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how often do you set up your bass?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by nonsqtr, May 8, 2004.

  1. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Do you set it up once and forget about it, or do you tweak it once in a while? (and please say what kind of bass it is).
  2. That depends on the bass in question. I've got 8 in the stable right now:

    Kawai F2-B - Never
    Fender MIJ 62 RI Jazz (fretted) - Only with major climate change
    Fender MIJ 62 RI Jazz (fretless) - Almost never
    Peavey Grind 5 NTB - Not yet
    Hambone #0001 custom Jazz - Only with string gauge change
    Hambone #004 custom Jazz - Not since neck installation during initial build in October 03
    Essex P/J - Seasonal so far.
    DeArmond Pilot Pro 4 - Occasionally

    Understand that some of these instruments don't get the play that others do. I think that can have an affect on the frequency of adjustment - especially if the bass isn't played regularly.
  3. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I have a Steinberger. I've only set it up once, and I don't think I will ever need to do it again. :D
  4. Bass of Galt

    Bass of Galt Guest

    Mar 25, 2004
    Scrotillia Falls
    Ever since I became comfortable making the adjustments myself - I check the set-up (intonation, relief, action) every few weeks on my Carvin LB75's. Typically only micro adjustments are necessary to keep the instruments "in the zone". Once I dialed in the set-up these Carvins became a real joy to play - now I just try to keep it there.

    Usually the weather in San Fran Bay Area is fairly consistant with no humidity - but the recent hot-spell did "move the wood" as they say - and I had to make minor adjustments to relief. Now it's probably due for another look as the weather has cooled off and back to "normal".

    The intonation seems to be the most sensitive to atmospheric changes.

    I'd love to have a set it and forget it bass but I also like the hands on tweaking of the instrument too. I'd miss that. There's something about "getting your hands dirty" under the hood. Total geek - I know.
  5. Deep


    May 8, 2002
    Most basses with wooden necks will need tweaking. There is the seasonal tweaking. And then there is tweaking like Bass of Galt mentioned.....keeping an eye on it and making tiny tweaks to keep it there. I try not to tweak too much unless it really starts to change alot though, otherwise the neck will always be trying to settle itself. Some people tweak alot and never give the neck a chance to settle down. But of course if it settles to where you don't like it you WILL have to go the other way and get it back to where you do. I find that for me strings with a little less tension seems to hold my setup better than a string with lots of tension. Maybe it's because the neck is a little more "relaxed". Anyone else have similar experiences?
  6. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I think that action would matter much more than the kind of bass. For example, I bet Bass of Galt likes a low action and therefore has to make the micro-adjustments. I use a medium to medium high action and basically only change the setup when getting a new type of string/guage.

    Note that I am not saying a low action is bad. I wish I had the skill to play a low action :(

    Almost forgot, most of my basses are cheapies :crying: My good bass is a MIJ P Bass '62 reissue :bassist:
  7. Climate changes suck period
    I have to get my neck set up so damn often Living in New York blows
  8. 7flat5


    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
    Climate changes are great, but not for bass setup, that's for sure. I am in NY too, and I have a fretless on the hairy edge of mwaah. What that means, and also means on my fretted with the lowest action practicable, is careful and considered 1/4 turns of the truss rod about every 2-3 months, if the sound is to remain the same. Humidity is the major issue in wood expanding and shrinking, and when winter heating (dry as a bone inside) turns to summer sauna (books mildew on the shelves), you just gotta make the changes in the instrument, too. I hope you are not paying someone else to do this. Learn to do it yourself.

    Key word is Learn!
  9. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Which climate changes cause you to tighten the truss and which cause you to loosen? One advantage I have is that the basses stay in the basement. So the temperature/humidity stays fairly constant.
  10. 7flat5


    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
    Look at the links in the sticky posts at the top of the forum first. The Gary Willis site and the Fender setup sites have good basic info. When the frets or fingerboard at the first positions near the nut start to buzz, the neck needs more relief. On my fretless, with a double-acting truss rod, this means, really, not loosening the truss rod like it means on my old Gibson, but "tightening it negatively" if you will. Turning the truss rod nut counterclockwise to force more relief in the neck. That's my bass. Yours might (will) be different.

    To answer your question, the neck responds to the climate, but I respond to the neck, not the climate directly.

  11. seanm, here's a good read on basses and climate changes.

    The Bass:


  12. My MIM jazz gets it every string change, but I check it every time I play. My Squier Gets it alot...
  13. Minnesota has horrible climate changes and that means lots of set-ups. I do at least 3 a year on each bass and minor tweaks in between. Wood instruments + highly variable temperature and humidity = a lot of changes.
  14. ubersam


    Oct 12, 2000
    I'll set-up once when I first get the bass. Once everything is as I like it, I leave it alone. I'll only double check the set-up if something doesn't feel or sound right.
  15. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    3 times a year as the weather changes.
  16. tribalbass


    May 14, 2004
    I have to agree with Shaz and Lonote, I set my basses up at least three times a year, living in Denver, climate changes really, really, suck!!!!! Altitude really sucks too!!! I set my Carvin LB-76 up as soon as I got it from San Diego, action was way, way too high, and I set my Washburn's up every so often as climate dictates.