Jump to content

Setup for a new bass (or more than a setup)


Recommended Posts

So,

 

Off the back of another post i made you may be aware i've acquired a new Sterling Ray 35 HH.

 

Now to look at i'm 100% in love with this bass - excellent weight, beautiful roasted maple neck, hardware is excellent, electronics all work as they should

 

but.........

 

1st thing i noticed was an insane amount of fret buzz - didn't matter where i fretted the neck or how hard or soft i played... buzzzzzz

Then there's the action - WOW it's high.

the bridge saddles have plenty of room to lower that which is great BUT... with the amount of fret buzz it already has lowering it seems redundant.

 

As the band i'm in down tune half a step, any new bass i acquire i get set up from a luthier i've used for years

 

took it to my luthier buddy in Southampton on Sunday - he took it outta the gig bag

1st he called me an idiot for buying an Indonesian built bass (cause he hasn't seen a good one come out of the factory yet) - i honestly didn't realise the same factory that makes Sterling also make ibanez, PRS, Squire etc.... so i learnt something
then he noted the slight bow forward in the neck

then the fret buzz and the ridiculous action

 

my question or more query is....

 

do i spend what ever is required to get this bass playable OR for a bass that cost £1150 should i have expected it to be playable right outta the box and go back to the reseller (once i have the update from the luthier as to what is actually wrong with it) and either send it back OR see if they can get it resolved.

 

Annoyingly i REALLY like this bass (and the reseller i got it from) so i'm super torn as what to do..

hmmm (sorry for the lack of pictures but this is already with the luthier so i can't take any pics to show the state of things)

thoughts?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would expect a decent set up for that kind of money, even if it's not entirely to your requirements.

Something sounds iffy, if the neck is bowed and has high action and you're still getting fret buzz. Is the buzz behind your fretting finger (nut cut too low?) or in front? (Frets not levelled?)

As you described it, it's what I'd expect from a neck with zero relief and v low action, but clearly not the case.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

3 hours ago, BigJHW said:

1st he called me an idiot for buying an Indonesian built bass (cause he hasn't seen a good one come out of the factory yet) - i honestly didn't realise the same factory that makes Sterling also make ibanez, PRS, Squire etc.... so i learnt something

 

I'd be a little wary of the assertion that no good instrument has come from the factory that builds for Ibanez, PRS, Squier and others (and of the person who made the assertion). There are countless thousands of satisfied owners of such instruments. It may well not be set up properly. It may even be a lemon - q/c might have slipped up - but it is ridiculous to claim that no good instrument ever came out of the Cort factory. I have a Cort 5, a PRS and a Squier Tele' from that factory and they are all fine,

 

Given the price you paid, you are entitled to expect it to work out of the box. It may need a little tweaking to suit personal taste, but not major work. I would contact the shop/reseller you got it from and ask for either a replacement (you say you really like it) or for remedial work under guarantee.

 

Is the buzz definitely from the frets? I had a persistent buzz once that I eventually traced to a loose spring on one of the bridge bolts. Anyway, your first port of call should be wherever you bought it from.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

hey hey, 
he did say "he hasn't seen one" - there's no doubt that there are 1000's of excellent instruments that come out and happy players everywhere otherwise the factory would be shut down.. i guess he has that opinion because the only time a luthier usually "sees" one of them is when there's something wrong.

 

Yeah gonna wait and see what comes back from my setup guy - i've asked for a full breakdown of what needs to be worked to make it playable

then i'll have to have a chat with the reseller.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, BigJHW said:

So,

 

Off the back of another post i made you may be aware i've acquired a new Sterling Ray 35 HH.

 

Now to look at i'm 100% in love with this bass - excellent weight, beautiful roasted maple neck, hardware is excellent, electronics all work as they should

 

but.........

 

1st thing i noticed was an insane amount of fret buzz - didn't matter where i fretted the neck or how hard or soft i played... buzzzzzz

Then there's the action - WOW it's high.

the bridge saddles have plenty of room to lower that which is great BUT... with the amount of fret buzz it already has lowering it seems redundant.

 

As the band i'm in down tune half a step, any new bass i acquire i get set up from a luthier i've used for years

 

took it to my luthier buddy in Southampton on Sunday - he took it outta the gig bag

1st he called me an idiot for buying an Indonesian built bass (cause he hasn't seen a good one come out of the factory yet) - i honestly didn't realise the same factory that makes Sterling also make ibanez, PRS, Squire etc.... so i learnt something
then he noted the slight bow forward in the neck

then the fret buzz and the ridiculous action

 

my question or more query is....

 

do i spend what ever is required to get this bass playable OR for a bass that cost £1150 should i have expected it to be playable right outta the box and go back to the reseller (once i have the update from the luthier as to what is actually wrong with it) and either send it back OR see if they can get it resolved.

 

Annoyingly i REALLY like this bass (and the reseller i got it from) so i'm super torn as what to do..

hmmm (sorry for the lack of pictures but this is already with the luthier so i can't take any pics to show the state of things)

thoughts?

 

He should spend less time moaning and more time turning some screws.  Why does he still have it?  If it takes a rank amateur like me 30 mins or so of fettling to set up a bass then a "luthier" should be able to do it in less, I would think.  If he can't dial in a playable setup then maybe the bass is genuinely faulty.  It can happen.  In that case then obviously it's back to the retailer with it.

 

My answer to your question is to pay nothing and learn to set up your own basses.  I find it quite theraputic, as well as empowering and keeps more money in my wallet so it's a no-brainer for me.

Edited by neepheid
  • Like 12
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, neepheid said:

My answer to your question is to pay nothing and learn to set up your own basses.  I find it quite theraputic, as well as empowering and keeps more money in my wallet so it's a no-brainer for me.

 

Good advice. However, in the case of a new instrument that has issues, I'd be wary of doing anything to it in case the shop tried to tell me I've invalidated the guarantee.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Dan Dare said:

 

Good advice. However, in the case of a new instrument that has issues, I'd be wary of doing anything to it in case the shop tried to tell me I've invalidated the guarantee.

 

Short of a screw slipping and causing damage, I can't see how they could tell if I had attempted to tweak the setup - especially if it was borked to start with.

 

I was in the middle of editing, but I was going to say that I would expect a £1000+ instrument to arrive in at least a sensible basic setup.  It may well need some tweaks to suit personal preferences, but I'd be pretty annoyed if it was as far out of whack as the OP is describing.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, neepheid said:

My answer to your question is to pay nothing and learn to set up your own basses.  I find it quite theraputic, as well as empowering and keeps more money in my wallet so it's a no-brainer for me.

Oh i'd love too, sadly i live in a shoebox with no real space to set anything up with the wife n kiddo.
the day we move out and have a SHED or a Garage with enough space i'm setting up a workshop to try and build a bass and learn to do my own setups etc.. but alas till that day i have to take it to a someone that knows more than me..

he still has it btw as it's on his list of guitars to work on this week - he's oddly very busy building guitars and doing setups for other people.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, BigJHW said:

he called me an idiot for buying an Indonesian built bass

 

My tech had zero problem getting my two Indonesian Yamahas playing beautifully. Low action, no fret buzz, one brand new, one ten years old.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, Ricky Rioli said:

 

My tech had zero problem getting my two Indonesian Yamahas playing beautifully. Low action, no fret buzz, one brand new, one ten years old.

Any starting to feel like i bought a lemon.

my own fault really - broke my cardinal rule of "never buy an instrument you haven't played 1st" and bought it online without seeing it till it got here.

yes - it shouldn't have left the shop in its current state, but at the same time - i should defo have gone and tried it out 1st - would have known about these issues before and not bought it

 

we shall see what happens :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 27/06/2022 at 11:44, BigJHW said:

So,

 

Off the back of another post i made you may be aware i've acquired a new Sterling Ray 35 HH.

 

Now to look at i'm 100% in love with this bass - excellent weight, beautiful roasted maple neck, hardware is excellent, electronics all work as they should

 

but.........

 

1st thing i noticed was an insane amount of fret buzz - didn't matter where i fretted the neck or how hard or soft i played... buzzzzzz

Then there's the action - WOW it's high.

the bridge saddles have plenty of room to lower that which is great BUT... with the amount of fret buzz it already has lowering it seems redundant.

 

As the band i'm in down tune half a step, any new bass i acquire i get set up from a luthier i've used for years

 

took it to my luthier buddy in Southampton on Sunday - he took it outta the gig bag

1st he called me an idiot for buying an Indonesian built bass (cause he hasn't seen a good one come out of the factory yet) - i honestly didn't realise the same factory that makes Sterling also make ibanez, PRS, Squire etc.... so i learnt something
then he noted the slight bow forward in the neck

then the fret buzz and the ridiculous action

 

my question or more query is....

 

do i spend what ever is required to get this bass playable OR for a bass that cost £1150 should i have expected it to be playable right outta the box and go back to the reseller (once i have the update from the luthier as to what is actually wrong with it) and either send it back OR see if they can get it resolved.

 

Annoyingly i REALLY like this bass (and the reseller i got it from) so i'm super torn as what to do..

hmmm (sorry for the lack of pictures but this is already with the luthier so i can't take any pics to show the state of things)

thoughts?

I would ask the tech if he can do an appraisal to see how easy he thinks it will be to fix and what he estimates it will cost you, however that being said the fact you could not play any notes anywhere on the neck without buzz seems like a red flag to me unless the bass came with the truss rod fully loosened from the factory, if it did then that would account for the buzz but if the truss rod was engaged and there was still buzz everywhere that would be worrying to to me. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would expect a decent tech to be able to identify the cause of the buzzing quite quickly and tell you what the problem is. This is simple mechanics, there is nothing complicated in seeing where a vibrating string is making contact with a fret. He should have been able to tell you what was happening straight away. That he hasn't, combined with the Indonesian jibe, would have me concerned greatly. A setup is a quick and simple process, with experience. If it needed more than a setup, he should have been able to tell you what and why, right away. If a brand new bass needed a repair, he should have told you to send it back under warranty. He's had it a week? Wtf is he doing?

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Send it back if you can. For that price I'd expect a factory set up to have no problems.

 

Is your luthier buddy a luthier or someone who just does set ups? Either way really, it shouldn't take someone with experience and knowledge to diagnose the potential problem, and tell you what's wrong in a short period of time. 

 

I've become very wary of people who've been in bands, tweaked their own guitar a couple of times,  then all of a sudden they're calling themselves a luthier. I used a guy once who told me the neck on my Korean Squier was made if 'rubbery maple' and that's why the action would always be a problem.  He was talking drivel. I did the set up myself after he had been at it, it was fine. Now anything I can't do I take to a guy who makes acoustic and electric guitars,  an actual luthier (the lead singer in the Manics uses one of acoustics)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey hey,

Guy is actually a luthier (not just a guy i know haha) he makes guitars/basses for guitar shows etc fully accredited and has done many many a setup/service/repair etc..

 

i know he's had it 3 days now - but i'm not the only job he's got on and i expect a week or so turn around on any instrument i send anywhere for a service/setup as i know i'll be at the back of the queue when i drop it off.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

44 minutes ago, hiram.k.hackenbacker said:

Does it play OK in standard tuning as per @DaveFry's comment? 

No, honestly it buzzed no matter how it was tuned. standard or down half step (how i tune)

2 hours ago, Doctor J said:

Did you replace the strings, out of interest?

Nope i didn't as it was fresh outta the box. the fret buzz was that annoying i decided to get it to the luthier before i as a total noob when it comes to bass fiddling did anything to it. Figured send it to someone that "knows" before i try owt..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think after reading through everything you've all said - i should have realised as soon as i played it at home.

Should probably have called the reseller and arranged for it to go back right away

 

basses are a bit like cars with me.. i know how to drive one i just don't know anything about the mechanics that make them work

if/when the wife kiddo and i ever move house and have the space - 1st thing i'm doing is getting a space set up where i can learn as much as possible about the mechanics behind a bass - setups - even building them - so hopefully i won't feel like such a pleb next time a lemon lands on my doorstep.

 

ah well we live and learn.

 

i'll wait to hear back from the fella that has the bass atm and update you all of course.. but i think in all fairness as much as i love the look and feel of the bass it's going back to them - hopefully they can do what ever work is needed and get it back to me. otherwise going forward i'll ALWAYS try a bass out before i buy it (not just grab it online) - and if anything doesn't feel right - just walk away

 

thanks for all your input

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My guess is the wood in the neck has shifted whilst in transit.

The bass would have had a rudimentary set up somewhere in its manufacture.

 

Seems like the neck wood has "relaxed" so the truss rod tension pulls the neck more, thus giving you a backbow, which is giving you buzz despite the action.

 

My ray34 has the most seasonally affected neck of any bass I've ever owned. Even going across town through the tube to a rehearsal space can mean it needs a tweak at the other end.

 

Get your bass back from the luthier, put an allen key in the wheel at the base of the neck and turn it anticlockwise a quarter of a turn.

Play it an hour or so later. If the buzz is less, try another quarter of a turn and see if this is good.

 

you're taking tension out of the neck so the strings are pulling it straighter. This is normal.

 

If you're finding the wheel turns very easily and has no effect on the neck, it is time to send it back as it means something is wrong with the bass, but my first instinct is nothing is wrong, it's just the wood used in the neck being very sensitive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...