Correct or the best string action for jazz bass.

Discussion in 'Bass Guitars' started by Nehal, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. Nehal

    Nehal Noisemaker

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    Hey pro bassists and guitarists, I’ve a doubt. I have a Marcus Miller Sire V7 jazz bass. I need to get its action adjusted. I’m a little confused on what I should say to the tech I’ll go to get my string action adjusted. The neck radius is 9.5”. I checked out the Fender Forum where it was mentioned:

    String height bass slide Treble side
    6/64”(2.4mm) 5/64”(2mm)

    Is this the right and most used and correct string action measurements as per y’all? I’m mostly into songs like Smells like teen spirit by Nirvana and hard rock. I like the growling mids from my bass. Please do advice on what I should tell the technician I’ll go to. Thanks a lot in advance.

    Also, do help me with what is string height bass slide and treble side? Thanks again.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
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  3. Olymoon

    Olymoon MODERATOR Staff Member

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    Hi
    The string height is not a standard, because it depends of the following parameters:
    You
    How do you play, do you play hard or not, do you use mainly your fingers or a pick,
    How do you like to feel the strings with your left hand, some people don't mind to have the strings high, other need very low action.
    How do you feel about fret buzz, some people seems not annoyed by it, other are obsessed to have 0 noise, other are in the middle.

    The bass, (even same brand same models have differences):
    How is the neck of this bass
    How are the frets of this bass

    The strings
    Different string gauge/tension and type will have a huge impact on the sound, your feel, and fret buzz.

    So, the best thing you can do with your tech, is to show him how you play, and tell him how do you feel with fret buzz and so and what you expect.
    A good tech will find the best compromise to get this bass as close as possible to your taste.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
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  4. Nehal

    Nehal Noisemaker

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    Thank you so much. Yes, I will try my best to make the tech understand what tone I like from my bass. Say I want to get a jazzy sound and not much round bottom. I want more table noise like I'm using a pick to pick the strings bur I use only my fingers. Is there anything in particular I should tell him? What about 2mm from near the bridge pickup? Is that ideal as per you? Thanks again.
     
  5. grdh20

    grdh20 Platinum Record

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    I usually adjust as low as possible, as long as avoiding buzz across the fingerboard. This is a combination of truss vs height. But, this is highly personal for most of us.
     
  6. digitaldragon

    digitaldragon Audiosexual

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    Just want to clarify, as it seems you are relating tone information, but your asking about action adjustments.
    Action wouldn't greatly affect tone, unless it is an extreme adjustment. Action affects playability, and as others have said, that is a personal preference, as well as dependent on the instrument itself.
    For tone type adjustments, pickup height would be the only mechanical adjustment you could make. Other than that, the biggest tonal changes are usually pickup replacement.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  7. Olymoon

    Olymoon MODERATOR Staff Member

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    I agree and would add changing strings to the list of tone adjustment.
     
  8. Olymoon

    Olymoon MODERATOR Staff Member

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    I cant speak about mm, because it does not work that way.

    I have 5 basses, each one have it's own adjustment, depending on how I play it, which strings are on it, and how it is built.
     
  9. AudioTee

    AudioTee Kapellmeister

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    You might need to experiment. As others have said, typically go as low as you can as long as the strings don't "buzz". The more aggressive your playing, the higher you would need to go.
     
  10. Lois Lane

    Lois Lane Audiosexual

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    This!
     
  11. Olymoon

    Olymoon MODERATOR Staff Member

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    As a reminder, if you pay a tech to do this for you, it should be because he / she really know the job.
    So, you should not need to break your brain about it, just explain to him what you wants and his / her job is to translate your will into tech action.

    Otherwise, you could do it yourself, it's not that difficult.

    One last thing, techs use to put new strings when adjusting , so remember to tell which strings you want, brand gauge etc.
     
  12. It is important to understand the makeup of a bass. You can get neck shims these days too. A lot of people do not understand the effect on the bass when using bridge string adjustment versus truss rod. There many things to consider also what type of neck you have, frets, angled neck or flat. If flat, you need to compensate with how high the FB is elevated above the top to compensate for the bridge height, if doing an angled, you need to figure the pivot point of the neck to compensate for the bridge height minimum. These are mainly design areas. It sounds complex because in some ways, it is.
    It is most important to understand the harmonics of the bass need to remain in tune with whatever you do. That being that when all the open strings are in tune, the entire bass is in tune with itself, so the highest notes are not out of tune with the lowest.

    In short - BALANCE. Decide on the action that works best and ask the luthier to ensure that balance is on every string and in tune.
     
  13. Olymoon

    Olymoon MODERATOR Staff Member

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    That's true, but OP was asking what to tell to a tech, so he /she dont really need to go into the detail of how to adjust and why.
     
  14. If a person does not know how their instrument works and what is required to do what they want even if they do not know how to do it, then they can only do layman-speak. If you can tell the Luthier or technician: "adjust the truss rod so the strings are more parallel to the neck, with 3/8" inch maximum distance from string to board distance, replace the frets with jumbo frets and hone them so they are rounded then ensure the harmonics are in tune" - The results will be a lot better than "can you make my action better?"


    As for not needing the details, the more details you give the more likely the end result will be what is desired. Every professional bass player of more than 20 years knows this. Repairs 101.
     
  15. Olymoon

    Olymoon MODERATOR Staff Member

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    That's partially true I all depends of each one priorities.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
  16. Kensmith

    Kensmith Noisemaker

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    Here's what I do on all my basses, one is a Sire M7 2Gen 5 String fretless .

    G string height 12th fret= 1.588mm
    E -------------------------= 2.381mm
    B -------------------------= 2.778mm
    this is done with a Capo on first fret and follow the
    neck curve for the bridge saddles.

    When this is done remove capo, press down E & G string on
    the last fret and slide a credit card under the 7th Fret to
    check the neck relief. B string set to taste.

    Next set the pickups height.
    Press down strings on the last fret.

    G string last fret= 2.381mm
    E -----------------= 3.175mm

    On my sire i set the pickups at 2.0mm for E & G strings and
    the B string I set to taste because of magnetic pull. Then set
    the intonation. Go with this first then fine tune this for your
    own feel.

    Ken Smith.
     
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