Bass Setup

Grats @Vik, welcome to the club. Next thing you know you’ll be getting a DIY kit and be building your own bass. :slight_smile:


I’ll just leave this here just in case :slight_smile:


Way, way more money then I’d ever spend on a kit. It’s not hard to hit a $1000 shopping Warmoth for just a neck and body, let alone hardware. At that point it’s probably better just to find a luthier and order a custom build. :smiley:


Yeah that’s why I would not consider it myself - you can get a bass of the same quality already made by someone that knows what they are doing for a lot less.

(They do seem like a solid source of new replacement parts though.)


Thanks for the encouragement and words of support, everyone! It’s not just the lessons that are badass on BassBuzz, it’s the community too :grinning: The patience for newbie fumblings is appreciated as well. Kind of nice to know that there are others that are just as obsessed about all things bass as much as I’ve been lately :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Oh man, that Warmoth site is yet another tangent I could probably spend too much time on. Here’s a link to the $40 setup kit on Amazon I got. Way overkill, I don’t even know what half the stuff in there is, but at the price of a setup at a shop, worth it to just have these tools, and maybe learn them over time…


Well, it’s been just over a week and it is getting somewhat better. I guess I should have had it done right away instead of playing it and going thru 4 mods of the lessons before doing it. I made a concious effort to pay attention to what my fingers were doing as I play, it seems like the muscle memory in my fingers was used to playing the strings further from the neck/pick ups and I was/am causing the noise by pushing down or slapping the string with my middle finger as I pluck (not up, but across the strings as instructed). Slight adjustment and I should have it cleaned up with more playing and practice.

If not I’ll record myself and send you a video of whats going on. As far as the roundwound fretting noise, it doesn’t bother me and doesn’t really come thru the amp.

Thanks for the advice guys, it’s much appreciated!


That’s great to hear, @funplumbin1 . . . :+1:

Anytime I make a change (on anything) it takes me a bit to get used to it. Although I think my action is a tad too high, I’ve been reluctant to change it. Probably will kick myself later for not doing it sooner lol . . . :slight_smile:

Good luck and all best, Joe


Sweet. I was itching to do this myself but couldn’t find the resources. I finally had it done professionally and it’s no easier to play, but sounds better. Smoother.


Here’s a link to Fender’s page for bass manuals: ( . You can download one or more to your computer in case the link ever changes. The 2013 Universal one looks like what came with my 2017 P. Even if you don’t have a Fender, the measurements in there can get you pretty close. Except maybe with a Rick.
YouTube is full of setup how-tos. The ones by Elixir Strings are excellent: (Setting Up Your Bass Guitar: Adjusting The Truss Rod (Step 1 of 4) | ELIXIR Strings - YouTube). That’s the link for the first of four videos. I also like Dave’s World of Fun Stuff ones because he’s so irreverent and entertaining in the process.
Also, get the right tools, especially for the truss rod. If your truss rod takes an Allen wrench, be sure not to use one that’s too loose – you can potentially render the neck unadjustable if you round off the edges. But get good tools – sources include, (their F1 oil is fantastic for fretboard cleaning and oiling), PhiladelphiaLuthierTools,com, Skyscraper Guitars, and Even if the initial cost of tools runs to $40 USD, that’s still less than a setup costs around major US cities. AND every time you change to a different gauge of strings, or the seasons change, or something just doesn’t feel right, you can make quick adjustments at no cost once you know how. Give it a try – it’s not rocket surgery. :wink:


I’ve got the action pretty high on my Squier J bass, and while I think it would sound and play a little better lower, I’ve been leaving it there because I use it as my morning practice bass. That way when I play a bass with more middle-of-the-road action it feels easier, or at least that’s what I’m experimenting with.

Adjusting to changes in action isn’t that big of a deal, in my experience. As long as you’re mindful that your technique will need some tweaking, it’s something we should all be able to handle.

Story time - I was at a summer camp once many years ago where Victor Wooten was a guest instructor. Somebody had brought a funky-ass 5 string upright bass that was in major need of a setup.

I, in my infinite 17-year-old wisdom, tried it for a couple minutes and declared it unplayable.

Then later that day (or so), I walk into the room where the gear is hanging out, to find Victor Wooten playing the “unplayable” upright and making it sound awesome. Oops.

Moral of the story - there’s no way Victor had been practicing on an upright with a shitty setup, he just knew he needed to adjust his technique to the instrument. So he did, and all rejoiced. :partying_face:


I’ve been reluctant to change mine just because it’s stays in tune SO well up and down the neck. Any little change might ruin that. So, I figure I’ll wait a bit longer until I need to change strings and then give it a try. Gotta get over my “adjustment anxiety” . . . lol :slight_smile:

In the meanwhile, I have been considering lowering the action, Josh . . . I’m almost done your course and will comment on this aspect when I make my post under the “Thanks Josh!” thread.

As with so many other things, there’s a trade-off . . . lowering the action will increase fret buzz, but might make it easier to play, and vice versa. I guess the trick is to find the perfect height to match your playing style . . . :wink:

All best and one more module to go, Joe


Every time I lowered the action on my bass I got happier. Basically the last time I just lowered each string until it buzzed, raised it until it didn’t unless I dug in, and left it there.

If you do that, detune the string a bit before raising the action. It’s easier on the saddle bolts.


Thanks, @howard . . . did you try to maintain any sort of radius (perhaps with a gauge) within the string heights? i.e. are your A and D strings slightly higher than the E and G strings?

All best, Joe . . . :slight_smile:


nope just went for what felt good


Lowering the action might increase fret buzz, but not if you find a sweet spot. But like you said, depends on playing style. If you dig in really hard, then you can make a set-up rattle that might work for a softer touch.


As someone who had to do a lot of flying tour dates, I had to use backline basses - upright basses provided by the venue or festival.
They were (with one single exception) horrendous.
And yes, you have to just make them work.
Brutal, but doable.


Hey, @JoshFossgreen

I finally DID it! Reading the posts on this thread over and over really started to bug me. I checked the Fender specs for string clearance etc. etc. but got no solid conclusion. Here’s what I found, though:

Two US nickels stacked together makes about a 4 mm height. I slipped them under the strings at the 17th fret and they easily fell through (when I put my bass in playing position). So, taking @howard’s approach, I lowered each saddle screw (two per string) 1-2 turns with my 1/16" Allen screwdriver. Unlike him, though, I did try to maintain the same radius, keeping the A & D strings slightly higher than the E & G strings.

Now, a US nickel plus a US cent (= 3.4 mm together) would just slip through under each string (when I put my bass in playing position). So I know I lowered each string at least ~0.6-1.0 mm, then. Doesn’t sound like very much, does it? :thinking:

But what a difference it made! It is easier to play and sounds better (as expected, because the strings are closer to the bridge pickup) and there is no fret buzz even though I have not changed my playing style. I had to retune of course, but the intonation was not affected.

Now I AM kicking myself for not doing this sooner . . . :frowning:


I’ve watched a bunch of setup videos but watching professionals do something they’ve done a thousand times didn’t really make me feel like it was something I should be doing myself. No matter how easy they said it was.

I really want to be able to do this myself though and this thread has been pretty inspiring.

Thanks Everybody.


If you do your own set-up @eric.kiser, the worst that is going to happen is that you have to take your bass to a professional… which you would be doing anyway if you didn’t attempt your own set-up… so really what is there to lose? :slight_smile:


Really, a setup if not that hard ! I’ve done it last week on my P, because I decided to change the string gauge. it took maybe 20 minutes, and I’m not a setup expert ! not at all :slight_smile:

I see nothing that could go really wrong with the bridge (except maybe loose a screw or something like that :face_with_hand_over_mouth: ). The only precaution is about the truss rod : it’s important to turn it by very small touches (no more than 1/4 turn at a time).