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Adjusting action on a Rick Turner Ren 4 fretless ??

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by pfschim, Dec 4, 2006.


  1. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    Hey, I am the (mostly) happy new owner of a beautiful '97 Std Ren 4 fretless. This bass is great but the action gets quite high above the 10th fret area.

    Sighting down the neck it appears pretty flat to me, no obvious bow in either direction. The action from the 1st through 8th frets is perfectly fine for my taste, it gets quite high .. say 5-6 mm above the 10th fret and makes playing difficult in the upper register.

    So, seeing as this bass has what looks like a fairly standard bone bridge saddle, can I lower the upper fret action by cutting it down a bit ?

    I'm thinking that if I use a block with medium/coarse paper and work the flat bottom of the bridge saddle over the flat block surface I will be able to take this bridge down to a more useful action. I figure that if I mark the current height and just watch it as I sand the bottom of it, I should not screw it up too bad. And even if I did then I could always take it to a luthier and get it done right.

    Can anyone offer me any insight or advice on this ?

    Thanks

    Paul
     
  2. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.

    I very strongly advise against filing the bridge.

    If the neck has the right amount of relief, you can adjust the action heigth by shimming the neck pocket to correct the neck angle.
     
  3. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    thanks for that suggestion. Just looking at the bass, that also looked like an possible option as well.

    But, while the Turner does have a bolt on neck, the neck pocket end of it is pretty asymmetrically curved, not squared off. You can see this neck bottom curve on any one of the Turner Amplicoustic picutres other TBer's have posted. So how would I shim it ? Also, what suggestions would you make on the kind of wood to shim it with ?

    Its entirely possible that this is a job for a real luthier and not for an amateur like me.
     
  4. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Considering the value of your bass, I would contact Turner for advice. You sure don't want to devalue it with a sub par repair.

    Unless you know for sure, I'd remove the neck and have a look at the shape of the neck pocket. If it's reasonably square, I'd go ahead and shim it since it would be easy to reverse if it doesn't solve the prob. If that crazy curve is the shape of the pocket, some thought needs to go into the method of shimming it.

    Without knowing the shape of the pocket, I'm hesitant to make specific suggestions

    I have never had a neck off a Ren, but I just assumed that the curves were only in the fretboard overhang. The end of the pocket is not square?

    As to the shim material, a business card works just as well as wood. I have replaced cardstock shims with wooden shims and it didn't make any audible difference.
     
  5. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    well, thats what I was saying about the curved neck. The neck pocket is cut in the same shape, its not a fretboard overhang. In a regular square neck/neck pocket situation I can see exactly how I would shim this bass, but with the curved pocket thing .. not so much.

    I also sent a note to Rick Turner guitars, but I have heard that they are really busy folks and may likely not reply to me anytime soon.

    The only good news about that is that I live only an hour from Santa Cruz, where Rick has his shop. So maybe a short road trip is in order.

    The Ren is not unplayable, its just that articulating much above the 10/12th fret is not very easy, it just feels a bit unbalanced from the bottom to the top of its range.

    Thanks for your reply
     
  6. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    You're welcome. Sorry we couldn't be more help.
     
  7. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    thanks for your consideration of my situation with the Ren ...

    I think the real answer is to try and reach Rick Turner's shop and ask them. They have not responded to my email or phone calls so far, but I'll keep trying.

    Baring that, I'd guess there are enough of these great basses out in the market that there is likely a luthier somewhere reasonably close that can check out my bass and offer a cure.

    We'll see
     
  8. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    FWIW, the Turner folks, Barry I think, got back to me via email and let me know that shaving the bridge saddle should be no problem as it is easily replaceable if I mess it up too bad. I actually already have a spare bridge saddle around here somewhere.

    So I'm now thinking about changing string height geometry by using a a new nut, slightly higher than the current one to keep the lower fretboard from grabbing the strings, and then reducing the saddle height using a sandpaper block as described above.

    We'll see what happens.

    Can anyone recommend a good luthier in the SF Bay area ??

    Thanks
     
  9. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006

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