cheaply make bad bass good

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by SirFunk, May 24, 2001.

  1. SirFunk


    May 24, 2001
    Lincoln, NE
    Ok, well i have a REALLY cheapo bass, and i'm rather ashamed of it. It's a *shudder* Rogue 4-string, well, anyway, i'm only 16, and i have aout $20 to my name, so don't tell me to go and buy a new bass. I just want to know some things i can CHEAPLY do to make this one sound better. (btw i have a decent amp Hartke 15" kickback) anyway, It's a 4 string, i like to keep the action as low as possible, maybe i'm wrong about that... also, i'm looking for a good funk, slap/poping, setup, so i dont' really know what's right... Also, the strings seem really tense, should i try to adjust the truss rod somehow, to loosen them up? i know one major problem with this bass, is that the strings are only 14mm appart, which is bad, but... i have to live with it. Also is there anything to do with the nut, should i maybe file it down? i can put A LITTLE money into this bass, but not much. well, anyway, thanks for any help.
  2. I know you don't want to hear this, but I wouldn't dump any money into it. Save your cash up, be patient, and buy a better bass.

    You will want a better bass than what you have now some day, so why invest anything more in a bass you already think is bad?

    The old saying is, "don't throw good money after bad" right?

  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    New strings are about all you can do in the around-$20 range for sound.

    If you really want to make it sound better, you could save up till you have enough for a good pickup.

    Raising your strings away from the pickup usually gives you better tone, but the volume is decreased, (so turn up your amp), and it's harder to play.

    Don't mess around with the nut using a file. Those are very tempermental and once you run the file through once too often, BOOM...time to get a new nut at the repair shop.

    If you mess with the truss rod, do so gradually. A little turn goes a long way. Too much and it's all over. You might want to look at

    Sorry I don't know of more you can do for less than the point where it makes more sense to think about a new bass.
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I've been there man. The first thing I would do is make sure the intonation is as close to perfect as you can get it. If you don't know how it set the intonation, I guess I could post a quick how to.

    Check the saddles on the bridge. make sure each height adjuster is well-seated onto the plate of the bridge and the saddle is parrallel to the plate. In other words, Just because the saddles vary in height to match the radius of the neck, it doesn't mean you have to have the saddles at an angle. The idea is get equal tension on both adjustment posts to maximize vibration through the bridge plate and into the guitar.

    If the pickups are noisy a little extra shielding may help. ALso, check all the pots (controls) make sure all the connections are well soldered.

    As for the "tense" strings, if the bass is in tune, adjusting the truss won't help the string tension. Use lighter strings. Although if the bass is cheap, it probably will sound better with heavier strings.

    Start there. I'll think about it more and post again.