Is it possible or worth it to set up my bass myself? My strings are much too high, but I live in an isolated and musically-challenged area in the mountains and don’t have any luthiers or music shops in a nearby area.
Yes @specterpoet, it is both possible and worth it to perform your own set up on your bass. Many of us here on the forum already do.
There are numerous YouTube videos on the process, and several websites such as Fender who describes the process.
It’s easy and fun. This is the best video I have seen:
I like that video also
@JoshFossgreen could make a video teaching us how to do it!!
you tube, John Carruthers, “setting up your bass guitar”. he give actual specs for all four steps. very easy to follow, you just need an allen wrench for the truss rod, a feeler gauge and a small metal ruler. very easy and fool proof.
Welcome aboard @specterpoet . . .
I recall being somewhat reluctant to do this myself, but yes indeed, it is very easy to lower your action by yourself. Depending on what type of bass you have, all you need is a very small screwdriver or Allen wrench (1/16").
Lowering your action makes a HUGE difference in playability . . . you’ll see!
All best and see you around the Forums,
I followed the John Carruthers set up videos on youtube and got a very playable setup out of my Squier Affinity.
When I got my bass a few months ago I had loved it for its easy playability and how my hand never seemed to cramp up fretting it. Recently I noticed my hand cramping badly when working through songs, and for a while I chalked that up to the fact I was playing more complicated lines as I progressed. I watched the video in this thread (thanks @howard) and realised how out of wack my neck had gotten! I’m sure sitting lonely in the music shop vs coming to my house and being playing daily was a change in temp/humidity, but spring has been half on half off here in the Northeast which is hell on it I’m sure (although it never leaves climate controlled rooms, there are still daily swings in temp). So I worked up the courage to adjust my own truss rod, got it much better but I don’t want to move it too much at once, so I’ll give it some time before further adjustments. I lowered the action down which has made slap and tapping easier, but I don’t do much of that. It was very easy to do after watching that video for the vital do’s and don’t.
What I absolutely love is that I’ve been fine tuning the action of each string to get the change from clean tone to twang at just the level of plucking force that I want it, such that my normal finger plucking strength gives me a clean tone, but I don’t need to go much harder to get that fret twang sound in there when I want to accent notes with it. I’m struggling to find that sweet spot on my G string. I feel like there is a very fine line between needing way to much effort to accent it, and having to play too softly to get a clean tone. My other three I have dialed in.
Most importantly the playability of the bass is back, and I was able to fix the setup myself! The out of whack setup was a big part of my recent battle with death gripping my neck. I’ll chalk up the past few weeks to an exercise of hand strength and stamina…
Thanks for the tips everyone!