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The art of setting up a Bass.... (Beginner here)

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Kuroth, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. Kuroth


    Dec 2, 2012
    I call it art because form what all I have read so far it seems like it really is..

    Well I am a TOTAL beginner.. Been searching and reading and I “think” I understand all the things that need to be checked for a setup..

    My question is as a totally beginner should I try and do the setup myself or take it to a Pro for the first setup?

    I have a Dean Edge 10 Active Pickup 4 string Bass that based on reviews, price, recommended for beginners etc etc I got as my first Bass..

    I know how to Tune it.. It seems to hold its tune pretty well.. I put a tiny amount of Graphite on the nut as I read this is good to do to most nuts to help keep in Tune longer.. This is all I have done so far..

    Now I sit down and do my lessons and I am wondering all the time.. Does it sound correct? Setup correct? Is there anything wrong? How can I tell since I never done this before????

    It sounds odd sometimes.. I “Think” most of that now is just me and learning how to pluck and Fret the strings.... But I keep wondering because I don’t know..

    Sorry.. I am rambling.. Questions:

    1. I did check the intonation and I think it is slightly off. I have read how to adjust it and should I gave it a try on my own.. I assume you check and adjust if needed the intonation for each string?
    I did the playing of the E string open and then fretted on the 12th fret and the Arrow on my Auto tuner was just slightly to the left of the E4 center Mark.. Green and left red light come on..

    2. Action.. I understand what it means but how do I check and know what to do if it needs adjusting?

    3. pickup height.. How do I tell if too high or too low and how do I adjust.

    4. neck adjustment.. How to know if ok and how to adjust if not ok

    5. Truss Rod.. Is this related to neck adjustment??? How do I know if my Truss rod is ok and how to adjust if not? (of all the stuff I have read about setups, the Truss Rod one seems like the trickiest one that could take a Pro to do and show me how?

    6. Any good Total Beginner setup links that would help me?

    7. Should I seek a pro? I live in a big city but all the Mom and Pop music stores seem to have been replace with Guitar Center.. Have not heard good things about them.. Take it there or seek some other place? What does a setup run? And will they let me watch how they do it so I can learn?

    8. Am I making too much of all of this and will learn all this over time on my own?? (Note right now I am being self-Taught)

    Thank you for your time..
  2. VeganThump


    Jun 29, 2012
    South Jersey
    I hate to give the typical response, but read the stickies in this forum. I promise you all of your questions will be answered. I just recently started doing my own setups and o learned everything I know about doing it from those stickies, good luck.
  3. Kuroth


    Dec 2, 2012
    Hi.. Thinks for the fast reply. I did read the All your setup questions answered here one but they were all links for Specific brands.. Is there one that would be kind of generic? Since mine is a low end beginner model?
  4. Kuroth


    Dec 2, 2012
    Ahhh Ok.. I see now some of those in that sticky are peoples names and note specific to a model.. I am reading them now.. Sorry about that..

  5. RocThrower


    May 18, 2011
    I use the Fender setup guide to setup my Yamaha 5 TRB1005, my EBMM Stingray, and my Fender Jazzes. It works fine for me, but I did reference the Musicman FAQ for setting up my pickup height.
  6. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Use Jerzy Drozd's setup guide, it is extremely helpful and very detailed. I do not recommend his radius gauges though, I use the ones from tunemybass.com.
  7. VeganThump


    Jun 29, 2012
    South Jersey
    Well I would say follow the fender one but im certain someone will jump in and tell you im wrong. A lot of the set up is a matter of personal preference, I would just use that fender one as a guideline and find what works best for you.
  8. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
  9. mrbell321


    Mar 26, 2012
    N. Colorado
    I would disagree on the "setup is an art". The actual adjustments are quite scientific and repeatable.

    However, since people like things set up differently, there may be an art to finding what works for a particular person. The art is really in communicating. But that's less of an issue if you're setting yourself up.