The radius gauge has a bunch of common radii used on basses and guitars. Action determines how much pressure and distance is required for the string to make full contact with each fret. Depending on your playing style, you may want the strings higher or lower. Next: Bass Intonation. If you know how to raise and lower the bridge on a bass guitar, you can make slight adjustments to the action of your bass. I say hopefully because it can be tricky to make any modifications to it. Don’t set up your bass without getting a good idea of what it’s going to sound like when it’s plugged in. You’ll recognize this right away because the straight line you created in step one will cause the bottom of the string to rest against the top of the 7. A good bass setup is all about compromise, and as a guitar technician, you always have to find the best balance between playability and the most amount of fret buzz that you’re willing to tolerate. Unless you really know what you’re doing, you should leave any nut adjustments or repairs to a guitar repair shop. A good rule of thumb is that you can get away with about 1/64 of an inch lower action on the highest-pitched string than what you’ve set your lowest pitched string to. Retune the bass to pitch, and take another measurement to get an idea of how much farther up or down you’ll need to go. If your bass just isn’t handling the beating you’re dishing out or you feel a loss of clarity in your notes, a higher action is probably going to be your next course of action. A little string buzz is normal. Store Hours, If you have any questions, please call us at (800) 222-4700. If you find that your bass is clunky to play and your fingers feel like they’ve been run over by a truck at the end of a gig, you’ll probably want a lower action. String height or action describes the distance between the top of your frets to the bottom of your strings. This is what is referred to as action. Factory String heights for a 4 string bass are: Bass side 3/32" to 7/64" Treble side: 5/64" to 7/64" from the top of the 12th fret to the bottom of the string. This arc, or curve, is called fretboard radius. This is because the smaller the string gauge, the tighter the vibrational pattern. Then I press the treble string at the last fret and adjust the bridge pickup 1/16th of an inch and the neck pickup 1/8th of an inch away from the string. To use the interactive features of StudyBass, please enable javascript. I experimented with string height for a while before settling in on a comfortable height for me. From the tweakiest techniques to the biggest ideas, our experts work hard to constantly supply inSync with a steady stream of helpful, in-depth demos, reviews, how-tos, news, and interviews. – string height is the number one adjustment on a bass. Adjusting the height of the saddles. To learn more about our cookie policy, please check our Privacy Policy. If you plan to change string gauges, you may need to adjust the specs somewhat to compensate for the changes in string sizes. Your strings must have enough clearance to do their vibrational pattern. (I know, we bass players have to shell out more money than the other guys in our band, but dig deep in your pockets and get it out of the way now.). You’ll want to play the bass and determine what action adjustments need to be made. String action specs. Being music makers ourselves, we love geeking out on all things gear. The height of the saddles should form an arc to match the curvature of the fretboard, or fretboard radius. The suggested measurements listed here refer to the string height at the 1st fret and also at a higher fret. There are all sorts of reasons that string height adjustment is needed, from changing string type and fret wear … Proper bass guitar action is completely subjective and will depend mostly on your playing style. This also means big sound waves and big string vibrations. ), rotating the bass at the same time. This distance plays a key role in your setup because it determines the ease in which your guitar can be played. These are the basics of a bass guitar setup. Take a look at the gap between the top of the 7th fret and the bottom of the string. Those waves that emanate from the splash are what your bass strings are doing when you play, and you have to get the frets out of the way. With this in mind, you have to approach your setup in a way that compensates for all of this and your playing style. Adjust the height of your lowest string so you don’t get any string buzz. But these are some good references to get you on the right track to dialing in the perfect bass setup for you. Modifications of the specs may also be made (within limited parameters) to adjust for your individual playing style or application (i.e., how hard you pick, finger, slap, pop or fret the bass). The suggested measurements listed here refer to the string height at the 1st fret and also at a higher fret. The radius gauge has a bunch of common radii used on basses and guitars. Some common action measurements on a bass guitar are around 5/64″ up to about 7/64″. Only make about a ¼-turn adjustment at a time. Happy customers, one piece of gear at a time! Fret the lowest string (in pitch) where the neck joins the body. Picture yourself dropping a boulder into a pond. August 29, 2019. Do not overtighten your truss rod or make any adjustments you aren’t comfortable with. Some luthiers prefer to install a capo at the first fret to take nut height out of the equation. (see last picture) Think of it as a small segment of a large circle. Remember, “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” (I think John Entwistle said that.) So, to the business of setting up a Bass Guitar.Tuning aside – do start with that first! I too believe you should have the knowledge to setup your own bass. Picture yourself dropping a pebble into a pond. If you play a lot of slap bass or have a really strong pick attack, you’ll want to compensate that by raising your action and allowing the string enough room to circulate. It’s about the way your instrument sounds and plays and is a very personal thing that varies from one player to the next. For electric guitars, in our opinion, a good default string height at the 12th fret is typically about 6/64th of an inch (2.38mm) on the bass side and 4/64th of an inch (1.59mm) on the treble side. A good tool kit is quite helpful for maintaining your instrument. A good bass setup is all about compromise, and as a guitar technician, you always have to find the best balance between playability and the most amount of fret buzz that you’re willing to tolerate. The following setup procedures and specifications are for you Fender bass as equipped with the strings that come on the instrument as standard equipment from the factory. Phone Hours | Learn More. As always, feel free to contact our SweetCare team for any specific questions you may have, or visit our Knowledge Base, which has over 20,000 articles that may help you resolve an issue quickly! How Will Shipping Cutoffs Impact Your Holidays? Is the max string height and relief most people could get away with. Be sure to check out this article before you head out to your next gig…, How To Set Your Electric Guitar’s Intonation. The height of the saddles should form an arc to match the curvature of the fretboard, or fretboard radius. Measured for the outermost bass and treble strings. 5501 U.S. Hwy 30 W, Fort Wayne, IN 46818 Grab this value-packed accessory kit, and... GearFest 2020's Virtual Gear Expo – Videos Worth Revisiting. Now that you’ve mastered adjusting your bass guitar’s truss rod and action, you’ll want to make sure that you dial in your intonation so that your instrument is playing in tune. Hopefully the nut came cut correctly from the factory. Here are a few tips and tricks that should get you in the right direction to dialing in the perfect bass guitar setup. Wait… this is a bass. Well, that boulder is your finger, pick, thumb, or whatever you’re using to beat up your strings. String height, or action, can be adjusted in two places — at the nut, and at the bridge. If your strings are old, not staying in tune, or have lost their mojo, you’ll want to install a new set first. 4.0mm string height measured at the 17th fret and neck relief .20 measured at the 7th (with capo at 1st fret and finger on the last.