The best way to maintain setup after dismantle

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by petrus61, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. Here's a longshot that I know is going to get alot of shrugs and rolling of the eyes, but here goes...

    I recently started a thread asking about the best way to store a neck while detached for a refin. My main worry (an over complicated non-issue, as pointed out by some) was that the neck would somehow warp during storage as I refin'd the body. It was a pleasant surprise that after reattaching the neck and setting my bass up, that my action and relief were absolutely perfect for my preferences. The playability is superb and I don't think I could get it much better if I tried.

    While I have been setting up my own basses for the last 8 yrs or so, I still find it to be a bit of a meticulous and redundant pain in the rear and a big time consumer. I like to set and forget while at the same time, I'm a little anal regarding how my ears correspond to what my fingers are feeling (insert joke here).

    So the time will soon come where I will settle on a final color for my bass. I shot a coat of ReRanch fiesta red (the bass's original color) to kind of seal the raw wood until I could purchase the paint I decided on: View attachment 354009

    As can be observed, I got a bit sand happy and ended up with my own version of a Roadworn. I kind of like it, but I'm not a relic type and have been longing for some classic DuPont pastel blue for a long time, namely Sonic Blue or Surf Green.

    My question is as follows:
    Since I am completely smitten with my current setup and unreasonably afraid of losing it during the next refin, what's the best way to maintain the setup while I re-spray? Should I just measure, measure and measure the saddle height and string height? Should I mark the spot where my truss is currently set with a pencil?

    Playability is super important to me. It's currently my only bass and I feel like if I start pulling crap apart, I'm going to lose the beautiful setup I just so happened to stumble upon. It's really crazy how over the top I am concerning the setup on this bass, considering how many I've done and how second nature it has become, but it is what it is. Any help aside from "you're worrying too much" would be great...unless I'm worrying too much!
  2. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    Don't worry about measuring and all that. The best thing to do is to loosen the truss rod a little bit just to take the tension off the neck. If you don't, since there is no string tension pulling the neck forward, the neck could backbow.

    When you put the neck back on, just tighten it gradually and get the relief back to where it should be and proceed with setting up the bass as normal. Don't be paranoid about losing the setup you have now. You'll get it back easier than you think.
  3. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    How does one return "everything to where it should be" if one does not know where those things are in the first place? Measure everything. If you must, mark the truss rod nut. It is better to measure the relief than count on that, but do as you will. Once the data is recorded, the instrument can be disassembled and reassembled to original-your favorite-specs.
  4. Immigrant

    Immigrant In Memoriam

    I don't intend to be a teurd, but if you've setting up your own basses for 8 years then you must've run into occasional seasonal changes in relief/action that affects some basses and re-set them. And if I was to take your bass and completely change the setup, I'm sure you could dial it back in within 20 minutes. If you can't, then somethings wrong.

    Nice bass! I used to not care too much for Feista Red, but it has become one of my favorites.

    Again, I'm not meaning to be difficult. I just don't understand constant measuring to make sure it's within .25mm of what it was prior to teardown. Yes, I have feeler gauges and all that crap and I setup my basses, but I think I've only used the feeler gauges three times in the last five years. My fingers and eyes are my feelers.
  5. Ifriff


    Feb 7, 2011
    That's a real nice looking bass!

    You know how to set it up. You're just dreading it cause the process sucks. I hate spending time setting up too. I want to play! Unfortunately your just going to have to go through the process if it needs it. Good luck. That bass looks sweet!
  6. I guess it's because this bass took a bit longer to "settle" into what I'd call optimal to my preferences. When I finally nailed it I really didn't want to lose it. To be honest, this particular bass was kind of hard to get to play nice. Not saying its the case with this bass, but I've had more then a couple that went years without detectable neck fluctuations. My last 50's, I didn't touch the truss in the 3 or 4 yrs I had it but obviously that's an exception to the rule.
  7. Ifriff


    Feb 7, 2011
    Just measure the action at the twelfth and the relief at the seventh. Then at least you have a starting point you can tweak from. Shouldn't be to hard.
  8. Thanks for the tips. I guess I was just looking to see if anyone had some tricks that could shave some time or steps from the process
  9. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown

    Feb 16, 2011
    If you are afraid of losing the perfect setup, play it until it needs setting up again, then redo the color.
  10. I'll probably wind up doing this, in which case it will probably be the rare case where the neck stays put from season to season, lol. I'm making way too big a fuss about nothing here. It's just my only bass at the moment so I'm reluctant to fiddle. I'll just have to bite the bullet, measure and hope for the best when the time comes.
  11. Ifriff


    Feb 7, 2011
    Good idea.
    I really like the look of this bass. Have any other pictures?
  12. View attachment 354121
    View attachment 354122

    It's hard to capture from the shots but I sanded up to 1500 grit in order to expose the grain. This was done with about half a can or ReRanch a friend had in hand and was more or less a testing ground for the final finish which will be surf green. I'm looking to achieve the same effect (sans exposed wood) with the final color where the grain is just visible under the finish. I was surprised to find a nice three piece alder body when I stripped it as opposed to the usual veneer/sandwich/veneer Fender usually reserves for their MIM solid colors. This is a Classic 50's though and they are known to be a step up from the standard line.
  13. Ifriff


    Feb 7, 2011
    Sweet! You should leave it. Looks great with that maple neck
  14. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Settle? Maybe. Usually not. Definitely within twenty four hours.

    Tricks? No tricks. Regulate. Measure. Repeat at will.

    This is a simple mechanical device. Ain't no voodoo. Don't need no gris-gris dust. When you figure out what you like, measure it. Then use that data to set up the instrument every time.

    If someone thinks that mastering this craft takes a certain amount of wizardry, it is advisable that they pay a certain amount to someone else to perform the magic.
  15. Point taken. I've invested way too much time into learning my own setups to trust paying someone else to do it as there is almost always something lost in translation regarding my definition of a good setup and someone else's. For example, I've learned to make sacrifices knowing that there are limitations to how any given bass can be setup. If some buzzing at the 14th through 20th fret means excellent playability with zero buzz everywhere else, I'm ok with that, although from a technical standpoint, someone could say it means I've got too much of a bow. Different strokes.
  16. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    There are very few limitations to how a bass can be set up. There is, however, a limit to how much someone is willing to pay to have the work done necessary to achieve their perfect set up.

    The few limitations are fingerboard leveling (level and refret) and fret dressing (level, crown, and polish frets). These are expensive services. When performed by an experienced technician any and all player preferences can be accommodated.

    It has absolutely zero to do with different strokes. That is, unless you meant strokes of a leveling or crowning file.
  17. My point exactly, the limitations in this case being that those are services I don't deem crucial, nor in my budget, hence the term "sacrifice". So in this case, I respectfully disagree that yes, it has everything to do with different "stroke" being that I'm willing to forego one thing for another.