Somewhat big issue

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Rendog92, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. Rendog92

    Rendog92 Guest

    Jan 2, 2009
    Well I got some extra light Curt mangans for my Geddy Lee Jazz bass a month ago. Its a great string, but the top string buzzes like no tomorrow. This is partly because the nickelwound extra light is so flexible. My issue, if I get this set up to a proper string height, do they have to mess with the truss rod? Why do I ask this nonsense question, because the truss rod on the GL is not on the head, but rather hidden under the pickguard. That might mean that the process could take more a while to fix at the shop, then im stuck waiting a week to get it back.
    Can I just get the saddle adjusted by any chance? Thx alot guys, im really frustrated because alot of my favorite songs are in drop d tuning, and the loose string buzzes like no tomorrow.
  2. rubik

    rubik Guest

    Aug 24, 2005
    Hi rendog,

    My humble advice would be to google around these forums for info on how to adjust your truss rod. It's really easy once you grasp it, and it'll help you get to know your bass better. Another good source for info on adjustments (and many other things) is Gary Willis' book "101 Bass Tips" - it har clear info with pictures.

    If you prefer drop tunings, you may want to consider trying a heavier gauge "E" string- A light string just can't carry enough tension in a low tuning.

    This is why most 5-stringers use a 35" (extra long, as opposed to the standard 34" long scale) scale length - a longer string means it has to be tighter to achieve the same pitch as a shorter scale instrument. This can be offset somewhat by using thicker strings, to the same effect. It means you'll have to use slightly higher action though. Also, changing into a significantly heavier gauge string might mean you need to permanently adjust the nut, cutting the string slot slightly wider - and this is something you should take to a shop to do if you're not comfortable with it. Make sure that you get to watch them do it and ask questions if at all possible to learn it for next time.

    That said, if you still are not comfortable with doing the basic setup (string height, trussrod) take it to the shop and ask if you can watch them do it. It really shouldn't take a good repairman more than a minute or two to do it, even if he had to remove the pickguard. If major adjustment is needed he may want to do it in increments and have it rest a day in between. That's the only thing that should realistically take time.

    Hope this helped. Good luck! :)
  3. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Maybe raising the saddle will work. Without knowing how much relief is in the neck and the string heights it is impossible to tell.

    There is a bigger issue here, and it is one that is frustrating and potentially damaging to luthiers and techs everywhere.

    Imagine that something is wrong with your leg. You can walk-sort of, and you're in pain. You go to the doctor and he says the problem could be either a sprained or broken ankle. The only way to confirm the diagnosis is to have an X-ray. But the X-ray will take a couple of hours and you're leaving for a gig in fifteen minutes.

    Do you limit the doctor to wrapping your ankle and giving you a cane? How about a band aid and an aspirin? If the ankle is broken instead of sprained do you sue the doctor for malpractice after the gig?

    If your guitar requires a truss rod adjustment to fix the problem, which means keeping the action the way you like it with no buzzes, then that is what has to happen. Restricting the tech to raising the saddle is just a band aid repair. If the convenience of having your guitar is important, then be prepared to pay a rush charge.

    The other damaging thing for the tech is this: If they agree to your limitations and it doesn't work, it will be their fault. Word of mouth advertising goes both ways. Even if you tell everyone it's your fault that the repair isn't right, the only thing they'll remember is that the tech did it wrong. It's just like suing the doctor for malpractice when you decide to ignore their advice.

    Be honest and fair to your luthier. Let him fix your guitar the right way.
  4. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    + 1 to the posts above

    I will add ,when I do a truss adjustment..I want more then a few minutes for this task. I like to make small adjustments and let the neck settle at least overnight.
    A proper setup is a combination of getting the neck ruler flat under string tension, adjusting for relief, neck pocket angle(bolt on), proper nut height, and saddle adjustment. These factors are required for setting the action.

  5. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Most necks settle quickly. Some continue to move for an hour or two. Virtually all of them are done moving in twenty four hours. The tech can make the proper adjustment immediately. In most cases, the OP can have the guitar back the same day. Keeping the guitar overnight is good insurance when the tech is adjusting the guitar for the first time. If the OP absolutely, positively has to have the guitar back the same day he bears the responsibility if the neck moves. The tech bears the risk of bad press if the neck moves. Nothing pretty here.

    The caveat is it usually costs money to go to the front of the line.
  6. Rendog92

    Rendog92 Guest

    Jan 2, 2009
    Thanks for the quick replies, I will just get a thicker E string, the stock fender strings didnt buzz up top nearly as much, actually, they barelly had any buzz at all.
    Just remember what I said, my truss rod adjustment is hidden under the pickguard, its not accessible in any easy way, this means it cant be done by me, because I have almost no clue to the "bow" of the neck, and everything I read about it is very confusing. Thanks alot for the help though everyone.
  7. Sub5ound

    Sub5ound Inactive

    Sep 6, 2008
    Catskills, New York
    I thought that a heavier string would buzz more than a lighter gauge string if there was any problem causing a buzz.
  8. Sub5ound

    Sub5ound Inactive

    Sep 6, 2008
    Catskills, New York
    I've never used the word "buzz" twice in a sentence.
  9. The pickguard conceals one of the areas that require access. That's a problem. The best solution I see is to fix the pickguard.
  10. You have no clue as to the relief of your neck. You don't understand instument setups. However, you feel qualified to make a decision regarding the course of action to take. Getting a thicker "E" string is only a band aid. Has your bass ever been properly setup at all? What is it about setup that is so confusing to you?

    Your bass only seems like it is hard to work on, becasue you don't how to do it. I own a Geddy jazz and have no issues with working on the bass. It is actuallly very easy to work on. I've used light gauge strings on it, and reworking the setup is just part of the process of changing gauges.

    Get the bass properly setup for the gauge and tension of the strings your using. There is plenty of tutoring available for anything you don't understand about setting up an instrument. All you need to do is ask.
  11. Rendog92

    Rendog92 Guest

    Jan 2, 2009
    Uhm mrhardy, I will try to respond without getting mad at your absence of understanding my situation.
    I dont want to risk screwing up my bass, the nearest guitar place is over 50 miles away. Ive only been a bassist for a year and a half.
    I bought a thicker string, it fixed my issue completely, the only time I will get my guitar set up better than it currently is will be when I settle on my favorite gauge. I switched between thicker gauges, and smaller.
    All of the tutorials that I have seen so far talk about using radius gauges and other tools. These are things that are not well explained. Thank you for trying to help though.
  12. If a thicker string cured it, I think maybe the buzz was coming from the nut. A too-small string in a too-wide nut slot will do that. Did it buzz all the time, or only when played open?
  13. Friend, we gotta get you into your own setups.

    Basic tool aren't expensive; screwdrivers, hex keys, cheap capo, cheap feeler gauge set. Tooling up should cost half of a setup charge. AND you get it set up PRECISELY to YOUR playing style.

    Basic setup points are nut slot heights, bridge saddle heights, & how curved the neck is. Keep the discussion focussed; pick the E string & presume there are no neck abnormalities like a twist or uneven frets.

    Nut height. The nut is like Fret 0, so string clearance at Fret 1 should equal the clearance at Fret 2 when you fret the E's F (using the capo & feeler gauge set makes this easier). Likely a bit higher, but not much.

    Neck relief. Capo at the first fret then fret on the last fret (this creates a cheap straightedge). Measure string clearance at Fret 8; should be between 0.010" & 0.015". If greater this means the strings are pulling the neck into too much of a curve so we tighten the truss rod (clockwise looking at the adjuster) to counteract the excessive pull. Tools are capo, feeler gauge, & whatever your truss rod needs for adjustment (a set of English & metric hex keys helps ensure you DO use the right one & you REALLY don't want to use the wrong one & round out your adjustment screw). I'd recommend getting a pickguard that lets you tune your bass if you feel nervous about fixing the one that came with the bass.

    Bridge saddle height. I'm not up on optimal dimensions for this; I just drop one until I get fret buzz then raise it until the buzz goes away.

    Knowing my abilities at explaining things, I'm certain you still have questions. Ask away! Check the Stickies, & surf some topics, but ask away!
  14. 1.) I understand your situation fully. I did not know how to do setups, before I learned to do them. It is not hard to do. Learning how to perform these adjustments will be of great benefit to you.

    2.) The risk of screwing up your bass (actual damage) is minimal. Do you know which end of a screwdriver to hold? I would be happy to work with you to answer all of your questions about anything you ask. If I can teach a 19yr old kid to take apart a Blackhawk helicopter, I can teach you to set up a bass.

    3.) Maybe the string fixed your problem, maybe not. As it stands right now, you don't have the technical expertise to know for sure if it did. Your bass can probably be made to play better, and you don't know it.

    If your going to switch between gauges, and there is nobody available to work a setup, then you better know how to do it.

    4.) Which setup tutorials are you reading? You do not need a radius gauge to perform a setup. As far as what tools you will need, well, there are a few you must have. Your welcome.

    Tools you will need:

    1.) 6" machinist ruler, find one with markings in 64", 32" will work.

    2.) set of automotive feeler gauges

    3.) Phillips screwdrivers #2 #1 tip sizes / flat tip screwdriver

    4.) Capo, a clothespin will suffice as well for this purpose.

    5.) hex wrench for the bridge height adjustment screws.

    If this is something you would like to work on let me know. We can start you on your way with easy to follow instructions.
  15. Fred19137


    Jan 23, 2009
    active musician
    well i would say all that needs to be done is raising the action but only a little. Buzz is good anyway
  16. How did you come up with this diagnosis? Have you verified his relief to ensure it is not excessive or that it's backbowed, and he has to high of action to compensate?

    The Geddy neck really needs to have the relief set correctly.
  17. Rendog92

    Rendog92 Guest

    Jan 2, 2009
    Ill probably get the bassist in town to set it up, he also has a Geddy Lee jazz bass. But it isnt an issue now, the buzz is very minimal, as a matter of fact, since I got mine as a demo item, it was set up by the store I believe. The string height is really even, and low, very good for me. Thx for helping guys, if I ever take it upon myself to set it up correctly, then I will do it.
    Im sure its not complicated, ive built computers and such, and thats a pain in the a--.
  18. I'd have to call that a personal preference.

    For me, sustain is good anyway.
  19. Kevinmach

    Kevinmach Guest

    Dec 7, 2008
    This is indeed a fantastic book. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. There aren't many books I could says this about, but the with all the tips, you'll easily recoup your 15.95 cover price fairly quickly. Not to mention have a better understanding of your bass and become a better player in the process.

    Easy to read, well organized, and extremely interesting, even to someone like me who isn't a "tech head" when it comes to the bass guitar.

    I just wish it had more than 100 tips. :)
  20. Gary has great tips, & has a very good visual for setups.

    If he still has the "tip" of using a PC board spacer to increase string tension, take his tips with a grain of salt.