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Newbie needs some input

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Bottomite, Apr 30, 2006.

  1. Bottomite


    Apr 30, 2006
    Hi folks....
    Great forum !!!....I was introduced to your place from a drummers forum ....have been messing around with bass as a 2nd instrument on and off for a while, been through a variety of instruments, finally settled on a newer Squier
    P-bass Special, playing through a Hartke kickback 10....the sound overall is pretty decent for an inexpensive instrument ( $150 ) ....the build quality is surely a lot nicer than lower priced instruments from 20-30 years ago....
    Here is where I need your indulgence, as I don't know the proper terminology to explain my dilemma, but I am certain I can get the point across...
    When I am playing towards the middle of the neck, I am getting a pleasing sound....for a given note value, when I play that note on the neighboring string, but up near the nut, the sound is much duller, not as vibrant ...
    Assuming that my explanation made sense...how can I remedy this?....Is it a matter of the set-up?.....If so, can you recommend how I can affect changes in the neck angle ( truss rod? ) and/or bridge to give me the same sound qualities on all areas of the neck?....there is also some disparity in volume from string to string, but I am figuring that this is due to the pick-ups?
    I guess I can attempt to do some quack lutherie ( is that the proper term? ), knowing that I will end up at a repair bench either way....Will my only tools be a screwdriver, allen keys, a ruler?....How do I evaluate my results?...I figure that there is a method for determining whether neck and or bridge adjustments are needed, and just how much at each point .... how do I tune the strings in regard to one another besides the standard 5th fret, going from 1 string to the next?..
    Should I need to take it in, how much is a fair price to pay for a set up?
    Lastly, is someone here familiar with a shop ( or better yet, so off-duty tech that lives down the street from me ) in LA
    ( Hollywood/East San Fernando Valley) that is fairly priced yet skilled....
    Lastly, when I was looking around, I was drawn to the sounds and feel of the G&L Tribute L2000, but did not want to spend another $300 at this point ( maybe once I sell some of the drum stuff that has become a dust -covered albatross- you guys are gearheads, so I'm sure you understand ;) )...will I experince the same sort of issues by going up to that price level...if I have to put some $$$ in at both levels, I will stay where I am, as I like the basic feel of this instrument, which is important to me ( otherwise, I would have kept that beast of a Peavey T-40, which has so many great sound options, but ...well, you know ).
    I am certain you have had these sort of questions before, so if there is a link to some resource that can talk me through this, that would be most appreciated as well
    Thanks in advance !!!
    Best wishes to all
  2. Ok, let me get this right, you like the way the note "C" for example sounds on the 8th fret of the E string better than the way it sounds on the 3rd fret of the A string?

    If that's what you're talking about then you can't really change that. The same note is gonna have a slightly different timbre on different strings. To me this is a good thing, you can use different positions to suit different styles.

    Setting up your bass can probably help you a little with the volume of your strings though via tweaking the height of your pickups.

    Also, if you're describing the tone of your bass as dull, some new strings might be in order.

    Answering your other question, how do you know if you need a setup? If your bass is making any mechanical (not electrical) buzzing sounds when you fret certain notes, the strings are too high or low for your taste, or certain chords you play are out of tune you may need to setup your bass.

    Here's a link to a setup guide for you.

    Remember, any setup of a bass is always to suit the player's style, there is no perfect setup. Some like higher action, some like low action. Find what sounds good to you.

    And don't feel bad about having a cheap bass, it's pointless to buy an expensive bass until you know exactly what you want out of a bass and what a bass needs to fit your style.
  3. Bottomite


    Apr 30, 2006
    Thank you, CROZ, for both your feedback and the link...it looks like a good place for me to get started...most appreciated !

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