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Hey aggressive fingerstylers...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Petary791, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    ...how do you have your action set? I play REALLY aggressive (closer to the bridge) and my action right now is moderately high. The thing is, i've been getting into tapping a lot and it gets quite hard to tap. I'm thinking about getting it proffessionally set up lower, but I don't want to get insane clicking noises. I mean I like the aggressive tone with a bit of clicking, but i'm afraid it'll get too bad. So what do you guys do?
  2. If you play near the bridge you can probably go lower. It would be a lot easier to lower it yourself. Then if you get buzzing you could just raise it in five minutes rather than spending more time and money taking it to the shop.
  3. you know i've tried every technique there is that i can think of and the most favorite that comes to mind is fingerstyle. I just love it! well anyways when i let other players fiddle with my bass they complain cause its too low. fellow bassist says its way too low, well seeing that they like to slap and and dig in i can understand why. its much easier to set up your own bass. just get a tuner an allen wrench and lower your action to the lowest setting, then go from there its much easier going up and most of the time each individual string differs from each other. then tune. if it buzzes then raise. IMO i like a little buzz, i like to control my dynamics and buzz allows me to do so.
  4. the closer you play to the bridge the lower you can have you action without buzzing. or you could just lighting up

  5. EPrendergast


    Sep 23, 2005
    Wales, UK
    This is not a very practical option but depending in your level of ability/finances you could grab a second bass and have one high action and one low action bass. That way you can use the high action when you need to do your fat digging in stuff and keep one set up with a sweet low action for when you want to do your widdly tapping work.
  6. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    Yeah I wish I could do that but it's not very feasible.

    I think i'll end up lowering the action and just playing with it clicky. John Myung manages to do it fine, and I love his tone. Also, when I start playing along with a band, all the noise won't be as apparent.
  7. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    IME really low action makes dynamic playing a lot harder. I tend to have moderately high action on my precision for playing jazz, low action for slapping and funky playing on my Conklin, and moderately low action on my fretless jazz for the mwah we all love so much.

    (side note: I just put half-rounds on my fretless, and it really sings. The upper register sounds like a sitar, very cool effect.)
  8. I keep my action as low as I can without excessive string buzz... I tend to really dig in too, especially during faster parts. I like a little click here and there.
  9. SGT. Pepper

    SGT. Pepper Banned

    Nov 20, 2005
    Take some relief out of the neck, lower the action, and use heavier strings. Flatwounds would be a plus too.
  10. whitedk57


    May 5, 2005
    Franklin, NC
    I like low action while playing finger style - maybe that's why my slapping sounds so bad. I also like the neck with no relief.
  11. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    No relief = tightened trussrod (super-straight neck), yes?

    I play pretty aggresivley, and like you, I like to tap. I've actually been working on playing with a softer touch. I still get some clicks here and there, and some buzzing, but it's not so bad, and tapping feels great.

    Actually, this thread is pretty damn convienient, I'll just ask my question here rather than starting a new thread...

    So like I said, I've been trying to play with a lighter touch to avoid exessive buzz, while maintaining a really low action (and mine is set quite low). But I've only been doing this in simple bedroom practices. I fear that when I play with my band, really feeling the music, my aggressive style will come back.

    For those of you who have experienced or currently are experiencing a dillemma like this, have you found that you can get into the groove (thrashing around and such) while still playing with a light touch?

    I mean, I don't wanna sacrifice the feel of the music just to play lightly and avoid buzz. I'm not one to just stand there, heh heh.

  12. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA

    Well, in a band setting, you won't really be able to hear the clicks as well. Check out John Myung. His Progressive Bass Concepts CD is click city but when he's with the band, I just hear growl galore!
  13. My actions pretty low, and I play aggressive. I also use light strings. My fretless makes more noise than my fretted though (strings slapping against the board).
  14. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    I have extremely low action on my Steinberger, and I love to dig in hard enough that breaking strings isn't an uncommon occurance. I haven't found that my dynamics suffer, either. Digging in = more rattle, noise, clank, and an overdriven amp, and all that is fine with me. Backing off = lower volume, and a nice, smooth tone playing just behind the neck. If my bass couldn't deliver this range, I'd sell it and buy a new one.

    I do find, though, that it's difficult for me to play softly whilst jumping around and moving. My hands start digging in, again, although it's gotten better since I started conciously practicing with a lighter touch a couple of years ago when I was hitting a speed wall with my left hand. If I don't concentrate when on stage and excited, the old habit of yanking the strings comes back. I'm pretty sure I can wipe this tendency out with practice. Just one more aspect of being a bass player to work on, you know?
  15. Brew a pot of coffee, get your tiny allen wrench out, and find that sweet spot! It will take some time and patience, but you will find the adequate amount of action and neck relief necessary for all of your playing styles. You'd be surprised how much 1/8 of a crank at the bridge (higher or lower) or your truss affects your playing style. :)
  16. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    I play pretty aggresively both fingerstyle and with a pick and have my action on my main bass (jazz bass) lower than any of my other basses can get.

    Clicking doesn't both me, but fret buzzing on the other hand I can't stand.
  17. ./signed
  18. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yeah - I can see someone wanting a pro-setup, for sure, but especially if you're planning on taking'er in anyway, I'd think it'd be best to adjust the hight yourself; when you get it to where you think it's right, THEN you can take her to the tech, and say "this is about the hight that seems right to me", and he could do the setup based-around that. Keep in-mind that your intonation could be messed-up by making this adjustment, but the tech will calibrate that - so just judge the feel, not the tuning up-higher on the neck; that might be screwed-up if you change the string hight very far.

    Now if the neck's warped wrong or something, then there might be some complications, but if not then...

    Tapping is quite cool and useful. Don't listen to the guys who'll surely tell you that it's impractical wankery or whatever. In the funk/soul/R&B band that I'm in, for instance, I tap all the way through the R&B song 'What Does It Take' - and it's played fairly-straight, like off the record, except for just a teeny-bit of chord arpeggiation. I really think it sounds nicer and cleaner that way. Now with the rock band: tapping works very nicely in several songs; it's espcially useful being that we're only a three-piece.