HELP! Squier P Bass action problem!
I've been playing for about 5 months now, with what I'd like to call higher than normal action.. I did go into Guitar Center and have my bass set-up, and it was around $60, the tech there said the frets were buzzing a bit on the 12th fret and in some other higher registers.
Anyway, I am getting to really learn quite a lot on the bass.. but the problem I am having is playing fast runs/repetitive runs. I have tinkered with the action a bit, and it's fairly low right now but I've seen other setups that blow mine out of the park. I do get the fret buzz though on the higher frets if I lower it to much.
I will not mess with the truss-rod though.. I refuse to do that without any guidance. I'm not looking to upgrade to a Fender for a little while yet so my Squier is going to have to make way for a while.
Thanks so much, any help would be appreciated!
$60 for a bass setup is a rip off. It is worth learning how to do yourself. If it is buzzing on the higher frets, you need to tighten the truss rod. I would google it.
Well, the truss rod is one of the keys to proper setup. It controls the bow of the neck.
It is pretty simple: the strings pull the bowing of the neck in one direction, and the truss rod holds it back.
Always loosen the strings somewhat before adjusting the truss rod. Use only 1/4 turn for each adjustment before testing the change, 1/2 turn is A LOT.
Tighten -> shorter rod -> straighter neck
Loosen -> longer rod-> more bowed neck
...and before you even start: Check that bowing by visual inspection. You should never have a backbow.
Why is this important? Because a bass or guitar is metal and wood that change with temperature and humidity. I live in Norway, a part of the world with big differences between summer and winter, and I have to do a small setup each spring and fall to adjust for those seasonal changes.
The truss rod will only affect everything from the 1st fret to where the neck joins the body.
Put a capo on the 1st fret, or hold it down with 1 hand. Now, hold down the last fret with the other hand. You should have a business card width gap around the 6-7th fret. If it's larger, tighten the truss rod 1/4 turn & re-check. If it's smaller, loosen the rod 1/4 turn & re-check.
After you've done this, drop the strings down to the fretboard using the saddle height screws & play each string individually. Raise the saddles up until the buzzing goes away under normal play.
Congrats! You've done a basic setup on your bass. :) We'll talk intonation later.
A final thing: If you feel your string action is wrong at the first frets (usually too high), no truss rod or saddle adjustment will help much. Then you need to adjust the nut. That (and fret levelling, which may be needed if only a few individual frets are buzzing) is probably the only reason to do a professional setup. When the nut is done right, it rarely needs adjustment. (You can also consider upgrading the nut while you are at it. I have had brass nuts on two basses, and I love that you get a more fretted sound with more sustain from a brass saddle. And those all too common cheap plastic saddles actually are a sad excuse for proper hardware. I did one of these myself, and for $14 on eBay that brass nut was a great, inexpensive investment. Nut files are an investment, of course, but also a one time investment.)
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