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Using a Capo for bass set-up.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by dadday07, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. dadday07


    Dec 27, 2013
    I am new to setting up my own bass and have read and watched numerous instructional literature and videos. In doing so, I have found that some suggest using a capo on the first fret and others don't mention it at all. Should I use a capo or not and if so, what type/brand of capo would do the trick on a 5 string bass?
  2. bigswifty1


    Dec 8, 2011
    Use a capo. Any one that's made for electric (the acoustic ones sometimes don't press tight enough) should be fine

  3. Go for it, although in the 5 books on guitar building I own I haven't once heard of using a capo for the building or setup portion. If you have a good resource that suggests it, go with it. You can always re-set-up your instrument. If I may suggest, any book by Dan Erlewine ("How to make your Electric Guitar Play Great") is an excellent starter point, guitar, bass or whatever.
  4. Yeah gotta have a capo, I couldn't do a proper truss road adjustment without one. I love my Schubb for it, does 5-strings and even 6-strings just fine. Well, with a particularly wide-spaced 6 you might get one string hanging off, but all the ones I've adjusted have been dual-truss anyway.

    Edit: You said you've already done your homework, but I'll share this here anyway, my favourite video series about setups
  5. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    A capo is pretty mandatory for a good setup, especially on Fenders. Any capo for electric should be fine since you generally only need it to hold your E (or B) string.
  6. espace


    May 27, 2008
    A capo is used to check the neck relief. It's placed at the first fret and you fret the string at the last fret. You check the gap between the 8th fret (or 7th) with feeler gauges. Not absolutely necessary--you can you just use your fingers and eyeball it.

    If you have excessive buzz at frets around 1-7, you probably need more relief. Too much and it's harder to fret the strings.

    But there are other variables in a setup like string height, nut height, levelness of frets, etc.

    I recommend Dan Erlewine's books too.
    johnny_bolt likes this.
  7. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    This is the set of videos I also have used to learn how to do a setup. I found them quite helpful and informative.
  8. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    Cool videos, thanks for sharing.
  9. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    I've personally found the vids by Mr. Caruthers to be the easiest to understand and follow (watch all the videos for setup, #1-#4). He's got others, as well, like "how put new strings on your bass", etc.

    I'm definitely no expert, so please correct me if I'm wrong, but I've found that certain measurements should be adhered to and others can be used more as guidelines.

    I'm of the opinion that when using the capo and then taking the .022 measurement at the 7th fret to see if the truss rod should be adjusted is a measurement to use as is.

    Same with the .015" measurement taken under each string at the first fret.

    However, I assume that the string height measurements taken at the fret where the neck meets the body and be raised or lowered as desired in regards to what is referred to as "action", and or to take into account fret buzz, etc?

    For instance, when all other measurements are spot on, I find if I set me E string at 4/32", it is ok, but my A and D at just under 4/32" allows fret buzz at the 9th fret of each string and the G string at 3/32" allows for fret buzz at the 13th fret.
    So I raise the A and D to just about 4/32", buss is eliminated and the G to just over 3/32". Again, buzz is eliminated.

    Any input? Comments?
    johnny_bolt likes this.