Bass setup videos seem to get shared a lot around here, so I thought it might be beneficial to have them in one thread that can be referenced, versus constantly attaching them in different threads… This could also be a good place to add tips and tricks related to bass setup in order to keep all that info together.
I will collect any videos/tips shared and add them to this first post. Feel free to add anything helpful…
@eric.kiser That was the plan - to have one resource. I will do my best to maintain it. I did look for other threads that served this purpose, but didn’t find any… If there is another, I didn’t mean to duplicate it. Lots of threads asking questions - and these vids are attached in pretty much all of them - just figured it might be easier to have all the info gathered in one place…
Can you retitle ‘official’ or ‘video index’?
Also if you collect all the links and copy to your first post they will all be in one handy place.
I have actually been thinking about making a video based on all the best bits of a lot of these but to talk more to the complete novice and walk folks through it much more slowly (in realtime) and easily with a lot of commentary some all of the above seem to leave out. Oh so many things on a to do list
I just don’t get this approach at all. One spends hundreds, of not thousands of dollars on basses and doesn’t want to spend $30-$40 on some tools (which avoids $40-$80 setups). Sax players do this too with oddball things. Just seems backwards to me.
Gauges are good for getting to spec. The thing is, I don’t want spec, I want what feels good to me.
Doing setups by feel alone is very easy, costs nothing, and you end up with better results.
If you’re a luthier setting up for someone else, the specialized tools make sense. If not, well, up to you, but they seem pretty unnecessary to me. Neck relief is very easy by feel; string height is much better done by feel; radius comes for free for me, etc.
Nut files are probably the worst offender here IMO. Very expensive, a $3 diamond file works just as well, and you will probably file on average one nut per instrument ever. If that. You will probably use nut files five times in your life, and that’s if you are pretty avid about it.
I’m with @howard on this one…. I do all adjustments by feel. Most times I will adjust a bass (or guitar) to play the way I want it for a particular song… I always have a hex wrench handy so that I can fine tune the bridge action….
As for working nuts…. I’ve always just used my set of drill bits and used what ever size that matches the string - used it like a file - takes a bit of time, but the results are the same.
There are a lot of beginners here. You have a long history of playing and feel is well established. Some folks like by feel. Some don’t. It’s a per user thing. Some like recipes. Some throw stuff in a pan. There is no wrong answer here. However, since a lot of folks here seem afraid of doing this work the more logical approach is to be able to measure and note setups until a feel system works (if ever). I think we have to be careful here to remember a lot of the audience here is just starting out.
To be clear I don’t think there is anything wrong with buying tools if you want. What I am pointing out is you don’t need them. I think a lot of people get hung up on the idea that setups are this difficult complicated thing. You see this all the time - people reluctant to do their own setup because they think they will break the bass. And it’s just not that way. And the idea that you need special tools to do it is just adding to that barrier to entry, IMO.
Tools are fine and good. But you don’t need them, and the lack of them should not prevent someone from improving the playability of their instrument, or make them afraid to do so.
I learned to do it by feel the first time from watching Marcello’s video. Fast, easy, and a fun watch.
Agree that there are a lot of beginners on the forum @John_E…. And although I may have a long history of playing stringed instruments, that has nothing to do with my ability to perform adjustment on any of them…. There are many professional musicians that don’t (and probably don’t really know how to) perform their own set ups and have others that they trust do it for them. All I can say is that there are some of us here that have always done our own setups by feel and that’s what works for us, using only tools we have at hand…. Some of us had to learn this way early on because we may not have had the resources available to acquire special tooling or to pay anyone to do it for us at the time. We learned by feel…. Not a bad thing….
Here’s a good case for learning to do your own set ups.
About a month ago I purchased a banjo and case for $1,000.00.
It was supposed to have been checked and set up by the in-store luthier.
The intonation was never 100% but not knowing how to do that on a banjo I just put it down to a bad bridge. Today I discovered that when banjos are shipped the bridge is laid flat on the head and has to be stood up, obviously. I also discovered that the bridge is asymmetrical, ie from the base one side is at right angles and the other side compensates for the string break. Well as it turns out the bridge was installed backwards on mine and that was the cause of the intonation issues. I also discovered the head tension was not even and was 5-10 units low, depending on where on the circumference you took a measurement with a drum dial.
I do not blame the manufacturer because in most cases everything is usually loosened up for shipping purposes on a lot of stringed instruments. I know my TRBX504 was shipped with the string tension backed off and the truss rod set to neutral.
God only knows what they would do to a new Bass or Guitar setup.
The nice thing about this Banjo is that it comes with a zero fret which I have always thought all manufacturers of Guitars, Ukes and Basses should use.
Anyways, it’s all sorted now but I just wanted to let beginners know how important it is to understand the mechanics of their instruments.