NBD!! (Fender Ultra)...and a question.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jadenjazz, May 10, 2021.

  1. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
    i read that but there’s a lot of interaction between nut depth, relief, bridge, overspray in the neck pocket, that fender shim adjustment screw, etc.. It all adds up. The obvious answer is the bridge but in my experience you need to look at it all.

    I was setting up a buddy’s new strat last night that wasn’t playing quite right. One culprit was that the shim screw was engaged at the factory. I would not have known this unless I had taken off the neck.

    Sometimes the obvious answer is the one. Maybe it is a bridge issue.
    Last edited: May 11, 2021
    LBS-bass likes this.
  2. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    You could address this issue from either end, or maybe both; working on it at the bridge is simpler.

    The thin C string is too thin for the way this bass is spec'd, and it rides high in the saddle, so one or the other end needs to be lowered (or maybe both) in order to accommodate the thinness of that particular string.

    He's tried lowering the standard saddle but there isn't enough depth available. There's no problem with the bridge beyond the fact that the standard bridge saddle being used is supposed to be accommodating a thicker string. Put a correct saddle on it for that string and you'll solve that problem
    Last edited: May 11, 2021
  3. p12bassnut


    Aug 27, 2009
    Every Bass I’ve ever owned had the G string too high even with minimal neck relief.
    I would take the bridge string saddle off and file it down a little (the area of the saddle that would normally make contact with the bridge.) This in turn allows the saddle to be lowered more.
    Another option would be to use a very small round rat tail file and file down the part of the saddle that the string actually contacts (on top) This causes the string to be lower.
    Bear in mind that small adjustments make a big impact so take it slow and do the trial/retry method.
    I do not like using neck shims if at all possible.
  4. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Think about that statement for a second - A saddle is a V shape - the skinnier the string is, the lower it sits.
  5. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I have a lot of basses - 5 strings. All the saddles have the same shape - a V. The smaller strings work, the big strings work. There is no "correct" or incorrect.
  6. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    OK fine you're right have a great day.
  7. Spectre Gunner

    Spectre Gunner Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2016
    Tampa, Florida
    The truss rod should not be used to adjust action. That is the job of the bridge and If you use the truss rod then your trading proper neck bow/back bow alignment for string height and may result in buzzing frets. The primary way to lower your string action is to use a neck shim. Stew Mac sells them in precut shims in various sizes and they don't cost much. The second best way is modify or change your bridge.

    By the way, a proper neck shim is not likely to have any impact on tone. Besides, if a shim does alter the tone, wouldn't luthiers and players be using them to adjust tone of their instrument? I was watching a bass setup clinic on YouTube by Roger Sadowsky and in summary, he stated that "a properly installed neck shim will have no effect at all on tone. Using a neck shim is the best way to adjust string height when you reached the lower limit of bridge adjustment.".

    This is a Q&A on bass setup by two Master Luthiers - Rodger Sadowsky and Michael Tobias (MTD). Rodger briefly explains neck shimming at approximately the 13:15 timeline.

    If you don't to use a shim then cut a deeper V in that one saddle as previously suggested. But if you do that, take the saddle off and put it in a vise to avoid accidentally scratching your brand new bass and to keep the metal shavings from sticking to the pickups and getting into places that can cause problems. If you file it while on the bass then at least completely cover the pickups with masking tape.

    Bringing your bass back to original is simply a matter of removing the shim or replacing the saddle.

    It's true the traditional bass is designed for standard tuning and standard string sizes. However, you'd think that after 50+ years of Fender basses that Fender would have added room for a couple more turns of a screw to accommodate alternative tuning and string size. Especially, when it would have absolutely no negative impact and could avoid having to use a shim in the first place.

    The nut only effects the string height and sound of an open string. Once you press a string down with your finger that will then effect the string height and pitch.
    This is why it's proper to use a capo or press down the first fret when setting string action.

    However, replacing the nut is recommended since the nut has been cut for a G size string rather the smaller C. But before replacing the nut you can try filing it a little deeper with the correct size file. Your string will of course be lower but it just might work for you and may be able to avoid a nut job (pun intended).
    Last edited: May 11, 2021
  8. jadenjazz

    jadenjazz Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2010
    Indianapolis, IN
    Thanks for all replies and suggestions! Last night curiosity got the better of me and I decided to try a shim. I cut a 1/4" strip of paper (the thickness of a business card) and fitted it to the back of the neck pocket; it was enough to get me in the butter zone that I was needing. In addition, I ordered an identical bridge saddle that I'm planning to file down and use as the permanent solution (removing the shim of course). I'll let you know how it goes!
  9. wes stephenson

    wes stephenson Supporting Member

    Dec 18, 2009
    Dallas Texas!!!!
    I’ve shaved off a little bit of the bottom saddle of a couple of basses and never had a problem. I think that would be your best bet.
    LBS-bass likes this.
  10. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS

    Folks have been buying Fender basses, shimming the necks, and not getting their feelings hurt for years. Your point is taken, but it is what it is, whether anyone agrees or approves or not.
    LBS-bass and deepestend like this.
  11. This bridge is a bit of a bugger on the Ultra line 5 strings. This time the G/C saddle won't go low enough. In another thread a guy complained that his G string sat too close to the edge of the neck. Too wide, too high, just not right. Are you listening Fender?
  12. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    IMHO, this is the result of Fender putting high mass bridges on without compensating by changing the neck break angle. I'll bet a stamped steel bridge which will have a thinner base will fix the problem.
    My 2011 Highway One Jazz had the same problem. Removed the Badass bridge in favor of an American Vintage bridge.
    Problem solved.
  13. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I work for a company that's been making some things for decades as well. We continually develop new products, but the ones that we've been making since the 60's....we improve the manufacturing of them as time goes on - they're more consistent than they ever were back then. It doesn't really cost us anything to do that, other than some time put in to refinement - modern manufacturing techniques and materials allow us to make a design from a bygone era, but make it very consistent - much more than when it was first designed. The amount of products that get returned in warranty in our case have gone down several orders of magnitude, because...all those little details that become more obvious over time we've worked on. All I'm doing is calling Fender out on being lazy - I know what it takes to fix these things (I do that for a living), and they just...don't spend time on that.

    So, yes, it is what it is. I call it lazy. You can call it what you want to.
  14. TrevorG

    TrevorG Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2012
    I was alway under the impression that stringing E to C meant fitting a new nut to match the new gauges.
    deepestend likes this.
  15. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jun 23, 2021

Share This Page