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.


Woes Of A Bassist In The Philippines

Being a bassist and living in the Philippines is hard. No one pays much attention to bass guitars locally as compared to guitars or to some extent the drums. When you enter every music shop, there will always be a significant difference between the number of choices available. Luckily, there are some shops that pay appropriate attention to us.

Yupangco is one of them. They carry a multitude of mid to high end bass guitars that will satisfy my crave for a new bass. I recently e-mailed them to inquirer the price of the new 2008 Fender American Deluxe. This is exactly how I e-mailed them:

Hi. I’d like to inquire if you carry the new Fender Deluxe Jazz Basses (2008 model) for retail.

They did reply 3 days after, but the problem is it wasn’t what I specifically asked. The important parts are quoted directly from their reply:

Model			Description			Regular Price

Fretless Jazzbass	US Standard Fretless Jazzbass	P52,950.00

Package Jazzbas		Jazzbass Package w/ 15w amp	P18,750.00

Well, I tried to be as specific as possible but still some people don’t understand. The Standard is very different from the Deluxe. I no longer want to resend an inquiry due to their high prices. They’re asking for 52,950 Philippine Pesos (approximately US $1261 using $1 = P42) which can be bought for 48,300 Philippine Pesos abroad. Yeah sure, shipping is an issue but that’s a different issue. I asked for the Deluxe damn it.  Even though it was just an inquiry, it was incorrect with what I asked.

EVERYMUSIC is a store, that imports all sort of goods regardless of being music instruments or not, which I discovered online. They do have a brick and mortar business at Cubao but I am hesitant to visit their show room since I’m afraid of creating another episode of a misadventure when I go exploring to some destination I’ve never been to before. Again, I e-mailed them using the power and convenience of the internet and their reply came in less than 24 hours:

Good day sir,

Geddy Lee Jazz Bass ; p49470

Thank you.

That’s a lot for the bass. After conversation, the cheapest available Geddy Lee Jazz bass is avalable for Good day sir, 35,700 Philippine Pesos. If you want tax on some US shores, it amounts to 39,270 which is distant from their asking price. Of course, I am aware that there are other complications to the price boost such as single shipping and local tax but that’s still a lot.

After deliberating, the best decision I have then is to buy it abroad in some music store or online and have it shipped at home.

But the main concern here is the lifespan of Stella (my Washburn XB120 Bantam Series). I fear that she might not last until I get to actual buy a new bass guitar. Those reasons are enough to be explained on a separate entry.