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Setting action on my American Fender Jazz

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Knavery, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. Knavery

    Knavery Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Hey folks -
    I took my Fender American Jazz to GC and had them set it up. IN the store, it was awesome, but once I got it home, it buzzed pretty bad. I have very little knowledge with setting my own instruments up, but have the Stu-Mac string gauge and all that.

    The problem I'm having is that I get a little bit of buzz on every string even with the string height at around .090 and .100. Actually at .100, the buzz isn't too bad.

    I have two questions.

    1.) Is this normal action for a bass? As a guitar, I find it to bit a tad high. And I've had other basses with much lower action.
    2.) Do I use the same height for each string? I'm measuring from the top of the 12th fret to the bottom of the string. They are roughly between .090 to .100.


    Thanks!
     
  2. pfox14

    pfox14

    Dec 22, 2013
    Sounds like it was not set up properly. Shouldn't be buzzing with action that height. G string should be lower than E. The action should be gradually higher from high to low strings. Action could be raised some more, especially if it gets rid of the buzz.
     
  3. Knavery

    Knavery Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Yeah I'm looking on Fender's website and there's a guide regarding height for treble and bass side. They actually say it should be higher than it currently is... I shouldn't have gotten rid of my Lakland.
     
  4. rfslick

    rfslick

    Dec 31, 2008
    Benicia, CA. USA
  5. pedroims

    pedroims

    Dec 19, 2007
    Michigan
    I do my own set up.

    a) Set the neck. I use a capo in the first fret, press the last fret and mesure the space between the top of the 8th fret and the bottom of the E string, the gap should not be more than .013 or a business card. If higher turn the truss rod clockwise, if gap is less turn the rod counter clock. Turn the trus rod slowly, 1/8 at a time.

    b) Set the action. Use the capo in the first fret, measure from the bottom of the strings to the top of the 12th fret. I like around 3/32 on the E string, and 1/16 on the G, I radius the A and D.

    c) Set the intonation.

    d) Set the pickup height. I usually use the builder suggested height.
     
  6. Bassisgood4U

    Bassisgood4U Banned

    Jan 30, 2014
    I'd just raise the saddles, or even switch to a higher gauge string set, before messing with the truss rod. The rod tweak is the last resort imo.
     
  7. Knavery

    Knavery Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Yeah that's what I did. I found a nice video on Youtube. This old guy that had been working for Fender and other various guitar companies for 40 years said to go with 4mm with the E, roughly 3.5 with the A and D, and 3mm with G. It seems to work better. There isn't a lot of flex in the neck, but it's ok for now.

    Thanks for the help. I think I may just do my own setups from now on. If I'm able to set it up, and a schooled tech can't, something is wrong there.
     
  8. Turnaround

    Turnaround

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

    The trussrod should be the FIRST adjustment to be made. Once the neck relief is right you can go on the the other settings.
     
    hdracer likes this.
  9. Kmonk

    Kmonk

    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    Correct to a point. Almost impossible to get proper action without proper relief. However, the tension of the strings will alter the relief so it will have to be adjusted again.
     
  10. landau roof

    landau roof Reupholstered User Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2010
    Downstate CA
    Buy stuff before turning a wrench?
     
  11. Bassisgood4U

    Bassisgood4U Banned

    Jan 30, 2014
    I think the rod should be the first thing you adjust...only if you're adding relief to the neck. You only have so much play left if you're tightening.

    What the OP might be saying, is his neck is now too straight, so much that he has to raise the action just to play it without fret buzz. It will likely bow forward a little bit(just enough) over the next couple days..assuming that he had just taken the bass home with him. I say just raise the saddles for now, probably lower them back a great deal, once the neck settles forward.
     
  12. JLS

    JLS Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    Disclosures:
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Wrong.
     
    Lownote38 likes this.
  13. SamuelSandoval

    SamuelSandoval

    Jan 18, 2014
    Colorado
    I've recently bought a new Fender AM DLX V Jazz, Rosewood fretboard, alder body.
    For the money, it's a great bass, you get what you pay for.
    It has taken me several weeks to tweak it to my desire, both tonally and physical feel/play. I'm on my third set of strings in 10 weeks (I play 6 days a week), still trying to find the perfect set of strings. So far the Marcus Miller DR Strings have been my favorite, but unfortunately they were only good for about four weeks, and then the strings dried up rapidly.

    ANYWAY! Just last week, I set my action low, super low, so I could play faster, easier, more comfortably. While adjusting it, I always had in mind making sure I could go as low as possible without getting buzz anywhere on the board! Well this was definitely a learning experience. I learned that my Fender American Deluxe V Jazz bass must not be set TOO low, because the action will be projected in the tone. I learned, after playing on Sunday with super low action, that super low on my Fender is stupid low. Super low = Stupid low = Bad tone.

    In my personal experience, setting the strings too close to the board ended up diminishing brights that I'm very fond of. I could physically dig in the strings as I usually do when I get into the song, but the tone was NOT there.

    I asked a friend if he has ever had that problem, and he said no. Of course however, he plays on Ken Smith basses. I asked another, he said no, he plays lower end Ibanez. I asked a third, he said yes, especially on his Fenders. A fourth acquaintance says he prefers high action so he wouldn't even know.

    So just in case anyone encounters the same issue, it's alright. Just don't go too low on your action. Fenders are great basses for the money, but you probably won't be able to go super low action like on a Ken Smith. I know I'll have to practice much more on playing better, dynamically with my right hand, which is fine. Playing with a much lower action was easier on my hand, but the change in tone was not worth it!
     
  14. 96tbird

    96tbird This Indian movie is really boring man. Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2010
    Manitoba, Canada
    So much wrong in these threads.

    Have a bass set up at GC and it buzzes at home: because your home is not the same environment as GC and wood changes rapidly with temp and humidity.

    This is why if you like low action the truss will need frequent adjustment to stay buzz free as environment/location changes. The higher you like action, the more you can get away with not making frequent adjustments but adjustments are a fact of life.
     
    hdracer and Precision101 like this.
  15. Turnaround

    Turnaround

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Disclosures:
    Bass Technician, Club Bass - Toronto
    Which leads us to the question of what is considered to be "good tone". Jimmy Haslip doesn't sound much like Geddy Lee. There are those who would argue on either side about the better tone.
     
    SamuelSandoval likes this.
  16. SamuelSandoval

    SamuelSandoval

    Jan 18, 2014
    Colorado

    You're absolutely right. Let me reword.

    My tone was not there.
    And in my specific situation super low= not my tone!
     
  17. Precision101

    Precision101

    Sep 22, 2013
    It all depends on your hands. The tone is in your hands. I can get away with my action being the thickness of a quarter away from the fretboard (super low) with light gauge strings and still get a clean tone/ gritty tone/ twangy tone. All in one. Just because of my hands. Just try to find the median between comfortable, good tone (to you of course!) and a nicely done setup.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014
    SamuelSandoval likes this.
  18. i think this is te video previously mentioned by the OP. its very good. can anyone help me convert his fractional measurements to decimals, i would like to do setups using only feeler gauges eliminating the rule measuring,


     
  19. JLS

    JLS Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    Disclosures:
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Divide the numerator by the denominator. Piece o' cake.
     
  20. thanks jl s. can you give me an example. i flunked long division.
     



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