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Fender '08 American Standard - Playability Issues

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by baconbits89, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. baconbits89


    Dec 20, 2008
    I've had a 2008 Fender American Standard since July '08. It's been my primary bass for the past 5.5 years, and have used it extensively for recording/gigging/etc.

    Does any one else feel that this model takes a fair amount of effort to properly fret the strings?

    Since developing some possible RSI issues, I've done a bit to modify my bass' action. I've had a set-up lowering the action, and switched to the lowest tension roundwound strings I could find (TI JR344). Even still, I don't notice a huge improvement in fretting ease with the TIs - when most TBers praise playability after restringing. This has left me a little perplexed.

    Has anyone else had a similar experience with this bass? I'm getting a bit frustrated, and am wondering if instead it's an issue with my technique instead? Recommendations on ways to remedy this bass issue/similar basses to try instead?
  2. Scott Sauna

    Scott Sauna

    Oct 12, 2012
    I feel that the string tension is a problem on the models that I have played also. The opposite being true of the mim. The American standards pups also tend to be more sunken into the body but that might be completely different.
  3. nashman


    Feb 11, 2011
    Have you tried higher tension strings and lowering your action?
  4. baconbits89


    Dec 20, 2008
    Glad to see I'm not the only one that feels this way. What reasons could be for that?

    My strings of choice for years were Ernie Ball 110-55. Very high gauge. The issues with tension/playability started with this particular set-up, prompting me to switch to the TIs. I hear frequently on TB how they require a light touch...but I don't see that.

    Still not noticing any appreciable difference in playing ease. Are there other model years that are better than this to try out instead?
  5. GrumpiusMaximus

    GrumpiusMaximus I've Seen Things You People Wouldn't Believe

    Mar 11, 2013
    Kent, United Kingdom
    Hate to say it.

    Neck relief?
  6. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    don't forget the nut too.

    it's amazing what a little work on the nut does for playability.
  7. baconbits89


    Dec 20, 2008
    Thank you for your advice and insight guys.

    Had it professionally set up in October, neck is pretty much dead straight. Unfortunately while the action has been reduced significantly during the set up with the TIs, no appreciable difference.

    I'm not as well versed on the more technical aspects of guitar maintenance, like the impact of the nut and relief. As far as I know, nothing seems out of the ordinary. Seeing as I just had it set up within the past 3 months or so, I'm not sure anything there would be particularly off...especially something that's been long-term like this. Not sure though
  8. elBandito


    Dec 3, 2008
    Rotten Apple
    Is it hard to fret in the first position? If so, it's the nut. My 08 am std precision came with slightly high nut slots. 08 am std is the most comfortable bass I own.
  9. Robus


    Aug 25, 2013
    Chicago Area
    Wouldn't any bass with the same scale length, action and strings have the same tension?
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    What bass and strings in your experience didn't require the effort you're experiencing now?
  11. baconbits89


    Dec 20, 2008
    There isn't any particular fret that's more difficult than others to fret.

    While I can't name any particular basses/strings offhand that felt different (I almost exclusively play this bass), most others I've played on have been much more effortless in playing style. I guess a good way to proceed would be to check out a boutique bass store and compare models to see if I notice a difference from mine

    I'm aware of how unscientific I sound haha.
  12. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Sort of:

    If the same string at the same voiced length (distance between witness points) is at the same pitch then, yes, the tension is always the same.

    Action will of course change how much effort it takes to fret a note -- but the string tension at rest is identical.

    The OP needs a real setup by a real technician.
  13. dedpool1052


    Jan 10, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    the action may have been lowered, but it probably just wasn't lowered enough to make it comfortable for you. try lowering the action a bit more. of course, the lower the action, the more likely it is to buzz if you are a heavy-handed player. that's where "playing with a light touch" comes in. for the longest time playing was uncomfortable to me for some reason, and i couldn't figure it out. then, after playing standard 45-105 gauge strings for 12 years, i tried a set of 40-95 gauge strings. then i lowered the action (from about 2mm down to 1mm) and started playing with a lighter touch. it's made a huge difference for me and has made playing bass comfortable and quite easy. don't know if this is of any help to you, just relaying my experiance.
  14. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    With a super thick string set like that, you need to work harder. If you want to use a lighter touch try using lighter strings, like a 45-95 set, it will help somewhat.
  15. baconbits89


    Dec 20, 2008
    Thanks for the feedback.

    For reference, the TIs that I use now are incredibly low gauge. From E to G, they're:

    89, 68, 51, 43
  16. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Yes, but many confuse tension with string stiffness, which is understandable because stiffer strings feel like they have more tension.

    OP, you should check out Fender's setup guide, get a steel ruler with gradations down to 1/64", and see how close your bass comes to Fender's recommended specs. That might help you identify any issues.


    FWIW, my 2008 Jazz five wouldn't set up with low action either, so I got it Plek'ed, which produced a worthwhile improvement. A good fret dressing might be in order for your bass as well.
  17. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Don't know who your tech is but a good tech would probably suggest neck angle adjustment as part of the remedy.
    The "old school" way to do this to take the neck off the bass, then put a shim in the neck pocket the size of maybe two business cards. Only do this on about a third of the neck pocket, behind the screws in the back of the neck pocket.
    You'll need to adjust your bridge after you do this.

    If this works, you can bring it to a qualified tech who can do the same thing the right way. This is a fixable issue.
  18. denpan


    Jan 27, 2007
    +1 to neck angle adjustment. I had an 08 American Standard Jazz. Shimming the neck was the answer to the months of fighting with the setup. Night and day in ease of playability.
  19. shimming the neck is only useful if the saddle bridges are bottomed out but the string height is still too high from the fretboard.

    let me ask you this: what's the measurement between the bottom of the E string and the top of the 12th fret?
  20. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    The saddles don't have to be bottomed out. You only need to be able to adjust them up enough. If the OP has already brought them down some he should be fine. Neck angle can make a big difference to playability.