New Strings.. New setup?

Hey hey people :slight_smile:
After some time I couldn’t play bass I finally bought new, brighter strings.
My bass is like 8 years old, never had the strings changed.
The new ones I’ve bought are lighter a bit (because my hands hurt easily, I wanted to have it a bit easier practicing). I guess that will leave my action way too high?
I am stressed that with the lockdown we are right now in my country, I won’t be able to find anyone to help me set my bass up.
Is it wise to do it myself? Do you have any good resources that could help? (I saw some vids on youtube and yeah ok seems easy but it’s something I’ve never done before). Change of strings is something I have had experience with my classical guitar so I’m only stressed about the setup.
The sound I want to have is that Cure-ish post punk-ish gothicrock-ish tone, but that’s something that can be fixed with a pedal and a tone configuration at some point.
I’m looking forward for your advice thanks for your time ^^ (I promise I’ll be more active now)

3 Likes

Check out this thread, @NocturnalPulse . . . :slight_smile:

HTH and all best, Joe

2 Likes

Yep you’ll be fine, it’s not hard at all. You also don’t need any special tools, just the allen wrenches that came with your bass, and a screwdriver. You can safely ignore things like feeler gauges and nut filing, just do the basics like in Marcelo’s video in that thread that Joe just posted.

4 Likes

Hello both!
Thank you for redirecting me to the post!
I’ve found the video and it’s very good, read all the posts too!
I will post results tomorrow! :smiley:

3 Likes

Good luck!

Marcelo has another good video about setting your intonation as well. But that comes after the basic setup, and just needs a screwdriver.

2 Likes

OK I changed the strings, and I’ve been playing a bit since yesterday; I don’t know if it needs a lower action at this point. the new strings are soft and produce sound with minimal effort (thats what I wanted since my hands hurt sometimes because of my hypothyreiodism) but I am concerned that I might fuck it up lowering it more. The E string has around 2,8mm action around 12th fret.
Maybe I’ll do it after the lockdown?
For now I feel I have to learn to pluck again all over from the start!

3 Likes

Just remember: lower action is not automatically “better” - it depends a lot on your style of plucking and what types of bass lines you intend to play. As you are just developing a better feel for these things, I would say a “standard” action (not too high, not too low) is just right! 2,8 mm is probably already on the low side… but if you don’t get any fret buzz, you should be
OK!

2 Likes

Truth be told, I like post-punk basslines and that’s what I intent to learn to play mostly. The change of the strings to lighter and lower the action was a desperate try to make the instrument a bit more easy to play for my condition. And it seems I am ok now so if you think that 2.8mm is on the low side, I am not going to mess it up more; I produce sound with way less effort now. Larger gauge was a nightmare for my fingers, on both hands

3 Likes

OK, so “post-punk” isn’t exactly my genre, but I would assume that means you’d rather want to dig into those strings, and then the action should probably not be too low. But, if you have other “constraints” (and, believe me, I also have some hand/finger issues to fight), then a lower action will likely help you, as you also say.

Also, maybe you’d want to play with a pick more??

2 Likes

Post-punk is often played with a pick (Peter Hook is a prime example there) but not always :slight_smile:

2 Likes

I love fingers more, I need to play with picks more but really I am not that good picking :frowning:

1 Like

Lots of fingerstyle post-punk too, don’t worry :slight_smile:

2 Likes

I experimented with low action as well. I have serious right hand issues and lowered the action as much as I could, which is around 2.8-3mm, before fret buzz began. I found that playing is much easier for much with lower action as a result. I’m not a great player by any means, but one who plays a lot by feel as well as tech and learning the language. I found that some of my basses just won’t play as well with action below 3mm, and that’s ok. Also I found the gauge of strings makes a huge difference. I thought to go large and heavy, but am swaying/ratcheting back a bit. And, although a tapewound fan, I am finding that round wounds are swell, but that I must play these with higher action, or adjust my pickups a bit, to keep the buzz-ards away.

3 Likes

So, would that be your “fretting hand” then??

Yes, I guess “lower isn’t necessarily better”, as already stated earlier. In the end, it is not just this number/measurements, but must be seen in the context of the neck relieve and, apparently, also string gauges. And, perhaps most importantly, playing style, whether this is dictated by musical taste or some medical condition(s)…

I really would like to try a lower action on my Jazz (it is about 3,5 mm right now), but it is just so annoying that the truss rod screw is on the end of the neck connecting to the body and, on top of that, half hidden by the pick guard - who at Fender thought that was a bright idea??