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Set-up standards???

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Gastambide, May 11, 2005.

  1. Gastambide


    Mar 4, 2005
    While reading a post about the poorly setup basses at Guitar Center (Yeah, I agree after playing a Geddy Lee jazz with action so high, you'd need a pair of vice grips to play a note at the 12th fret!), I began to wonder if most of you have had similar experiences with "off the rack" bass setups? A former bandmate, and music store owner, told me that it's common practice to keep the actions on guitars on the high side to mask any buzzing problems that might be present in a slightly imperfect neck. The theory is that #1 - Any buzzing will be an instant "no-sale", whereas most players think a high action can just be tweaked. And #2 - A lot of players aren't that picky anyways and might be content to play the bass or guitar "as is". So, it's in the store's best interest to keep the actions higher than optimal, especially on lower quality instruments. I think this is a shame, and only does the basses (especially better models) an injustice. It doesn't allow you to really see what the bass feels like.

    The second question I have is this...
    Do you think many manufacturers are a bit lax on their standards for what is considered "passable"? I bought a Spector Euro 4 last year which I couldn't adjust to a truly low action (which I like) without unacceptable buzzes everywhere. I achieved this action on the Fender P-bass I've had for years with no glitches, but then had to consider that the P-bass had the neck re-planed, then refretted and refinished by an excellent luthier. I took the Spector to him, and he told me the neck wasn't "true", meaning it didn't bow evenly from side to side. He said that planing and refretting is not a good idea on a new instrument because the wood in the neck has not likely settled yet, and it would need to be redone in the future. He also said that he believes many manufacturers aren't using properly cured wood these days, in an effort to speed up the manufacturing process. PJ at Spector told me to ship it back to them, but I've read an account of a guy from this forum who had a similar problem, and Stuart, himself told him the bass was perfect! This guy then shipped the bass to Lakland who agreed with the warped diagnosis, and fixed it properly, but of course cost him hundreds of dollars. Maybe it's my fault for ordering a bass, but that was my only option to get the model and finish I wanted. (In retrospect, I probably would buy one off the rack in any color as long as it played great in the store!) Anyways, am I alone in thinking that bass manufacturers, especially higher end ones, should have a high standard of quality where playability is concerned?

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