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mystery of the basses

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by JWC, Apr 17, 2001.


  1. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    ok. I got 2 basses now. An Ibanez Cimar and a Fender P. The Ibanez is alot easier to play than the P. I can stumble over and struggle with songs on the P that I play with ease on the Ibanez? Why could this be?

    Also, is it possible to give the P the same set up as the Ibanez and make the P "easier" to play?

    BTW: Neither bass is set too high or low action wise. I know this for sure.
     
  2. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    one of the issues is that the string-to-string spacing, at the nut, on the ibanez is probably quite a bit closer than on the p-bass. i know that that has always been a playability issue for me - i like closer spaced necks, like rics and j-basses, for 4 strings.

    another issue is the exact scale length. i remember back in the day when i went from a ric 4001 to a fender jazz, the scale length increased by almost an inch, and the fender jazz was noticeably harder for me to play than the ric. rics use a non-conventional scale length (33 1/4", iirc) and that extra 3/4 " made a noticeable difference in how hard it was to pluck the bass - took some getting used to.
     
  3. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    ah, the neck thing sounds feasible. but what do you mean by scale length??
     
  4. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    and yeah John, plucking is what is KILLING me on the P bass. thats why i want to know what scale length is. the space between strings also pisses me off.
     
  5. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    the scale length is a measure of how long the playable area of the string is, from bridge to nut. measure, on each bass from your nut to the 12th fret (yeah, yeah, i hear ya ;) not that nut :D) and double it. measuring from the bridge to the nut will probably give an inaccurate number, since the bridge saddles might be at strange positions for intonation purposes.

    on the p it should probably be 34" even. on the ibanez it might be less.

    there's really not much you can do about it, although if you practice on the p bass and then play on the ibanez, you'll find that everything will feel easier, since the bass is easier for you to play.

    another thing to remember is the string gauge issue - lighter gauge strings are going to be easier to play than heavier gauge strings
     
  6. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    Thanks John. I had heavy gauge on my P, but it was almost impossible to play. I guess back to the Ibanez, if only I could find the damn screws that fell off when I removed the strings a while back. Also, anyone, I might trade in the P for a newer Ibanez. I got the P for $750 6 mos. ago new. whats a good trade in price??
     
  7. MJB

    MJB

    Mar 17, 2000
    JWC, before you give up on the P bass, have you tried TI jazz flats on it? It makes a HUGE difference IMO on P bass playability. Besides that they sound and feel great.
     
  8. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    TI? what are they, never heard of em' but will consider using em!
     
  9. MJB

    MJB

    Mar 17, 2000
    Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flats. The JF344 set. They are very low tension, which some guys don't like, but I and many others, love them. If you search the strings section here you should find a lot of info.
     
  10. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    Some advice from another thread -- perhaps the nut slots are cut too high. You should only be able to slide two business cards between the strings and the 1st fret. Any higher, and the strings are gonna be hard to press all the way to the frets. Too high is probably a good way for a mfr to ship an instrument -- that way the slots can be cut lower to the buyer's taste. But it's not so easy to raise 'em once they're cut low.

    This is definitely a pro's job -- don't try this at home! Unless you're prepared to have the nut replaced AND cut, which is considerably more costly than getting the nut cut right the first time.
     
  11. Your P bass may be in need of a pro setup. Especially if, as you said, you changed from heavy gauge to lighter gauge strings your bridge saddles and neck relief would most likely now be too high which would make your bass harder to play. Also, as previously mentioned, the nut slots may be too high.

    Do yourself a favor, before you trade in the P bass (and probably lose some money in the transaction) find a good guitar technician in your area and have him do a thorough set up including: a new set of strings, checking the neck for straightness, checking that the frets are level, checking nut slot height, checking neck relief (i.e. the amount of bow), adjusting bridge saddle height for the new strings *and* your playing style (very important), adjusting pickup height and adjusting intonation. After the tech is done then play the bass preferably right there in the shop. If it doesn't feel right then talk to the tech and have it adjusted some more. There are a lot of little differences that go into each individual's preferred setup. A good tech knows this and will be ready to help you get the right feel for the way you play.

    Now, all that being said, you are also going to want to learn to do your own setups in the near future. That's the best way to get the setup the way you want it and keep it there. You'll also save a few bucks. Search the archives here for advise on doing your own setups, when you're ready.
     
  12. A pro luthier setup job will do wonders for your P. Dont discard it, it's a much better bass than the Ibanez, IMO. A setup wont cost much, and if you add a set of TI Jazz Flats you'll be rocking for under a $100.