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What adjustment do I make......?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by cb56, Jun 10, 2003.

  1. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    What adjustment do I make if my strings are buzzing above the 12th fret but seem a little high below the 12th fret? I haven't checked the relief on the neck 'cause my daughter walked off with my capo :( I'm not talking a large adjustment. I could live with it the way it is by using a lighter touch. Right now It's a little higher that 3/32nds at the 17th fret but not quite 1/8th. The A and D string seem to have the most trouble with fret buzz. Like I said it's not a major out of whack problem but I would like to fine tune things a little better if I could. Thanks
  2. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    Thanks Josh,
    This is a new bass that I just got. I've been doing my own set up on my Warwick and Ibanez for years. I don't need extremly low action. I went back and checked the string height of my warwick to the fender and there is probably only a 32nd of an inch difference. Maybe I just need to get used to the fender neck. I just thought I read some where here that if the fret buzzing is higher up on the neck thet there was a specific adjustment. Did a search and couldn't find it. Like I said before, if I use a lighter touch above fret12 the bass is very playable. Also as soon as I get my capo back I will check the relief with a blade gauge. I haven't figured out any other way to hold down a string at the 1st and last fret and hold the gauge at the same time.
  3. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Good advice that Josh has given you, CB.

    I would suggest that you forget the measurements untill you get the bass set up to your satisfaction and then record the measurements so that you can return to them later if something changes. All of the adjustments can and should be made according to the way that they affect playability.

    A couple of ways to check relief with just two hands:): 1.Use a rubber band and a pencil to make a temporary capo. 2.Hold the strings down at the bridge end with your elbow and fret the nut end with your other hand. tap the strings over the 12 fret. if the neck has relief you will be able to tell by the sound of the click. The second is the method that I use.

    As a general rule of thumb, buzzing should be corrected with the adjustment that is nearest the problem fret(s). In other words, a buzz at the first frets (1 thru 5) is usually corrected with a TR adjustment. Buzzes in the higher frets call for bridge adjustment. Buzzes in the first two or three frets on open strings call for nut height adjustment. Contrary to popular misconception, there is no single adjustment for middle of the neck. A healthy neck with the proper bridge and TR adjustment will be in good adjustment at the middle.

    I would suggest that you do the following in the order that it's written.

    1- check and adjust relief using the tapping method. The right adjustment is to get the strings as close to the neck as possible while maintaining some relief. No need to be super critical with the TR adjustment because you probably will change the adjustment a bit as you start fine tuning later in the procedure.

    2- Lower the bridge height at each string untill you begin to get buzz at the higher frets and then very gradually raise the bridge rollers untill the buzz just goes away. At this point you may or may not have to slightly increase relief to eliminate buzz in the firsr few frets. Only increase relief enough to clear up the buzz.

    3- Adjust intonation. Needless to say that intonation is always the very last step in a setup.

    After the first two steps are completed you may find the action to be just fine, and if you pay for the setup, the first two steps are usually only done once. If you want to really fine tune for the lowest possible action, repeat the first two steps untill there is no further improvement.

    Not meaning to shout but this is VERY important! NEVER MAKE ANY ADJUSTMENT TO AN INSTRUMENT THAT IS NOT TUNED TO THE PITCH AT WHICH IT WILL BE PLAYED- usually A440. Be SURE to retune after EVERY adjustment. Don't trust your ear. Use a tuner.

    Keep in mind that if you go too low with the action that humidity/temp changes are more subject to cause buzzes.

    If you find that you have a buzz that normal adjustment wont correct, chances are that the culprit is a high or low fret. To chek frets for level after all setup adjustments have been made, use a straight edge to span three frets at a time. the straight edge should NEVER rock on the middle fret of any three frets. Any rocking indicates a high fret and should be addressed by a good repair person. I don't suggest the salesperson at your local music store as that repair person. They usually don't know what they are doing.

    Sorry for the long winded reply. Hope it is of some help to you.


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