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Setup help on Stingray

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by clasher, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. clasher


    Jul 26, 2012
    I have just got a new EBMM stingray 4 and I am having trouble setting it up. My neck relief is somehow correct I think. When fretted at 1st and 12th fret, the gap is a little less than a credit card. But I just can't get the low action like some of you guys are having.
    Take the E string for example. I have the saddle all the way down, but the string height is still around 2.5mm at 12th fret (top of fret to bottom of string). Again, that's with the saddle all the way down, so it's the lowest I can get. Same with the G string. All the way down and still a little above 2mm at 12th fret.
    So how can some people get 2mm or even lower on this stingray bass? I have another Ibanez bass and I don't have problem with that because the saddle can go so low that the strings can touch the frets. But not on this stingray bass.
    Also even with this higher than my taste action, the strings are starting to buzz at 12th fret and above if I play a little stronger. Especially on the A and D strings. So I really don't know if I can go any further down in action. How do you guys do it? Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
  2. I think 2.5 is a nice low action. Anything lower will require a very light touch unless you like the sound of strings banging on the frets. If the saddles are bottomed out, you will need to shim the neck.
  3. clasher


    Jul 26, 2012
    Thanks Rocky for the reply. I can live with the 2.5mm but just want to know are all stingrays like this? Or there is something wrong with my bass or setup? Shimming the neck would be too much considering it's a brand new bass.
  4. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
  5. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    It's supposed to be a little less than a business card... not credit card. I think you might have just a tad more relief than you're looking for.
  6. bretrich81515


    Aug 21, 2012
    Baytown, TX
    You might want to also check out the neck to see if it's bowing in or out. It could need a truss rod adjustment. I have noticed that changing string size/type can have this effect. I
  7. I'm no help here. I bought my Stringray in 1987 and still haven't had to touch the neck or the bridge!
  8. This.
  9. clasher


    Jul 26, 2012
    Less than a business card? Well, I don't have a feeler gauge but upon closer check, when having the 1st and last fret pressed, the gap at the 7th fret is less than a medium pick! I put a medium pick there and it doesn't even drop. So I would say the relief is very little.
    If I straighten the neck more, I'm afraid that it would even buzz more at lower frets. At current settings, lower frets are ok, only 12 frets and above have buzzes. What do you guys think I should do next?
  10. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Medium pick is (generally) somewhere in the neighborhood of .030" give or take. Neck relief should be (given level frets and fingerboard) .012".
  11. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Yes, no need to improvise here as feeler gauges run ~$4 at Pep Boys. The capo, OTOH, will run you $15.

  12. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    yup, sounds like multiple symptoms of the same problem, too much relief.

    get that straightened out (so to speak) and your strings will likely be too close to the upper frets; you can then lift the saddles to correct that and fix the upper-fret buzzing.

    also make sure the nut slots aren't too shallow, leaving the open strings too far off the 1st fret.

    i literally cannot recall ever having to shim an ernie ball MM neck to get the action right.
  13. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    Check out Gary Willis' setup guide. It will walk you through the setup without gauges. You can start from there and see if it needs further adjustment.

    If you don't know who Gary Willis is, he's a major jazz/fusion kick**s bass player, who is also very technically oriented.

  14. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Great player. However, it is notable that professional guitar techs do not use his methods.
  15. clasher


    Jul 26, 2012
    Thanks for all the replies. I guess I'll get a feeler gauge and straighten the neck more then. Will post the results when done.
  16. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    In addition to the comments already given, how low you can go without buzz will depend on string guage in addition to how aggressive your playing style.

    My E and G are all the way down on a BFR, but the action is plenty low. I'm using Ernie Ball Group I flats which are very high tension.

    With thinner strings (or any rounds) I would have to go higher even with my light touch style.

    So, I think you do not need to fret about your new bass. ;)

    PS - I have never seen the need to measure string height - I go as low as I can without buzz and this varies by bass and neck quality.
  17. FunkRenegade


    Jul 7, 2012
    Your upper frets are buzzing. You have too much relief
  18. clasher


    Jul 26, 2012
    Got it. Just a little bit more of a 1/8 turn on the truss rod and got the relief down to about 0.3mm on the 7th fret. Had to raise back up the saddles a little after that and now everything looks and feels ok. String height is a tad more than 2mm on E and at 2mm on the G. Also buzz above 12th fret seems to be gone as well.
    Thank you guys for all the help!
  19. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Yes, I've read that GW's approach to set-up is not as widely accepted by the pros as led to believe. What aspects in particular do you find to be most questionable / off-center?

    To the OP: glad things worked out for the better!

  20. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Once you get it all to your liking, don't touch the saddles again, just adjust with the truss wheel. Seasonal changes will only require a minor truss rod adjustment.

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