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got bass, need setup

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by funkzone, Apr 16, 2003.

  1. funkzone


    Aug 10, 2001
    Wilmington, NC
    I decided to wait on purchasing an upright because a friend of mine is letting me borrow one that his dad gave him. It is really nice, built in the 40s or 50s with a carved back. I put a realist pickup on it, which sounds amazing. Anyway, how much do setups typically cost?
  2. funkzone


    Aug 10, 2001
    Wilmington, NC
    I just wanted to have it checked out. I know that the bridge isn't quite perpindicular to the top, it has a very slight angle and one of the feet doesn't make complete contact with the body. It plays well and the tone is unbelievable.
  3. Hey, happy to hear that You got a bass.

    A check out and a setup are a bit different things.
    As Foghorn puts it, it all depends of what has to be done. If your friend has been playing it regularly, he prolly has had some kind of setup done in order to satisfy his needs in tone quality and playability.
    If not, and you still are satisfied with the sound and feel & all, there ain´t much setup job to be done.
    You´ll just have the bridge straightened and checked ( if it´s not warped ). The luthier also checks if the bass has any cracks or other worrying things, or repairs that need to be done.
    If it hasn´t been played for awhile, you might want to talk about restringing, soud post setting & stuff like that. It all depends how happy you are with the thing as it is now.

  4. It will probably cost about $40-$60 to get the bridge fixed, if they don't have to replace it completely, which would add $30-$100 for the bridge itself.

    Around where I live, they charge $130 for a new high-quality adjustable bridge, including the bridge, adjusters, and cutting/fitting.

    If one of your feet doesn't make good contact, the bridge is probably warped... unless it's just not on straight. Warped bridges can sometimes be un-warped.

    A luthier can tell you what is what. He may be able to un-warp it, or maybe it just needs straightening.

    A new bridge, without adjusters, should cost a shade less than $100, installed, if that's necessary.

    It's possible that the bridge was just pulled forward by the strings during tuning, or someone might have bumped the bridge getting it in or out of a car.

    However, if it was just canted, and has been left that way for too long, I think that can warp the bridge.
  5. A standard setup, including new strings, will usually run about $200 but you shouldn't need a full setup on a bass that isn't brand new.

    Different luthiers define Standard Setup differently(and price it differently).

    Some luthiers replace bridge, soundpost & endpin, and plane the fingerboard routinely, while others just adjust string-height at the nut & bridge, contour the feet, and adjust the soundpost.

    New strings are usually part of a standard setup.

    What parts and how much labor will make a setup cost vary from $150-$600, approximately.

    You probably don't need the string-height adjusted at the nut, a new soundpost, or fingerboard planing, unless it needs string-grooves dressed out of it.

    There are 3 types of basses. Fully-Carved (front, back & sides), Laminated (plywood back, front & sides), and Hybrids, where they put a carved top on plywood back & sides. I've never heard of a "carved back" that didn't include a carved everything-else.

    If it's a fully-carved, or hybrid(which is how it sounds), then really low humidity is likely to cause cracks in the face. Getting those fixed costs $200-$400+.

    People in cold climates have special problems in the winter, when heating systems can create really low humidity.

    That, in itself, can cause cracks, and sudden changes in humidity, like taking it from 70% outside to 10% inside (and vice-versa) is also a trial for the wood.