Bass Setup

No worries @Dani


Those four videos were very informative. My question is: Are the dimensions he uses to set the string height standard for all basses or just for the Fender he is working on?


I’m thinking it is pretty universal as he mentions working for several other companies in his career but please don’t hold me to that .


It seems real easy to do if you have the proper tools. How many of us have feeler gauges, small round files and strobe tuners to make it simple.


You don’t need any of those things for a basic setup. Which is why I don’t like the Carruthers video.

I like Marcelo’s video here a lot more.


I think Carruthers neglects to mention tuning the bass before beginning truss rod adjustment. Tuning changes the tension on and curvature of the neck.

I personally wouldn’t be taking a file to the nut unless I really felt like I knew what I was doing. That should rarely be necessary.

His action height is high compared to how some others like it.


Carruthers’ video is great for explaining what a luthier should do to get a bass into factory spec.

The problem is, I don’t want my bass in factory spec. I want it set up so it feels right to me. For me, I like a much lower action and a bit less neck relief than factory spec. So even if I DID use a feeler gauge, it would not be the final adjustment anyway. To me the feeler gauges are pointless and I lose nothing by not using them.

Nut height is something that is nice to tune but is not going to cause much issue unless it is way out of wack. I have filed mine once though (when converting a bass to BEAD) and it’s not very hard, just not strictly necessary. I will say that Warwick wins the game here though; having an allen-adjustable nut as a standard feature is super cool.

Any tuner will work for intonation, it doesn’t need to be a strobe.


I came across this setup guide and it’s free from Jerzy Drozd.

The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect Bass Guitar Setup

It’s really well done and I got more out of it than any of the videos I’ve watched. Let me take that back, I probably got so much out of it because of all the videos I’ve watched.

Coupling this guide with any number of bass setup videos on youtube makes for a pretty comprehensive tutorial.

This one from Guns and Guitars…

Or these two from from Marcelo Feldman…


YouTube bass setup video from Roger Sadowsky.


Hi I had my bass set up at a guitar shop and I dont think it has been set up low enough, it looks a bit high compared to what Josh showed on his bass… I talked to the guy who did the set up he wasnt a bass player he also said basses were hard to set up which is a different impression than im getting from you guys. I have ordered a ruler to see what height its set at and I have been looking to see what heights they should be just for a guide…on the Fender site (i have a squire I presume they are similar) it was talking about neck radius and bass and treble side and had measurements and im not really sure what all that means… I presume a bass would be the bass side how would I know what the neck raduis is… I feel a bit dumb asking lol but I just want to get this right… Thanks

That is the fender support page


Recommend watching the Marcelo videos in post 108 above.

That’s all you need.


No, don’t go there. We all started out not knowing this stuff till we learned it.

Bass side is the side with the E string and the bassier tones.
Treble side is the side with the G string and the treblier tones.

If you can’t find the neck radius, let us know what model Squier you have and I’m sure one of us can help you find it.


You may find this topic useful:


Thanks guys thats really helpful that should sort me out thanks


What a revelation!

I just finished my first bass setup and who would have thought that playing bass could be done with a such a light touch. Ha! I’d always wondered why my playing looked and felt like such hard work while other player’s fingers seemed to dance across the strings. And of course I’d noticed that people were doing some adjustments to their instruments but I thought that is some kind of nerdy pro stuff I don’t need to concern myself with as a beginner. Why has nobody mentioned this to me before?! :sweat_smile: I even dated a guitar player for a while who always picked up my bass to show off, but never said a word about these magical screws that would make life so much easier and the sound so much better.

So to all the newbies out there: Go for it! This is really not rocket science. I probably didn’t do it to perfection but it is such an improvement nonetheless.

And to @JoshFossgreen and all of you nice people: Thank you for pointing this out in lesson 1 and all the advice you’ve given in this forum! :star_struck:


Awesome - congrats!

I need to do some small adjustments on two of my basses later today as well… too warm/dry here in the house lately and that affects these beasts a little!

Hehe, maybe better to date a drummer next time :grin:


I’ll bear that in mind! :wink: