How many turns?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by JWC, May 24, 2001.

  1. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    I lowered my action and I did it 3/4 of a turn. I can't tell much of a difference at all. Was this not enough?
  2. If you're talking about the truss rod, then give it a few days or a week before you make your judgment.

  3. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    No, I lowered the screws at the bridge. I didn't do anything to the truss rod :)
  4. Well, those set-screws down at the bridge definitely aren't the same thing as the truss rod. It's the truss rod that you want to be extra careful with.

    So, you turned them 3/4 and can't really tell a difference? Go some more. Retune, and then play a while, all over the neck and see if you get buzzing from the strings being too low. If not, you can keep going, if so, back up a little. You can play with those things without fear pretty much. Set it as low as you like without getting fret buzz. If you can't ever get it sweet feeling, then go have a pro setup done at a guitar shop. It takes some practice and some patience, but you can do it. It's all a matter of feel.

  5. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    I do it the other way around:D
    I.e. set the strings as low as I would want them, then play around. If the frets buzz, I check relief. If that's OK, I lift the strings slightly.
    After some 8 iterations, I get a decent compromise - on my conditions ;)
  6. Suburban, you might save yourself some time and trouble by doing it the other way around. My point is this: string height (when tuned) doesn't have an affect on the amount of bow in the neck. It will be the same at any string height. However, neck relief does have an affect on the string height. If you'll set your neck relief first, then lower your strings, you'll get the job done much faster. As a matter of fact, once the neck is done, you can adjust your strings to any height you want. Going the other way around will necessitate constant readjustment depending on your preferred action.
  7. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    So maybe I should turn the truss rod if the action still feels to high for me?????
  8. Randy Payne

    Randy Payne

    Jan 1, 2001
    No. The truss rod is not used to adjust action, it is used to adjust the curvature of the fretboard. The action(height of the strings) is changed by adjusting the bridge screws.

  9. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Did I make myself clear? No ¤sigh¤ I need a course...
    Actually, I check relief only about twice in the process - first setup and last.
    I check this only because string height has a *minor* effect on the neck bow - very minor, as I never needed to make any adjustments the second time ;)
    I prefer going from my personally preferred string height to "higher if necessary", because that way I will come as close as possible to my preference, and also in shorter time...

    Toutes a son gout.
  10. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I think action is actually a combination of both. Changing the curvature of the fretboard will change the height of the strings, hence change the action.
  11. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    The neck tension totally effects the action on all my basses. If there's too much of a curve it limits what can be done with the bridge before I get buzzing.

    I used to think you had to be a skilled techie to adjust the neck properly, but it's not that big a deal. I close one eye and look directly down the the edge of the fretboard from the headstock. It's easiest to get the right angle to look down if you've got a couple of basses, cuz you can see the differences. There's usually a slight bow one way or the other. It's important to look at the actual frets, not the wood because shadows and reflections on the fretboard and neck could make the whole neck look bent. If the neck bows towards the strings, I loosen the truss rod a half a turn and wait a couple of hours. If it bows away from the strings, I tighten it. The general rule seems to be that there should be a slight bow away from the strings. My guess is this is to insure that a sudden temperature change in a club or something won't leave you with a bunch of dead notes. I prefer to have my necks as straight as possible, or with just the slightest curve.

    After the neck is adjusted the bridge and saddles can go as low as possible before buzzing starts.
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I agree with this totally - if you want a low action,without buzzing, then you need to have a fairly flat board - i.e. as close to zero relief as possible.

    So you need to tighten the truss rod - very very gradually; maybe over a few months!! This will then allow you to lower the strings using the bridge saddles. I have gone through this process a few times on new basses and it always takes me about a month to get it exactly how I want - that is, feeling right to me.

    As Hambone says - lowering the bridge saddles first is just a waste of time - if you want to check how flat your board is, just hold the strings down or "capo" them with something - like an elbow or whatever works.

    Of course if you don't want a low action then ignore all this! ;)
  13. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Did you use a ruler to determine the difference the 3/4 of a turn made? It's always good to measure before and to measure after. Additionally, if you lower the action at the bridge, that is going to affect the intonation of the instrument which will also have to checked and adjusted as needed.
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings

    I pulled this out of the closet last night and restrung it with a different type of string, adjusted the dual truss rods and reset the height for all strings. I do all of this to my taste so no measurements are taken other than "eyeballing" the neck. Total time: less than 30 minutes.

    I've heard people say that you need to make multiple small adjustments on the trussrod over a period of time. That has never been my experience. I've always seen immediate and apparently stable results with adjustments on any bass I've owned. Also IME is makes more sense to do the neck first, then the strings. YMMV.