1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Famous Players Setup/Action?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by FritzM, May 22, 2004.

  1. FritzM

    FritzM Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2001
    Madison, MS
    Has anybody ever played one of the basses owned by any of the following bass players:
    Michael Manring
    Victor Wooten
    Jeff Berlin
    Jeff Andrews
    Mark Egan
    Anthony Jackson

    I was wondering what their action/string height was like, say compared to Fender spec. They are all known to play with a pretty low action. Low action seems to be very subjective, so estimated measurements would be interesting to know and good for conversations sake.

  2. ____Fritz, I am the proud owner of Carol Kaye's older Fender P bass, strung with Thomastik-Infeld JF344's and her action is/was set medium high compared to my normal action. Carol is a pick player and likes her strings set up higher, with more tension then I do. Carol also digs in harder than I do. (I'm a finger player)

    The bass also has Duncan/Bassline Pups replacing the stock Fender Pup.

    I do not know if you consider Carol to be a Famous Bass Player but myself and many others do.

    Hope this includes her as well!

    You can see the suggested string height for Fenders here........


  3. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    I have heard Wooten's action is incredibly low, like 1 mm across all strings.
  4. FritzM

    FritzM Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2001
    Madison, MS
    Yes, Carol Kaye is a wonderful player. I worked up several of her lines when I was a kid. I was actually speaking more of solo bass artists. Victor's action does appear to be extremely low and that is what I was trying to find out. I play with a really light touch and I'm experimenting a little. Right now, I'm slightly lower than Fender spec. Around 2/32" at the 17th fret on the G string. But, I think most of these solo artists play with an even lower action. Anybody know?

  5. brandinstroy

    brandinstroy Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2001
    Houston, TX
    I Support the following: Fodera, Noble Amps, JHAudio, Trickfish Amplification
    I have played quite a few of Victor's basses. His action is extremely low. I dont know how he gets it so low. The thing about it is there is no fret buzz. No rattling of the strings on the frets. You barely have to press down.
  6. Gastambide


    Mar 4, 2005
    I played Jeff Berlin's Peavey Palladium at a clinic years ago. Very sweet, with extremely low, buzz-free action.
  7. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    This is what always makes me wonder. Can low, buzz free action be done with any bass of decent quality or do we have to get Fodera Monarchs and MTD 535's to get that kind of setup? When I take it to my luthier I always tell him to go as low as he can. It's a good height, but he always says that any lower and there's gonna be some noticeable fret buzz.

    How can the average joe attain this, is my question.

  8. It seems to me that low action can be achieved on any bass with a good neck. It takes an adjustment of technique, though. I can play just fine without any buzz (if I'm so inclined) on my bass, but everyone else who has ever picked it up has gotten horrendous buzz. I'm used to my bass, so I use a lighter touch than most people do. When I play other basses, I usually dig in pretty hard, by my standards. Who knows, though. Maybe Victor Wooten's Fodera really is so good that you can play it without worrying about fret buzz.
  9. gapupten


    Dec 29, 2004
    I am the average joe. I happened into extremely low action by accident, but I now believe the key is work on the nut. I purchased a Warmoth neck without a nut and purchased a nut seperately. I had not glued the nut onto the neck but was working to adjust the nut height by sanding the bottom of the nut down to bring the string height down to extremely low action. Anyway, I sanded too much off and the strings were klanking on the frets in the open position. Extremely discussted with myself.
    After recovering from my state of glum, I got an extremely thin piece of hard plastic, put it under the nut in the nut slot and tuned up. THE NUT SHIM SOLUTION.
    The most unbelievable action, no rattle, incredibly easy to play.
    Now granted that this neck is a very good Warmoth neck with a great two way truss rod, but I think the real issue is that cutting a nut is hard to do right, and I think factory settings and any individuals tends to err on the side of caution when cutting a nut.
    So I would not recommend my solution to anyone, but when you think about it, what's the sense of getting the saddles and relief to 98% of perfect when you are working with a nut that's 50% of perfect. It certainly takes more time to get the nut right, but if you have the time and willingness to make mistakes, it may get you closer to perfect.
  10. Dennis Kong

    Dennis Kong Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2004
    San Mateo CA
    Jaco's bass.
    I did posting on about his bass awhile ago.. under Jaco's sound under amps and to recap:

    I lent Jaco my equipment in ' 85?? and got to play his '62
    Jazz during sound check.
    Contrary to many of the TB's opinions & speculations: he had
    that bass set up low- med? about 3mm.

    or: (3 business cards put under the G string -- 3rd fret. That's how Jerry of Graphite Guitars measures height of string when he sets up my basses. He lives in Seattle & I in the Bay
    After playing Jaco's bass, I decided to try to set my bass like that. That bass felt it had WD 40 or "chicken grease" on it
    as when I played it: it was almost effortless & speed was
    so easy. I could almost fly from the 1st fret to 12th fret without any strain. He had stock Rotosounds on it and
    an extra set in the case.

    What's weird for me was: playing my hero's bass while he
    was sitting at the bar having a beer,( feeling intimidated)
    and NOT trying to play Jaco's licks... after all those years trying to emulate the Jaco sound. What a predictment! :eyebrow:

    Victor's bass.
    Steve & Victor gave a seminar at Gelb Music- Redwood City- Ca- many years ago and Victor offered his bass to us to try
    out afterwards. So I did.
    Agreed with the other TB's, his action is about 1mm with
    super light strings 30's ?? on that Fedora.
    For me it was a little hard to play as the strings were rubber band like and the action was lower than what I' m used to.
    Nice tho'.
  11. michele

    michele Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2004
    Exactly the same for me. My Sadowsky has an extremely low action: you can barely flip a business card under the strings.
    This fact allowed me to discover the benefits of playing with a lighter touch.
  12. permagrin


    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA
    I once got to mess around on Steve Bailey's 5 string fretted/fretless bass (this was like '87). Have no idea how the action was.

    I got to touch Geddy's jazz bass backstage in Anaheim on the Counterparts tour, but not play it.

    That's it for my brushes with great bass player's basses.

    I think Anthony Jackson is known for having no relief and crazy low action....
  13. Dave Hill

    Dave Hill Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    When I hear Victor and other soloists playing "high and hard" it sounds like a ton of buzz and "pinch" to me, and that is not to say it sounds bad. Most (if not all) basses I've played with ultra-low action buzzed when digging in. A lot of times when you pick up a bass at the store and play it acoustically, it buzzes, because you're playing harder to hear it...Plug it in, turn it up, and you back off the right hand a bit, wha-laa, no more buzz (through the amp anyway). I'm skeptical that any bass with low action will have absolutely no buzz, especially when played acoustically. I have tested this theory on many low and high end basses. Anyway, as earlier stated, it has as much to do with technique as set up and, IMO, a lighter touch makes a better, more consistent note tone. I think this is the theory behind ramps(?).