String height adjustment question:

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bassnyc1, Dec 28, 2014.

  1. Hello TB community, I need your advice:

    I did a set up and I'm having trouble with string height.

    I adjusted the truss rod to my liking
    I measured the E string at the 17th fret and adjusted it to .105 of an inch
    I measured the G string at the 17th fret and adjusted it to .90 of an inch
    I measured the radius at the bridge with the correct under string radius gauge and adjusted the A and D strings

    Now all the strings are too high (about .120-,130 of an inch!)

    What happened?
  2. A lot of factors come into play here. Did you loosen or tighten the truss rod? If you loosened it , it may have settled a bit. Did you loosen the strings at any point? Retuning will pull the neck a bit and that can also take a few minutes to settle. Just about everything you do on a set up will affect something else on the set up. No big deal either way , just readjust the string height.
  3. Thanks for the reply. I had tightened the truss rod 1/8 of a turn, then after adjusting the string height I needed to tighten it another 1/8 of a turn. After checking the radius at the bridge, I did what you said and lowered the strings again. Now it plays nice: no string buzz and the action is low; the way I like it. The only problem is that maybe the string radius at the bridge isn't perfect but I think it's close so I'm not going to fool with it any more. I adjusted the intonation and it plays nice now so I'll keep it as it is. If it's a little out in a few days, I'll adjust it again. If not, I'm good.
  4. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Don't worry the radius. If it feels good it is good. It's about how comfortable it is to play each string, and then as a group, not where they are in relation to fretboard radius. The reason it is spec'd like that is to have a common starting point for new players that offers a standard. As you develop technique, feel free to set your bass up to suit you and only you even if it means your E is 3" off the board and the A is .001". ;)
    lz4005 likes this.
  5. For what it's worth , I have been doing my own set ups for years , both on basses and 6 strings. I even did a shim job on an old Ibanez 6 string (with fantastic results BTW.) I always went just by feel and have never pulled out feeler gauges to do a set up. Some people might not be comfortable with this but I have always gotten good results.
    mrb327 likes this.
  6. Bent77


    Mar 6, 2013
    Desert, Colorado
    I make sure it's tuned, then set the truss rod.
    Then I drop each string down until it buzzes or I get clang, then raise the saddle about an 1/8 each turn until it stops
  7. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Right. Your method also has the excellent side effect of ending up with strings following the radius quite nicely without using a radius gauge.
    mrb327 likes this.
  8. Oren Hudson

    Oren Hudson

    Dec 25, 2007
    Gastonia, NC
    I have a lot of experience doing set-ups, from minor to major. Everybody has there own ways, but here are the basic steps that I follow that gets good results consistently. Generally, the most important thing is starting with a straight neck. The rest is trial and error in other areas. First, tune the bass. Then capo across the first fret. Holding the bass in a playing position, take your right hand and push the E string down on the first fret that's in line with where the neck and the body join. Take a 0.15 feeler gage and slide it under the 12th fret. It should have just a tiny bit of drag but move freely. If there's a lot of room where the feeler gage is inserted, you need to carefully tighten the truss rod. If the gage is too tight and barely moves or doesn't move at all, loosen the truss rod. Once you get the neck straight, and provided the neck's not twisted, time to check string height. If it's too high, usually adjusting the saddles down lowers the strings. Like mrb327 said, drop each one till it buzzes or frets out, then back up according to taste. There are a number of other cures for set-up adjustments, but what I've told is often all that's needed.