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Set up

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Rosiegsm, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. Rosiegsm


    Feb 15, 2012

    I plan on going to university to study Music in September with double bass as my second instrument, and am looking to buy my own bass.

    I spoke to a luthier and for my standard of playing, he suggested buying a good quality student bass and set it up to my specification for university, rather than buying a very nice antique one which I could risk damaging. One of the suggest set-ups was to lower the action of the strings, by altering the bridge and the nut at the top of the fingerboard, to try and avoid blistering my fingers as bad. However, will these cause problems with bowing and classical playing?
  2. No, you actually want a pretty low string height for classical playing, especially solo work, which you will be doing a lot of. I suggest getting bridge adjusters as well, because that lets you wind it up a millimetre or so for orchestra work, which will get you some more volume but compromises the tone in high positions a bit. I think there is very little difference between classical and jazz setups, so long as the bridge is curved enough to be bowable.

    Appropriate strings help a lot with playability too, and there you do want something different from the typical jazz strings. There's a whole forum for that question though, so I won't say more here.
  3. uprightben


    Nov 3, 2006
    Boone, NC
    Getting the nut slots low enough should be done for any set up. On the bridge end, this determines string height, and super low string height can make the strings buzz when you bow hard, so you don't want to overdo it.
  4. Rosiegsm


    Feb 15, 2012
    Are adjustable bridges easy to alter?
  5. bssist


    Jun 23, 2007
    St. Louis, MO USA
    What do you mean by "alter"?
  6. Change the string height? Yes... slack the strings off a bit, adjust the height, carefully tune back up making sure the bridge stays where it is supposed to be, you're done. Takes maybe five minutes, if that.
  7. I don't know if your luthier told you or not but there's a decent chance you will have to have the fingerboard dressed as well.
  8. playbass0410


    Feb 8, 2008
    Agreed - I have relatively low action (5mm @ G and always + 1mm for the string from D;A;E) and do both pizz and arco.
    The time I got a new bridge that is more curved the fingerboard was also dressed to be more curved.
    I switched from adjustable bridge to solid.

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