1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Questions about Setting up my ATK bass (fret leveling)

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Darqual, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Darqual


    Aug 3, 2013
    I've got an old ATK 305 from the 90s that I bought used and it arrived with a few problems. First I had buzz on the first fret, so I replaced the nut myself.

    So I managed to fix the buzz at the first fret, which is awesome. Because I fixed the buzz at the first fret, I decided to start lowering the action to more of my style. I followed an Ibanez manual that said when holding down the first fret, the neck relief should be between 0.3 and 0.5 mm. And it just so happens on the bass side the lowest I could get was .6, and lowest on the treble side I could get was about .5 without excessive buzzing. even at this amount of neck relief I still have some intermittent buzzing.

    I did some thinking, and based on my VERY limited knowledge of guitars, that the frets are probably not level. What do I need to know/ what tools do I need, before attempting to level my frets?

    However I am not 100% sure that is the culprit. The strings on the bass currently are long-scale, and because this is a string through bass, this causes the tapered part of some of the strings to sit inside the nut, my understanding is this is not ideal, so I have ordered some super long scale strings to see if this helps.

    The bass usually ships with a .125 B string I'm guessing, but when I got it, it had a .130. From what I've read a thicker string will actually rattle less, but I've also considered that maybe the .130 puts too much tension on the neck.

    I'm a beginner at working on my own gear, and while I do have plenty of sandpaper and files, I am not sure what other tools I need to attempt to level these frets.

    PLEASE let me know if I am mistaken about anything here in the post!

    Thank you folks!
  2. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    See if your local library has a copy of Dan Erlewine's book. Everything you need to know is in there:

    Darqual likes this.
  3. Darqual


    Aug 3, 2013
    They don't seem to have it. Do you know of any Online resources I could use?
  4. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

  5. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    First mistake.

    Ibanez has no idea what relief or string height suits you and your style of playing.

    Make it feel and sound right when you play it. Don't measure anything until the end, if at all.

    What are you measuring fractional mm with anyway? A digital caliper?

    Stop before you make your bass worse.

    You probably didn't need to replace the nut. It was buzzing because the taper was going through the slot, which meant the string was thicker on the body side of the nut than it was in the slot.

    You can't begin setting up an instrument until you have the right size strings.

    Get the correct ball-to-taper length strings, in the gauge you want to use. That is step one.

    Then dial in the relief, bridge saddle height, nut slot depth and intonation to what best suits your playing. Figure out how low you want the strings, and if you can get there without buzz, not based on what other people tell you it should be, but how you need it to be for how you play.

    Fret leveling is not where you should start in learning how to work on guitars. At this point you don't know if the frets need leveling or not.
    Darqual and JLS like this.
  6. Darqual


    Aug 3, 2013
    I have a set of feeler gauges I’ve been using to measure relief. I did plan on the string replacement, today my super long scale strings come in and I’ll give those a go. I tend to enjoy a low action on my basses and I’ve found that difficult to achieve.

    I can definitely see how I’ve rushed this process.

    I have noticed high spots on the fretboard but I guess I’ll hold that off until I can get as close as possible.

    Thank you
  7. 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.

    Feb 27, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.