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! :)

Getting the smoothest possible action on a P-Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Epac, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. Epac


    Jan 6, 2010
    Bronx, NY
    What's good yall,

    So just got back from NAMM...first of all, holy F, saw way too many bass legends in one place. Second of all, it is SO easy playing a bass with a great set-up/action!

    Explanation: I've just got into the fender world. Got myself a P and a J, both MIA, standard. Was playing an Ibanez 5 for a while, real easy to go jazz-wank on, thought I'd never give into the Fender lure, but felt I was missing some grit, note-definition, fit-into-the-mix action, so I decided to turn to the basics.

    Not to go into the infinite-number "I love Fender basses" thread in this forum...but I'd rather stick to an actual Fender jazz or P rather than a Lakland or whatever J-P remake. But god, the Lakland's played so amazing at NAMM!!!!! Barely touched the thing and it would sing!!!!

    My question: I know the deal with P-necks having their own thing (The P-sound is what I've focused on now...i feel I can get a Jazz-y sound with other manufactures, but the P is...)...have any of yall made any modifications on a P to make it easier to play? Like going with a different bridge, more modern/sensitive pickups? I've had it setup already, and I played a few P-basses at NAMM and felt the same...stiffness, or lack of buoyancy...

  2. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    Have you experimented with different types of strings? I use heavy-ish gauge roundcore strings and set up my bass for very low action with no buzz. You could alternatively use lower tension strings and slightly higher action.
  3. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I just make sure it has a good fretjob and set it up according to the guide on fender.com and it always works for me. A lot of it is in the truss rod adjustment and getting it relatively flat but still having enough of a bow to keep it from buzzing excessively.
  4. Looks like you're forcing yourself into playing Fenders when in fact you could possibly be happier on other brands.
  5. SamanthaCay

    SamanthaCay Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2008
    Denver, CO.
    I'm not sure what you're thinking when you say a different bridge/pickups making a bass play better.
    Different pickups change the sound not the way a bass plays, and the same goes for a bridge, given you keep the same setup parameters before and after the mod.

    Also FWIW a Fender can play just as good as anything else, some times out of the box but most times after a visit to a competent Luthier that follows good specs and sheds no expense.

    I'd also like to point out for the purpose of clarity, that it's my opinion that playing good equates to give or take .016” relief 1/16” E @ the 12th and 3/64” G @ the 12th unless it's fretless in which case I adjust the neck straight.
  6. Jungy


    Jun 9, 2011
    Swap in a Jazz neck maybe?
  7. SamanthaCay

    SamanthaCay Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2008
    Denver, CO.
    HA! I don't know how you guys do it, fender spec seems so high to me.
    Different strokes for different folks I guess I've got certain customers that like they're action mile high lol. :D
  8. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You can adjust it to your liking. It's a pretty good place to start at least.
  9. My P-Bass has a slimmer neck than others I've tried. Probably closer to a J neck.
    After switching to TI Jazz flats It plays like butter. I tilted the neck just slightly to adjust for the upper part of the neck, and adjusted the action and the truss accordingly.
    I think you can go for lower action using flats because you won't notice a slight fret buzz as much as with rounds.

Share This Page