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Basses with lowest action

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


  1. 90k

    90k

    May 3, 2005
    Arizona
    I just scored a Dearmond six string on ebay and when I was done with new strings and a setup it had extreme low action. it does have some spots where i need to finesse the strings but worth the trade off. the body is mahogany and it has a ridiculous resonant frequency at f#. the EMG pick ups just don't cut it for me on this bass so I will need to find something else. definently a keeper. :bassist:
     
  2. kalle74

    kalle74

    Aug 27, 2004

    It´s 2,38mm.

    I have my 55-02 set up at 1/16" on B and 5/64" on G. I too believe in economy of motion as well as Gary Willis´theory on bass sounding better with a lighter touch. Any good bass with a good fretjob will go low... It´s about you possibly changing your touch a bit...
     
  3. abngourmet

    abngourmet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    USA
    I've got my action pretty low on all my Alembics. It helps that they all have an adjustable nut, particularly since I use light gauge strings. My Pedulla is low as well, and it plays like a dream. My Jazz is a bit higher, but still plays great, as does my Musicman. I practically have the bridge all the way down on my RD Artist, and it's really low, and no buzz whatsoever.

    I don't like it too low, though. I've known guys who've had their basses set up that way, and one really needs to have a light touch to make that work. I like to dig in on occasion, so a super low set up won't work for me personally. Usually, I'll tell my tech to get it as low as possible without buzzing, then adjust from there.

    My experience has been that if one likes lighter gauge strings, particularly on four string instruments, be prepared to tweak, tweak, tweak the set up. Standard gauge (.45-.105) is not to my liking, so I am constantly making adjustments with the gauge I use (.40-.95/.100). This is particularly a thing on older basses - they just don't seem to like light gauge strings. I had fits getting my '73 Jazz and '79 Musicman set up the way I liked it.

    Alan
     
  4. +1
     
  5. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    I have tried it, but the lighter my touch the more attack i get and the more low end i lose, but i play faaaaaaast :bassist: .
     
  6. Gastambide

    Gastambide

    Mar 4, 2005
    I had a Warwick Nobby Meidel (Their first bass, I believe - the headless one!) years ago. It had insanely low action. I believe that the frets were lower profile than the normal jumbo frets used typically on basses. Also, there was no laminated fingerboard. I think the entire neck was one solid piece of rosewood. Played (and sounded-thanks to the EMG's) like a dream - for about 3 or 4 years, then the neck went all to hell. It warped into what resembled a ski-jump, rising upward the closer it got to the body. My luthier said his best advice was to get rid of it because it was a flawed design. And, since it always looked like a finely crafted canoe paddle anyways, I decided to unload it. (I'm a sucker for nice looking basses!)
     
  7. I run one of my Rics with the saddles sitting at their lowest point...correct truss-rod adjustment and I get no buzzes, but plenty of clank against the fretboard when I dig in. Beautiful. My other Ric (and other basses) is setup a little higher for a slightly cleaner tone.
     
  8. klem

    klem

    Mar 14, 2004
    Germany
    Hey, an old Nobby Meidel player.
    "Flawed Design"? I don´t think so.
    Have a look: http://www.nobby-meidel-bass.de
     
  9. popinfresh

    popinfresh

    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    But then, alot of people like low action. Which is what the threadstarter is asking for.

    I'd vote Modulus.
     
  10. fullrangebass

    fullrangebass

    May 7, 2005
    Europe
    From my own personal experience (please check the basses that i own; all are in use!!!!), the most honourable mentions for incredibly low action and great tone go to the Dingwalls and the Kenneth Lawrence Brase. Then it's MTD, Status's, Ritter and Warrior. The rest are nice and easy to play. I play both fingerstyle and 8 finger tapping, as well as some pick and slap stuff.

    The most important and overlooked element (after purchasing a PROPER instrument) is a capable repairman that yopu can communicate with. You need to spend time to both explain your requirements and perform on the bass once it's been adjusted. After couple of times, the luthier should know how to adjust YOUR bass for YOUR OWN personal touch. Then things are easy to follow up and be maintained.
     
  11. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Basses that I have had with real low action that played properly are my Nordstrand, R bass, pentabuzz, MTD, Cirrus, Smith. Most of the others I have had I am sure would have gone exceptionally low had I really wanted to get it that level. Except for a 91 Modulus that had a bow. I will NEVER get another bass without a truss rod.
     
  12. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2005
    This is going back aways, but the old Mosrite basses were noted for their incredibly low action. My second bass ever was a Mosrite and it was a gigging machine. Don't seem around too much any more, which is a shame.

    "Walk Don't Run" anyone? :D

    /rick
     
  13. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    All my basses have action as low as I want them to be, whether it's an Essex or Lakland. The issue is how much tweaking I have to do.
     
  14. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    No exact measurments , but neck through carvins tend to have the ability to get extremely low action. My lb75f has very low action 5 years and no setups after being built. I know that if I get it setup I can bring it even lower and make it as it was when I bought it.
     
  15. Using 45-105 strings, the action on my Aria stb-jb is the lowest I've ever managed to get on any of the basses I've owned (and there have been a few). However, my friend had a 4001 years ago, and you would swear that there was no gap at all between the frets and the strings. They didn't buzz at all (the wiring on the other hand...).
     
  16. markorbit

    markorbit

    Apr 16, 2004
    I had a Steinberger L2 that had superb action but like a fool, I sold it in 1991.

    I've now got an XL2 but that has much more relief than the old L2. It's also 20 years old. I do believe that the graphite neck is not immune to bowing over time. I'm currently having it sorted as I don't think there are many basses that beat a nice Steinberger.
     
  17. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    +100
     
  18. fullrangebass

    fullrangebass

    May 7, 2005
    Europe
    My basses with the lowest action are my Dingwalls and my Kenneth Lawrence. They are dead low but they still have great dynamics (they go from a whisper to a scream)
     
  19. KayCee

    KayCee

    Oct 4, 2004
    Shawnee, KS
    Most basses (but not all) can be set up quite low.

    First off, it always helps to know that the frets have been levelled.

    Secondly, set the neck as dead straight as possible. I know that many players like some relief in the neck, but I play with a light touch, and can get away with it. It helps to take the tension off of the strings when tightening the truss rod to keep from stripping the truss rod nut.

    After that, you can lower the bridge, adjust the intonation, and adjust the bridge height again to account for any height change caused by the length correction.

    The nut most often needs to be lowered so that the open strings BARELY clear the first fret when playing most aggressively. This can be tricky, so you have to file the slots just a little at a time, checking it constantly.

    Or, just pay someone else to do it! :p
     
  20. Pan

    Pan Lowdown User

    Aug 8, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    My Fodera Monarch4 Standard with light strings is set to
    1/20" (.05) at the 12th over all strings.
    I did it to see how low it would go and stay totally buzz-free.
    Oddly enough the G was the first to buzz when any lower.
     

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