I’ve been playing for a month and have been working through B2B for a couple weeks and finally got my Bass setup. I’m about to go pick it up right now and I’m stoked. Let me know the differences you experienced after getting a setup.
I do all my own setups now but can tell you…after a while you just know when it’s right and can tell when it’s not and why pretty much right away.
This is a very useful skill to develop even if you have one bass. From sting changes to seasonal changes.
I took Josh’s advice and got pro setups on my basses.
I’m used to working with my hands and using hand tools, so that was never an issue. But I also value pro work, particularly when it allows me to play my basses quickly, easily and optimally set up.
From this point forward, I’ll tweak my basses myself. That said, I’ve gleaned a ton of tips and tricks from listening to my luthier.
The trick is in finding a good luthier.
There are a few on the forum that took their Bass in for a setup, paid for it and it was worse than before.
Congrats on finding a good luthier.
Thanks. I found a great guy. He’s certified by all the major manufacturers to do factory-quality work. He also designs and builds his own guitars and basses.
I have this thing about other humans and being outside, so I’ve had to learn adjustments the hard way. But it was worth it. I’ve got all of mine set up for me. My daily player had a good medium action with minimal adjustment needed from the seller-just needed a minor tweak on d string intonation, it was just a tiny bit sharp. My other standby has a much lower action and is for the days i want something more melodic that didn’t require any digging in.
Since all of mine are bolt-ons and we’ve got huge humidity swings here, adjustments are fairly normal all year long.
Good stuff everyone thank you! I appreciate the input you’re all OUTSTINKINSTANDING!
Be sure and let us know any differences you notice between “before set-up” and “after set-up”! Nothing like a good testimonial.
It’s great when the luthier is also a teacher and I have that in my area with Terry at Guitar Junkyard. Not only is he inexpensive when it comes to setting up my basses and fixing things but he also teaches me certain things I can look for.
Yep, it’s great to find a resource like a good luthier.
how about you let us know how the set up made it different i was going to get mine set up , then figured i would learn to do it own my own through some videos - bought all the necessary things to do it ( 6 inch ruler with 32nds, capo, gauge feeler, ). found out my bass was set up pretty good out of the box, didn’t really need any major adjustments… saved myself some money!
I’m at little bit spoiled because a short drive away is one of the best bass technicians in Australia. His name is Tom Konig.
He doesn’t call himself a luthier. He’s an engineer. Included in the things he works on is basses.
He will make you a bass from scratch and the only thing he’ll buy is the tuners, eq, fretwire and string. And there’s a guy in the UK who makes strings to his specs.
Last weekend, I went to visit and saw my first ever Ritter bass.
As much as I love my Warwick Corvette, the neck is the original baseball bat and I can’t see the fret markers.
I asked Tom to shave the neck to the current profile, like my 2018 thumb and took just the necks over, having chickened out on doing the job myself.
A few weeks later, I got told to come and bring the bodies over so that he could set them up.
I was a bit disappointed as this was something that I look forward to doing myself, but okay.
A week later, I went back to pick them both up.
Tom had done a full recondition and set up. And when I say recondition, he’d gone as far as steaming the dents out of the Corvette.
In the last two years, I’ve handled a lot of basses. We’re talking corner store to custom shop level, from all the regular makers.
The nicest feeling neck I’ve ever felt is now my own 2009 Warwick. It’s not the nicest playing neck. I think my Fbass still has that honour, but if the surface finish and feel of the Warwick was on everything in my collection, I’d be a happy man.
Of course, Tom leveled, crowned and polished the frets and also inserted large mother of pearl fret markers, which are all rotated to reflect along the plane of the neck, so they shine into your eyes like tiny little lights. It’s weird how it happens.
So now I can see the damn things inside, in my practice room.
I’ve set up both my Warwicks as per the factory instructional video and I was impressed at how good I could set them up. Other people were also impressed.
But once they felt it the Corvette after it had come back from Konig Bassworx, they seemed all very interested in asking the same question. Did they think that Tom could work on their basses?
So what does all this mean?
If you play with your single bass for a period of time, you will learn things about it that you don’t realise that you learn.
The distance you need to press and the force you use to fret a note will be something that you get used to. You’ll have made an association of the results to get a certain response.
I am a “minimum effort” player. This seems to be my lifestyle as a whole actually.
Once your setup is done with your playing style taken into account, you will never be happy with anything else
This post actually took an hour to do because I stopped half way through to go and play with my Corvette. Eventually I figured I should finish typing…
I went back to Tom last week and took my Fbass for him to set up. It’s hanging there right now in his workshop, probably right next to the Ritter.
While I thought I was reasonably good at doing setups, there are now two guys who do setups as part of their sales jobs who took their basses to Tom.
A good setup can totally transform a bass. Particularly if you learned on something that had a massive action heigh. Many shops leave them that way because many new bass players consider fret buzz has to be a sign of something that isn’t right…
I have an awesome luthier, so good in fact he is always booked 3 months out even with an assistant. So I’ve taken to doing all my work myself
Wow thank you so much for all the info and the time you took to write it!
Could not agree more
Once you can type, you tend to forget how much you write.
I worked out once that I’d do a minimum of 2000 words in an average day at work.
I can barely write anymore. Scribbles at best.
Totally. My handwriting was never good, but it’s utter dogpoo now. I do still take handwritten notes from time to time; sometimes I can read them back
They say handwriting is the best way to learn kanji. I’ll never know, because no way am I going to learn to handwrite 2000 characters that I will be using input methods to enter forever after that. And that’s just the 10% or so you need to know to be literate. I can read maybe 2-300 now, and write maybe 20
When I got my first bass a long time ago it had significant fret sprout. I contacted Fender and they told me to take the bass to a shop they approved of. I took the bass to a shop at the nearest location. The Luthier confirmed the fret sprout and contacted Fender. He told me in all probability they would not pay his labor rate to fix the sprout. He told me they would tell him to tell me to return the bass and they would send another. So I told him the other in all probability will show up the same way. In the location I live each instrument will have that happen during the winter dry months but once fixed the instrument should be good forever. So I asked him what he would charge for the sprout fix and he told me. I told him go ahead and fix it. He said fine and put the bass on his bench and began the work. As he started to file the edges I told him that is going to fix the problem now but because he was removing both fret edge and leveling it to the edge of the fretboard the next season if the wood shrinks further the frets will again sprout. He said it’s the nature of the beast so to speak. This is how we address fret sprout and hopefully the wood won’t do this again. I had him pull the bass off the bench and took it home. I contacted Fender and they would do nothing further. They did offer to swap out the bass. I also did not like the way the Luthier handled the instrument when he was working on it. Time is money and every minute spent being overly careful costs money. I am very picky about my instruments and take care of them. I kept the bass as I liked it and dressed the sprout myself by making a special tool to dress the frets and not take any wood off the fretboard. Yes there are those expensive files out there (I bought a set) but there leave the edge with a filed feel not a satin smooth feel. So I developed a way to clean and polish them as they are dressed. The result is what I call a rolled and polished edge that never again exhibits sprout because the fretboard is always a bit larger then the fret even during dry winter months. It does take time but in the end for me the result is a fret edge that is smooth as glass. Most videos showing how to address fret sprout show doing it the same way the Luthier was planning to go address the problem. Not saying this is wrong but to me it was not how I thought it should be done. Now if I were building a neck I would custom cut and polish each fret fit before pressing them into the neck taking painstaking time to insure they are just shorter then the fretboard and making sure when pressed into the slot they fit in exactly where they are supposed to be. Maybe that isn’t possible at a factory where time costs money?