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Bass Guitar setup string height ???

GUEST,punkfolkrocker 03 Apr 09 - 08:18 AM
Uncle Phil 03 Apr 09 - 08:57 AM
Richard Bridge 03 Apr 09 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Maggie 03 Apr 09 - 01:02 PM
BobKnight 03 Apr 09 - 01:24 PM
Les from Hull 03 Apr 09 - 02:15 PM
GUEST,Maggie 06 Apr 09 - 04:52 PM
BobKnight 06 Apr 09 - 07:08 PM
Richard Bridge 06 Apr 09 - 08:39 PM
Les from Hull 07 Apr 09 - 09:04 AM
Richard Bridge 23 May 09 - 04:16 PM
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Subject: Bass Guitar setup string height ???
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 03 Apr 09 - 08:18 AM

hello.. recently rediscovered in storage
my decent quality 1980's Japanese manufactured Ariapro11 active Bass.
So now that I've managed to clean off all the sticky goo
that seeped from the old gig bags decaying 'protective' foam padding..
its time to set up properly for more frequent playing..
[luckily, the 2 9v batteries hadn't started corroding yet]

Now that I'm 50 and put on at least a stone of fat during my extended birthday celebrations,
I reckon i'm the right age, size, and shape
to start playing bass more regularly.....

So, what would most bass players consider to be a consensus optimum distance
between the bottom of the E string and the top of the 12th fret;
as a compromise between easy playing
and a bit of useable string rattle effect..

It seems to have settled over the years into a straight enough neck relief and pretty accurate intonation,

but, if i have a more realistic expectation of achievable low string action,
I'll be in a better position to decide if i really need to start
adjusting the truss rod or jut leave it alone...


thanks..


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Subject: RE: Bass Guitar setup string height ???
From: Uncle Phil
Date: 03 Apr 09 - 08:57 AM

1/16 to 3/32 inches to the top of the fret. A little neck relief is probably desireable. You should be able to adjust the string hieght at the bridge saddle.
- Phil


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Subject: RE: Bass Guitar setup string height ???
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Apr 09 - 12:46 PM

Truss rods are not for adjusting action height. They are for adjusting neck relief )which incidentally affects action height, which is why you adjust action height (nut and saddle) after doing the neck relief.


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Subject: RE: Bass Guitar setup string height ???
From: GUEST,Maggie
Date: 03 Apr 09 - 01:02 PM

Hey, lets put aside the measuring stick !   The right height (IMHO) is what FEELS right to you. Not too much rattle on the frets but not too many blisters on the finger ends. Only trial and error will establish this, but adjust at the bridge primarily.

To ease yourself back into it gently, may I also suggest you try to get some TAPE-WOUND strings for it - a good music store or on line should be able to locate them, personally I use them all the time, mine made by Rotosound on Gibson EB2 (1957) not only easier on the finger ends, but give a deeper / softer tone too.   And when you slide - wow


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Subject: RE: Bass Guitar setup string height ???
From: BobKnight
Date: 03 Apr 09 - 01:24 PM

The neck of a bass should have a slight , VERY slight bend on it. Flat wound or tape wound strings can get very dull, very quickly, which is one of the reasons they fell out of favour in the mid 60's.

If I remember correctly, the Gibson EB 2 is the same as the Epiphone Rivoli, which I had from about '67 to '70. You will get a very smooth sound from that with flat wound strings, but very bass-y.

Adjust string height at the bridge end until you have a good compromise between string height and fret buzz - trial and error.


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Subject: RE: Bass Guitar setup string height ???
From: Les from Hull
Date: 03 Apr 09 - 02:15 PM

Yes I agree, it's very much up to personal taste, to get the sound that you want with your own playing style. I wouldn't touch flatwound strings on my Aria XRB, but that's because of the sound I want. The strings on my Ovation Acoustic Bass are entirely different, because that's a different sound. It's a very personal thing.


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Subject: RE: Bass Guitar setup string height ???
From: GUEST,Maggie
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 04:52 PM

Hawkerladdie - yes the Epiphone Rivoli was the little brother to the EB-2, and yes mine is the original late 50's model. You are right, I get a very smooth sound with the tape strings and it does sound very bass-y - that's what I want it to sound like !!


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Subject: RE: Bass Guitar setup string height ???
From: BobKnight
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 07:08 PM

Maggie - that was in the days before Epiphone was a cheap alternative to Gibson. They all came out of the same factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Epiphone had it's day in the early/mid 60's. Looking back at old photos from the time you can see bands like the Animals, Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders, Gerry and The Pacemakers, etc, etc, etc, all used Epiphone Rivoli's.

I like a harder Fender sound, and now own a 1979 Precision bass, which replaced my original Precision bought in 1970. I wish I still had that one, but the truss rod snapped - dont know why. Nowadays of course you'd just get a replacement neck, but a snapped truss rod in those days was almost like a race horse having a broken leg. I swapped it for a Gibson Thunderbird - Spirit of '76, but never came to terms with the weight of the guitar and the fact that it was neck-heavy. I then dealt that in for my present bass. I use roundwound, Rotosound Swing Bass, or Elites.

I know who ended up with the Epiphone. He died about ten years ago - I sometimes wonder if the family still have it - it was a lovely guitar - neck was a bit "chunky" though in comparison to the Fender.

Best wishes - Bob


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Subject: RE: Bass Guitar setup string height ???
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 08:39 PM

I've wasted some time tonight calculating the string sizes I want fo an experiment I plan to try - basically a Mandobird bass - IE a short-scale bass guitar (I'd use a 3/4 but I haven't got one) tuned like a mandolin GDAE. I realise some of the stretches are going to be a bit out of hand, but the cadences will fall to hand differently and I reckon it might be the next kick up the arse for morris music - my last having been a mandoplank ie a solid body mandolin retrofitted with a hot rails humbucker and used with a "Metal Distortion" pedal...

Also planning to go the ZOG string tension route. The man rants like a loonie but I think what he is saying about the proportions of string tensions may be right.

Any way, looks like the string gauges I am going to need, short scale length (30 inch scale) , will be 90, 65, 44, 30. Could be hard to source.


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Subject: RE: Bass Guitar setup string height ???
From: Les from Hull
Date: 07 Apr 09 - 09:04 AM

One of the problems would be getting short scale acoustic bass strings. Bass guitar strings are usually 'thinned down' at the head end, but this doesn't work so well for short scale basses, which should have short scale strings so that the head windings aren't really fat. I like Thomastiks but they only come in long scale 41 53 68 86. But string tension isn't such a problem as they have a nylon core (very stretchy).


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Subject: RE: Bass Guitar setup string height ???
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 May 09 - 04:16 PM

I was able to get a set of custom short-scale strings to my specs.

Regrettably I got my sums wrong. But I have now got new thinner A and E strings and they are single wound not double wound so length is not critical on those two.

However, although the instinctive intervals in mandolin tuning are an advantage, the stretches are prodigious. Despite the fact that I am short in height I can span 9 inches (on the flat) with my left hand, thumb to little finger, spread, but repeating that for half an hour or more results in fatigue and imprecision. It may get easier with the new lower tension strings, but I am already experimenting with an old Hagstrom bass (short-scale) in conventional tuning. The tiddly bit off Lili Burlero however does not fall so well to hand in that tunign. If I go to conventional tuning I might try for a more sort of "Bootsie" style, although I have never tried slap before.


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