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What a difference a good setup can do for you!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Ívar Þórólfsson, Sep 4, 2002.

  1. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm...

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    I bought a brand new Fender MIA Jazz Bass V last month, and I was never really happy with the setup. The action seemed to high for my taste. Not as low as my Washburn was, but I decided to try it out a bit. Yesterday I got fed up with the action and went out and bought a 6" ruler with 1/32" and 1/64" increments and a hex wrench.

    I procedeed to www.mrgearhead.com web page to see the "standard" specs for my bass.
    After some measurements I saw that the action was typically 2/64" - 3/64" higher than the Fender spec. So I lowered the bridge saddles to Fender´s specs and voila! It feels so much better to play my bass now. I can´t belive how much difference 2/64" can make. No apparent buzz either!

    I see it now that I was more prone to mistakes with the higher action. I was concentrating more on pressing the strings down with sufficient force than on playing correctly :oops:

    Now with lower action, my bass playing will improve again and I will get more enjoyment out of playing my new Fender.

    Another thing I noticed, many people here on the board seem to think that lowering the action means tweaking the truss rod. I wasn´t quite sure myself until yesterday. Now I see that bridge saddles = action.

    I have been enlightened!

    /end of rant!
  2. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Glad to read that your new string height is working out for you. But...
    Now that you have changed the height of you bridge saddles, you should check your intonation.
  3. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm...

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    Yup, that´s the next step. I don´t have a tuner here at home, I just tuned the bass to a song I know. I will have to wait until next practice to check the intonation and tune it properly.
  4. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm...

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    Setup is now completed!

    After I lowered the saddles, there was some buzzing, I raised the saddles ever so slightly and then I turned the truss rod a quarter turn clockwise (to straighten the neck out).
    And now 24hrs later, perfection!
  5. maybe im wrong here but how would straitening the neck help the buzzing? i had the same problem you did, after i got the string height low where i liked it, i needed to turn my truss rod a 1/4 turn counterclockwise and get the neck slighlty concave. (same bass as yours btw) this allowed for some space. i guess if it works than who cares, but im interested, since im always trying to get my action low as possible without the clickity clacks when i play a little bit harder.
  6. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm...

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    It helped in one small way.

    Apparently, the neck was a bit too concave. Meaning that there was higher action in the middle of the neck, as opposed to in the neck pocket area. String buzzing occured because when I pressed the strings down in the middle of the neck, they were a bit lower than the frets near the neck pocket, thus buzzing occured in the higher register.

    By straightening out the neck a bit, the action isn´t nearly as high in the middle of the neck, and thereby the strings don´t go as low when they are pressed, thus reducing string buzzing in the upper register.

    This is at least how I see it. Since the buzzing is gone now, I will assume that I was correct. At least until someone points otherwise out for me :)
  7. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    First off: if the adjustment that you made worked, you made the right adjustment. You really can't argue with success.:)

    Purely for the sake of discussion, when you add concavity to the neck the string heigth over the neck pocket will increase nearly the same as it does in the middle of the board.

    Since the neck is tapered, the truss rod tends to bend the thinnest part of the neck more than the thick part. This creates a "J" shape, not a "C" shape. The bend should ideally be mostly in the first five fret area of the board.

    On a perfectly adjusted instrument the strings are paralell to the fingerboard from around the fifth fret to the pocket end of the fingerboard and get exponentially closer from the fifth fret to the nut.

    Keep in mind that the neck joint is ridgid. Only the headstock end of the board moves as you adjust theTR.

    Describing neck geometry is truly a case where a picture is worth a thousand words.

  8. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm...

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    Yup, can´t argue with the results :)

    By the way, thanks for the info!

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