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Thread: Questions about getting my action lower

  1. #1
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    Default Questions about getting my action lower

    So I have been trying to figure out how to get the action on my bass lower. I messed around the bridge and the truss rod(I said messed around for lack of a better phrase. It wasn't random, I knew what I was doing) and determined that my action is currently as low as it can get without an unbearable buzz. Only issue: the action is still significantly higher than I would like it to be. It is by no means unplayable, but definitely uncomfortable to play for long periods of time. I am wondering if I am missing something and there's a way to set it up with lower action or if replacing the bridge or any other hardware would let me lower it any. Or am I just stuck with this action for as long as I'm on this bass?

  2. #2
    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions about getting my action lower

    I start be adjusting my neck dead straight. If you get a lot of buzzing with the action low it would indicate that your frets or fretboard arent level.

    If its a bolt on its common for the end of the fretboard to develop a rise or hump. In that case the frets have to be pulled, the fretboard leveled, and new frets installed. If its not too severe a fret leveling can work.

    You can tell if you have that hump if the frets buzz or choke the notes out near the end of the fretboard. But it can affect lower notes too.


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    Ultimate Tone Slacker ICTGoober's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions about getting my action lower

    The standard method for setting action is this: Adjust truss rod almost straight, set string height at bridge, then set action at the nut. Then intonate.

  4. #4
    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions about getting my action lower

    Quote Originally Posted by ICTGoober View Post
    The standard method for setting action is this: Adjust truss rod almost straight, set string height at bridge, then set action at the nut. Then intonate.
    Action at the nut should be the height of the first fret.

    But none of that addresses the fret buzzing. If his frets or fretboard arent level he wont get the action low enough.

    And even brand new basses often need fret work.


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    Default Re: Questions about getting my action lower

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRavenMoon View Post
    I start be adjusting my neck dead straight. If you get a lot of buzzing with the action low it would indicate that your frets or fretboard aren’t level.

    If it’s a bolt on it’s common for the end of the fretboard to develop a rise or hump. In that case the frets have to be pulled, the fretboard leveled, and new frets installed. If it’s not too severe a fret leveling can work.

    You can tell if you have that hump if the frets buzz or choke the notes out near the end of the fretboard. But it can affect lower notes too.


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    Yeah, the choking out was happening when I made the action as low as I possibly could. The weirdest part is, even at the lowest action possible with the choking happening, the action didn't feel that low. Its a noticeable difference from where it is now, but still higher than I want it. And to make matters worse, the intonation is awful at this bridge string height. So I'm not only wanting to lower it for feel purposes, but it's also kind of necessary when I wanna play anything relatively high on the fretboard. Should I just take it to a pro and see what they say?

  6. #6
    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions about getting my action lower

    Quote Originally Posted by Jmp View Post
    Yeah, the choking out was happening when I made the action as low as I possibly could. The weirdest part is, even at the lowest action possible with the choking happening, the action didn't feel that low. Its a noticeable difference from where it is now, but still higher than I want it. And to make matters worse, the intonation is awful at this bridge string height. So I'm not only wanting to lower it for feel purposes, but it's also kind of necessary when I wanna play anything relatively high on the fretboard. Should I just take it to a pro and see what they say?
    I like low action too. To go along with that I use 40-120 set of strings (5 string) otherwise my fingers roll over the strings when fretting. I had to level my frets on my Ibanez to get the strings lower. While it was probably good out of the factory (in 1987), wood isnt the most stable material.

    It sounds like your neck might not be that straight? Otherwise I suspect a jump limiting how low they can go. If you press a string down on the first and last fret, how much room is under it at the 10th?

    What kind of bass is this?


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    Default Re: Questions about getting my action lower

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRavenMoon View Post
    I like low action too. To go along with that I use 40-120 set of strings (5 string) otherwise my fingers roll over the strings when fretting. I had to level my frets on my Ibanez to get the strings lower. While it was probably good out of the factory (in 1987), wood isn’t the most stable material.

    It sounds like your neck might not be that straight? Otherwise I suspect a jump limiting how low they can go. If you press a string down on the first and last fret, how much room is under it at the 10th?

    What kind of bass is this?


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    It's a Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar, one of the longscale ones, with stacking pots. Im not good at gauging distance by vision cause I don't know what is a lot and what isn't, but what I did that can hopefully give you an idea of how much space there is: I put a credit card over the tenth and pressed down the first and last frets, the faced the fretboard to the wall and the card fell right out. The credit card had a decent bit of wiggle room, and if I had to eyeball it, I'd say the space looks like it could fit a guitar pick or two, possibly three depending on the thickness of the picks.

  8. #8
    Ultimate Tone Slacker ICTGoober's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions about getting my action lower

    That's too much relief.

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