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Setup for a noob

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by cronker, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. cronker


    Feb 13, 2007

    I have been playing a very long time, but never learned the art of Truss rod adjustment and intonation set up. I pay for a very, very good professional guy in my town to do it.

    I see all the time people saying its easy and you can do it yourself, but I watched a Youtube video about it just recently and it came under intense fire on comments about how wrong it was.

    I'm happy to keep paying my guy to do it for me, but should I really learn how to do it myself? And how?
  2. Best person to set up a particular bass is the person that will be playing it. You are the one that knows best what works for your style of playing. Besides saving alot of money, you will not have to wait for someone else to have the time to make your adjustments, or be stuck in a situation where you need your instrument adjusted and don't have a tech available.
    There is a 4 part set of instructional videos on youtube by John Caruthers that shows the proper order and techniques to setup your own bass. The measurements he gives are general settings and you can slightly modify to suit your tastes. I do all my own setups and learned how by watching these videos. Give them a watch, you won't be sorry...
  3. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    It's your money. Truss adjustment isn't art, it's simply physics and mechanics and results become quite predictable after very little practice.
  4. Can you share a link to the video you watched?

    +1 on learning to do it yourself. There is also a sticky that should answer most of your questions.
  5. cronker


    Feb 13, 2007
    This is the link


    I watched and already knew it was wrong before the end.
    How can people spread such damaging information???
    I have an idea about how to do it, and I think I can, I'm just worried about screwing it all up!

    Thanks guys, can always count on my TBers for help and advice.
  6. Dude it's expert Village ;) Just watch this gem....

    The scariest thing to do is probably truss rod adjustment. Just read as much as you can on it and watch videos. The only thing that you can screw up is if you over tighten it. Do small turns and if it feel like it's not going to tighten anymore stop. Don't force it even if your neck isn't where you want it. Then take it to a pro for more evaluation.
  7. cronker


    Feb 13, 2007

    Umm, (Anakin/Vader voice on)

    I'm not a noob in any other part of bass playing, just don't trust myself to set up correctly. Maybe that's my next challenge!
    Love you guys
  8. gidbass

    gidbass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009

    I took the time to figure out how to do my own setups, and I am glad i did...and it isn't like it took days, more like minutes. The internet is your friend, and I am sure you can find everything you need online to setup your bass.

    Good Luck!
  9. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Go into the stickies and find Jerzy Drozd's setup guide, it should be a must read for any player. I give it to all my students whether they want to learn to do setups or not because it explains the science behind the setup as opposed to just steps to follow.
  10. Vanceman


    Feb 14, 2007
    So. Cal.
    Watching the guy who used to do my setups before I learned, always loosened the truss rod before tightening it. I guess he was making sure it wasn't frozen. Good advice?
  11. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Great practice. Then you also have a feel for how much effort it takes to tighten it but you have no fear that you've hit the end because you can tighten it back up to where you started and go from there.
  12. Don't even bother looking at anything labeled Expert Village. They should call it Moron Gutter instead. Every one of those vids are trash. The guy yanking on his strings should have another bong hit and watch some more cartoons and leave the camera alone.

    Here's a nice link to the vids UncleBass was talking about. The guys book is very good also.

    Setup can be scary at first, especially adjusting the truss rod, so if you are worried about learning on your bass, I'd recommend buying a cheapo Craigslist bass to learn on. You can use it not only to practice setup, but also all manner of repairs and mods before doing them on your main bass.
  13. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Well, that's the problem isn't it? How can you say you know what your bass can do if you don't know what all the knobs do on it? And yes it's GOOD to be paranoid about truss rod adjustments because overtightening CAN do damage. This is why the 1/8 turn and wait rule is always stressed. Take it slow and things will become obvious.

    Point is that having someone who sets your bass up just the way you want it is great. That is a rare thing. But if you REALLY want to know what your instrument is capable of, then need to know exactly how everything on it works. And that means you need to adjust them yourself until you know exactly what is going on.

    And THEN at that point, it no longer makes a difference if you pay someone to do it because you can say exactly what you want from the bass and if worse comes to worse make the bass do it yourself!

    That;s my take on it.

    Ture story: I'm hanging at guitar shop. Old blues dude is there telling about some young kid who "could play anything" on his guitar, but had to have someone else tune it for him because he didn't know how! Blues dude is shaking head at this. Then store owner asks the blues dude why he's there. "Well I bought this amp here a couple of weeks ago and I bumped the knobs and I'd like you to put them back the way they were when I bought it!"

    Get the picture?
  14. ngh


    Feb 6, 2013
    brooklyn, ny
    also those expert village videos made me think of the how to basics videos
  15. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
  16. bunky1998


    Mar 28, 2009

    I could not agree with this more!

    I got tired of paying techs for crappy bass setups over two years. Nearly gave up on my "groove line dream" altogether, so I decided to take a chance learning how to do setups.

    Most of the tools you need can be bought on the cheap at Lowes or Harbor Freight (i.e., $7.00 for a set of 10 ball-tipped hex keys). You may also want to consider picking up a Fret Guru ($28 on Amazon). Not cheap, but a very useful and precise tool.

    For me, nothing was as rewarding as getting my SX dialed in exactly the way I like it! Plus, I have a son who plays so I'll save a ton on setups going forward.