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Is this low action or what?!?!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Precision101, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013
    Hey fellow talk bassers! My friend played my fender bass one day and said the action was way too low for anybody to play. Now I don't know if it's just me but I want to know if this is low to you guys. At the 12 fret it's -almost good enough to stick a penny in between the fret and string. Both of my fenders are set up like this and I love it! No buzz no nothing. Also I use a 30-85 gauge in rotos. What are your guys action set at?
  2. 30-85 gauge strings? yikes..

    if you can still hear the pitches clearly than its all good. often how low the action can go has nothing at all to do with the person doing the setup, and everything to do with the instrument itself. i've seen few fenders capable of "really low" action by boutique bass standards, but thats not to say they're not out there.

    if you've got basses setup that low, enjoy 'em. with no buzz? even better.
  3. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    A penny at the 12 fret sounds a touch low, but about how I like mine set up. For me, this often requires ramping down the upper frets somewhat, as I tend to dig in on my attack.
  4. seanm

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

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    That is between 3/64" and 4/64"... which I would consider low.

    However, he may also have been reacting to the strings. I didn't even know they made bass strings that thin.

    That said, if it works for you without buzzing that is great!
  5. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013

    Neither did I until I found rotosounds. I think that's the lightest they get haha. My bass strings are like guitar strings basically. My playing is really light and swift so I can get away with no buzzing.
  6. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    There's always a trade off between the action height and the string tension. A lighter string will need to be looser with more excursion to get a low note. The bigger excursion requires higher action.
  7. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    You get away with lower action using such light gauge strings (think guitar action). If you have no buzzing problems and like the way it plays, then your friend will have to play someone else's bass.
  8. jakelly


    Nov 8, 2009
    In my opinion, higher action can result in better tone. I guess it depends on how you attack the strings, but I couldn't play a bass with such light strings and low action. I used to have my strings (.045 to .105) lower, but that resulted in audible clickity-clack when the strings rattled against the upper frets.

    I just measured the height and wow, I'm surprised! My Gibson is less than 1/8 inch, top of fret to bottom of E string at the 12th fret. I just assumed it was higher. A Fender P I have at the moment is almost exactly 1/8 inch, and both basses play nicely for me.
  9. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I've always been told by repair people that I like my action illegally low. The lighter the touch, the lower you can have the strings. Fenders can be set up (if they're in good shape that is) much lower than "factory spec". Of course, with most repair people, I need to tell them to set it up this way, or I get the bass back set up to factory spec (not low enough action for me).
  10. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013

    I had a guy set up my bass once and he said he set it with low action. It was high for me. This is why I do my own setups now haha.
    Brazilfunk likes this.
  11. marko138


    May 24, 2013
    Perry County PA
    My P bass is at 3/64" and it plays awesome. Not much buzzing but a lot of fret clack which I like.
  12. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013

    I like fret clank too. Just not too much because I like to have it as an option.
  13. ddhm


    Mar 18, 2011
    Memphis Tn USA
    I like it low too... my action on my fretless is set @ .080 @ the 17th on my C and .112 @ 17 on my low B. My fretted is close to that too.

    If it works for you, it works!
  14. mattattack187

    mattattack187 Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    Bangor, ME
    I've seen actions so low they were IN the fretboard.
  15. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz Banned

    Oct 29, 2013
    Edinburgh - Scotland
    I find that I really want low action... but my playing style doesn't work with it. I play quite aggressively and end up with 90% of the initial energy of each note wasted because the string bounced off the last 5 frets.

    All the notes I play end up going 'dink dink dink dink dink' and only sound good if I change my EQ settings and use a compressor. I don't enjoy the physical feel of playing a bass like that, but I get neurotic about action creeping too high after I make string adjustments. :help:
  16. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013

    Do you use a pick?
  17. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz Banned

    Oct 29, 2013
    Edinburgh - Scotland
    I don't. I have picks, but I only use them rarely. I find the action has to be even higher to get a good tone with them.
  18. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013

    Me too. I like the feeling of strings brushing past my fingers.
  19. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    Well you got me thinking, I usually just set up my basses for the lowest action I can get without fret buzz or clank/clack but rarely measure them.
    My most recent setup was on a Squier Bronco bass (yep a $75 wonder). If I stand the bass dead vertical with the headstock at the top I have the D and A strings so close to the 12th fret that you can actually pin a dime between each string and the fret and it won't fall out. The G and E strings are less than a penney and more than a dime in clearance.
    I have the pickup less than a dime from the strings. All this with no buzz and only the slightest clack if I really dig in. The strings are the stock strings that come with the bass. I still have a couple of full turns left in the bridge saddles before they are bottomed out on the bridge plate.
  20. It's all how you like in my opinion. Two of mine ( 85 Ibanez s string axestar and an 87 Horner a Jack a Custom a Profession V) at the first fret you can get a piece of paper between the fret and string but it rubs. I use standard gauge. My fret less is a bit higher. My 2011 Ricky a bit more but wish and will get it like my two lowest. Hofner is a hofner.

    It's all in your style and if your bass is capable of getting that low without issues.