Bass setup/adjustment?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by patrickj, Sep 5, 2001.

  1. patrickj


    Aug 13, 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    for my new BTB406 :)

    My last bass was a decent Washburn bantam 4 string. I liked it, served me well, but beyond tuning and changing the strings, I never really did anything else to adjust it - just played it.

    Any suggestions? How should the bridge/action be adjusted to ensure that the strings are tune across octaves (ie: open G, +1 octave, +2 octave - my Washburn went slightly flatter with each octave jump), etc?

  2. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    shouldn't this be in setup?

    some stuff includes:
    -adjusting action with allen (hex) wrench at bridge
    -tightening/loosening truss rod to change the relief.
    -checking intonation and making adjustments on that.
    -filing nut

    but i'm not an expert, take someone else's advice.
  3. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    What you need to adjust is called the intonation, which is essentially changing the length of the strings to make sure they are as in tune as possible along the neck.

    Get an electronic tuner, and make sure the string is in tune, first, and then play the harmonic at the twelth fret, and see if it is flat, sharp, or in tune. If it's in tune, you're good to go! If it is flat, take a screwdriver and turn it so that the saddle moves closer to the neck of the bass. Retune the string, and check the harmonic. If the harmonic is sharp from the open string, move the saddle away from the neck.

    Adjusting the action involves turning the truss rod, which you may or may not want to do depending on how confidant you are. It doesn't matter either way, but you do have to adjust both the truss rod and the bridge saddles to change your action.
  4. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    i dont think truss rod adjustments are always needed when you adjust your action. If the relief in the neck is still proper then why make a truss rod adjustment. If you just want to raise or lower the string action (providing its not too high or low) all you have to do is raise/lower the saddles. I was always told by techs that truss rod adjustments were done only if you cant get proper action due to unproper relief in the neck.
  5. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    That's just the way I do it. I never by any means said mine was the only way to do it. I generally do both the truss rod and the saddles at the same time for action, because, althought it might be a small adjustment, adjusting the neck will help in getting the correct string angle along with the bridge saddles. Granted, it is not necessary all the time, and I don't recommend adjusting the truss rod unless you feel comfortagble with it. You are right, truss rod adjustments are only done when you can't do it by saddles alone, but on most of the basses/guitars that I've worked on that needed action adjustments, I've had to do both the truss rod as well as the saddles.
  6. patrickj


    Aug 13, 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    bought a guittool, found some websites, all is perfect
  7. Fender suggests the following:

    "Play the open string harmonic at the 12th fret and compare this note with the note produced by fretting the string at the 12th fret".
  9. why dont you take it to a luthier?
  10. patrickj


    Aug 13, 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    if that was directed to me...

    I'd rather teach myself how to make corrections/adjustments so that I won't be dependant on a luthier when one isn't available ("in the field" so to speak..).

    Besides, adjusting a bass is fun :)
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Not true, action can be adjusted only at the bridge if you want, but to get the action you really want, especially very low action, it will usually involve shimming the nut or filing it down, adjusting the saddle height at the bridge, and adjusting the truss rod.