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Bass set up anxiety

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by chaotick, Dec 31, 2011.


  1. chaotick

    chaotick

    Aug 15, 2006
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    I've had an ibanez Sr-905 now since 2006. I bought it used off craigslist from a local guy after I went to look at a different bass he was selling and I'm still in love with it. Only thing I have changed is the preamp (now has a aguilar OBP-3).

    I have never had this bass set up once since the day I got it but it's gone through more string gauge changes then I can mention. Currently it has a circle k .150 set in A Standard tuning and I honestly don't mind the playability of it at all except that I may go slightly heavier next time.

    Here's the thing. I used to play in A Standard with .130 or .135 strings and when I put the .150's on it then it changed my world the tension was that much better. BUT I'm pretty confident that it was never intended to have that much tension out of the box without an adjustment.

    I have had this nagging thought for the last year or so that I should get it set up but I'm really scared that it will change how I feel about the bass. I've owned a lot of guitars and basses but never been as satisfied with playability as I am with this one.

    Should I see if the grass is greener and get it set up or should I leave it the hell alone? :meh:
     
  2. I'd suggest getting into setting it up yourself.

    Lots of great info in the Setup/Repair forum here, along with details on how to measure the current setup parameters so you can recreate the current setup. It's not very difficult & the toolkit will be at worst the cost of a setup or 2.
     
  3. snyderz

    snyderz

    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    You've had a nagging thought for a year? Give it a few more years until it really bugs you.
     
  4. sammyp

    sammyp

    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    +1 ......basses and guitars just don't look after themselves ..the wood goes thru changes due to humidity differences throughout the seasons of year .....this affects playablity ..

    also ...changing string gauge puts different tensions on the neck affecting it's relief .....

    the action at the bridge can often be setup once and if you're happy you may never touch it again but a truss rod needs to be adjusted a few times a year ...every year....
     
  5. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I'd dare say that after 5 years it's time for a setup.
     
  6. ubnomnar

    ubnomnar Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    So Cal
    Check the Circle K tension chart: circlekstrings.com/CKSIMAGES/CircleKtensionChart.pdf

    A .150 tuned to "A" is only 36.7 lbs of tension... which is about the same as their .130 tuned to "B" (36.0 lbs).

    Unless I'm missing something, your string tension is fairly standard. If your neck has excessive relief for your playing style then you'll want to adjust it. Since you're happy with the way it plays now, it doesn't sound like you have a concern.

    However, you might be surprised by what a good setup will do for playability.
     
  7. oldcatfish

    oldcatfish

    Jan 8, 2011
    If it stays in tune, the intonation is good, it doesn't have fret buzz, and you are happy with it's playability...just leave it alone. If any of those things change, then go for a setup...or as mentioned--learn to set it up yourself.
     
  8. Liam Wald

    Liam Wald Supporting Member

    May 17, 2011
    California Coast
    I agree. It is definitely worth learning how to do this yourself.
    Start by making really SMALL adjustments and let it evolve over several days of small adjustment, playing time, small adjustment, playing time... etc etc.
    If you don't go too far with it at any one time you are not likely to make it worse.
    Eventually it will settle into a set-up that works for you.
    Be really careful and THINK about every move.
    You can do this!
     
  9. +1

    But then we'll get more competition for those "broken bass" deals on Craigslist! ;)
     
  10. klejst

    klejst

    Oct 5, 2010
    Nebraska
    I would say if you are really hung up on the whole setup thing then I would get it done. After almost 5-6 years I would say it is due to have one.
     
  11. JxBass

    JxBass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    I've used Fender's guide or years on all my basses, Fender and non-Fender:

    Fender® Support
     
  12. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    And a lot of dangerous misinformation, too. Or lots of little things that are dangerous if they're left out of explanations, which they generally are. :rollno:

    The OP is obviously clueless about how to even tell if a bass is out of adjustment, so I'm not sure if he'd even know the answers to the pertinent questions I'd ask him if he brought it to me to get the full bench treatment to suit him.

    I mean how much excess relief does it have now and how much do you want taken out? :confused:

    Relief. Start reading there and the answers will begin to appear.
     
  13. Neener

    Neener Grumpy Old Dog

    Feb 25, 2007
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    Bongolation, the guy comes here asking for some advice, not to be called clueless.
     
  14. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    I didn't mean it as a pejorative, just a simple point of fact.

    He's agonized over this for a year and has somehow managed to not pick up on such a simple concept as neck relief as it relates to his concerns? How do you even manage that? :confused:
     
  15. First of all, thanks for the superb compressor pedal info. It helped me immensely!

    In all respect, the guy's gotta learn sometime. Why not now that things have come to a head? We all took that first leap and adjusted our truss rod for the first time at some point :D
     
  16. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Wrong guy.
     
  17. Oh. Thanks for setting me straight.
     
  18. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    We both thank you. :p
     
  19. darkstorm

    darkstorm

    Oct 13, 2009
    Your bass will never play as well, as easy, nor sound as good as it can. Untill you learn to do your own setups. This includes truss rod adjustment to best suit you. I do near dead flat staright neck. Along with bridge saddle adjustments. I go for low as possible with no notes fretting out. Intonation adjustment. And adjusment of each pups height relative to strings and this can vary on either side, for best sound. A nd adjustment to individual pole peices for further tone tweak. If you cant do your own adjustments, learn. Its not hard. And its fun with great reward to both playability and sound improvement.
     
  20. AdamR

    AdamR Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    I had an SR505 that was the only bass that ever had a professional set up. It played amazing. I thought my set ups were pretty good, this thing changes my mind, LOL
     

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