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Adjusting Action

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by smurfy27, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. smurfy27


    Jan 30, 2009
    I just bought a "new to me" Lakland 55-02 and the action is lower than I like. Can I simply adjust the saddle height to raise the action or do I need to go through the truss rod, nut and intonation adjustments too?

  2. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    You can only do the saddle. Do like a half turn at the time until you get to the hight you like.
  3. greggster59


    Oct 31, 2006
    New Jersey
    You can. But check the neck relief first to see if you should also adjust your truss rod.

    Hold the bass in playing position and press down on the first and last frets. The clearance from the 7th to 9th fret should be small, about just enough to grab a business card.

    Once you are sure you have proper neck relief you can raise your saddle height. A tech I know always tells me that the A string should be a hair higher than the rest. Basically, you're allowing for the slight curvature of the fingerboard.

    When all else is done you should check your intonation and adjust if necessary.
  4. Get a Stew-Mac string action gauge - they work beautifully if you're into accuracy.
  5. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    No, that's not accurate. Feeler gauges are accurate. Parallax can give widely inaccurate readings on a simple rule.
  6. ^ Yes - it is accurate if you know how to use it. The people here that use one recommend it for its simplicity, ease of use, and accuracy.
    Feel free to keep using your feeler gauges.
  7. dStar


    Mar 1, 2012
    Where can I get a feeler gauge for 6/64", for string height?
  8. dincz


    Sep 25, 2010
    Czech Republic
    You can't, but you can get 3/32"
  9. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    ^ truth. But generally a steel ruler (shorty) is used to measure action because you may want it a little lower or higher. Specs are only beginning points. You may not like the specs so a ruler you measurement flexibility.
  10. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Don't worry, I will. After 50 years of doing this I'm not likely to change now.
  11. mattattack187

    mattattack187 Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    Ellsworth, ME
    Lakland has an excellent video on YouTube about setting up their Basses. I tend to learn these things easier by watching than reading.
  12. hailet


    Sep 16, 2012
    Mount Prospect,IL
    I was looking for a thread and found this one where I could say THANKS to the folks here on TB for giving me the information I needed to give me the confidence to make action adjustments to my bass. I bought a nice P bass and had a setup done on it but was unhappy with the action. Taking it back in seemed like a waste to me so I did it myself and now I'm very happy. Intonation and action are perfect. It's the first time since I bought my bass that it really feels like mine. Thanks again TB'ers .
  13. smurfy27


    Jan 30, 2009
    Thanks for all your help. Since I've never done this before I'm still going to take it to be professionally set up and then if I need the action adjusted up or down from there I can do it. I just don't like the idea of playing with the truss rod when I really don't know what I'm doing. Plus I really don't have any of the measuring tools. Thanks again for the help!

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