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Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by doom32x, Dec 29, 2000.

  1. doom32x


    Apr 10, 2000
    You're supposed to set the action by adjusting the saddles, right? If you do, the do you lower the action by moving them towards the pickups or towards the bottom of the bass?
  2. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    My turn:

    Action is the height of the strings above the fingerboard. You change the action by raising or lowering the saddles. This adjustment is to some extent a matter of taste -- if you like how it feels high, set it high, if you like how it feels low, set it low.

    Moving the saddles closer to the butt end of the bass, though, adjusts the intonation. This is NOT a matter of taste but has only one correct setting for any particular string and action adjustment. Search this forum for "intonation" and you will get TONS of info about this. If you aren't sure what it is, DO NOT mess with it or your instrument will play out of tune with itself no matter what you do with the tuning pegs.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well, my view is that if you're thinking about "action", then you set the bridge saddles last of all, in a process that involves setting or checking neck relief, truss rod adjustment (if necessary) fret dressing and possibly nut adjustment. If you start with adjusting the bridge saddles, then all you might do is introduce fret buzz.
  4. Bruce is dead right. Also, it could be said that, if your bass is not a new one, an action and setup job goes right back to having your frets dressed. Actually, in my experience, any bass, even brand new ones, benefit from a good fret dress. This is down to the fact that, in order to keep manufacturing costs down, the frets are only pressed in and roughly checked to ensure the bass is "reasonably" playable (that statement does not include high end basses that are largely hand made). A perfectly levelled fingerboard and frets allows the string height to be set lower without buzzing. It also allows the neck relief to be set nearly flat, all of which contributes to an instrument that plays "like butter".

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