Following on, and taking advice from my previous thread (Re-Finish??), I decided to clean up and re-string the Ibanez Artcore bass (see below).
I am having real problems trying to set the intonation perfectly. Neck relief and string height are both correct and set to my playing preferences, but the intonation seems impossible to get absolutely spot on; I have read that this can be an inherent, common problem with this type of wooden floating bridge, not having individual string saddles to adjust.
After re-stringing, and allowing time for stretching in, I have bought the strings to concert pitch and then compared each open string and then at the twelfth fretted note. Sharp, increase the string length, flat, shorten the string length or, is it better to use the twelfth fret / twelfth fret harmonic method; neither gets the intonation spot on on all four strings.
Any help and suggestions greatly appreciated.
You're correct in determining the bridge to be the culprit. This is one of those "it looks vintage but it's functionally useless" items that designers keep throwing at an unsuspecting public. I subscribe to the "vintage appeal but with modern functionality" school of 'vintageness'. But that's a rant for another time.
That being said....angle the bridge so it sits at an angle with the E string being further back than the G string. You'll have to experiment with the "how far back" part, but start with it 1/2" back. That should get you into the ballpark.See attached CRUDE drawing(:
Then... re-cut the string slots to accommodate the new geometry and sand a new profile onto the bottom (base) of the bridge so it matches the radius of the top and you should be good to go. This is MUCH easier than it sounds (-:
Your only other options would be to try a Hofner bridge that is mildly adjustable for intonation.
I've searched the web for an adjustable intonation version of this style of bridge but it seems they don't exist. The last (only) ones I've ever seen were on the old Eko violin shaped basses. That would work perfect..IF you could find one AND if it isn't priced out of reach.
Best of luck Brian,
Possible alternative would be to make a new saddle that's a little thicker than the original to allow for the correct compensation angle without slanting the bridge base.
Thanks for the helpful advice.
After what seems to have been hours trying to solve this one, I've decided to leave it, not perfect, but "as close to perfect" as I think I am going to get it!!
Setting the intonation with an electronic tuner was nigh on impossible, as I couldn't get a steady reading, so I've used the best tuners in the world......my EARS :-) I also set it to the open string / twelfth fretted note option as opposed to the harmonic / twelfth fret.
I'm for if it aint broke, don't fix it. Play it and enjoy it for the coolness it has in spades. Enjoy......
"Play it and enjoy it for the coolness it has in spades."
To ease your frustration Brian, ...the vintage instruments that used a similar bridge didn't intonate well either.
Have fun with it (-:
Yes, thank you Paul & Eric for the advice.
I did mean to end my last post with the question;...... under the circumstances would you luthiers and guitar repairmen settle for that "near, but not perfect" solution, but you seem to have answered that one!!