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Bass feels to tight

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Kevinlee, Aug 27, 2004.

  1. Kevinlee


    May 15, 2001
    Phx, AZ..USA
    I have an old no name ply bass that I can't seem to get completely comfortable with. It just seems to tight tension wise. Even with gut strings on it.

    I have tried various strings
    Raised saddle
    extended tailpiece cable
    none of these things really made much of a difference
    The bridge is at about 6 1/2" high

    It has had a set up at the luthiers who fit an adjustable bridge & dressed the neck.

    The scale lenghth is about 41" or so, same as my carved bass.

    One thing I noticed when comparing things to my carved is that the notches in the nut may be just hair or so higher. Could this make that big a difference?
    Also the neck angle is steeper

    Could this be a soundpost issue somehow?
    Soundpost to tight?

    The bass actually has a really nice tone and it's driving me a little nutty as to why I can't seem to get it to feel better.

    Any suggestions?

  2. Actually Kevin, all the stuff you've mentioned above could be a problem. What kind of strings are you using? What genre are you interested in? ( jazz, classical....arco, pizz ?)
    It's surprising how bringing down the nut a bit can loosen up your action. Don't go TOO far. The old "business card" width rule applies.
    When you say "raised saddle" do you mean just a thicker bottom saddle, or an actual "boot"? This can sometimes be a last course of action for tight basses....this would be a job for your luthier though and probably not inexpensive.
    Let us know.
  3. Kevinlee


    May 15, 2001
    Phx, AZ..USA
    Right now I have Corelli 380 on there. I had Gut on prior to these.

    I don't do any arco playing, none that counts anyway just
    pizz and some slap. I play with a few different bands doing Bluegrass, Rockabilly Swing, Honky Tonk/country swing and the occasional Jazz gig.

    The raised saddle was one my luthier made for me out of ebony. It was about 1" high and sat on top of the fixed saddle. I had a picture of one from an old Italian bass and he modeled it after that. It really didn't seem to make much of a difference though.

    Yea the nut might be the place to focus on. I mean I had gut strings on this thing and it still felt tight. It's not unplayable by any means, just not where I would like it.

    Does the soundpost ever have any bearing on tightness factor?

  4. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    I suspect excessive fingerboard camber, along with the nut being too high.
  5. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Please explain fingerboard camber, and how one remedies it's excess? Nothing I'd try, just trying to get educated;)
  6. Kevinlee


    May 15, 2001
    Phx, AZ..USA
    Camber is the scoop or relief in the board, correct?

    If my camber is excessive, I need the board flattened out a bit perhaps. Also on this bass it seems the relief/scoop is more in middle of the board. I think I would prefer it more towards the end of the fingerboard. Does this sound logical?

  7. I dunno if Arnold and our other luthiers will agree, I suspect they will. Alot of us players think (rightly or wrongly) that there's a "Sweet Spot" for the sound post in relation to the bridge. The "Mojo" part of this may be a little "out" for serious luthiers. I just feel there's a place for the sound post to be in on most basses and if ya get it in there, everything just opens up in terms of sound and more importantly, to me, the action. I feel, if the post isn't in the right place that it can tighten the sound and the feel... most definately!
  8. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I agree that the sound coming outta the fiddle has a lot to do with how it feels.
  9. Kevinlee


    May 15, 2001
    Phx, AZ..USA
    Well in the case of this bass it sounds damn good. So it's just a physical thing. I might have the board redone and maybe have the soundpost adusted a bit just to see what happens.