Setup Questions

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Tonto_Goldstein, Oct 18, 2001.

  1. I just took my 3 month old Fender MIM Precision Base in to get set up. Can I get some insight into the following:?

    1. All of the strings are much lower now and my E string sounds distorted no matter where I put my finger on the fretboard. The other strings sound fine. Is this because my E string is set too low now? It is lower than the other 3 strings.

    2. If my E string is set too low, how easy would it be for me to raise it myself? Would I be better off taking the bass back to the shop and letting the guy raise the E string?

    3. The guy at the shop insists that there is no difference between a Squire and MIM Fender. Is he correct or should I find a different shop because he is an idiot?
  2. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    1. It's possible. Is it a distortion or a buzzing (fret buzz)? Another possibility is a bent or twisted neck (?) or not enough downward tension on the string at the nut. Is the string wrapped around it's post properly, with each "new" winding on the bottom of the "old" windings? The windings are supposed to force the string down into the nut slot and keep it there.

    2. You should be able to raise the strings and set the intonation yourself. Raising the strings is just a matter of turning those two top screws on your bridge saddle until you get the height where you want it. Once the string is where you want it, be sure the saddle sits evenly on the bridge plate. I personally have my strings set at about 1/8" at the 12th fret (with the string open and measured from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string).

    If you would need to set the intonation (so that the 12th fret matches the open string exactly), you can do that too: If the note is sharp at the 12th, move the saddle away from the nut. If it's flat, move it toward the nut. This may take some time to get right, but it's easy enough to do.

    These kinds of things are simple enough to do and help you "get to know" your bass.

    3. I think the guy's an idiot. I've noticed a difference in both the fit and the finish of the Squier versus the MIM.

    EDIT: Welcome to TalkBass! :)
  3. Thanks for the reply and the welcome. I read these boards just about every day and can't tell you how much I have learned since July. It definately is not fret buzz. I usually plug into my Pc Soundcard and attempt to play along with cd's. My pc's 80 watt Yamaha speakers sound better than my Crate 15 watt practice amp. After the set up I did as I usually do and plugged into my pc - thats when I first heard the distortion. Today I experimented and plugged into my amp - distortion is gone. I think it is safe to assume that my pc's Yamaha setup is not ideal for a Bass and the change in string height is producing a frequency that my Yamaha set up can't handle (a la distortion), but a Bass amp can? Does this make sense or am I completely stupid?
  4. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    I'd say your pc aint up to the input. Ya know, a bass pup produces a lot of current - lot!
    If it's OK with a bass amp: don't bother messing with it.
    If it still distorts with a bass amp, and you like the string action: lower the pup at that end, just slightly (tighten the screw). This will also reduce gain.

    And, if I failed to mention it earlier: play through a bass amp.
  5. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    One should be suspicious any time something that used to work OK no longer is OK.

    Your bass is not producing any new frequencies. But I suspect that, since the E string is lower, it may be closer to the pickup and is now producing a hotter signal than it did before the setup (assuming that before and after the setup job, you were playing into the PC with the bass's volume control wide open). If this is the case, you should be able to remedy the situation by turning down the bass's volume control. Try that. If you still have distortion thru the PC, then your sound card or PC spkrs may have changed for some reason.
  6. ESP-LTD


    Sep 9, 2001
    It kinda depends somewhat on when it was made; thay have made Squiers in several countries, including their Mexican factory.

    It also depends on luck! The quality control on Squiers can vary quite a lot (and to a lesser degree MIM Fenders). I had one that was excellent, I've seen others that looke like the frets were levelled with a belt sander.
  7. You where right Eli. I just turned down the volume on my bass and the distortion went away. I noticed you are from Chicago. Do you have anyone you can recommend for lessons? I am in the South Suburbs.
  8. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    Sorry. I'm NW burbs, and I never had much to do with the lessons biz...

    How's the string-to-string volume balance on the bass now? Through the amp, that is. If the E is louder than the others, you can crank down the E side of the pickup to even 'em out.
  9. I just need to decide if I like the action low like it is now, or If I should raise it back up where it was before I had the bass set up. I plan on giving it a few weeks before I decide.
  10. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    Remember that if you raise the action substatially, you may have to readjust the intonation.
  11. Do I need to detune the string at all? Or can I just raise it? I imagine I need to adjust both side equally too.
  12. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    You won't overstress the string by raising the saddle while the string is tuned to pitch; but it will go sharp, so you'll need to retune it, of course. And yes, raise both sides of the saddle.
  13. I appreciate all the help!
  14. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    Hey... if you can't get help from another bass player... nobody else even knows what you're talking about, right?