New bass or stick with the old
Been a long-time reader here. First post. Really enjoy this forum and find all your discussions immensely interesting. Hope I am asking this in the right forum.
About 20 years ago I decided I was going to take up the bass. I had a music background, having played baritone horn pretty seriously in high school. So bass clef and low-end instruments appeal to me. I hear the low-end in every song I hear first. Plus I was/am a huge fan of Steve Harris!!!...so there you go...
So, in 1990 I bought a Peavey Fury bass. Practiced...sort've learned a bunch of songs. Got semi-proficient at it...could copy a bunch of old rock songs from the day. Loved it. But then family, work etc etc etc came along and it sat in it's case for about 15 years.
Want to get back into it. Thought first thing to do would be to go have a good professional setup with my old Fury. Did that at a local music store...got it back and didn't think anything of it...but the darned thing is brutally hard to play. Very high action, lots of fret buzz. Then I started looking around at new basses. They are so much easier to play than mine it is not even funny. The difference was night and day. I am not good...I'll admit. But would watch videos and watch guys hands glide over the frets effortlessly and wonder why I couldn't do that. True...my technique needs work so not making excuses. But playing this blasted thing is so hard....
So my question is this....do I just need to spend more time/money with a proper setup. Or just pack it in and get a new one. I am not in a position where I want to invest a lot. I have spied Squier VM Precision Basses. My Fury looks a lot like a Fender p-bass I think. Loved the look of the Squier, hear great things about them. I don't know. Is my 1989 Fury better than what I could get in a new Squier? Or has bass technology improved such that my Fury is just obsolete. I don't want to change just to change. But there is no denying that even after a "professional setup" almost every new bass I have tried out the past couple weeks is infinitely easier to play than my old Fury. I am not even sure...is the old Fury line actually good? Did I just get a particularly bad "pro setup". Any thoughts would be welcome. Don't want to waste money, but don't want to spend time trying to work with a bass that is just darned hard to play.
Sounds like you got hosed on paying for a bad set-up. Did they tell you there were issues with the Fury that prevented optimal playability? Those basses are by no means obsolete. It should serve you well with a proper set-up unless there's major issues.
Yes the new Squiers are nice basses. Quite playable, but unless your Fury is for some reason "Un-setupable", you should be fine with it.
No, honestly...they didn't say anything about it being difficult. I honestly don't know anything about setting up a bass. I just assumed the guy knew what he was doing. Maybe I just need to go in somewhere and have someone else take a look. Can places like Guitar Center do that? Just really frustrated. I am not the best, I freely admit. But seems that a bass shouldn't have fret buzz all the way up and down the neck, even for a mediocre player or feel like you are working way harder than you should to play it. Thought it was just my technique...but then I tried a couple Ibanez and Schecter basses and the differences between that and mine are just enormous. Again, I am not the best, but I could make those basses do things that I can't on mine. The action on my bass is set so high it is just ridiculous compared to them. I guess my first question was whether this old bass is even worth it...I remember paying a good deal of money for it. $500 or so back in 1990. Pretty good chunk of change. Don't want to just change when this old beauty can be resurrected. The Fury is really a beautiful bass.
Take it back to who you paid for the "set-up" and tell 'em to make it better or explain why they can't. Those Peavey's are solid basses and should respond to a good neck adjustment and bridge intonation/setup no matter if its 24 years old or brand new. GC techs can be hit or miss, but most offer the service.
Unless.... you are gassing for a new bass. I bet GC would take your Fury in on a trade for the VM Squier you were eyeballin'. Just sayin'...
As long as your truss rod if functional, there is no reason you can't get low action. It might require a lil nut filing and some massaging, but I bet low action can be achieved. I bought a new G&L at a local store and its action was so high it was virtually unplayable. The nut was cut a lil high for my liking but after some filing, truss rod turning,,and bridge saddle lowering it was really nice. I would look for a bassist who is currently playing actively and does his own setups....GC or other shops would be a good place to ask around.
Then again the tech could have broke your truss rod and not been man enough to tell you.. or his boss. It wouldn't be unreasonable to consider getting a newer bass regardless.. The classifieds here have some good deals that come by and you should be able to find something decent in the $300-$600 range in a pawn shop or a GC..
Sorry for the naive question...but...if he did break my truss rod would it be very apparent? Or would it be possible to pull the wool over the eyes of someone not very knowledgeable of such things like me?
Thanks all for the help! This is very interesting. Wasn't sure if I just had a piece of crap bass. Sounds like that's not the problem necessarily.
Try adjusting it yourself to see if you can get it to move or not. 1/4 turn increments. Don't force it. See if you get any relief. This will tell you if the truss rod works or not. If it wont turn at all, don't force it. or if it turns and you get no difference, you have a TR problem.
Thanks everyone! It appears that something is very wrong. I tried adjusting the truss rod and it will not move. Of course, I am very wary of forcing it but it appears it will take a lot of force to move it if it moves at all. Looked at it as you suggested and there is a LOT of bow in the neck. Concave I guess,right? High on both ends of the neck low in the middle. Going to go back and find out exactly what happened. And....am going to dedicate some time into learning how to do this myself. Thanks a bunch for all the advice.
I am interested in what you find out from the guy that set up your bass. Here is a link to a series of videos I used to set my bass up for the first time. Easy to follow. The only thing I did not do was file down the nut. Too chicken ;)
This thread makes me sad. I'm a huge fan of the Peavey Fury. I rescued one from a pawnshop and it was my main player for quite some time. I eventually had to part with it, but regret it and hope to find another one some day.
I am by no means a luthier, but I've read a lot, watched a lot of youtube, and piddled with things enough that I'm fairly proficient in small repairs, hardware replacements and setups. I have NEVER been even remotely satisfied with a setup I paid money for. Nor have I ever been impressed with a setup I've seen friends or bandmates pay to have done. It seems like most luthier's are really trying to move as many instruments as possible. I wouldn't doubt if some of them just eyeball things, change the strings and consider it done. I consider a real setup to include truss rod adjustment (setting proper neck relief); adjusting the bridge saddles (setting action); setting intonation; and adjusting pickup heights. And of course...playing the instrument a bit to make sure the results are desireable. I know that different players have different techniques and like different things, but the vast majority of players are probably in the same ballpark, and any good set up should yield them an easily playable instrument.
Bottom line, if it's at all repairable, stick with the old. Although the Peavey's (mine anyhow), have a bit of a balance issue, the pickups are awesome! The sound and craftsmanship are outstanding.
maybe your close to one of us. im on Vancouver Island (canada) if your whiten 100 km of me id gladly look at it for you. lots of guys do their own, so hint your location and maybe someone could help you out.
The Fury is actually a very nice bass - sorry to hear that happened to you.
Without accusing them, it does sound like they messed up your truss rod and didn't tell you about it. It was likely forced when it shouldn't have been. Was your bass handed back to you de-tuned or did they tune it when you arrived at the store?
I know a CL seller that did this once and I got burned on a bass with a bad neck. Recouped the loss though by just selling the body.
That would be a first indication that they knew the truss rod was messed up as the bow will sometimes start later as tension is continuously applied to the neck on one with a broken truss rod. I just got a bass this morning from GC- action was super high, almost unplayable- I tweaked the truss rod and action is now nice and low.
I don't know what the outcome will be when you talk to the local music store and/or if you can get some compensation for the damage if that is the case, but I do know that it's far cheaper to buy a new bass than to fix a broken truss rod.
I would recommend buying a used bass if you're just getting back into bass playing, you can usually get more bang for the buck.
A used Squier P bass goes for under $100 very easily- found some on CL for about $60 in my area. Even Guitar Center has some.
Now that being said, there are quite a number of basses that are excellent for beginners or those that are getting back into bass playing. A slimmer neck, lighter body are relatively newer technologically speaking from when you last played. I put my bass playing aside for about 10 years right around the time you did, I've been playing for about 15 years before then. Was just totally shocked at the Ibanez SR300's and the weight of those. Extremely light and easy to play. Squier also has the new Squier VM Jaguar Special basses which are active, nice slim neck, nice sound and can be bought new for $199 or used for about $120 or less. Great thing about this bass is that it's got both the P-bass and Jazz bass pickups for an added variety of sounds - not to mention, it's an active bass, with a boost. A bit of the old world and new all in one.
There's lots of Fury lovers on here, don't give up yet.
There are numerous threads on trussrod issues, also.
I've successfully freed 'frozen' trussrods and after a bit of tweaking, ended up with some nice players.
Use the correct wrench size- 'close-enough' isn't good enough.
Get a drop or two of 'PB Blaster' to the bottom of the nut, and let it work for a day.
Try to loosen it (a little) before tightening it, by tuning up a half-step or full step (and/or) bracing the neck between your foot and knee to take the stress off of the trussrod nut.
Once the nut moves, down-tune a full step or more (from standard) and bracing the neck, tighten it a little- 1/4 turn if poss, and let the neck acclimate for a few hours (it's been in a bowed condition for quite awhile).
Then use 1/4 turn at a time adjustments (down-tuning a step below standard, first) until you get it straightened.
Should also probably note that these basses have a neck tilt adjustmet screw beneath the neck plate. It's adjusted by loosening all of the neck plate screws a few turns, and then using the approprately sized wrench to turn the nut (there is a hole in the neckplate that allows access to the nut). I know you mentioned in a previous post that there is significant bow to the neck, which this won't fix, but it may need to be adjusted also.
Please fill out your profile and let us know what part of the world you reside.
More than once guys on here found another member just down the road, we would be glad to help.
And unless its broken, that Peavey should do you fine
check TwoRivers two posts above. i was thinking about your problem and decided maybe a shim could be in order... how else can you fix buzz and high action? sounds like a neck angle issue, if there is a neck tilt screw you might have an easy fix.
hopefully your rod isn't broken. I have never actually seen a broken truss rod before, and ive seen some poor guitars/basses in my day. my best advice is to try it yourself. i taught my self how to do setups in grade 10 (1993?ish) out of a guitar player magazine. some of those guitar center guys can barley tie their own shoes, let alone make precision adjustment to a vintage bass.
needless to say, i dont let those quicky lube kids change my oil either. ill do it in the driveway and drain it into a couple old milk jugs.
Wow, you guys are really the best. Thanks for all the advice. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I am wondering if this is partly my fault. This bass sat in storage for years as we moved from one part of the country to another. Honestly we were so busy and life was so crazy I doubted whether I would ever use it again. Thought many times about seeing what I could get out of it and stop lugging it across the country. The case has all sorts of colored tags on it from all the moving companies we have used! Lived in the desert southwest with no humidity, the midwest with unbearable cold, and humid summers and two stints in Texas with heat and humidity (currently in Houston). So it has been through the proverbial ringer, even though hardly used. And throughout that time it was literally in the case. I rarely got it out. Like maybe twice in 15 years!
And....as it sat there in its hard shell Fender case - a throw-in when I bought it in Iowa - I left it in there "in-tune". Never thought about loosening the strings to release the tension on the neck. I am not sure if that was a good idea. In retrospect, could this have put so much pull on the neck as it sat there year after year in very extreme conditions (sometimes in a climate controlled storage or home, other times in a storage garage at the mercy of the climate), that it did this sort of damage to it? Maybe permanent? Really love the bass. Always loved the feel and the sound. Had a really heavy sound. Despite my button-down life now, I am still a hard-rock, classic metal fan at heart. I love the thump of the bass in Guns, Sabbath, Maiden etc. This bass just felt right from the moment I held it. Had the sort of P-Bass body but a narrower neck that felt comfortable...I guess a bit like a Jazz bass neck perhaps. I liked it at the time, but not married to it. Not like I am a professional musician that only ever played this model. I figured that I want to "modernize" and I went out and ordered a Squier Vintage Modified P-Bass today...the amber colored version. Still, I don't want to get rid of this old Peavey and will weigh my options.
But whatever happens, I'm really taking an interest in learning to work on this thing myself. I am a tinkerer at heart...build my own computers, work on my own electronic devices. This seems the sort of challenge that I might enjoy. Know it isn't easy and lots to learn. But I am grateful for all your advice and your suggestions. Now I just need to learn to play again...or I should say I just need to learn to play it period...ha.
You will most likely still need to do some set up on the new P ( fine choice by the way).
But once you have some time, you will be able to resurrect the old Peavey and have two basses to play.
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