Professional setup?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by McCalister999, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. About how much will it cost? how long will it take? Do places like GC and Sam Ash setup basses? I've never gotten a bass setup before, and I'm considering it.
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    A setup shouldn't be any more than $30. Sam Ash and GC may have someone on premises that can do it, but your best bet is looking for a dedicated repair shop.
  3. +1 on the non-GC tip

    Many of the instruments I have here waiting for repairs are here because GC or Sam Ash screwed up. In a weird way, I thank them for giving me the opportunity to work on more instruments. Not only were they not even capable of doing the work that was asked of them, they routinely damaged and/or lost things in the process!

    This poor kid from Park Slope (an oxymoron) got a new electric guitar and it naturally needed a setup. Well Mom, not knowing any better takes it back to the GC where she bought it and asks for a setup. They go to pick it up a WEEK later and they get a guitar with no strings, no setup, nuthin'! For some reason they had the time to drop all the saddles, though?! Then they request $40 for the work!! Unbelievable!
    So they bring it to me, I spend less than half an hour, charge my flat rate of $30 (for the deluxe) and they're done.

    If you can find a shop with a good reputation, that's your best bet. If it HAS to be one of the bigger places, find out who's doing good work and be prepared to wait in line. Also ask around in the scene and look through the phone book. Many of the people I learned from and apprenticed with were not even listed in the White Pages, let alone under "Musical Instrument Repair" in the Yellow Pages! Keep asking and keep looking. If you put forth the effort you'll find someone.

  4. well, I think I just need some truss and saddle adjustment, I'm getting some buzz and such but I'm not good at working with it myself, pretty basic stuff.
  5. EADG mx

    EADG mx

    Jul 4, 2005
    You should take the time to learn how to do it yourself, it's not hard to understand at all and it's a skill that's worth knowing.

    You could do the intonation and action by yourself, the only equipment you need is a screwdriver, allan key, and a tuner.
    The exception is the truss rod. I always take my bass into a store for that, just because if you do screw it up, you can seriously wreck your bass.
  6. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Exactly which frets are buzzing is important to determine exactly what needs adjusting.

    If you will check exactly which frets are buzzing I can tell you what needs to be adjusted to correct the prob.

    Include as many details as possible, such as: did problem just start or has it been going on for a while? How old are the strings? etc.
  7. On the E string, frets 1, 2 and 3 buzz. The strings are only a few monthes old, (Pro-steels). That action is also a little too high for my taste as well. Could the fret buzzing just be a low saddle?
    it's been going on for a while, even before I replaced the strings, I just never really cared enough to make any major changes.
  8. If you think the action's too high and it buzzes near the nut it sounds like you need a truss rod adjustment. There's probably too much relief in the neck and the rod needs to be tightened. If the truss rod is already as tight as it will go you'll have to take it to someone who can correct it. It's a common problem with Fenders, for example, and is easy to correct if you have the right tools.

    It could also be high frets at 4, 5, 6, etc. If you raise the saddles any higher it would just make it even harder to play.

    What kind of bass is it? The more information the better!
    Are the buzzes coming from your left hand (frets 1,2,3) or more from where the neck meets the body? Figuring out where and what the string is hitting is the first step.
  9. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    As a general rule of thumb, buzzing in the first few frets indicates A lack of relief. The relief (or slight bow)in the neck is supposed to be pretty much confined to the first 5 or 6 frets. Starting at the 5th or 6 th frets to the last fret, the board should for all practical purposes be straight.

    I would suggest that you check the neck to see just how much relief is actually in the neck before you adjust anything.

    Rather than me repeat the instructions for checking relief. you'll find directions in Gary Willis site that is stickied at the top of the setup forum.

    Go to that site and check it out. If there is something that you still don't understand, just give a holler and someone will help you here.

    Just a tip: if you start turning things before you even know what the prob is just to see if it will correct the prob, you probably will need a pro setup pretty quickly.
  10. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I found my bass tech through one of the guitar teachers at our local Music Center. Actually 3 of the 5 that work there use this Luthier. Called the guy and it took about 2 days for me to get my first one back. He only charged me $20, but all he did was set the intonation, set the neck releif and string height. The bass he has now, the neck needs to be reset plus all the rest. I told him to take his time and fit it in. I find this sometimes gets me a cheaper price. The one he is working on now is a 5'er and the cost should be about $40, but the guy is great at what he does and the bass will not need another set up for at least a couple of years (for me).
  11. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    A good repairman(person) is like a good doctor. If you find one you'd better keep him.

    By knowing how to do it yourself you avoid the $60.00 repairman. Besides, setup is fun. :bassist:
  12. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    Since I have a good setup done only every other year or so, if I need it or not, the expense is not to bad. It is like changing oil on your car. Pretty easy to do it yourself, but sometimes, it is just better to have someone who has all the right tools and the workspace to do it.
  13. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.

    It's a wise man that knows his limitations.

    I wouldn't encourage anyone to attempt a setup if they weren't comfortable with it.

    Everyones mechanical skills are a little different. If you are not comfortable changing the oil in your car or replacing a fanbelt, chances are that you would be better off having a setup done by a pro.

  14. my bass is a MIM Fender Jazz with stock everything. I've been having problems with the saddle of the E string slipping lower, so I had to secure it with clear nail polish (advice I got from this forum a while back) but now it seems to be getting worse again. It seems to buzz more toward my fretting hand, although I don't currently have my bass with me. Also, I would learn how to set it up myself, but at least now I really don't have enough time and just dropping it off at the shop for a week or so would be a lot easier.
  15. Rene


    Mar 8, 2004
    A professional set up for a bass takes about 4 to 5 hours of work
    That includes:
    1) new set of strings
    2) fret level, fret crowning and fret buffing (if needed, but it will prevent lot of buzzing)
    3) install, tune and set the height of the strings (action) to the specifications of the customer
    4) set the neck relief
    5) and finally if everything is allright do the intonation

    A set up should always be done to the specifications of the bassist because he is the one playing the bass and there should not be any bass set up standard. Every bassist has his own style of playing.
    The price for a good set up should be judged by you the bassist but if you think about it, nobody works for $5.00 an hour
  16. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge

    Dead on there. Nobody who works for $5.00 an hour is touching one of my cases let alone the contents thereof... I'm blessed with two very good luthiers nearby. I used one on a whim. I really wanted to see if they could do that much better than me. They can, they do and they're worth every penny. Look for a real, honest to god guitar building luthier in the area. I doubt you'll find anyone of note at GC or Sam Ash.
  17. Precisely.
    Great advice all around!
  18. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL

    Most instruments I've worked on didn't need a fret level. But it is a skill I need to practice a bit. All the other stuff, I do quite proficiently. I also use a strobe tuner for intonation, and definitely do a play test. I also watch the player beforehand to see how they play, so I can set it up to work with their style of playing.