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Fender Setup Guide Is a Bit Unclear

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by selowitch, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. selowitch


    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    The Fender Setup Guide tells you to
    but is this step necessary if you already know the scale length of your bass is 34", and that half that is, of course, 17"?
  2. musicman666


    Sep 11, 2011
    Measure twice and cut once.
  3. No
  4. selowitch


    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    So they probably should amend it to say first, "If the scale length of your bass is not known,"
  5. selowitch


    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    Next it says
    which is quite imprecise. I think they mean that, if your second (D) string is .060" in gauge, that there should be a .060" gap between the bridgeward edge of the G-string saddle and the nutward edge of the D-string saddle. Is that correct?
  6. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Are you setting intonation? If so, just use a tuner to find the correct location. When you're done, the G string saddle will be closest to the nut and the E, the furthest...i that's what you're asking about.
  7. Hi.

    You still need to position the first saddle (the reference point to the other crude saddle adjustments), and the easiest way to do that is to use the nut to the 12th fret distance as a reference.
    There are almost infinite number of scale lenghts on stringed instruments, and that guide applies to them all, so to me their choice of words sounds perfectly logical.

    Even as a third language, what they say makes perfect sense to me.
    You got it right as well despite of the alledged impreciseness I honestly don't notice.

    After all, that "rule of thumb" is just a crude somewhere-in-the-ballpark adjustment, the final position of the saddle depends on many other factors as well.
    A good as any starting point though, and minimizes the possibility of a ruined string during the intonation process.

  8. selowitch


    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    Well, I'm following the steps of the Guide in order; this step is "roughing out" the intonation.
  9. selowitch


    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    But I'm not setting up an "infinite" number of basses right now; I'm setting up one bass, and I know its scale length.

    That's great, but when they say "back from" that's not precise. When speaking of other measurements, they talking about the inside edge of the nut and the middle of the saddle, so why not be equally precise in this case to prevent confusion?
  10. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    If I understand you correctly, that is not correct. The .060" is not the gap between the back of the G saddle
    and the front of the D saddle. It is between "nutward" edge of G saddle and "nutward" edge of D saddle.

  11. selowitch


    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    I trust you that what you describe is the correct technique, but is that really what the Guide says?
  12. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    Actually you have point, it is not completely clear. And I have another good example.

    Soundposts in upright basses are typically set a certain distance "below" the bridge foot.
    But I almost never see a description of what "below' means. Is the distance center of bridge foot,
    to center of soundpost? Or is it the gap between the bottom edge of bridge foot, and the top edge
    of soundpost?

    I have asked that question (about the soundpost) myself and had it go unanswered; there is that much
    non-understanding of it.

    Many of these setup guides seem to make certain assumptions about the knowledge of the users.
    So in the case of bridge saddles, they assume you know that the differences are small, and measured
    from the same point on each saddle (eg, front of saddle to front of saddle). And what they are providing
    is the actual dimension to use.

    Same with soundposts. They assume you know how the distance is measured, and just providing you
    with the measurement value.

  13. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    I also noticed that the fender guide is worded awkwardly. But I don't know why you are concerned about the fact that they tell you how to measure scale length. Just pass on by.

    As for roughing out intonation part, yes front of saddle to front of saddle is what they mean. This is useless info if you have a tuner at hand but if you only have say a tuning fork at 440hz you can get close on the other strings with that method. Likely that was written before electronic tuners were available cheap and they never rewrote the guide.
  14. selowitch


    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    Well, I might do so but since I edit books for a living I tend to notice — and get annoyed by — these sorts of things more than most. :) Since none of this is truly rocket science, it should be possible for a noob like me to set up his or her own instrument with only the Guide but it actually gets in the way quite a lot. It could stand a revision and adding some pictures would definitely help.
  15. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Yep, the fender guide is quite rudimentary to say the least. Book editor huh? No wonder you're brining this up. :)
  16. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    With unfretted instruments, the scale length is the actual length of the string, nut to bridge.
    Normally there is no compensation. All the strings are the same length.

    Steel string fretted instruments do not have uniform string lengths, due to compensation.
    None of the string lengths are equal to the theoretical scale length, although the thinnest
    string is pretty close. So the scale length for fretted instruments has been defined as being
    twice the length of the distance between the nut and 12th fret. The theoretical scale length
    determines where the frets are placed.

    As a practical matter, the most accurate way to measure the scale length is to measure the
    nut to 12th fret and double it. Nut to saddle is not reliable due to compensation. And published
    or spec'd scale lengths can be different than the actual lengths used for fret placement.

    Also, the most accurate way to set a scale length is to measure the nut to 12th fret distance,
    and then use that same distance for the 12th fret to saddle distance. This is also partly a
    practical matter - it's much easier to read 0" and 17" at the same time, as it is to read 0" and
    34" at the same time - 0" and 34" are too far apart.

  17. Hi.



    That explains a lot.

    Explains why You took one of the worst written ones as an example as well :).

    I used to paint cars for living for a while in the late 80's /early 90's.
    It got so bad, my friends wouldn't take me along anymore when they went car-shopping :).

    STILL, some 20 years later, the flaws in the paint job is the FIRST thing I notice.
    No matter how nice the ride.

    Haven't touched my guns for over a decade either.

    I could say to You to "get over it", but from personal experience I do know very well, that ain't gonna happen.

    If You're an old-school editor, it must be excruciating for you to read the majority of texts published today.
    I'm not an editor and sometimes even I feel the urge to question the "authors" capability of expressing themselves by the means of a written word.
    Stereotypic and ignorant I know, but it also makes me question their intelligence.

  18. OP, I hope you noticed this. You said you "know" the scale length of your bass. As Megafiddle points out here, you actually don't unless you measure it. Scale lengths are nominal. Actual will be somewhere in the neighborhood, but not necessarily the actual published scale.

    The reason the manual says what it says is that they don't actually write individual text for each model even if the cover says it's for your specific model. They actually have sections that are designed to apply all their models and only write model specific sections when absolutely necessary. The scale section you quoted applies to all their models, regardless of scale.
  19. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Takes 30 seconds to check scale length and another whole minute to rough out the rest of the bridge.

    Even a clod like me understood the Fender setup guide.

    If you are having trouble with the guide, maybe you should be taking your bass to pro?