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A newbie question

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Starmo, Jul 17, 2004.

  1. Starmo


    Jul 15, 2004
    Raanana, Israel
    The action on my bass (Ibanez SR600) is not even.
    the action at the last few fret is about 5 milimeters, and the action at the first fret is just about zero.
    what astounded me is that the bass only buzzes on certain physical positions. when i'm sitting firm with my back strait and the bass on my hip, it doesn't really buzz, and when i sit more relaxed and reclined, with the bass resting againt my stomach, it barley makes any sound except buzz.
    the buzzing only occurs on the first 5 or so frets.
    also, the D string (which has been on a shorter amount of time than the others) buzzes more, and on "steeper" positions.

    is this action normal, or is my neck unstrait?

    does the action have to be dead even? how do i get the action even, and keep it as low as it is now?
  2. Welcome to TalkBass!!

    Playing position does have a little to do with how a string reacts when excited. If a string were vibratiing in a vacuum without gravity, it would vibrate in essentially a round pattern around it's rest position. With gravity, it gets pulled ever so slightly down. The pups magnetic field pull on the string too and that will also change it's oscillation. So, in the end, all tuning, intonation and string height work should be done as close to a playing position as possible to replicate the conditions the string will be in when played.

    Your 5mm string height at the end of the fretboard seems quite nice from my viewpoint. The other end is probably where it should be also. Between the two several things could be happening but which it is is hard to determine over the computer. Any of these conditions could exist:

    - High frets (Medium difficulty - professional)
    - Bowed neck (easy - DIY)
    - Poorly cut nut (easy - DIY/professional)
    - Poor bridge adjustment (easy - DIY)
    - Mismatched string gauges or types (DIY)

    I would suggest going to the post at the top of the forum "All your trussrod questions answered here" and reading it about 4 times to get the hang of what's being discussed and getting back to us with more info. Then if you haven't figgered it out for yourself by then, we can help more - especially with the additional info you'll have gotten by then.

    Hope this helps
  3. Starmo


    Jul 15, 2004
    Raanana, Israel
    I have read that thing about 20 time. :)
    What I couldn't figure out from it was if the uneven action and buzzing is normal. If not, should and\or could I do anything about it?

  4. That entire article describes how necks can and do get out of adjustment, why they lose adjustment and how and when to do an adjusment to correct it.

    But I'm telling you something you already know since you've read it "20" times :D

    Good Luck
  5. Starmo


    Jul 15, 2004
    Raanana, Israel
    The question I have asked twice already isn't answered in that article.
    I think i really have read that thing about 20 times already, and I understand what it said, but it did not clearly mention if the action should be even.
    I understand from his GIFs there, that it does, but no instrument I've played has been dead even. That is why I'm asking here.
  6. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    i'd say raise your action a little on the strings that are too close and check to see if your neck is warped.
  7. demolition

    demolition Guest

    Jul 5, 2003
    I think you mite be hitting a little high with the lingo,I do set-ups for a hobby/partime-gig and I had to learn by feel,I was lucky to have a great bass player show me what I did'nt know but it still was a process.
    If this is to much to soak in,bring it to a trusted shop or a friend who knows whats up,dont try to learn from scratch on a nice new bass(an example only)if you got some experience go for it,if not ,there's no shame in seeking help from a pro. :hyper:
  8. permagrin


    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA
    I think we've gotten off the original post here.

    Starmo, in answer to your "even action" question, the action will not be even up and down the neck. The strings should be closer to the fretboard near the nut. And string to string action will be slightly different as well.

    Second, if you play with your bass in different orientations and it buzzes, then you should either 1) not play it in that orientation (Patient: "Doc, my elbow hurts when I do this" Dr: "Don't do that!") or 2) set it up so to take care of any problems.

    If your bass is buzzing is on the first few frets as you indicate, then the solution would be to add more relief, or bend, to your neck. The tension from the strings of your bass tend to pull the head up, making the neck curve under the strings and allowing more room for the string to vibrate without hitting the frets. Your playing style, that is, how hard you personally attack the strings, will determine whether or not the string has enough room. The tension of the strings is counteracted by the tightness of the truss rod inside the neck. What you need to do is loosen the truss rod so that string tension will introduce more bend, or relief, in your neck.

    Take this explanation and follow the directions pointed to by our esteemed Hambone and you'll be on your way. Go slow, have patience.

    After you're satisfied with the relief, adjust your bridge for intonation/string height (I tend to do these at the same time), again using the advice from this board (and the Gary Willis site, eh Treena?). Be patient, let it settle in, play it, make additional adjustments over the net few weeks as necessary, feel free to ask specific questions here if you have any. You may find getting your bass "properly" set up (and "properly" means YOU define it for your playing style and comfort) is an iterative process, so again I advise patience. It is very rewarding, especially in that modifying your setup may end up making you change the way you approach playing (e.g., you may find you prefer a lighter touch with your plucking hand, or you may want to "dig in" harder for a more aggerssive tone).

    Then you can start all over when you change strings or want to try, say, lighter gauge strings! And you find your nut slots aren't deep enough! And hey, we haven't even discussed pickup height! We'll be here to help. Enjoy!
  9. Starmo


    Jul 15, 2004
    Raanana, Israel
    Thanks for that reply, Permagrin.

    I managed to get a set of Allen wrenches just today, so nothing has been done until now. The neck is straight now, but I think the nut is too deep. The strings are buzzing even at a very high and uncomfortable action.
    I'll take it to a tech, see what he says.

    Thanks again, everyone.
  10. demolition

    demolition Guest

    Jul 5, 2003
    No shame in asking for assistance,my first fender(MIM)was a real dilly of a pickle,It was 6 years old and owned by a banana head(no offense to any self proclaimed B.H'S)and it was from Texas.
    Me living in Conn. and buying it in the coldest month was a recipe for trouble,it needed to be set-up everyday it seemed,so I got good with an allen wrench quick,but I was forced to pay someone to do it a few times.
    My point,its Ok to ask for HELP! :rollno: