This evening I moved from watching a gazillion YouTube videos on bass guitar setup over the last weeks, to actually trying it for myself on my Ibanez SR300E.
Probably like a lot of people trying this for the first time, I did wonder if it would all go wrong and I’d have to find a professional to sort the resulting disharmony…
The process I followed (please let me know if you would change anything?) was:
- really careful tune of the bass before doing anything
- check the neck relief using the string height off the frets at the 8th fret to the spec recommended by Ibanez, with the first fret capo’d and holding down string where neck joins body as recommended by Ibanez. I used some feeler guages bought from a car shop to check string height off the fret (spec is 0.3 to 0.5mm). I reckon the relief was marginally too much but not enough to adjust the truss rod (was quite glad about that bit!)
- now that I know there is no issues with the bass, I lowered the action on all strings to as low as possible, checking for any buzzing as each fret is played up the string.
- another really careful tune of the bass
- check the 12th fret tuning on each string, making sure it wasn’t sharp or flat. Adjust the intonation screws on the rear of the bridge. All 12th fret notes were flat so I had to move the saddles closer to the headstock. Retune open string and check 12th fret note after every tweak of the intonation screw (iterative process).
- Finally for my sanity I checked the notes using the guitar tuner as each fret was played up the string.
- Checked finally no strings buzzing on any frets. Raised a couple of strings a tiny bit as there was a few minor buzzes.
I post this for a few reasons, so I don’t forget the process, so you experts can give me any tips, and so anyone considering giving it a go will do. It’s rewarding to have tried it.