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string height (again)

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by lola99, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. lola99


    Jan 28, 2006
    :bag: I must apologize for asking this question, but I am a newbie idiot so I must.

    I got a 1984 Peavey Fury with very high action. I need to lower the strings. I have read through this section and the online Fury owner's manual, and I gather there are three ways of doing this: adjusting the neck tilt, the truss rod, the bridge height.

    The owner's manual suggests adjusting the neck tilt and the truss rod before touching the bridge height. I ordered the necessary tool for the truss rod from Peavey, and it should arrive soon.

    Should I take the owner's manual at its word and start off by adjusting the truss rod and the neck tilt? These sound like really essential parts of the bass to mess with and I'm scared :( . I've never done something like this before, and I really love the feel of this bass, but I can't play it as the strings are too high!!! I know that taking it in to a pro is a good idea, but if I do that I'll never learn how to fix my own bass myself.

    Any advice? :crying:
  2. lola99


    Jan 28, 2006
    Joshua, thank you very much for helping.

    There's a little under 1/8" clearance.
  3. lola99


    Jan 28, 2006
    Thank you again. I think I'll wait till dinner time, feed the family, have some beer, say a prayer, light a candle, have more beer and try to lower the saddle. Maybe bourbon instead of beer? Hmmm....

    I would have thought that was the easiest option of the three, too, but the manual said that the "neck tilt should be used to adjust the string height."

    I'll let you know how this all works out.
  4. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    It is my understanding that neck tilt would be used if the neck were out of alignment with the body. My tech says he rarely if ever sees a bass that needs a neck tilt adjustment. Lowering the saddles on most basses is very easy and easily returned to the original position if you keep track of your turns.

    There is a sticky at the top of this section that gives two good links to setting up your bass. You should read both several times through to give you a good understanding into what makes a good setup.
  5. lola99


    Jan 28, 2006
    Thank you, guy. I love this site! :) I'll reread the info on those sites and adjust away. Of course I fully intend to sue every one of you for emotional damage if the adjustment wrecks the bass...just kidding!!! :D
  6. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN

    Don't worry, you don't run much risk of wrecking the bass by just adjusting the saddles. The truss rod, on the other hand......:)
  7. lola99


    Jan 28, 2006
    The truss rod did sound a bit risky. At some point, though, I'll probably end up with an instrument where adjusting the truss rod will be necessary.

    I'll let you know how it all turns out, and if it doesn't turn out, I'll hand my bass to a repairman, and all will be well.

    Though I really want to learn to do the basics myself.
  8. Very good advice in this thread. I would like to ask that when you mentioned that the string height was too high, did you all up and down the board, or just at middle to high frets?
    If it's good down low but gets worse as you move up, that's usually a good indicator that the truss needs to be tightened about 1/8 to 1/4 turn. When you mentioned 1/8" relief, this comes to mind. It's not a ridiculous amount, but it's probably more than this bass needs. Even a small amount past perfect starts to throw those higher frets into a higher action.
    I understand being nervous about truss rod adjustment, but it's something YOU WILL NEED TO DO from time to time on any bass. I'm sure you'll read up on all the "how to" stickys in this section. There's alot of info that will help you feel comfortable with making the adjustments from time to time.

    The tilt adjustment is something that older Peaveys had, and I liked them. Alot of players install a shim in the pocket to do what that screw does. It changes the angle of the neck in the pocket, which can really help bring down the action at the higher frets to a more even action across the board.
    Truthfully, most well-designed bolt-ons won't need an adjustment here, but it can make a good-playing bass a GREAT playing bass if done right.

  9. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I have no idea why the manual suggests adjusting the neck tilt before truss rod and bridge. IMO, neck tilt is rarely an issue.
  10. lola99


    Jan 28, 2006
    The string height was too high up and down the board, but it got worse on the higher frets.

    I lowered the saddles so it plays much better, but the action is still high and uneven along the board. I might have to start thinking of the neck tilt, truss rod...Damn, this is scary.

    As far as why the manual suggests adjusting the neck tilt before bridge, I haven't a clue, but that's what it says. Maybe because this is an older Peavey and has the tilt adjustment?
  11. It's normal for the action to be higher at the upper frets. It has to be, or you'll usually have fret buzz problem when fingering up there.
    If the action is still higher than desired at ALL frets, you need to lower the saddles a little bit more. You should lower them until the lower frets are playable. Don't try to get them super-low at first, and don't lower them trying to get the upper fret action low.
    Check your relief again at correct tune. If it's still in the 1/8" range at the 8th/9th fret, consider a quick truss rod adjustment.
    Do you have the tool to adjust it? I'm not sure what tool is needed for that particular bass.
    If so:
    1. Loosen all the string tension.
    2. Using the tool, tighten the truss approx. 1/8-1/4 turn by turning clockwise.
    3. Tune the strings back up. Give the neck a few minutes to adjust to the tension, then recheck the relief. NOTE: You may have to raise those bridge saddles again if the strings are sitting too low or buzzing at tune. The action will usually always drop some when tightening the truss.

    You should now have less relief, but you want to have a little. This is why I suggest 1/8 to 1/4 turn for starters. If you go by 1/8 turns, you won't need to worry about going too far. If you check the relief and it is still more than a credit card's thickness at tune, you will probably need to go a touch more. Just repeat the steps.

    Don't worry about that micro-tilt adjustment for now. Get the truss/relief right, and you'll probably be surprised at how much better the action gets at the upper frets.

  12. lola99


    Jan 28, 2006
    Mag, the relief after the adjustment is much less than it was before--about 1/16", so that's good, right? And it plays much better. Now I'm worried that the strings are too close to the single slanted pick-up--I have something under 1/4" clearance there.

    I know the action should be higher on the higher frets than on the lower ones; what I meant by uneven is that the action goes up evenly till about the 15th fret, then starts getting lower again, not by much, but I can notice it by looking at it. Which presumably means the neck is warped? :rollno:

    Which can be why the to make it playable (for me) I'm bringing the strings too close to the pick up--if the action didn't start to get lower at the 15th fret I wouldn't have the problem. I need a smiley which shows me banging my head against the wall.

    Thank you for all the help; I apologize for general idiocy, yet again.
  13. Please stop being so hard on yourself. You're going through EXACTLY what we all went through when we first started doing our own setups.

    Relief: It sounds like you've got that dialed in just about right.
    Saddle Height: Sounds like you've got those pretty good too. Action is good at lower frets.

    Now when you mention that your action is getting lower after you pass the 15th fret and up, this makes me start thinking "microtilt" adjustment. Is it possible that this had been previously adjusted by someone else?
    See, when you use that adjustment, you loosen the neck bolt screws. You then tighten that screw to push the neckbutt away from the body. This brings that part of the neck UP closer to the strings. Then you tighten down the neck bolt screw tightly against that screw.
    It is possible that someone experimented with this before??
    If you're still having fun experimenting, here's something you can try. It's not hard or dangerous.
    Adjusting the tilt:
    1. Loosen your string tension.
    2. Using the correct (allen wrench, I think) wrench, turn that microtilt screw "counterclockwise" (loosen it) about 1/2 turn. If you watch the neck in the pocket carefully, you should see it come down toward the bass body slightly if the tilt was being used. If the screw already feels loose, and the neck bolts are still tight, then it was not being used.
    3. If the screw was being used to jack the neck up, you'll have to re-tighten the neck bolt screws. To do this, I'd first slightly LOOSEN all of the bolts, then retighten them evenly.
    4. Then get her back up to tune and check it out.

    You might have to readjust your pickup height. 1/4" does not sound too close ( I run mine closer), unless your strings are touching the pickups or slapping them as you play. You can experiment there too. You can really change the output and sound of the pickups by moving them closer/farther from the strings, but you can also choke the string's natural vibrations if the magnets are too close..

    This "might" be the last adjustment you'll have to make and get on to better things like enjoying a good session..

  14. lola99


    Jan 28, 2006
    Mag, I do the mea culpa thing automatically; I'm Mediterranean and that goes with the territory.

    Anyhow, I did what seemed easiest first and lowered the pickup, and now I really like the way it plays and I like the sound. I'm tempted to adjust the microtilt, too. This bass is 22 years old and I got it used, so it's more than likely that previous owners have experimented with it. Poor bass, but at least it's loved.

    Thanks again! :)
  15. I'm glad it's coming together for you. You're already starting to sound more comfortable making your own adjustments.
    The "microtilt" screw can be a very useful adjustment, but if it were me I'd try it loosened all the way, with a good, tight neck joint. Then I'd make sure I had the neck relief good, and see how the upper fret action is. If it goes from great (down low) to bad (up high), then I'd consider using a touch of tilt to cure that.
    Always remember to make sure those bolt on screws are tight. I can remember forgetting this once long ago and hearing some nasty creaking noises as I started tightening strings.. haha.. back in the day..
    Always remember to loosen the 2 bolts at the body-side of the neck before trying to tighten that tilt screw. You'd be cranking against the force of the screws if you didn't.
    There can be slight disadvantages to tilting the neck in the pocket. When you tilt it, you remove some of the "sonic coupling" between neck wood and body wood. Part of the neck joint is actually touching the body, and part of it is raised slightly, supported by that screw. There's a slight possibility that you could loose some sustain that way, but you might never even notice. I never have.

    It's nice when you can finally stop tweaking, and start playing, right??

  16. lola99


    Jan 28, 2006
    Magneto, after a week of staring at the bass I adjusted the neck, and you're right, someone had experimented with it. I adjusted the string height and the pick ups, and lo and behold, it's lovely. It's a joy to hold and play.

    My other bass is an esp b50 which I got from a friend (can you tell I don't have a lot of money??) and the Fury now sounds better and is easier to play.

    I feel like I'm betraying my first bass!!! Anyway, thank you!
  17. Wow, glad I popped in this thread. I'd never read that the best place to fret the bass when adjusting the truss rod is where the neck meets the body, and that advice really helped my own adjustments. I use a feeler gauge and adjusted my truss rod to allow about .12 inch clearance at the 7th fret. Works great for my playing.
  18. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    I just discovered this thread.

    Very cool that the person got some good help and actually got the bass set up better.

    I'm shocked that the manufacturer talked about neck tilt up front. That would be the Last thing to do.
  19. lola99


    Jan 28, 2006
    I love Talkbass! :)
  20. jerm


    Jul 10, 2005
    To just go ahead and add onto this thread, how does adjusting the saddle height help with action, I was reading in my Ibanez manual( I own an EDA900) that saddle adjustments can be made for intonation, will messing with the saddle for action put my intonation out of whack, seeing as I have no idea of how to configure my bass' intonation. Any help would be much appreciated.