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Why do double basses need to be set up?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by ThePaste, Jan 14, 2001.

  1. My electric bass only went through a string height change. What is the difference in double basses?
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    I'm not exactly understanding your question. A string change may only require an URB bridge height adjustment -- or none at all. What exactly do you need to know?
  3. A lot of cheaper basses are understandably owned by people on a budget. A really well done setup by a good luthier can actually cost a few hundred dollars, so many of these bassists don't have really good setups done. So many of these basses are a mess to play and don't sound nearly as good as they should.

    It is very important that the bridge be fit properly. It should fit completely flush at every point that it touches the top of the bass so the vibrations are transfered to their maximum. This takes a lot of time to do well, and time is money. The fit and positioning of the soundpost is also crucial. Another important but costly setup feature is planing the fingerboard to be even and countoured properly.

    Since a double bass is an acoustic instrument, a good setup is crucial to getting a good, solid tone with maximum volume.
  4. And I have learned to give your tech/luthier all the info you can. When I had mine set up, I should have mentioned that I will not be doing much bow work, and the action is higher than I would like. O well, it still plays good and sounds fine- just strenghtening the fingers a little more.
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts

    You are probably familiar with electric bass setups: adjusting the bridge and truss rod for desited action, adjusting bridge for intonation, dressing frets. There are equivalents to all these on the double bass.

    Just as cheap electric basses often arrive in stores poorly set up, most inexpensive double basses are badly set up when you uncrate them. It's quite common to expect to do the following when you buy a bass, whether new or used: fit a new bridge, dress the fingerboard and adjust the soundpost.

    Like everything about the double bass, setups are pricey. I usually pay about $30 for an electric bass setup, I just paid $110 to have one of my double basses set up.

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