Raise action or get a fret dressing?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by JimmyM, May 21, 2018.


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  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    It's not a question I'm asking you guys. It's a question I asked and answered myself tonight. I like super low action and light strings, but my 09 Precision had some buzzes develop that I didn't care for, and adjusting the truss rod didn't help. So I tried raising the action and I kind of liked it when I did it. But then I picked up my modded 76 Precision and realized that I simply need a fret dressing. Had one done on the 76 last year, and it made it fantastic with super low action. And then I picked up my 09 P again and thought, why the hell am I wanting to torture myself?

    So I put the strings back down, and as soon as my repair guy is done with dressing my Hammersmith's frets for the same reason, I'm dropping the 09 off. Screw that high action crap!
     
  2. saltydude

    saltydude

    Aug 15, 2011
    boston CANADA
    Sounds like a plan. I’m very particular. Any little change in weather, different set of strings etc. I’m on the adjustments. It’s gotta be “right there”. Nothing like getting them back from being dressed.
     
    G-Z, JimmyM and Pbassmanca like this.
  3. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Asked and answered. The thread that never existed.....
     
    Al Kraft, JRA, Arthur U. Poon and 2 others like this.
  4. briandavismurph

    briandavismurph

    Jul 1, 2013
    Chicago
    I'm kind of going through that with an old P bass that I have re-commissioned with a new neck. Still zeroing in on the string action. It's a tone monster and I love the sounds coming out of it, but need to dial in the "low and fast". That's today's project. I feel your pain.
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  5. Drgonzonm

    Drgonzonm

    Sep 4, 2017
    American SW
    @JimmyM , from your posts it appears you play a lot. No one mentioned the alloy that goes into the fret wire. Some are harder than others, so could recommend you use a hard fret wire like ss.
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  6. bigtone23

    bigtone23

    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    I do the same thing. My basses that do 3-4 hour gigs have a lower action vs my specialty basses that do a few songs to 1 hour sets. Can't fight and get sore for the tonal benefit!
    I'm all about having my all nighters with nice, level frets and a spot on set up. When it comes time to refret, I will surely get stainless frets.
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  7. ThudThudThud

    ThudThudThud

    Jun 4, 2010
    Early last year I discovered that I really did prefer a very low action, a lighter touch, and a slightly louder volume.
    I went through all my basses and managed to get them all to a much easier-on-the-hands, low action, almost identical set up. Being able to pick any one of them up, and have each one feel the same (save the string tension on the ones with Chromes), made for a much easier transition from one sound to another.
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  8. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    If I can’t have low action on my basses, then I don’t want to play bass!
     
    mikewalker and JimmyM like this.
  9. LousCornerDeli

    LousCornerDeli

    Jul 15, 2017
    My fretting had is a prima donna and cannot handle high action. Or more accurately, any action other than super low and you-know-who lets me know right away.
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  10. scuzzy

    scuzzy

    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    How low is a low action? I consider myself to have a "medium" action, whatever that means. It's about 1.5mm at the 12th fret on all my basses. A guitarist I know says my action is crazy high......it's much lower than most I find in stores though.

    What is "low"?
     
  11. I don't know as I'd say 1.5mm is a high action. If you were describing relief, then 1.5mm might be a bit much.
     
  12. scuzzy

    scuzzy

    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    nah, relief for me runs about 0.5mm when pressing @ the first and last fret. i don't like a lot of relief, and I like the nut slots cut to nearly the same height as the frets.

    it didn't seem like high action to me, I told him he was crazy. I think fender factory specs are 2.5mm or higher at the 12th, so I have that beat by a fair amount. ;)
     
    quickfix likes this.
  13. Like you, Jimmy, I prefer low actions with light gauge strings. I have to due to old, short, arthritic hands and fingers. I play lightly and let the amp do the hard work (Most folks who try my basses out can't even play them, lol). I still need the occasional fret dressed. Go stainless if it happens often.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
    JimmyM likes this.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I measure mine by 64ths of an inch at the 17th fret, but 1.5 mm at the 12th fret doesn't sound too crazy high to me.
     
    Marihino likes this.
  15. bigtone23

    bigtone23

    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    My basses are around 1/8" from the bottom of the string to the top of the 12th fret. That's about 4mm. I would consider my action medium at best.
     
  16. dtripoli

    dtripoli

    Aug 15, 2010
    CA
    Actually glad to have stumbled on this thread. My '89 G&L ASAT needs fret dressing but I keep putting it off.
    Then I'll be in the middle of a show and curse myself for not having taken care of this business.
    It's been steadily played for damn near 25 years, I'm fairly certain a fret dressing is in order.
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Yay! My Hammersmith is done so in goes the 09 next week!
     
    Arthur U. Poon likes this.
  18. Nothing like a nice new fret dressing on an already great bass. Moving from LA to Vegas in the last year has been keeping my tech busy with fret dressings, getting rid of ski lifts, etc.
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    My experience with a builder with SS frets is that they are harder, more work to install (more wear on the tools) and also noticeably brighter. I own one bass with them and I wouldn't do it again. The rest of my gigging basses have not had fretwear issues with nickel frets. I use mainly SS rounds. YMMV
     
  20. Drgonzonm

    Drgonzonm

    Sep 4, 2017
    American SW
    There are trade offs. I have a friend who wore out the edge of the fifth fret on his twelve string. High E. Now he players an eleven string.
    I suspect that your frets are not pure ni but an alloy like German silver
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
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