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J bass setup troubles....

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bassoptimus, May 24, 2004.

  1. alright, so ive got this american jazz bass right? and right now its super hard to play. im sick of the "fight the bass" technique i want to have a low action on this so its easy to play, but i hear rumours that j bass necks always buzz from the 13th fret and up, and im believing it right now. and if i set the action to high, its too hard to play and if i set it too low, the upper frets buzz and the pickups pop too much when i pluck and slap. what do i do!??!!?! truss rod? bridge? action??? anyone?
  2. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    It seems like you need to bring it to a qualified tech & have them do a set up. It seems like you need all of the above... "truss rod? bridge? action??? " ...done to the bass. If you can, see if you can watch the tech adjust the bass so you can learn how.

  3. The action refers to the height of the strings, or how far away they are from the fretboard. Lower action is usually easier to play, however, a lighter touch is required to prevent the strings from rattling. The string height can be adjusted by raising or lowering the bridge saddles. This can usually be done with an allen wrench key of the correct size. Be sure to use the correct size, to prevent stripping the screw. The neck relief can also have an effect on the action. Relief is the curvature in the neck, and is discussed below.

    Neck relief refers to the bow of the neck. Fretted basses generally need a small amount of relief in order to play properly. This means that the neck will bow away from the strings, as opposed to bowing towards them. The latter, also known as a "backbow" is not desirable as this would cause the neck to have a hump in the fretboard, which would cause buzzing at certain frets. To adjust the relief, the truss rod must be rotated in a certain direction. The truss rod is a metal rod that is inside the neck underneath the fretboard. Please note that truss rod adjustments are a tricky business, and there is the potential to seriously damage a good bass. However, with caution, the adjustments can be made at home. If you are unsure of your abilities, do not hesitate to take your bass to a repairman, who can probably show you the correct way to perform the task. This disclaimer aside, you will need to obtain the proper sized allen wrench for your truss rod. (The incorrect size can strip the truss rod.) The truss rod can be accessed at either the peghead or at the neck joint. To lower the neck relief, turn the truss rod clockwise. To raise the relief, turn the truss rod counter-clockwise. It is important not to turn the truss rod too much in any direction. Never turn it more than a quarter turn at a time, and always give the neck time to adjust itself to the change. A little goes a long way in truss rod adjustments.

    Setting the intonation of the bass involves adjusting the string length, so that the fretted notes are as in tune as possible across the fretboard. The first step to getting proper intonation is making sure the open string is tuned as accurately as possible. Next, play the octave at the twelfth fret of the same string. The note will probably be flat or sharp by a few cents. Using a screwdriver, adjust the bridge so that the saddles move forward or backwards. If the fretted note is flat, you will be moving the saddle towards the neck. If the fretted note is sharp, move the saddle away from the neck. After you make the adjustment, the open string will be out of tune, so be sure to re-tune it. Then check how in-tune the octave note it. Repeat the process until the octave and the open string are both in tune. Note, however, that a bass will never be in perfect tune across the whole fretboard. There will always be minor variations in certain positions. Setting the intonation as described above will minimize this effect, however.

    Bass Setup Manuals





  4. whoa... 3 replys.... crazy, yeah, ive been playing for like 5+ years now and i know this sound pretty stupid but like ive got this squier P bass that was my first bass, although being low quality, it plays like... sooo easy and when i got my fender i just didnt understand what was so different but it was just harder to play and it drove me nuts, someone told me that its just how fender necks are designed and built that makes them buzz so much from the 13th fret and above. thank you for the informative reply but even though im only 16 i know what action and all that stuff is, ive tried doing this all myself but i just seem to make it harder to play every time (im an idiot) but yeah i was planning to bring it in sometime, but what i mean by the pickups popping too much is that like clicky noise when you pluck sometimes cuz the magnets are too exposed you know? and plucking-wise it probly is my technique, i tend to dig in alot and ive been putting myself in the habbit of plucking on the bridge pickup instead of the neck pickup lately so that should help. but when i slap, it bugs me the most cuz its obviously not my technique. the popping is just obnoxious, any suggestions about that?
  5. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    When you take it in, bring the Squire with you. If your tech has a target, it will be easier to get something you'll like.
  6. FaBu-


    Jan 16, 2004
    Maybe lowering the pickups would help the "clicking".... If they are set too close to the strings that happens....