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low action with a .130 string

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bigmoosepi, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. Having issues with action on this pbass I built. The lowest I can get that fat string without buzzing is still too high, I have the truss rod backed off as much as possible and the strings are VERY tense (130-65 tuned DGCF). Too much tension for most players but fine for me. Theres a fair bit of relief but it seems to not be enough, but I can't get anymore.

    I'm not THAT experienced with setups, my understanding is that to eliminate fret buzz with low action is to increase relief, but like I said I can't back the truss rod off anymore, and more string tension than I've already got would probably be dangerous.

    Any ideas?

    Additional: the neck has a big shim in it as I had bottomed out the bridge before getting low enough action on that string. After shimming it was better but I still can't get it low enough without it just buzzing out awfully.

    It can't be the limitation of the string as I've played 5 strings with low action and no issues with that B.
  2. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Might be a bad string.

    Did you set witness points?
  3. I don't think it's a bad string as further down the neck its okay, up at the 12th is where it starts to buzz out.

    As for witness points, I have no idea what those are.

    when I shimmed the neck I just put a piece of a credit card (yeah yeah, bring on the grilling) down in the pocket so theres probably a slight backward angle now, could this be a cause of problems? I used a credit card because I had nothing better at the time.

    Edit: after some research I'm finding others saying buzzing at the 12th or higher means there is too much relief. I'll have a go at tightening it up a bit and see what happens.

    update: loosened off the truss rod, still no good, loosened it some more and the neck was pretty much dead straight under tension, still no good. I moved my shim so it ran lengthways along the pocket and closer to the nut but now my bridge is bottoming out again and even with the high action up there is still kind of buzzy, it progresses up the neck so I don't think there are any high frets. I think I may just have to live with the high action since this bass was built by an amatuer (me)
  4. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    IMO, you need to take this to a pro.
  5. I used to have a problem like the one you described. I fixed it by doing a set-up in reverse.

    1. Knowing that the truss rod has little affect on the 12th thru 21st fret, I capo-ed at the 12th fret and adjusted the actions by raising the bridge saddles until the string buzz was inaudible.

    2. Then, I placed the capo at the 1st fret and tightened the truss rod to straighten the neck and doing so I lowered the actions for the 1st fret thru the 12th fret until I heard a tiny bit of buzz.

    3. I loosened the truss rod until the buzz was inaudible.

    I do this as a standard procedure for a basic set-up on both of my basses and my actions are very low without any string buzz. I play with a light touch too.
  6. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    I think your problem is that you used a credit card as a shim. You should have used a debit card. :D

    Sorry - couldn't resist. No use in trying to correct a fret buzz issue occurring around the 12th fret by adjusting the truss rod. From the 12th on up, the problem is that the bridge isn't high enough for the strings to stay clear of the frets. However, if there is a ski jump you may have to raise the saddles too high for your liking.

    We might be able to help if you can provide some measurements. What is the amount of relief in the neck? What is the height of the strings from the 12th fret?

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