Frets 8-19 the same note as the 20th?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Kusabi, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. Kusabi


    Aug 12, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    I have a MIM P-bass and have been generally happy with it. However, after lowering my action on the g string to about 1/16" at the last fret, if I play any note frets 8-19 I hear the note of the 20th fret. I'm not sure if a simple tightening of the truss rod will help as my neck is fairly straight with a tiny bit of relief. Would filing the 20th fret a bit help? Raising the action eliminates the problem but it has to be pretty high and I'd rather have it somewhat low.

    Thanks in advance :bassist:
  2. loinmute


    Feb 11, 2011
    Look up intonation.
    Do not tighten the truss rod to get more relief, it does not work like that.
    Do not file the fret

    check/adjust intonation.

    BTW, are you checking the notes with a tuner?
  3. Kusabi


    Aug 12, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    The intonation is fine. And I am aware that tightening a truss rod removes relief, not adds it. However, as too much relief can lead to buzzing higher on the neck I was curious as to whether tightening the truss rod could help. I am indeed checking with a tuner.
  4. loinmute


    Feb 11, 2011
    What is your relief right now? (if you don't have ruler, how many playing cards 1 or 2)
    What is the action at 12th fret?
  5. Kusabi


    Aug 12, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    Relief is at .015" at the 8th fret with a capo on the first and fretting the 20th.
  6. gre107


    Dec 25, 2005
    When you say that you are "hearing" the note at the 20th fret do you mean that the action is so low that the note is being fretted when you play the lower notes?

    If this is the case you need to add more relief to the neck by loosening the truss rod.
    You might find that once you loosen the relief of the neck you will be able to lower the action even more. It's hard to tell what the exact issue is without seeing the bass. With that said you might have a loose fret that is coming out of the neck. Check for that as well.

    This isn't a fine art. It just requires some "tinkering" to get it set up the way you want it. Your intonation has nothing to do with the problem that you are describing.
  7. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    eureka, ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    1/16" at F20 is too low, period. Whatever anomalies there are in the fretboard, can't accommodate action that low. Plus, tightening
    the trussrod, would make this worse.

    Stickies>Setup, up top.
  8. Have you checked your frets to make sure that none are higher than any others... particularily the 20th fret... try putting a straight edge on those frets and see if you have a rogue fret.
  9. I've always had good look on bass setups by starting at the standard dimensions recommended by Fender in their bass setup guide. Then making minor adjustments as required. Set your G string clearance to 5/64 and I'll bet your problem will be solved. If that doesn't do it, just for a goof, try 3/32.
  10. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    You should be measuring your string height at the 12th fret, not the 20th. One-sixteenth at the 12th fret would be considered low action.
  11. Or at the 17th fret as Fender suggests. Either way, one sixteenth is not enough clearance unless you have a perfect neck and a very light touch. ;)
  12. loinmute


    Feb 11, 2011
    1/16th is roughly 1.5mm: Try raising your saddles to get 2.3mm action. Like they said, 1/16 is too low, especially with the fingerboard radius of Fenders. 1/16 is usually achieved with 5-6 string basses or basses with a higher radius(flatter). Or under ideal craftsmanship.

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