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How do you get the action down on a Warwick?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by MAJOR METAL, Feb 3, 2005.


  1. MAJOR METAL

    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    I have tried unlocking the looking allen keys in the bridge and bringing the adjustment allan keys up to lower it but i dont seem to be able to get it low enough, do you think it needs a neck adjustment?.Thanks
     
  2. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    take a look down the neck from the headstock end. It should have a slight bow. If it is stright, then loossen the trussrod. If it bows too much, then tighten it.
     
  3. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    No disrespect to Trevorus, but that only adjusts the relief of the neck, not the string height. The neck on a properly adjusted Warwick will be almost completely straight, with about 2mm between the G string and the 24th fret and about 2.5mm on the low E or B.

    Loosen the locking allen screws and then turn the other 4 screws on the bridge plate counterclockwise. The entire bridge should move down, lowering the strings all at once.

    If that isn't working for you, remove the strings and remove the bridge plate. Make sure there's nothing interfering with the bridge plate lowering, and that the bridge plate is aligned in the bridge cavity.
     
  4. Scott French

    Scott French Dude Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    Adjusting the neck relief will change the string height in a big way, LC. First get the neck in line, then go for the bridge, then the nut.
     
  5. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Jacob Moore Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers
    I'm with LC. I had to lower the bridge on one of my first Warwicks because whoever had it before me "tinkered" with the setup.

    Great thing about Warwick bridges and nuts: Everything is adjustable, so knowledgeable types have extreme freedom to set everything up the way they want.

    Bad thing about Warwick bridges and nuts: Everything is adjustable, so morons can temporarily ruin a perfectly good bass.

    Great thing about morons: They sell their Warwicks on eBay for much less than they're worth. ;)
     
  6. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    Scott,
    I understand that relief has an impact on string height. But not as much as bridge/saddle height. IME, Warwicks are rarely extremely bowed, but Warwicks very often have the bridge adjusted too high.
     
  7. I also have aquired a Warwick, and I am having problems getting the string height down. So far, I have followed Warwicks instructions to the letter.

    The bridge is down to the point where the intonation screwheads are only just clear of the body, so I guess that I have hit rock bottom. I am adjusting the truss rod up to 1/2 turn per day, but I now have a flat fingerboard and the strings are still too high.

    I think I need to shim the neck joint, to tilt the head back, so that I can bring back some neck curve and some bridge height to give me the string height that I want.

    My question is, what do I shim the neck with so that it does not affect the tone? It is a fretless Corvette: bubinga body, wenge neck and ebony fingerboard.

    If you thnk my assessment is wrong, please give me the alternative options.
     
  8. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Nope, you're right on. For some reason, that seems to be a very common problem these days, getting a bridge with a low enough action. I'm not sure what it is exactly, maybe the bridge manufacturers assume there's a range that works. Who knows.

    One thing I've done, is replaced bridges. I ended up doing that to every one of my Roscoe's, except for the fretless. I had Jason at Hipshot mill me some custom "B" style bridges so I could get the action a little lower. Plus the "B" bridges have a great squishy feel to them, that resonates well with my fingers.

    I'd be very careful about shimming the neck or anything like that. I'd almost sooner rout out the body a quarter inch or something, to recess the bridge. That neck joint is pretty crucial in the sound of the instrument, at least that's been my experience.

    But Jason at Hipshot is a great resource. He can mill just about anything you want. Raised saddles, or saddles that are bottomed out, you name it. I'd try that first before routing out the bass, definitely :)
     
  9. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    you want lower string height - shim the neck - you'll be crying the strings are too low after that.
     
  10. spidersbass

    spidersbass

    Nov 29, 2004
    Downtown L.A.
    so how do you properly shim the neck???
     
  11. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    some use business cards, most use a thin wood....it doesn't take much to get a little angle....the best material is the most stable

    :)
     
  12. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Danger, Will Robinson. :D

    My MTD has a very interesting shim in it. It's there by design, not 'cause I asked for it. It's a tiny piece of ebony sandwiched between the ash neck and the ash body. It sounds great, but my take is you'd have to be an "expert", like Michael is, to make that kind of thing work. I'm not so sure a business card will do the trick. :)
     
  13. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    first i ever heard you have to be an expert to shim a neck
     
  14. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Probably not. :) But it's the "sound" I'm talking about. Haven't you ever had that experience? Where shimming completely changes the sound of an instrument. I have. Been there done that, many times. I've probably destroyed more than one bass trying to do that. And, the "experts" have mangled some of my basses too.

    My take is, the neck joint is a critical piece, when it comes to the sound of the instrument (not to mention the action and so on). That's all I'm saying. My take is, if you shim the neck, be prepared for some (more or less significant) changes in the sound and behavior of your instrument.

    Now, that might be a "good" thing, depending on the particular instrument, but it might also lead to an unpleasant surprise. :)
     
  15. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    my MIM Jazz sounds like a MIM Jazz but.....if i shim it with a business card from Fodera...it's sounds like $6000!!!

    :D :D :D
     
  16. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    :D:D:D
     
  17. MAJOR METAL

    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    It just needed some neck adjustments that Bustin Justin came over and helped me with. The action is nice and low now.
     
  18. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    On Warwicks, you can adjust the entire bridge down if you want. Their should be two screws, one on each side that anchor the bridge to the body. You simply turn those as if you're adjusting the bridge saddles. That's the secret...hope that helps, and FWIW, I always had the strings practicly laying on the frts with my past Warwicks, so low action can certainly be achieved.