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Lowering my action?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Kitschead, Mar 23, 2010.


  1. Young, amateur bassist here.
    Recently I've been finding that I need a little bit more playability from my bass. Not only is it cumbersome to play melodic lines higher up on the neck but I find it difficult to play for extended periods of time, particularly in an ensemble setting.
    I know that lowering the action will reduce the volume but will it affect the overall tone of the bass much? I find that when I start to run out of stamina while playing i find it harder to anchor the notes as well anyway which results in less volume, so overall I figured I might be able to get better acoustic volume from my instrument if the action was lowered.

    tl;dr what are the main negatives of lowering your action?
     
  2. Pat Harris

    Pat Harris Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I think string height is a very subjective issue. Lowering your strings can result in less volume being projected from your instrument, but if you're using an amp, it shouldn't really matter too much.

    I found that lowering the strings on my bass actually allowed my bass' sound to open up in a good way. 99.9% of my gigs are amplified so I enjoy having the lower string height, and for me, it sounds better through an amp.
     
  3. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    You're just going to have to try it on your bass with its current setup and your playing style. If you have adjusters, it's easy. For easier playability you can also try lighter tension strings, check for low nut height, and having your fingerboard dressed with little scoop.
     
  4. bejoyous

    bejoyous

    Oct 23, 2005
    London, Ontario
    If you can play at your best because of the ideal action for fingering rather than big, thumpy sound then you will play with more confidence and focus. Therefore, you will sound "louder" than the previous "big lump of mud" sound you had before.

    And you'll be able to play longer with more enjoyment...
     
  5. bigolbassguy

    bigolbassguy

    Feb 13, 2010
    Billings, MT
    Could you tell us how high the action is in mm? (distance from the fingerboard to the bottom of the strings) If you're playing anything but rockabilly, lowering the action is probably a good idea. If you have a fixed bridge, you should get an adjustable one and have the action set up then. Also, what kind of music are you playing?
     
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