Is there an ideal saddle height?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Ross AriaPro, Dec 28, 2013.


  1. Ross AriaPro

    Ross AriaPro

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2013
  2. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Somewhat misleading. The action is determined by relief and string / saddle height...and a few other things as well but those are the elements in question for the moment. I recommend you adjust your relief first (.012-.014") and then adjust string height to achieve the desired buzz-free response. This is highly subjective and what works for one does not for another.

    Now let's say you set up the bass in the middle of July. January comes around, you pick up the bass and the strings are a mile high above the fretboard. You think "jeez...what happened?!?" You check the relief and it's now .017" instead of the .012" you set during the summer. Grab your truss rod wrench and re-tweak to .012". Provided you have not dicked around with saddle heights during the interim, the action should be within 99% of the original specs. So, yes...adjusting the truss rod will adjust the action.

    There are no ideal saddle heights above the baseplate. There are, however, recommended string heights using the fretboard as a foundation.

    Riis
     
  3. Ross AriaPro

    Ross AriaPro

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2013
    Thanks...considering the pressure I had to apply in tightening the rod I dont think I should risk another eighth of a turn.

    The neck still isnt perfectly straight...like I see on all the high end basses in the store.

    I will have to lower all the saddles an eighth of an inch to get an eighth of string clearance at the 12th fret.

    Yes...its that bad! -Ross.
     
  4. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    How much relief are you seeing at the moment? A perfectly straight neck may actually cause addt'l problems. If your truss rod is possibly max'd out, you may want to seek assistance if not sure of the procedure.

    Riis
     
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  6. Robus

    Robus Supporting Member

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    Aug 25, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago Area
    Try loosening your strings first. Also back off on the truss rod a hair befor retightening.
     
  7. Ross AriaPro

    Ross AriaPro

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2013
    Fretting the E at the first and last fret I have an eighth of an inch of relief at the ninth fret.

    Without touching the string I have 3/16" of clearance at the 12th fret.

    Here's a question...isnt loosening the rod strictly for eliminating fret buzz between the first and fifth fret only???? The neck doesnt flex along its entire length. -Ross.
     
  8. Ross AriaPro

    Ross AriaPro

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2013
    Yes thanks...I always loosen the strings and reverse an eight of a turn before tightening a quarter turn. -Ross.
     
  9. unclebass

    unclebass

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    Dec 17, 2012
    Location:
    Southwest Louisiana
    If you get the neck close, but not quite where you want it, you may try stepping to a lighter gauge string set. Less tension on the neck will allow it to straighten slightly. It worked for me on a beater bass purchased for $50. One step down allowed me to get the neck to perfect relief.
     
  10. Ross AriaPro

    Ross AriaPro

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2013
    That makes sense yes...I tried lowering the saddles this afternoon but it didnt work...fret buzz is noise not music.

    So back they went to the original height.

    Maybe a neck pocket shim would work.

    Shouldnt the saddles ideally be as close to the bridge plate as possible?
     
  11. Immigrant

    Immigrant

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    Jul 2, 2010
    Location:
    West of Stumptown, USA
    Don't shim until you get some of that relief out. 1/8" is almost 1/8" too much.

    The pros here say to use a feeler gauge, and Zoob said .012-.014 and that's like the thickness of a business card. Don't be afraid to apply a little backbow type pressure on it while adjusting the TR, but don't force it either.
     
  12. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

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    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    There's been nothing mentioned that would be helped by the addition of a shim. As Immigrant points out, don't force the rod. It may be maxed out, require washers, or need the attention of a decent tech. I'd remove the strings, the neck, and the truss rod nut if possible. Add a couple spacing washers, lube and replace the nut, and see if you can gain a little more territory. Fairly easy and safe procedure and, if there's no discernible improvement, the mod will not detract from the integrity...IOW, the washers aren't hurting anything.

    Riis
     
  13. pfox14

    pfox14

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    Dec 22, 2013
    The action is way high IMO. You should be lowering the saddles.
     
  14. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

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    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Studio City, SoCal, USA
    The answer is NO - there is no idea saddle height. They should be set for your desired string height after you adjust the relief.

    Where the saddles end up totally depends on the exact angle of the neck pocket. Even a tiny variation can change the saddle height considerably. That is why you add a thin shim to the neck pocket if you can't get the saddles low enough.
     
  15. Ross AriaPro

    Ross AriaPro

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    Dec 27, 2013
    Is the rod nut removed simply by reversing all the way (counter clockwise) until it falls out?
     
  16. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

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    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
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    Provided it's a single acting truss rod, yes. A dual-acting rod's adjustment nut is permanently attached to the internal gearing (?) and cannot be removed....which is a real PITA if you strip out the hex head.

    Riis
     
  17. Ross AriaPro

    Ross AriaPro

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    Dec 27, 2013
    What does the nut press against as it being tightened? If I'm going to use washers both internal and external diameters would have to be EXACTLY the right size to fit.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v208/jwells393/Neck Building/WarmothTrussRodAdjuster2.jpg
     
  18. Ross AriaPro

    Ross AriaPro

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    Dec 27, 2013
    Ideally, on a 7.25" radius shouldnt they be...

    E...1/16th"

    A...1/8th"

    D...1/8th"

    G...1/16th"
     
  19. Ross AriaPro

    Ross AriaPro

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    Dec 27, 2013
    I press down on the nut with the 7th fret over my knee...as I turn the key.

    Its tightened from the neck pocket...not the headstock.
     
  20. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

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    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Depends on the rod but I believe it's something like a "5M". Search the forum for "washers"; I saw a size reference a few days ago but I can't remember where. Or take the the nut to a hardware store and match 'em up. I've found stuff that was close but ended up grinding down the outer perimeter for clearance.

    Riis
     
  21. Ross AriaPro

    Ross AriaPro

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    Dec 27, 2013
    Ok, thanks for the tips! :D
     

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