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How high the action?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by The Workman, Jul 23, 2004.


  1. maybe someone can give a bit of advise? having been playing the db for 18 months, i've been a bass guitarist for 15 years, i find the high action on my student bass to really give me stamina problems. i've played a local orchestral players bass and his action is way low compared to mine, my question is this how low can i get it put considering i play be-bop? :confused:
     
  2. olivier

    olivier

    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    This reminds me Mingus explaining in his fantasized autobiography how Bird onced put a nickel on the back of an old reed to burn a sizable amount of said reed and then proceeded to do the bebop thing, even on such unplayable a reed...

    Part of the bebop attitude was to have incredible chops. Those young musicians seamed often very arrogant, but they had formal music training since their infancy. They could outplay lotsa people.

    Anyhow, look for the setup that provides the best balance between sound and playability, with the eventual help of your trusted luthier. This will vary with chops. And keep going man, 18 month is good (only 4,5 years away from that stable and clean symphony job :D ;) ), don't give up. If bebop gives you a hard time, try something else on the DB for a while (scales, Simandl, Mike Richmond book, Arco, thumb pos, Western swing slap style, free improv, Bach's two part inventions, etc...) , and you'll be-bop lather on.
     
  3. hi olivier thanks for the advice, i've been working on simandl for the start and the past six months have seen me start up a free-improv duo. this gives my hand some rest as i can lay back for a bit if i want. i think the solution would be to have one db with low action for the jazz and keep the current model for practice sessions etc.
     
  4. olivier

    olivier

    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Maybe my answer was not clear. I think you should not hesitate to lower the action to a more confortable level if your current setup is so painfull that it affects your stamina disfavorably. Don't bring excuses like that, practice all you can intelligently and be content about it.

    Free improv: that's very nice. It's really important to play without any chart or music sheet in front your eyes, to use directly your ears to direct your choice. It's more interesting if you're not alone. What's your counterpart in the duet ?
     
  5. am about to consult with my luthier to see how much the action can be brought down by, which should help the stamina aspect. i play with a guitarist in the improv duo, he uses a classical guitar as we find this gives the by far best blend when coupled with the db. i've played with this guy for a few years using 6 string bass guitar and needless to say the difference is vast.
     
  6. olivier

    olivier

    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    What do you mean ? (development needed here)
     
  7. vast difference in that the 6 string bass guitar had a very low action light strings and active electronics which made it physically easy to play, indeed overplay, while the db has one fighting to get a sound almost.
     
  8. olivier

    olivier

    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    That's how you get that DB sound: you really have to "dig in" as they say. The action you're able to play will increase with steady practice over the years. In the meantime get an easier setup and softer strings.
     
  9. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    The word "action" should be banned from this side of TB. That's a guitar word. I suggest the term "string height" or something similar. When someone uses that word in my shop I cringe, then I overcharge them :scowl: Yes, I am a grumpy and picky old luthier...
     
  10. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Yeah, "action" means something completely different down here.
     
  11. olivier

    olivier

    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Great, whatever you guys decide, I'm not going to teach you any proper use of the English language. The truth is that back when I started to follow the forum it took me a while to realize that "action" was sometimes used for "string height". I did not know what to do about it, it did not make much sense. Now I know that like "upright" or "acoustic", "action" belongs to plankster vernacular.
     
  12. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    I hear you...'til I started hanging out here, I'd never heard of the term "furpling".
     
  13. maybe those who use the 'incorrect' word action to describe string height should be stoned or something, i mean we can't have people using the wrong vernacular terms, can we?
     
  14. olivier

    olivier

    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    They can still use their vernacular, but they should know that it is not be the best way to get a direct answer to their queries. It's like if I'd ask something here in French: not very efficient.

    Although invariably someone would find it sexy. :smug:
    But would that help me get stoned ? :D
     
  15. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Yes, people who use the word "action" here should get stoned ;)
     
  16. Or may already be...