Intonation

I never thought about checking intonation on my bass guitar (Stella, my Washburn Bantam Series XB120) before after all this time. For those of you who don’t understand intonation, let’s take a look at the Wikipedia entry shall we:

Fret intonation

Instruments with straight frets such as guitars require special compensation on the saddle and nut. Every time a string is fretted, it is also stretched. As the string is stretched, every note will rise in pitch. Therefore, all fretted tones would sound sharp. However, with the right position of the saddle and precise placements of the frets, all fretted notes will sound sharp by the same amount. With the right nut compensation, the pitch of the unfretted (i.e., open) strings will rise the same amount that the fretted notes do (because of the proper saddle position). Thus, these adjustments combined with lowering the tension of the string from that required by an unfretted instrument will allow all tones to be exact.

So after all this time, I finally checked intonation on my bass guitar. I discovered that only my D string had the correct intonation which invoked me to adjust it properly. After close to an hour, I got all strings except the A string correctly. I don’t really mind the A string being not perfect since I’m not really a professional musician nor do I have the adequate tools and knowledge to fully adjust and fine-tine my instrument. As a result, I was also able to lower my action that significantly helps during hard to play parts. I suggest that anyone playing string instruments check their intonation if they haven’t done so. You don’t have to do it that often like tuning but it affects your tone which you want to be perfect every time you play.

Window Shopping

After school, I went window shopping for a new bass guitar at Cubao. I didn’t want to travel too far as I was just window shopping anyway and I knew that I won’t find anything that would suite me for both price and sound. There were two major retailers that I was planning to go to, Perfect Pitch and Audiophile that are conveniently located in Ali Mall. To my disappointment, Ali Mall’s renovation was still on-going after months now and had temporarily removed Perfect Pitch. Because of this, Audiophile was the only shop I went to today. The second floor, which housed the guitars and basses, was vacant as usual. More interesting was that every single bass guitar I picked up to examine was literally covered with dust. There were a few basses that could my eye. All of them were Ibanez since that was what the shop carried. I finally was able to sit down and properly examine a 6-string bass for the first time. As an initial impression, the fretboard was way too chunky for me. It was nice playing the bass though since the action was low and tight, but not too much for tapping. And that was it for basses. They didn’t carry that much basses as their inventory’s about to change soon. What I did discover though was they did carry GHS Boomer bass strings. and that they had a branch here around Marikina that does repairs on guitars. I got the address and phone number after a prolonged wait since the guard of the store didn’t have the address and telephone number of the branch. Waiting was fine with me, especially since some of the staff in the shop was listening to Dream Theater.