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Adjusted saddle to the lowest and strings still feel too high?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Cyril_YU, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. Cyril_YU


    Sep 13, 2016
    Paris, France
    Hi tbers,

    This happens on 2 basses I use/used, one being a G&L USA, and the other one an YAMAHA RBX. It's really obvious on the G string, as the string is about 2~3mm away from 21st fret.

    The neck is totally straight: When pressing down 1st and 21st fret and pull the string between them, it rings with very little buzz and there's almost no space under it.

    Both basses have bolted-on neck and the screws are tight.

    So it seems kind of mysterious...is it just the design of the saddle? or there's something wrong with the bass?


    Edit: I'll add sth I wrote in the replies here.

    The string height at 12-21 frets now makes me feel like I have to "press the string down before holding it onto the fret".

    I have a 4 string passive jazz with strings over high frets just a bit higher than on 1-3 frets, and they buzz a little but not audible in the amp, that's kind of what I'm aiming at. Also the pop sound of the G string is really good on that one (and feels good for me), unless this G&L when I pop G string I can feel it's kind of too high.

    Neck relief: when I press down 1st and 21st fret, each string can hold a 0.88mm pick firmly(I have no tools to measure the gap), and the whole part of string that is over the neck can ring with little buzz. And this is done when I put the bass on my lap as when I play it. When it's done with the bass on a flat surface without neck support, the strings won't ring.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
    MCF and jamro217 like this.
  2. You need to shim the heal of the neck to get some backwards tilt. Ive heard of guys putting a strip from a business card in the neck pocket. Give that a shot. That should lower the action.
    rtav, Gyver, CapnSev and 17 others like this.
  3. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    2mm at the 21st fret is low. Are you sure you want it lower?
    SirMjac28, whero, Chrisk-K and 5 others like this.
  4. I got mine set low. A little buzz. Cant hear it through the amp. It took a little bit to get used to it playing without the amp. Forces me to play lightly.
  5. briandavismurph

    briandavismurph Supporting Member

    Jul 1, 2013
    My 1981 G&L has a tilt neck [small hole on the backplate that allows access to a hex screw] Tilt neck feature takes the place of a neck shim. Not sure if newer G&L's have them or if the feature was discontinued
    Kukulkan61 likes this.
  6. +1, plus 2 mm isn't quite the same as 3 mm, the latter measurement being about normal IMO.
  7. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I've had the same problem with two basses myself. The saddle wouldn't go low enough to accomodate my setup preferrences (which, according to others, are crazy and unreasonable).

    A shim does help, but I made a shim that filled the entire neck pocket. I basically cut a piece of thin wood, 2mm thick, to shape and drilled holes into it for the neck screws. Doesn't look pretty, but I can't hear a difference and finally the action is as low as I want it. Bonus: the strings are also farther away from the pickups, which I couldn't get low enough before either.
    Cyril_YU, nnnnnn and gebass6 like this.
  8. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    "You need to shim the heal of the neck to get some backwards tilt."

    Cyril_YU, DJ Bebop and Yammybass like this.
  9. Still using my avatar, huh?
  10. Is that avatar john lennons sketch.
    Cyril_YU likes this.
  11. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    Oh ya!!!
  12. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    Did you replace the stock bridge? I used to put high mass bridges on everything and went through the whole “strings too high” deal every time. If this is the case, either shim the neck or go back to the stock bridge. If this is not the case, ignore this post.
    MCF, 4sight and groooooove like this.
  13. MoeTown1986

    MoeTown1986 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2010
    SoMD (Mechanicsville)
    How is the nut? IME, just about every factory nut is cut too high. Filing the slots down could fix your issue.
    Caca de Kick and Bodeanly like this.
  14. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    Fixed. :thumbsup:
  15. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Nope not anymore. they did away with the neck tilt feature in the late 90's when they went to six-bolt neck.

    OP will have to use a shim if he wants it lower. and dang! 2mm is low!
    I use construction paper rather than business cards...I want the least about of tilt I can get away with.
  16. Hopefully there is an exacting procedure for set-up provided by the makers of your basses. That's what I use for mine and the action is perfect, very low, no buzzes. My strings are at 1.6 mm at the 12th fret.
  17. headband

    headband Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2013
    Lake Havasu City
    StewMac sells shims that may fit your bass and fill the neck pocket, and offer different degrees of neck tilt.
    Son of Wobble likes this.
  18. JesterJoker010


    Nov 4, 2018
    I raised my neck in the socket with a shim to achieve lower action.
    Fairly normal procedure.
    I just used a flat credit card shim, though usually people use them with a slight tilt with a minimal degree on.

    Also as someone mentioned 2mm at 21th fret is pretty damn low already in my book, mine is about 3mm which is considered about normal.

    Normally you shouldn't expect to get any lower than yours is now without buzz.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  19. 2mm at 21fret is pretty low. With a straight neck you should have about 1 or 1,5mm at 12fret...
  20. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Yep! I just did this last night in fact. It works well. Probably not as ideal as one of those Stewmac angle-specific shims, but folks have been doing this with business cards for years. The one I did last night required one business card set flat against the back of the heel pocket, and then a second one which was doubled-over set against the base of the heel pocket to create more neck angle. Added those, reinstalled the neck, dialed in the setup and now the action on that bass is nice and low across the board.

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