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1966 Fender P Bass Set up problems and concerns

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by pedro, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    I own a 1964 L series jazz bass and a 66 p bass. Some years ago I decided I liked the tone of the p bass but my jazz bass neck was so slick and sexy and straight that I couldn't live without it. So I took the neck off the jazz bass put it on the p bass and everything was fine for years. I played the bass with Labella flatwounds and put a small piece of sponge under the bridge cover to slightly mute the strings. The neck is straight as can be and I literally NEVER had to adjust it or even intonate the bass. In point of fact, I often could play an entire gig and at the end of the night the bass was still perfectly tuned.

    A few months ago I noticed that it was tuning properly so I removed the bridge cover and discovered that the sponge had picked up some moisture and had rusted onto the saddles. The 'E' string was basically rusted thru and I ordered a new set of Labellas. In the meantime I took it to my local tech and he cleaned off the rust. When the new strings arrived I took them to him and he set up the bass. I've played it on and off now for a couple of weeks and it just isn't right. I know this will sound goofy but I'm not a technical person and I don't know how else to explain this so be patient.

    1. The new 'E' string still won't tune properly. I can tune it open but fretted at the 5 or 12 or anywhere else its still sharp.

    2. The 'E' string is (to me) noticeably less loud than the other three strings.

    and (this is the weird one)

    3. The tension on the 'E' string just doesn't seem right. It seems 'tighter' than the other strings like it has more tension on it.

    I dearly love this bass and in fact, everybody that plays it falls in love with it but it's just not right. Any thoughts on what could be causing these odd problems would be appreciated.
  2. sawzalot

    sawzalot Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    Sounds to me like when the rust got cleared off the E saddle the intonation got thrown off for that string. Your tech probably unscrewed the saddle and took it off the bridge, and the didn't adjust it quite the same when he put it back together.
  3. +1.Try setting intonation on the E string,if you are comfortable doing it your self,or take it back to the tech.
  4. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    you may want to check that the new E string is coming straight off the bridge saddle. If the new string had to make a sharp turn at the saddle, there may still be a little bit of a rise over the saddle. This can create all sorts of problems.

    Try loosening the string, and bending it around the saddle with your finger, then retune. True, your tech should have done this, but maybe it was overlooked.
  5. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Could this cause all three problems I listed above?

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