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"Cheaper" basses and low action

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Mazinger, Nov 27, 2002.

  1. Mazinger

    Mazinger Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2002
    I've found through my personal experience that lower quality basses and guitars have a problem with having low action. I never have found one that meets my height requirement without the strings buzzing.

    Is this just a setup issue?

    Build issue (just slap a neck on the body and don't worry about specs and tolerence)?


    I'd appreciate anyone's opinion on this issue.

    What do you think?
  2. It IS just a setup issue.

    Bolt-on basses are very simple in their design and the components used. This means that there are a limited number of area's that can affect the action and a limited number of solutions. However, if these adjustments are done properly, in the right amounts, at the right time, a low action should be easily attained.

    I suppose that poorly toleranced parts could lead to more problems getting a particular action but even a gross aberration in dimension has a way to be fixed. I'm thinking something along the lines of a neck pocket that's too deep or too shallow - things like that. These solutions might slop over into the "luthiery" category rather than "setup" but anything is possible.

    That said, I believe that I could take nearly any "cheap" instrument and get a desirable action by going over it with a fine tooth comb and really paying attention to the details that affect the action. In fact, anyone could if they knew what to look for.
  3. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    I agree and disagree with Ham. I do think that yes a neck/ action will be similar to setup and that the mechanics are the same. Buthow well the frets are done makes a big difference.
    Lower end basses just seem to have a higher incident of having frets that need be polished down a little. Along with the necks just seeming not as stiff. There are exceptions to the rule. But I think higher end basses necks tend to hold a setup alot longer, and the frets are more even.

    Not always, but fairly often.

    Like Ham says this slops into the luthiery dept.
  4. Correct nut height is also very important for getting low action.
    I was able to get much lower action on my (very cheap) jazzbass copy when I filed down the nut. (wich was way too high)
    Again, not really a setup issue.
  5. Mazinger

    Mazinger Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2002
    Thanks for the replies.

    I'm pretty new here and didn't know there was a luthiery section. Sorry for posting in the wrong forum.
  6. :confused: Sorry, if my post sounded like that Mazinger, that was not my intent. (I was just trying to answer your question)
    You didn't post it in the wrong forum, because you didn't know if it was a setup issue or not ... that's the way I see it :D

    Anyway, welcome to Talkbass !
  7. Mazertag, you didn't post in the wrong forum, like George said...

    The discussion is perfect for here and, while being a totally different subject, it also gets us away from the usual "how do I defret" threads.

    I reread my original post and something occured to me...I really tend to think of the lower end of the bass spectrum as inherently rough and out of spec. Some of the "luthiery" type things I mentioned, I would expect to do and would do anyway as part of what I would call a "setup". It all depends on where you're starting from. If you have a well built and previously adjusted instrument, it won't need nut filing or fret leveling to get just right. On the other hand, a new, production line instrument under $600 (+/-) might very well need these and more to feel good. As far as keeping a setup, I think that you'll only find it difficult to do with individual instruments but not entire model lines or price ranges. For the most part, I think they can all be fixed to some degree or another and be decent, playable (if not lovable) instruments.

    Just lemme at 'em!!
  8. Mazinger

    Mazinger Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2002
    No need to be sorry.:)

    I didn't take it as sounding...well you know.

    About the action thing again....

    I've played bass and guitar for several years as a hobby and still do, but I've never really paid attention to the building aspect of it.

    I've just noticed that lower end basses seemed to have a problem with low action.

    During the past year I've picked up a sr800 and 2 MIA p-bass and I've had no problems with the action. Actually, I didn't need to set up the action at all. They were perfect when I got them.

    I also have a sr400 and MIM p-bass that I can't lower without buzzing.

    Thanks again for the help!

    Oh..BTW should I defret my sr400 and what should I do first? ;)

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