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Does this string height look reasonable to you?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by vindibona1, Apr 25, 2018.


  1. vindibona1

    vindibona1

    Apr 18, 2015
    I'm trying to set up a Fender 5 String Jazz Bass that had been sitting idle for years. When I got it the action was something like 20/64ths" and the relief was about 1/4". I got the relief set very low now but to lower the action I had to shim the neck and even still the G's saddle is on the deck.

    I'm pretty new to bass setups so I'm measuring the action at the 17th fret. Not sure if I should have measured at the 12th. The strings are 45 on the G and 130 on the B. Anyway, I did my best to take a photo while holding the ruler in place. Should I try to go lower and re-shim the neck or just leave it alone?

    JB5_StringHeight_SM.
     
  2. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    It *looks* high to me.
     
    Coolhandjjl, Alik, jamro217 and 2 others like this.
  3. I agree
     
    jamro217 likes this.
  4. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    At the 12th, I aim for 1/16" at the G and 3/32" at the E...the B is always a crap-shoot. How much relief do you have onboard? How did you shim the neck?

    Riis
     
    CharlieMac and jamro217 like this.
  5. vindibona1

    vindibona1

    Apr 18, 2015
    I checked the relief again thinking that if it were too low it would allow me to lower the strings a bit more. It was too low, lower than .013" but when I raised it up it didn't really help the situation much. At least I know that the truss rod functions properly. When I saw 1/4" relief when I bought it I did have some concerns about that. I did end up raising the relief a bit but the saddles on the G are decked and it wouldn't matter because they are at the verge of buzz anyway.

    I had to take two tries at shimming the neck. First I put two thin copper pieces (heavy shielding material) in the heel pocket, cut to the width of the pocket about 3/4" wide at the bottom but that wasn't enough. I didn't have any more of that material so I added two layers of 220 grit sand paper (Fender often uses card stock) again. It could probably use a tad more shim to allow all the saddles to sit on their posts. But I think this thing just needs fret leveling. It's a 2010 model and looks like it was played once an neglected for 8 years.

    It plays pretty well considering the setup limitations but it sounds great. I'm not used to single coil hum any more as all my electrics have noiseless or humbuckers. Do people actually ignore the hum on basses when they want to bias to one pickup or the other?
     
  6. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    In a live band situation, you don’t hear the hum when the band is playing, and you just roll the volume down between songs. Once you become a single coil veteran, it becomes a habit and you do it automatically. For recording or solo practicing, you just have to pick your battles.
     
  7. vindibona1

    vindibona1

    Apr 18, 2015
    Ok... I get it. While I typically don't have the hum issues with any of my other instruments. I'll habitually either roll down the volume, but most often I'll just stomp on my tuning pedal to mute everything. It's already habit. I just never thought of it in terms of "manual hum cancellation" :).
     
  8. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    You can greatly improve the hum with some copper or paint shielding, it’ll still be there, but a lot quieter. Check the bridge ground wire too, if the hum gets worse when you take hands off the strings, you have a ground issue. I use this guy’s videos to set up my MIM P bass. His numbers are pretty conservative on the higher action side, but a good starting point:
     
  9. Badwater

    Badwater

    Jan 12, 2017
    I try to keep them under 3mm @ 12th.
     
  10. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I'm thinking a tweak of the truss rod is probably in order.
     
  11. vindibona1

    vindibona1

    Apr 18, 2015
    I think it's already got the paint, but I'll check... Carruthers is talking 3/32nds string height... So I measured and photo'd...

    I must be crazy. In the photo the bass on the right was set up professionally after a fret level and feels very low. But here I've got my 5-string which I've set up, and by the look of the photo it's at the same string height, even considering the low string is a B instead of an E. Should a 5-stringer with a wider neck feel like it's got higher action even though it doesn't appear to have it? FWIW relief it measuring .013" at the 7th fret.

    Thoughts????
    Professional_vs_Amateur_setup.
     
    Zooberwerx and Alik like this.
  12. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Professionally set-up by whom? In my universe, you could probably drop your set-up a cat whisker...other problems not withstanding.

    *Are you stringing the thru-bridge or thru-body?

    *Your relief is within spec (.010-.014"). Re-check with the 1st and last fret and 1st and ~19th fret (where neck meets the pocket). There should be only the slightest variance.

    *Can you snap a side pic of the bridge as-is, please? Wanna look at the string path.

    The perception of action can vary with neck shape, width, string type, etc....they all tie in.

    Riis
     
  13. vindibona1

    vindibona1

    Apr 18, 2015
    The bass on the right had a fret level and set up by Third Coast Guitar in Chicago. They're an authorized center for pretty much every major mfr. They've done work on all my guitars, Martin, Taylors, Fenders and done a good job. They did a great job on that bass on the right. I don't even know I'm pushing strings down, yet no buzz anywhere.

    The bridge on the one in question is a top loader. There is a minor issue that I'll probably have to address unless I just take it to Third Coast. The neck has already been shimmed to some extent and probably needs a touch more. The saddle on the G string is sitting on the deck and can't go any lower.

    As per your request here is a side view of the bridge from both sides...

    Bass_bridge_sideview.
     
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  14. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    As it stands, your B string height is just a hair higher than 3/32". Do me a favor and mash down on the B string just on the leading (fretboard) aspect of the saddle. I see just the slightest arc which should be corrected. Re-check your string height and see if it's any lower.

    Riis
     
  15. craigie

    craigie

    Nov 11, 2015
    calgary
    Check the nut too. Since you’ve left it out of photos I feel you may be neglecting that.

    The string height at the 12th fret could be identical for two Basses and one could have a nicely cut nut and the other nut could be cut way too high which takes a lot more force to push down the strings.
     
  16. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    The paint address RF interference and the hum you get from favouring one single coil is 60hz hum. They are different issues with different solutions. You need humbuckers if you want to favour one pickup without noise. You can also use an Audere noiseless pre-amp or a dummy coil as well but it will be a major change to remedy 60hz hum.

    I don't have much to add to the setup discussion, I'd just be repeating the above so "+1" to that.
     
  17. vindibona1

    vindibona1

    Apr 18, 2015
    I re-shimmed the neck and then lowered the strings as far as they would go before buzzing. Not much change in string height. Relief at .012" I'm not sure what you mean by "arc", but see if the the arc self-corrects in the re-do. But what I do see in the photo that I didn't see naked eye is the corrosion around the spring that I missed. Can you believe this bass was made in 2010, played once, then left to languish?

    No need to photo nut. It's cut correction. Has the very slightest space at the 1st fret when the 3rd is pressed down. The neck was shimmed (a 2nd time) so the nut shouldn't come into play relative to string height. FWIW the string height is being measured at the 16th fret, not the 12th.

    Here is an updated photo after re-shimming and readjusting string height.... I think at the very least it needs a fret level.

    re-shimmed_measurements.
     
    craigie likes this.
  18. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Re-set your witness points at the bridge (...and nut as suggested). I'm not seeing a clean, well-defined break angle where the string passes over the saddle. I still see an arc or "lazy loop" in the string path. Do this and it will solve any number of woes...it will not self-correct.

    Riis
     
  19. craigie

    craigie

    Nov 11, 2015
    calgary
    This has been an interesting “trouble shooting setup” thread. Thanks for posting.
     
  20. vindibona1

    vindibona1

    Apr 18, 2015
    Thanks. Now I see what you're seeing.
    I've messed with this thing as far as I care to take it without doing a fret level and crown. The B string, while probably not set well is the least of the problems. Regardless of the relief I can't take the action any lower without a good amount of buzzing. But my other basses are set lower and are fine, and every other aspect of the bass seems to check out. I wish I'd taken a picture of the condition that I got it in. You wouldn't believe it. I think it was played once in 2010 and never thereafter. Not a mark or a scratch on it. Even with the issues is still plays well and sounds great even with the original Mexican single coil pickups.

    Anyway... Thanks for helping (and humoring me) along the way.
     

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