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theyellowcar

String height - which comes first?

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My new Fender arrived yesterday - yay!

The action out of the box is pretty high - boo!

There also appears to be quite a bit of relief in the neck at 10th fret.

To the nub of my question - if you were greeted with this bass would you tackle the truss rod or the bridge adjustment first?

My instinct would be to take some of the relief out of the neck (quarter turn?) to 'flatten' things a little, and then look at the bridge if it still felt a little high, but I could be going at it all wrong!

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I always start with getting the neck relief sorted then adjust the height/intonation at the bridge. Just remember to slacken the strings when you tweak the trussrod if you want to avoid risking damage to the threads.

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Neck relief first (I check by holding down the E at the 1st and 12th frets and check the gap from the 4th through to the 8th); then check the nut slot heights (fret at the 3rd then check for slight gap at the 1st); then adjust the saddles.

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I'd go for relief first also, about a 1/4 turn on the truss rod.. Then temporarily set the saddles just so that I can have a play. Adjust it every day or two until its just right!

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This is where a nice bass can become an excellent bass. Buy an engineers ruler and some radius gauge's and measure things. It doesn't take long to do and gives a nice uniform feel across the strings, far better than "eyeballing" in my opinion.

Oh and always relief first.

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Nut slot height can also make a big difference to playability from open string to 5th fret. I've filed the nut on my Jazz bass and it makes it a lot easier to play. This video shows how a MIM standard bass leaves the factory with a nut that really needs a good seeing too (not sure about USA standards).

http://youtu.be/cI9Y9MsmnEc

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[quote name='mirszmarsz' timestamp='1401387298' post='2463167']
Ok but what value do you use guys for neck relief ... assuming capo on 1st and 12ve fret ?
[/quote]

I've never seen any benefit in measuring neck relief - I just get it so that it's almost straight, then file the nut so the base of the slot is in line with the tops of the first few frets.

Then gradually lower bridge saddles until buzz starts to appear. If it's mostly apparent at the lower frets, then a little more relief is required. If mostly at the higher frets, then try a little less relief. If it's fairly even along the neck then I figure the relief is about right

Then I raise the bridge saddles a little again to get rid of the buzz.

Not sure if that's the best way to do it, but it seems to work OK for me...

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I've got a really good PDF for getting the ultimate bass set up - PM me your email address and I'll fire it over.

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[quote name='mirszmarsz' timestamp='1401387298' post='2463167']
Ok but what value do you use guys for neck relief ... assuming capo on 1st and 12ve fret ?
[/quote]

.012 feeler gauge under frets 7,8 &9 with the bass fretted at the first and body joint.

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Chucking "fender bass setup guide" into a well-known search engine yielded [url=http://www.fender.com/en-GB/support/articles/bass-guitar-setup-guide/]this[/url] as first result. Might as well see what's coming from the horse's mouth.

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[quote name='Horizontalste' timestamp='1401391959' post='2463254']
.012 feeler gauge under frets 7,8 &9 with the bass fretted at the first and body joint.
[/quote]

... and if you don't have a feeler gauge then a business card is usually 12pt thickness (0.012" thick).

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Relief first - it can make a massive difference to the action.
I don't measure the gap - as long as there is a just-perceptible gap at the 8th when you are holding down at the 1st and 16th. No gap is no good and big gap is no good. It wants to be just the right side of straight...

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