PDA

View Full Version : Kala U-Bass intonation issues



CueFilmMusic
09-04-2014, 05:45 AM
Hi
I just got a Kala SMHG-FS U-Bass solid mahogany on ebay, brand new, but a factory second due to a finish flaw on top (not really noticeable).

My issue though, is with the intonation. Hopefully the seller was honest about this just being the finish (it was from an authorized Kala dealer), but my A-string is the worst. By the time I get to F at the 8th fret on the A-string, it's almost a 1/4 tone flat. The 12th fret on A-string is almost a G#.

I am a professional bass player, so I am certain I am not bending the string, twisting, rotating, or pushing in the fret too hard to alter the pitch, and putting just enough pressure to fret the note. I have noticed the string pitch is very sensitive to pressure, whether pushing into the fretboard or bending the string.
Has anyone else had this kind of issue? It is strung with the standard black strings, I believe. I am comparing with the built in tuner on the Shadow pre, a Snark clip on tuner, and my own ears when playing with songs.

Thanks!

Patrick Madsen
09-04-2014, 11:48 AM
Was it setup and checked before it was sent out? Intonation and setup are the main reasons we suggest to buy from HMS, Mim's, Uke Republic. Sounds like it needs to be setup by a professional.

bnolsen
09-04-2014, 12:30 PM
Time to measure the nut to 12th and 12th to saddle lengths and compare. That's the first place to start.
Pls post your measurements!

For kala this is pretty bad. My hadean omega ubass had great intonation out of the box. I was very worried about that. I've gotten spoiled by all the adjustments to be had on an electric bass.

I kind of doubt your action is too low...

strumsilly
09-04-2014, 01:25 PM
Time to measure the nut to 12th and 12th to saddle lengths and compare. That's the first place to start.
Pls post your measurements!

For kala this is pretty bad. My hadean omega ubass had great intonation out of the box. I was very worried about that. I've gotten spoiled by all the adjustments to be had on an electric bass.

I kind of doubt your action is too low...
My Omega too. just checked it, almost dead on at the 12th on all strings. not bad for a 140 dollar bass.

CueFilmMusic
09-04-2014, 06:30 PM
So, need some guidance on where I'm measuring from/to.
If I measure (with a tape measure, maybe not the most accurate) from the nut to the "12th" fret (the fret past the double dots on the side of the bridge where the string is actually resting against when fretted), it is just barely over 10". From that fret to where the string goes over the saddle on the A string is just under 10 3/8".
Now, if I measure from the nut to the 11th fret (below the double dots on the nut side), it is just a bit more than 9 3/8". Then from that fret to the A string saddle is just under 11".
Talking 32nd increments variances since my tape measure is in 16ths.

Now, what would this tell me?

And, for a set up on a bass like this, what would they do exactly besides adjust the truss rod? There aren't any other easy adjustments.
I have no idea if it was setup, probably not, as it wasn't listed and is a factory second due to the finish.
What I'm worried about is maybe it was a factory second for another reason? (Ahh! Hate to return it as it seemed a great price $350 *new*).

Kala responded to my inquiry that a new set of strings should help, as an old set can have bad intonation (really? or just an easy cop out?). I ordered a set of Aquila Thunderguy white. I am worried they may not look at a warranty claim as it was a factory second (although there is not a "2" stamp on the back of the headstock like it says there would be on a second on their website).


Time to measure the nut to 12th and 12th to saddle lengths and compare. That's the first place to start.
Pls post your measurements!

For kala this is pretty bad. My hadean omega ubass had great intonation out of the box. I was very worried about that. I've gotten spoiled by all the adjustments to be had on an electric bass.

I kind of doubt your action is too low...

bnolsen
09-04-2014, 06:44 PM
Just quick measured the hadean using a steel ruler (16ths increments). I usually prefer mm though.

Outside 'G' string it's 10 7/16" nut to 12th. 12th to saddle was the same 10 7/16". no compensation.
Outside 'E' string it's 10 7/16" nut to 12th. 12th to saddle is just under 10 9/16". under 1/8" compensation.

okay used a zoom g1on pedal tuner to check. I'm a little sharp at the 12th (1 to 2 bubbles).

Is it possible to raise your bridge? one screw on each side?

Hopefully someone with a kala ubass chimes in here.

i bought an ashbory for cheap hoping it would play different since its fretless. However I'm not seeing much advantage with a fretless using these giant fat strings. I should probably go ask over at talkbass what's so unique about a fretless ubass.

kohanmike
09-04-2014, 06:47 PM
Sounds like the bridge or saddle is in the wrong place. The scale of a Kala U-Bass is 20", so the measurement from the nut to the 12th fret should 10" (yes, the fret right after the double dots) and from the 12th fret to the saddle where the strings cross should be 10". Maybe adjusting the truss rod will make up the difference, but I don't know how much adjustment a truss rod has, 3/8" of an inch sounds like a lot.

CueFilmMusic
09-07-2014, 08:28 AM
Well, after speaking with President of Kala unintentionally, he wanted to try new strings first. I was very impressed with the level of care Kala gave me though. One of the first things he said was, "Whatever the issue is, we'll take care of it." There aren't many companies that do that, let alone let you e-mail the President.

Anyway, I put on a new set of Thundergut white and the intonation is WAY better. I'm surprised at how a potentially old pair of strings (stretched?) can throw off the intonation so much. It's still a little off, but hopefully that's just the new strings being new and will settle in soon.

Glad it wasn't a manufacturing issue though (hopefully).

UkeNukem
12-15-2014, 12:34 PM
When I first played a U-Bass several years ago I decided I had to have one but two things made me "develop" my own. One was that I did not have the funds and second, I knew I would want an adjustable bridge.

So I made one

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?44202-Yes-it-can-be-done

The bridge in these pics was updated further and is very flexible. Does anyone make a commercial bass uke with and adjustable bridge? I might need a backup someday.

Inksplosive AL
12-17-2014, 04:10 PM
When I first played a U-Bass several years ago I decided I had to have one but two things made me "develop" my own. One was that I did not have the funds and second, I knew I would want an adjustable bridge.

So I made one

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?44202-Yes-it-can-be-done

The bridge in these pics was updated further and is very flexible. Does anyone make a commercial bass uke with and adjustable bridge? I might need a backup someday.

What pictures?

UkeNukem
12-18-2014, 05:17 AM
Opps! Sorry, I thought the thread pix were still there. Do they disappear over time???

I'll try to post some new ones.

kohanmike
12-18-2014, 07:33 PM
The forum crashed a few weeks ago and lost a lot of archived photos. Just re-upload them and you should be good to go.

bnolsen
01-19-2015, 07:12 AM
I'll try this. My ubass was off enough at the 12th fret to bother me. So i decided to defret it. Took only a couple of hours for the full process.

https://imgur.com/a/jTShi#0

I may take down the nut some more and also shim the neck as the action is a bit high now.

vastur
11-24-2015, 02:35 PM
I've been noticing a similar thing in my UBass. The intonation of the frets always seem to be below pitch, and getting worse progressively as you go up the neck. By the 12th fret is about 1/4 tone lower. This is the same for all the 4 strings, and even across different sets/brands of strings.

When I measured it I was surprised to find this:
Nut to 12th fret: ~10'' 1/16
Nut to bridge slot: ~20'' 7/16

(check photos below)

IMO, the bridge is located too far, making the strings too long (by almost .5''), and causing the intonation problems. Could someone out there with an acoustic UBass do a similar measurement to find out if this is a systematic issue with these instruments, or mine is just a one-off.

I have tried other UBasses before and they didn't seem to have this intonation issue, so I assume their bridge was correctly positioned, but wanted to get a measurement confirmation that this is the source of the problem.

Thanks!

bnolsen
11-24-2015, 04:39 PM
i tore out the frets on mine and used wood filler on the slots. I probably should have used maple business card blanks and dust from sanding the fretboard to make the lines nicer.