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Anyone have a setup solution

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by matty4string, Dec 26, 2016.

  1. matty4string

    matty4string Banned

    May 11, 2016
    I'm trying to learn and understand setups. I have been trying to set up my jazz bass to the proper specs. I have the string height at 6/64 at the 12th fret and the relief at the thickness of about 2 business cards at the 9th and 12th I'm still getting a lot of feet buzz up and down the board. I play with a fairly hard attack but I'm buzzing all over the place on every string especially the e. I would like to go a little lower maybe 4-5/64 but with the buzz I already have it's no use. WhT will help me. Shim perhaps ?
  2. Sounds like a truss rod adjustment may be needed.

    If you don't know what you are doing with regard to that, have someone who does do it for you.

    You may have to raise your action a bit too, not every bass will work well with the same setup, e.g., the specifications you provided.

    If your playing style has a fairly hard attack, as you describe, a low action might not work well for you. The harder you pluck or pick, the more the strings move.
  3. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Practice sighting the neck. It sounds to me like you need some relief.

    Also, I know many people are sticklers for measurements, but for me that would drive me nuts. I set my basses up so they feel right. Sticking rulers into the mix complicates matters much too much for this guy here. There are also no proper specs, unless you're referring to your own specs. Every bass will vary somewhat.
    JGbassman and Bob Clayton like this.
  4. matty4string

    matty4string Banned

    May 11, 2016
    it may be important to note. That my bass has the bridge saddles all the way to the deck. And I'm just getting 6/64 (fenders specs). If I give it anymore relief I will not be able to lower my strings anymore
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Then yes. A shim might do the trick.
    matty4string likes this.
  6. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I should add that the buzzing is going to increase with a shim though. If the neck is adjusted properly, you may need to take it to a pro to get it where you want it - or wait for others to direct better than I can.
  7. matty4string

    matty4string Banned

    May 11, 2016
    I thought maybe there was some high frets but I'm unsure
  8. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    There is no such thing.

    Adjust until it sounds and feels right.

    If you must measure, do it at the end of the process so you can see if anything moves in the future.
  9. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    • If you play with a "hard attack" and want low string height it will buzz.
    • If you want to play with a "hard attack" and no buzz the frets will almost certainly require leveling.
    • Measuring is a good way to understand where the set up lies and allows you to set a benchmark from which to work.
    JLS and mech like this.
  10. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    "Specs" are generalized starting points. If all humans played identically, there could actually be exact specifications, but we don't so there isn't.

    I play most of my basses with a little less relief than you describe, but probably more string height. I'm a medium to hard player, so it's not like im playing in a way to avoid buzz and I don't really have any. You may have a high fret or a ski jump hump near the heel of the neck. If you have a good straight edge you might find the offending condition.
  11. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Shimtime! Then setup.
  12. matty4string

    matty4string Banned

    May 11, 2016
    I was going to get some shims from stewmac what size do you recommend ?
  13. JGbassman

    JGbassman Supporting Member

    May 31, 2011
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    Could also be your nut height is too low. Run a feeler gauge under the first fret past the nut. This is the last step to check when setting up a bass, but if the nut is cut to high, it will be a struggle to play, and if the nut is cut to deep, and too close to the fret, you will get string buzz and rattle regardless of a proper set up.

    Id start with the shim. I usually use 220 wet dry sand paper, folded over once, twice, or three times by the heel based on how much is needed. Once that is good, you can "flatten" your neck via truss rod a little more with a tighter tolerance, play the bass and set the string height by starting high, and turning the Allen adjustments a half turn down until you buzz, then raise it a quarter/half turn. Once that's done, (set intonation as well) check your nut action ( I know, I know). And you should be good to go.

    I will sometimes use a feeler gauge to set the relief on a neck needing an initial set up, but most often I only use gauges setting the nut action. After you do a few set ups, they are pretty easy to sight the neck. Remember you will need a capo when setting the relief to factory specs.
  14. JGbassman

    JGbassman Supporting Member

    May 31, 2011
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    John Caruthers (exile strings). Has some great you tube videos on setups on a precision bass.

    I'd recommend you watch those if you can. I picked up some cool little tricks from him, even though I'd been doing my own setups for quite a while.
  15. Bob Clayton

    Bob Clayton My P doesn’t have flats or tort Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs
    "Proper" specs are tailored to the individual. How I like my bass might not be how you like it, and neither of us may like it at "factor settings". Generally speaking though if you're getting a lot of fret buzz, you should maybe look into adding a little more neck relief (though 2 business cards already seems a bit high for me anyway) or raising your bridge saddles.
  16. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    I'm not sure how familiar you are overall with setting up basses, so,excuse me if I'm giving you information that you already know.
    Before shimming or doing anything else, watch this video and then parts 2, 3, and 4.
    They will guide you through the the proper steps to do a setup. They must be done in order.

    Once you have completed all steps in order, then you can assess what else you may need to do.

    The step that covers string height is relative. Since you mention liking to play hard, you may want to set the strings a bit higher than suggested.
    If it were me, I would first set them up as mentioned in the video then, if I found out they were clanking too much with my playing, I would set them a bit higher.

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