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Basses with lowest action

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by psi, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. psi


    Mar 11, 2005
    New Jersey
    Hey there, just wondering if any of you guys have come across any basses with exceptionally low action (without fret buzz).

    My Steinberger XL-2 has a pretty good reputation for low action, but the particular one that I got (used) had a pretty heavy bow. Paul at Peekamoose said a $refret job$ might help it.
  2. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    You had a graphite neck with a bow in it? Is that possible? :confused:
  3. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    fretless basses!
  4. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA

    You can get it down REALLY low.
  5. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Low action is a matter of setup and technique , most any well made instrument can have low action.

    My musicman sterling is set up with the action at around 3/32 of an inch from top of 12th fret to bottom of string.
  6. Blues Cat

    Blues Cat Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner Commercial User

    May 28, 2005
    Katy, Tx
    Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner
    I agree w/FigJam. My bass came w/ 3/32" action, pretty low compared to most basses @ GC. W/ Prosteels I have it lowered to 2/32"-1.5/32" on my Carvin LB75P. I like Fat Beams as well but have to raise action back up to 3/32" to quell fret buzz. I'm going to try .135 .110 .90 .70 .50 soon to see if I can lower a little more w/ higher tension & less string orbit.
  7. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Low action isn't always a good thing. A lot of people like myself like their action not too low, but not too high.
  8. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I liek it low so its easy to play but high enough that slapping doesnt get choked sounding. I find 3/32 to be a great height. Ernie ball musicman ships em from the factory at that so they like it too.
  9. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I pride myself on my ability to make ANY bass play great. It might take a bunch of work, but I can do it. I've had cheapies I've been able to make play great easily, and I've had $2000 basses that required lots of effort to get low, non-buzzing string action. Things I usually do:

    - Refile or replace nut, depending.
    - Level and recrown frets, sometimes replace or reseat a few.
    - Shim, sand or fill the neck/body joint.
    - Adjust EVERYTHING, possibly lower, raise, or replace bridge.
  10. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    I am sympathetic with your search. I like my basses with much lower action than the experts tell me is "appropriate". I think that I'm into economy of motion, especially in slap playing, and I like to NOT have to push or pull the string any farther than necessary in order to get it to interact with the frets.

    Generally, graphite necked basses are supposed to be the way to go for low, low action, and graphite necks don't move much. So I'm also surprised to hear your 'Berger has a bow. I'd get a second opinion there.

    Status, Modulus, and Zon all make superlative (and expensive) graphite-necked basses. You do lose a little wood warmth with a graphite necked bass, especially if it's a neck-through-body design. Zon Legacy basses have a graphite set neck with a hybrid phenolic/wood fingerboard to keep a little of the wood character in the sound. I think all Modulus basses are bolt-on, but I'm not positive.

    Status basses are just cool in my opinion. But, seeing that I already have an Ashdown Mark King amp, if I showed up with a Status bass people would suspect I am a poseur. ;)
  11. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    I have no idea how to measure action (if anyone can help, please tell me) But my teacher said to someone else "he plays with his action at the bare minimum without fretbuzz, like barley missing the fret" So, i'll measure my action, and let ya know what it is.
  12. All the MTD 535s I've had were remarkable in their ability to be setup ultra-low.
  13. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    Timmy C likes his action high because he kinda ownz his strings when he plays ie HIGH ATTACK.
  14. All the spectors I've ever played have had really low action, and so have warwicks. I played a stingray and the action was so high I couldn't slap upon it. I played an MIA jazz with high action and a P bass (still MIA) that was perfect, low enough.
  15. BassikLee

    BassikLee Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Deltona, FL
    Owner: Brevard Sound Systems
    I had an XL2-A that had a REALLY bad bow. It was so bad it was barely playable, seriously. It was RED too. It ended up over at Ed Roman's, and he sold it for some rediculously high price, like $2500 or something. I pitty the guy who bought that bass.
    Most any bass can be made to have stoopid low action, as long as the neck can be adjusted. The bass I have with the lowest action is currently my Brice Douglass 5. I filed the nut, levelled the frets, and redid the bridge, and now that bass CAN play stoopid low. I haven't measured it, but I had it a tad lower than it is now, and there was less than 1.5mm between the G string and the last fret. This was with no real buzzing or anything, but you had to play VERY lightly. I raised it up a wee bit, but it is still the lowest in my herd.
  16. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    On neck relief and Steinbergers, I'll mention that lots of graphite necks in the 80's (Modulus and Zon, as well as Steinberger) were probably not necessarily designed with the intention of having "the lowest action possible". Because they are not adjustable, the relief was probably chosen to reflect the preferences of the majority of players at the time. I've talked to a couple of Zon owners who had older (80's?) Zons as well as newer ones, and they indicated that the newer ones had a lot less relief than the older ones. That doesn't mean the neck moved--it just means that preferences change over time, as players have access to louder/better amplification, focus on more advanced technique (who was trying to sound like Victor Wooten in 1985?), and just get used to lower actions in general.

    And now back to your regularly scheduled discussion...

  17. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    My Aerodyne II has the lowest action of any bass I've played. Amazing, since I didn't have to do anything to it at all.
  18. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    I've never had a problem with the action or relief on my Steinberger XL-2. Good thing, because there's no way to adjust it. The action is nice and low, just how I like it.

    On the other hand, there's not much I can do to damage it, either. My four-year old can bang on it to her heart's content.

    She's the cutest little slapper you've ever seen. :)
  19. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    If you like to play fast like me lowest action will make you tap the D and G strings (fingerplaying), so sometimes a little bit over the lowest is best than the lowest.

    How much is in CM 3/32" ???
  20. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    About 1.5 - 2 milimeters. hard to tell cause my ruler sucks.

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