string to be exactly over the 12th fret. This should be the same regardless of the string itself - it’s a function of the geometry of the bass.

So, either with these strings, the geometry is different (i.e. tension varied greatly) or something we are all missing is happening.

The differences in tension are why you need to intonate after changing strings and adjusting the truss rod, but once you have corrected with the truss rod, the adjustments should be minor.

So weird.

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I assume you didn’t have that issue before on that bass!?! Or, perhaps, you didn’t notice??

One alternative explanation (and potentially a really bad one) is that the frets are not where they are supposed to be!?! Have you checked the 12th fret with the overtone/harmonic at the 12th fret??

Just brainstorming here… fingers crossed it is NOT bad fret placement…

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Or a misplaced bridge more likely, yeah. But that seems super unlikely, given he measured it.

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Ah, yes, agree… didn’t read properly :wink:

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@JT: You didn’t put on a Zero Fret or anything else that would change the intonation distance, right?

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Everything was fine with the previous strings.

All measurements are spot on.

I think I’ll just need to try a different set of strings and see what happens.

Here’s the thread where someone had the exact same issue with these exact same strings earlier this year. They changed to a different brand of strings and the issue went away.

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No, it is still all original. I have no plans to do anything to this bass as I love it as it is.

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Good plan.

Based on the other thread it sounds like a common problem with these strings. The thing that bugs me is I can’t see why that would be if everything measured correctly with them on. I’d like to understand this :slight_smile:

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Wow, you’d think they had a handle on making these strings reproducibly these days…

Come to think of it: I had Dunlop steels on my MiM Jazz (while I had it) and - apart from not liking the feel and sound of them - I remember having a hard(er) time getting the intonation right…

Yeah, so there should be plenty of alternatives to the Dunlop Superbrights - no need to accept bad QC or, perhaps worse, a fundamentally flawed string design.

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So the retailer agreed that it sounds like faulty strings and refunded them. I’ve just ordered some D’Addario NYXL’s. Will let you guys know if that does indeed fix the issue or not when I change them. I still don’t understand the physics at play here if it is the strings that were faulty, but I don’t understand the inner-workings of strings either. :slight_smile:

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For future reference and because @Ruknrole 's point didn’t get enough attention (and also considering the recent “controversy” on string stretching), I think this is an important article:

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This is a great article.
Thinking more on the nut side, if the takeoff point isn’t on the front edge of the nut, you are adding length there too which may not be able to be compensated for if you are on the edge.

Thanks for sharing this @joergkutter, good stuff!

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I glazed over @Ruknrole 's post as I didn’t know what they meant. However, having learned what a witness point is and checking those, they are all fine.

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