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How much do get my bass a "tune-up"?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Wolfman200, Feb 13, 2005.

  1. Hi
    I'm pretty new to bass playing and also to this website.
    I'm playing a abss that my Dad has just had around for a while. It's an Ibanez that is a copy of a Fender P-Bass.

    Anyway, the action on it is horrible, but I think it would be just fine if the bridge and truss rod could be adjusted. However, I'm told that adjusting the truss rod could break the neck if you don't know what you're doing(which I don't). So, I was wondering what a guitar store might charge for fixing it up.

    Another question, I have been reading about the Essex basses on this forum, and there is a lot of positive repsonse. I am thinking about buying a 5-string Essex if the cost of the tune-up is pretty close.(probably this one:http://www.rondomusic.net/spb6241.html)
    Do you think that I should choose to buy this bass over getting the one I already own adjusted? I play mainly classic rock type stuff, but I would probably like to play some semi-jazzy stuff in the future. My current band is small, so I can defenitely be heard, and the versatility of sound with the j-pickups on the Essex might be worth the money for me.
    What do you think?

    Thanks in advance for your help
  2. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Price varies alot from shop to shop. Avoid chain stores as much as possible. Small independent guitar repair shops are the best choice. My favorite shop here in San Jose charges $125 to do a complete setup. This includes doing some fret work to level uneven frets. Major fret work would cost more, but if the work is minor, it is included in the cost of the setup.

    This is a pro setup that they do. They keep the bass for a week and they tweak it little by little until it is right.
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002

    I took the truss rod section from Gary Willis. I do all of my own basic setups. If you need fretwork, go to a pro, but adjusting the truss rod is a lot easier than people lead you to believe.
  4. dmaki


    Apr 29, 2000
    A basic setup is easy to learn how to do and knowing how will save you a lot of money down the road. Just make sure that you don't grossly over-adjust, thats when you'll start breaking things. It might take you a while your first few times, but in practice you'll get a feel for it.

    Click here to learn how.

    It terms of paying a pro to set up your instrument, a basic setup usually runs about $30. Figure it might take you an hour max to set up your bass, thats a fair chunk of change you saved for a small amount of work. However, once you get into things such as fret levelling, refretting, defretting, cavity routing, crack repairs, neck shaving, refinishing, repainting, inlays, LEDs, complicated wiring, nut filing, etc, you'll want to take it to a pro. But anything that you can adjust or "drop in" (i.e. direct replacement tuning machines, bridges, etc) that has no permanent effect on the instrument, go for it. Just take your time and make sure your attentive to detail.
  5. ampeg66


    Dec 29, 2002
    If it doesn't need fretwork, a basic setup - neck, string height, and intonation adjustments - should be $30 - 50, plus the cost of a new set of strings. More if it needs any work done to the frets or the nut.

    My local bass shop posts a very specific service and price menu on their website, but I don't know if it's OK to post the link, don't wanna spam the forum (though I don't work for the shop or anything, I just do biz there). PM me if you want the link.

    +1 to doing it yourself, though. It might help to have it set up the first time, then take the measurements so you can duplicate the setup - or understand how to set it up even better yourself. It can be intimidating at first, but if you understand and follow the basic directions from the various links, you really won't pop your fretboard off or anything.
  6. ampeg66


    Dec 29, 2002
    A couple more notes:

    Bass Player had an excellent 3-part series about setup a few years ago, but I can't find it anywhere online, or remember which issues...gee, that was helpful... :meh:

    I greatly prefer the capo and feeler gauge method from Gearhead over the Willis finger/elbow/"about a credit card" method; the Gearhead method just seems more straightforward to me than Willis's (though that link does offer lots of good information to help understand what each adjustment does).

    I definitely prefer higher action and more neck relief than any of the "standard" measurements I generally see, so I'd just use the numbers as a starting point to find what's comfortable for you.
  7. I tried adjusting the truss rod.
    The edges of the thing in the neck that is used to tighten the truss rod(nut?) are extremely worn down. If it is the nut, am I right in thinking that it's replaceable? Thanks again for the quick responses.
  8. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    The nut is mostly likely replaceable without too much of a an issue since it is an ibanez. Some obscure company might have used a weird size, but you should eb able to have your local guitar shop order a new nut. Hopefully it will come off alright. A truss rod nut should never strip if it is not over-tightened and the right size hex key is used. Someone msut have really been unkind to that bass...
  9. It might have been my fault. I'd tried before, and I'm pretty sure I had the wrong size(metric vs. American maybe).
    I don't have a problem with spending $30. Do you think I should just go ahead and get it done by a pro?(Would a guitar Center be able to do a good job?)

  10. glnflwrs


    Jan 25, 2005
    Hesperia, CA
    fretz.com has all the info you'd ever want to know about any fretted instrument, including a complete setup tutorial.
  11. you talking about CB perkins?
  12. guitar center, probably not.
  13. JonTheBassGuy


    Dec 12, 2004
    I say you get the SX and learn to tune up yourself. It'll save you money in the future and theres no better feeling than getting a new bass. Just be careful with the trussrod.
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I usually pay about $35 for a setup.
  15. glnflwrs, can you check that website for me? That adress goes to a website for a kitchen company.
  16. BoiNtC


    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    If you're in the NYC area I can suggest a bunch of guys who do real good work for you, might help if you told us where you're from so some of these guys can suggest local guitar techs that do good work.
  17. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    $40.00 plus price of new strings.
  18. glnflwrs


    Jan 25, 2005
    Hesperia, CA

    Sorry dude, it's


    with an 's' not a 'z'
  19. I get my bass setup for FREE (well basic, if parts were ever needed id have to cover those costs), its just a plus of knowing people, but look around, i know a guy who is excellent and does basic setups for £10 (about $18-$19 ) , but thats not through the shop he works at, its on the sly ;)

    I'd say read up on it, and learn to do it yourself, its pretty easy to do a complete basic when you know how :)