fretless string and nut height, and neck adjustment

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by pfschim, Oct 9, 2007.


  1. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    hey there TB, I'm scratching my head over getting my fretless Lakland 44-02 deluxe set up just right.

    This bass is sure a beauty, but needs some fine tuning.

    Right now its got TI Jazz Rounds on it (very flexible strings with a very light gauge 043 - 089), just a little bit of neck relief (not flat, but close) and pretty low action all around (between 2/32nd and 3/32nd) The clearance at the nut is almost on the board, only barely enough space for a thin business card to squeeze in, and the bridge saddles are set for the 10" neck radius.

    The problem: action is very nice and low, little or no unacceptable buzzing, and generally not choking out anywhere EXCEPT between 7-9th frets on the D string only.

    I have raised the saddles all I care to without creating too much differential in string height (cant ?) between the nut and the upper frets. I don't play up there all the time but want easy action up there for soloing.

    so, whats the cure ? ... I was thinking that the nut may be cut just a tad too low, maybe only 1/32nd. This bass had much heavier, higher tension strings on it before I got it, and perhaps they just wore the nut slots down too much ?

    need your thoughts please :help:

    thanks
  2. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Madison, IA
    Disclosures:
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system
    Sounds like the set-up is ok. A little bit heavier string maybe?
  3. Turnaround

    Turnaround

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto Canada
    Disclosures:
    Bass Technician, Club Bass - Toronto
    I agree with Joshua - it's probably not the nut. The nut will not cause a "fretted" note to choke.

    It's more likely that there is a small hump in the fingerboard around the 10th fret. Or you may have a bad D string. I had a set of TI flats on one of my basses and found that the A string had a bit of a twist - it gave me a similar problem.

    If you have a good 24 inch straight edge, adjust the truss rod to get the neck as flat as possible and check the area around the 10th fret position with the straightedge and a strong backlight.

    Or replace the D string. You might check the string by squeezing it between your thumb and first finger and sliding along the length of the string while it's on the bass. On the faulty string I had, you could actually feel a bit of a twist - kind of a long spiral winding feeling.
  4. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    hey, thanks for the good replies.

    John W: appreciate the advice but, thats part of the deal, I want to keep the TI strings. I love the way they sound on this bass .. other than that one stupid spot that is :(

    Turnaround and Joshua: ok, got it .. probably not the nut. I will check the string for a twist. I did a pretty close survey the neck this past weekend with a good 24" straight edge and a bright but focused blue LED, and other than the slight over all neck relief I mentioned in the OP, I did not see any humps. I did go over the entire neck (ebony .. nice!) with 600 grit with the same idea in mind (possible hump above fret 8 or so), but no joy.

    I also thought that there might have been a bit of prior roundwound string gouging, but there really wasn't much wear at all (ebony is great stuff). The 3 passes of the 600grit 10" radius block I used cleared that right off, and should have addressed any humps that were there .. no ?

    I'm so close .... back to drawing board ..
  5. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Do not rule out the micro hump/dip quite yet. A twenty four inch straight edge will not find the kind of anomaly that may be in the fingerboard. To find a hump or dip at F7-9 a three inch straight edge will be much more useful.
  6. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Joshua well, I'm in beautiful northern Cal, inland a bit from SF, and our weather has not (and typically does not) change much from summer-like during the early fall. It's still pretty summery (warm and dry) here, just a little less heat and sunlight due to the time of year. So, weather change is not much of a factor just yet.

    202dy that's a good insight, I'll take a look at a smaller straight edge and see if that reveals anything.

    I know I can't rule out a micro hump or maybe even a tall fret line marker or two. In fact when I worked the board last weekend with the radius block and 600 grit, I did notice that I could feel many of the fret line markers. Perhaps the ebony has shrunk down a little over time due to wear, or with the lower humidity levels here than where it came from (Philly). Certainly worth a look.

    thanks again, I'm sure this situation is addressable
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto Canada
    Disclosures:
    Bass Technician, Club Bass - Toronto


    Somehow I didn't expect a lined fretless. It could very well be the fret lines standing a bit proud. 600-grit paper is a little too fine to deal with that. I would look at starting with 200 and work back up to 600. I've seen raised fret lines numerous times. They're usually pretty easy to deal with.
  8. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    yep, well my intonation is not so perfect that I can't use fret lines to keep me on the straight and narrow intonation wise. Also, I got the 44-02 used from another TBer and that's just the way they made it. Great board though, it's very nice to play on ebony again I have to say, and I really like the whole feel of the Lakland build and electronics.

    Ok, I will have some time to work the neck again this weekend and will report back afterwards.

    Thanks

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