Setup help : BUZzzz Buzzz buzz

I always use up the strings that come on a new bass, they are not as good as what I replace them with, but they are not bad either.


I agree, Josh.

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Well, this is looking good, I think I will probably just have to raise up my action a bit considering what I’ve found running almost all the tests from the vids in the #gear Bass setup Video Index (and tips) .
I’m glad I tried because I’ve learned a lot but it’s unexpectedly tiring, especially since I’m on night shifts (2 to go counting today) and holding a ruler to look for 0.5 mm in the morning is terminating my eyes. I won’t be able to do anything for now but I will report back when I do raise my action to suit my needs, and if success follows.
Some things I found out doing this could help others beginners like me, I think.

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Let us know how it goes, it is nice when a plan comes together.


I just got a new bass today, and changed the strings. It came with Fender Rounds, which for whatever feel like cheese graters on my fingers. Strings are just strings. If I don’t like them I’ll put another set on.


I’m actually wondering if there are different grades of Fender strings because the ones that came on mine are great, they feel like D’Addarios (who apparently made them). Very nice rounds on mine, still using them months later.


@howard there are probably different grades + it might feel unique to each person, so I suppose a bit of both ? I was searching for the best strings for funk and came up with 2 lists quite different, both in brand, models, gauge and etc.

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Ha, I think playing flats all the time is making your fingertips sensitive. A little exfoliation is good for the body :grin:


Could be part of it but Fenders have always bothered my fingers. I’ve got Bass Boomers on my MDB5 and they don’t bother me in the slightest

Brand new steels definitely smooth out my fingertips, I really didn’t care for them when I first tried them, but now they don’t bother me so much.

So, I’ve ended up with these values below.

  • Action where the neck meets the body (19th fret for me)
E 3.00 mm
A 2.75 mm
D 2.75 mm
G 2.50 mm
  • Action @12th fret :
E 2.50 mm
A 2.25 mm
D 2.25 mm
G 2.00 mm

Buzzing solved ! Most sites I’ve read consider these values in-between Medium to Low-Medium action. I wouldn’t know, since I just followed John Carruthers’s videos and ended up tweaking the string height action individually, playing and adjusting until I was satisfied.

some tips and tricks :

  • This might sounds obvious but don’t get overly anxious about your specific issue with your instrument. At one point, I started to get overwhelmed, thinking almost everything was wrong with it, until I just restarted every tests from scratch, calmly. Test are just that : tests. Maybe some of them can’t even apply to your specific instrument. And as I said before : no need to get anxious about something a professional will solve in a breeze.
  • Don’t use the tiny allen wrench if you have a precision tool kit with allen bits somewhere. The thing drove me crazy and kept falling, or sometimes I had a hard time to fit the holy holes. Grr !
  • if you’re using a string action gauge, and I highly recommand that you get one (like D’Addario), try to maintain it into place @12th fret while adjusting the height, if you can. It’s way easier and faster to actually see what you’re doing than getting back and forth.
  • I’m not too sure about this one (might be true only for a new bass), but I think replacing your strings and even tuning will influence your action. Since the strings tension influence the bending of the neck. I needed to rest after adjusting my E and A strings. When I got back to it a few hours after, the action was… not right. Not a lot NOT right. But still NOT where I left it. So, just keep that in mind.

That’s it ! Thank you for reading ! And helping !

note :

I’ve found these following values below to be quite helpful for metric system users since these are quite simple. I think it’s a good starting point.

Action (General Guideline) from the 12th fret :

E 2.50 mm
A 2.50 mm
D 2.00 mm
G 2.00 mm

DISCLAIMER : Keep in mind that it is by no mean a guide. You shouldn’t even consider the measurements indicated here knowing it’s from a guy who started bass 2 months ago, but … since it’s a valuable experience and I’ve spent quite some time searching for what I needed, so there’s that ^^.
But I decline responsibility if it breaks your strings, kill your cat in the process and sparks the furor of a superhuman being passing by, angry at the sounds you made with your tortured instrument, who then decides to melt you in a very painful way with his laser angry eyes.
Like so :

« Look 'Ma ! LED strings ! »


Some videos do not even mention this but you are correct. The strings have to settle in after a string change, especially if you change string gauge.

I usually give it 1/2 hr then recheck - and always remember to retune after. After that I check every day for the next 2-3 days. Maybe overkill but that’s the method I have used since the early 1970’s and I see no need to change now :slightly_smiling_face:

Every now and again, especially at this time of the year, when the humidity is up and down, l also sight down the edge of the fretboard to see if the neck relief is satisfactory. Only takes a second.


Hey @mediaklan great work on doing it yourself. What I’ve ended up doing after a few years of experimenting is after I’ve adjusted the truss rod; lowering the action until the string buzzes. Then slowly raising the saddle until it stops. I then repeat for the other strings.

I like my action as low as possible (around 1.5 mm to 2 mm) because it’s easier on my old hands.

Oh and your thread title was the inspiration for my latest cover :honeybee::honeybee::honeybee:

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You are correct: especially when replacing your strings with a different brand, or a different gauge, or even the same brand and gauge but a different type, you usually need to set up your bass again. And yes, all measurements should be done with all strings in tune. Great work!

Did you do “Flight of the Bumblebee” in your latest cover? :wink:

Head on over and find out :sunglasses:

This is what I do too. The nice thing about doing it this way is it will always and automatically follow the radius of the neck even better than a radius gauge can tell you.

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I don’t think it’s overkill, and since i’ve been forced to (re)check myself later, I think I’m gonna call it a wise move. Good to know and to experience, either way.

ha ha ha, excellent cover and title, I might add. For the action, I really like your way to do it (go low, then raise). It seems I like it medium-low or even a bit higher (I’m even considering raising .25mm again) but… I’m not too sure why. Maybe I should go real low to find out.