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old bass guitar given to me

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by m412491, Sep 22, 2008.


  1. m412491

    m412491

    Sep 22, 2008
    I got an old electric bass guitar from a good friend. He said it was basically brand new, but it hasn't been touched in at least 6-7 years. I know it's horrible to keep an instrument like that lying around, but it's been in a garage for quite some time.

    Since I am totally ignorant about guitars, and I've already had friends tell me I'm an idiot, I took all the strings off of the guitar so I could do a thorough cleaning. There was dust all over the place and I didn't want to take 5 hours trying to clean underneath the strings with q-tips.

    Well, my friends told me that it was really bad to take all the strings off, so I'm like crap... What do I do? I can take it in today, which has been almost a day since I took them off. Will the guitar warp to the point it's useless, and since it was practically free, am I going to have to sink several hundred dollars into it so it's even playable? Is it "ok" to have it unstrung for a night?

    Please help me! :) Thanks for you time guys.
     
  2. I don't see how taking the strings off was a bad thing at all....

    Unless there was already something screwed up with it, the neck isn't going to warp because you took the strings off... A lot of the time basses even ship without strings on them.
     
  3. Put a photo up here and show us what you've got your hands on. There's a good chance some of these fine folks can tell you more than you can imagine about your new (to you) bass.
     
  4. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    It will probably be ok. Most basses, even cheap ones, have necks that will withstand having all the strings removed. You probably want to put some strings back on it real soon so nothing bad does happen to it. You can just put the old strings back on, or you can put on some new strings. After you get it cleaned up, take it into a music store and ask them to check it out and do a setup. It will probably cost you no more than $50, plus another $20 to $30 for some new strings.

    Curiosity: What kind of bass (make and model) is it? You could also take a few pictures and post them here. We're all probably gonna be jealous - very few people get free bass guitars from their friends!
     
  5. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    Not true. They are sometimes detuned to remove some of the tension, but lately the trend has been to ship them strung and under nearly-full tension. I just received a new MIA Fender from the factory that was about a quarter-step out of tune when I took it out of the box.
     
  6. m412491

    m412491

    Sep 22, 2008
    I'm at work at the moment, so I can't give you guys pictures. All I know is, it's by Squire, which I guess is a Fender offshoot and the name or model is a Precision Bass. Nothing fancy, I just don't want to find out that I ruined the thing.

    My friend also told me, "not" to put the old strings back on. Something about them being all stretched out and if I put them back on, I'd risk them breaking pretty easily. Is this true, that's the main reason I didn't put them back on as soon as I took them off.
     
  7. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    The only way the old strings would be more prone to breakage is if they're rusted, which they may well be from sitting in a garage for so long. Don't worry about leaving it sit without strings for a day or two. It's the long-term effects of changing temperature and changing humidity that might mess up the neck. As long as it's sitting indoors it will be OK until you can get some new strings on it. But sooner is better than later. That Squier Precision has lots of notes waiting to get out!
     
  8. mophead

    mophead Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2004
    Texas Panhandle
    You did not hurt anything by taking the strings off. Hell, that's what they do at the music store when you get new strings installed. Taking the thing apart and give it a thorough cleaning is exactly what I do when I get one. Take the bridge screws apart, soak them in some lubricant, make sure the saddles let the strings slide easy, put it back together like you want and play the snot out of it.

    Since this is a gimme bass or any other bass for that matter, go to the Fender website. They have excellent article on how to set up a bass from neck adjustment to pickup height to intonation. I set up all my own basses and use this guide for reference. It's not rocket science and when you get it set up like you want it you can tell all your idiot friends that you are now a qualified set up man and charge their rears off to do it for them, since its pretty obvious they aren't too bright or know any more than you do.

    Have fun with it. You can't do anything wrong to it except maybe scratch it. Just be careful with the truss rod. Small changes make a big difference so don't get carried away with turning it two or three revolutions. I do mine about a quarter turn at a time, retension, and then let it settle for a day or so before proceeding on.

    It's really fun to do your own setup. Go for it!
     
  9. m412491

    m412491

    Sep 22, 2008
    Thanks for the input guys. You have alleviated much fear. I don't feel so bad now.

    mophead - thanks for the info, I think I'll go do that after I buy some new strings. I like to tinker and customize my stuff as much as possible, so this might be the thing for me.

    Again, I appreciate all your comments guys. Thanks for such a quick response.
     
  10. mophead

    mophead Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2004
    Texas Panhandle
    Go and get some new strings. The Squire strings aren't the best. It is an economy model by Fender, but in the right hands it can be made to sing. I saw Freddie Kings brother playing a Squire in New Orleans not long ago with a pick and he got more sounds out of that bass than anyone wiht all the pedals going.

    In the right hands it can sound excellent. Make it sound good in your hands. We know you can do it. Have fun with it. It may end up being your favorite if you do all the work yourself.

    Let us know how it goes.
     
  11. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    Don't worry, it'll be just fine. Long term storage is best with strings on, but overnight won't hurt it a bit. You might want save those strings though, so they'll be replaced with the same gauge and tension. Better yet, bring the guitar in and have them restring it with strings of your (their?) choice, and do a "set up". It'll cost a few bucks but well worth it.
     
  12. You didn't hurt anything by removing the strings. Basses have the strings taken off a lot when a tech is working on them. Your friends are clearly ignorant of this aspect of instrument care.

    Also - there's NOTHING wrong with putting old strings back on a bass. Many musicians like old strings and prefer them to new ones. OTOH, many musicians don't like old strings and change them every few months. I personally never change them unless one breaks - and I've never had one break, although some of them have been on and off the bass a number of times.

    It sounds like you still have much to learn about basses, and my guess is that at this point you don't have any personal preferences about strings. I'd put the old stings back on and play them until I had a more educated ear. No sense in spending $30-$50 on strings that you may or may not like later.
     

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