Setup Help Please...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Billygoat666, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. Billygoat666


    Sep 19, 2007
    Hi All,

    I've done a lot of reading on setups and I've made and effort but I'm kind of lost now. I just got my Lakland Darryl Jones back from Lakland. To make a long story short, I had some problems with the neck which they remedied, then plek'd the bass and sent it back to me.

    I'm learning to play with my fingers and do so about half the time but the other half of the time, I play with a decently heavy pick attack. When I got the bass back it was setup for someone with a really light touch. If I dug in with the pick, the strings would bottom out and buzz. So, I thought I'd raise the saddles a touch. I did about two and a half turns on each of the saddle screws and got rid of most of the buzz except for the E and A strings. After doing a bunch of reading, I then figured that maybe my playing style required a bit more than Lakland's standard relief so I gave the truss rod a quarter turn to the left when looking at the bass from the bottom towards the headstock. It seems as though there's more buzzing everywhere now and the action is getting kind of high for my liking. I thought that once I added more relief, I'd be able to drop the saddles back down a bit but I don't think that's going to work. I'm totally confused now.

    Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. I'd really like to learn to do my own setups but every time I try to make it just a little bit better, I just make it worse.

  2. Jo6Pak


    May 2, 2007
    If it were mine, I'd first try and adjust it back to where Lakland had it and go again from there. Personally, I always make the neck adjustment FIRST (if necessary), THEN do the string height and ultimately, the intonation. I'm not familiar with the bridge on that bass, but two and a half turns on each saddle would be a lot for me. I usually go in quarter or half turn increments when I do saddle height adjustments. I also measure the string height each time so I'll know where I am and how much farther I need to go. Fender specs measure string height from the bottom of the string to the top of the 17th fret. I believe Lakland does it at the 12th fret, with a capo at the first fret. Check their website for setup specs to be sure. I believe thats where I saw them. Either that or in some article about Lakland

    Strings can also make a difference, according to type, gauge, tension, etc.

    Generally speaking, I have good luck with setups, BUT I must admit, I have owned a couple basses (one was a Lakland 55-01, as a matter of fact) that I NEVER was able to get the way I wanted. The other was a Carvin fretless that I even sent back to them and they replaced the bridge, set it up and return shipped at no cost. I STILL didn't like it.

    Good luck and try not to go nutz over it, because it will drive you there if you let it.
  3. Billygoat666


    Sep 19, 2007
    Thanks for the reply Joe. I actually just laid out my Music Man Sterling on the table which is setup perfectly for me and I think it has a good deal more relief than the DJ. After letting my truss adjustments settle in overnight, I think I may just try adding another quarter turn of relief tomorrow. If I'm adding a bunch of relief, should I be able to drop the saddles down a touch accordingly or not necessarily?
  4. Jo6Pak


    May 2, 2007
    Well, the more relief (bow), the higher your strings will be. Good practice to let it settle after adjusting, though. I always leave it overnight in-between truss rod tweaks. Usually a proper setup (unless I get lucky) will take me 2-3 days of adjusting, waiting, adjusting, etc. Like I said, I was advised (by a local luthier friend) to make the basic neck adjustment first (if it needs one), then start in on the strings.

    Of course, that doesn't mean you may not have to tweak the neck again (and again). I checked Lakland website and the setup specs are there in the FAQ section. I would set it up using those as a baseline reference and then adjust to your liking from there. I must reiterate: This is the way I would do it. I'm sure others do it differently and if one of them knows a better way, hopefully they will let us all in on it.

    When I said 'unless I get lucky', what happened to me recently is a good example. I bought a new '08 Am Std Jazz from GC. Took it home and immediately restrung with ECB81 Chromes. Let it sit overnight. Put it on the bench and got out all my tools. Checked it. Played it. No tweaks necessary. Not even intonation. I love it when that happens...
  5. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    It sounds like you actually tightened the rod rather than loosened it. This will reduce relief (make board flatter) rather than add it, which would most likely give the more buzz symptom (at the same action setting).

    If the lakland rod is like other rods, think of it like tightening a normal screw or bolt: looking down on it, clockwise tightens, CCW loosens....

  6. lowtide

    lowtide Commercial User

    Oct 14, 2006
    Bradenton, Florida
    Owner: Buzzard's Bass Shop
    Are you saying Lakland leaves you in the dust? No help? What are you asking here for? It makes no sense. You paid big dollars I bet and you get nothing? Did you ASK?
  7. +1

    I play with a pick too, and like my action about a medium height, but for other reasons too.
  8. stewart8980

    stewart8980 Guest

    Apr 11, 2008
    Rhode Island
    lefty loosey, righty tighty