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12 fret action on p bass


Geek99

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6.35mm action at the 12th fret from the fingerboard means a real 5mm action at the 12th fret !?! 😱

 

We have to reconsider what a high action is and start talking in centimetres...

 

Did Fender supply the arrows too, back in the mid 50's ?

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@Geek99  I remember the bass.  I don't remember it being in any way unplayable - far from it, I thought it was really lovely - but I agree that it's best to back it off from any buzzing or rattling.  I think that point is going to vary from guitar to guitar at an individual level, depending on type, age, string type and tension, playing style and so on.  But I'm still learning about these things and every YouTube instructional video I watch seems to offer subtly different advice!

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21 hours ago, Hellzero said:

That said a perfect nut height is also mandatory.

 

54 minutes ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Just a thought, the biggest barrier to low action is a poorly cut nut.

😉

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5 hours ago, Geek99 said:

I set it to 0.3m at eighth with 1 and 17 pressed and it’s still buzzing on higher frets

action around 2.5

 

might try hellzeros “set it flat” technique 

0.3mm or 3mm?

 

0.3mm is pretty much flatter than a flat thing! Then 2.5mm of action is just a bit ambitious. Making it flatter still won't help.

 

If 3mm of relief then 2.5mm of action does not compute.

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2 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

0.3mm or 3mm?

 

0.3mm is pretty much flatter than a flat thing! Then 2.5mm of action is just a bit ambitious. Making it flatter still won't help.

 

If 3mm of relief then 2.5mm of action does not compute.

0.3mm / 12thou is a typical relief spec. so not unusual at all. 2.5mm at 17th fret should be easy if the fretwork is ok unless played very hard.

 

Hellzero makes a good point, my mim p-bass needed the upper frets dressing slightly to get the best action and that didn't have the ski-slope problem.

 

I also had a mim j-bass that had a ski-slope that only showed up when the neck was under full string tension, so conventional levelling wouldn't fix it. I did my best to cure that by spot-levelling under tension and I made it acceptable at the Fender factory spec (6/64in), but the action would never go lower on that bass and it wasn't worth a pro luthier looking at it so I moved it on.

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A true pro luthier (but those doing what is mentioned after are quite rare, sadly) will always make a frets dressing or fingerboard dressing under simulated strings tension, which is the only way to have a perfect neck allowing deliriously low action.

 

That's also why the Plek machine gives such awesome results...

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13 minutes ago, nilebodgers said:

ski-slope that only showed up when the neck was under full string tension

My custom shop jazz had that and nothing I did would get the action lower than 2.5mm unfretted at the 12th fret, I play with 1.5, I sold it on to someone who was happy with a higher action 

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48 minutes ago, Reggaebass said:

My custom shop jazz had that and nothing I did would get the action lower than 2.5mm unfretted at the 12th fret, I play with 1.5, I sold it on to someone who was happy with a higher action 

That’s very interesting. I thought I was going nuts when I was chasing the problem. I did a full level, crown and polish with the neck dead straight and the fretwork was spot-on, but as soon as I put the neck back on the bass and strung it up the upper frets were buzzing.

 

I’d read about the ski slope problem and this was in the same place, but the fact that it was a dynamic effect under tension and not static like a simple rise in the fretboard made it something different that I’d not seen mentioned before. I improved it, but couldn’t completely fix it. Maybe a tool that could level frets under full tension like the Katana system might have sorted it, but I suspect that neck wouldn’t have been stable long-term with a lower action.

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1 hour ago, Hellzero said:

A true pro luthier (but those doing what is mentioned after are quite rare, sadly) will always make a frets dressing or fingerboard dressing under simulated strings tension, which is the only way to have a perfect neck allowing deliriously low action.

 

That's also why the Plek machine gives such awesome results...

Things like the Stewmac neck jig pull the neck straight to level frets even though the truss rod is left at normal tension. I don’t have a jig, but I used a fret rocker to prove to myself that the problem was only there if the neck was curved, the truss rod tension wasn’t a factor.

 

A plek machine should be able to level with the truss rod at full tension and the neck curved though, that would be the best result.
 

I’d have bought a new neck for my cheap mim bass though if I wanted to keep it, it’s value didn’t warrant a pro luthier or machine attention.

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9 hours ago, Downunderwonder said:

Typical for a flatter than a flat thing but not typical.

Always been typical for me and I regard my action as quite high for a fretless, deliberately so because I don't want any of that mwah malarkey.

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11 minutes ago, lownote said:

Always been typical for me and I regard my action as quite high for a fretless, deliberately so because I don't want any of that mwah malarkey.

You should be able to control the amount of mwah with the pressure of your finger(s) on the string(s) and the dynamic of your "picking" finger(s)... It takes some time, but it's worth the hassle.

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Just bought my first P bass in about 40yrs and loving it. (2nd hand)

I've set the neck to be very slightly concave and string height down from quite high when i bought it to 2mm. It sounds fine at home and will be taking to rehearsal on Sun where i will try it with a bit more aggression and tweak the height appropriately.

When i get a bass i normally start at 2.5mm string height and slowly tweak it down to where it sounds ok with no fret buzz and no bottoming out when playing above 12th fret.

As a comparison my Jazz was down approx 1.7mm and it was great at home. When i gigged it i found it was overly buzzing and raised that to 2mm and gigged again and it was fine. 

My Sandberg VM4 is very low at 1.5mm and has quite a straight neck. I dont tend to play this bass as hard as my Fenders (i cant explain why not......i dont really know)

Dave 

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