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Re: New bass, action too low, need 2 know how 2 fix it

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Posted by Erik ( on April 25, 2003 at 12:46:33:

In Reply to: New bass, action too low, need 2 know how 2 fix it posted by Pick Boy on April 21, 2003 at 20:24:07:

: Hi everyone,
: I just bought a new bass (Ibanez SR300DX soundgear). The thing sounds awesome and plays beautifully but the one problem is the action. IT'S SO LOW!!!!i like to use a pick a lot and the low action is giving me so much fretbuzz its scary. even when i play softly with my fingers it buzzes on all the strings. I'm sure this is probably just some shipping precaution and i know that it can be fixed really easily but i'd need to go into montreal to get it done professionally so i want to know how to do it myself. At this point in time all i know about adjusting action is that you have to do something to the bridge saddles.
: Thanx in advance,
: Mal

Hi Mal,
Action is related to the neck relief ( proper amount of bow) and the saddle height. You should have received with your Ibanez 2 allen wrenches, one for the truss rod in the neck, and one for saddle height adjustment. When you raise your saddles up, you will raise the strings for your playing style, but you will need to adjust your truss rod as the bass, I assume is new. You will need the 2 allen wrenches, a small #1 phillips head screwdriver and your tuner.
first, loosen your strings so you can access the truss rod cover plate, there should be three screws there. Remove the plate to expose the truss head. Remember, on most basses, it's righty tighty, lefty loosy. When you tighten the truss rod, you will achieve a bow, a slight bow ( relief) is desired. Too straight a neck will always fret out. Too much bow, will do the same. transversly, if you loosen the truss, the neck will generally straighten out. Turn the truss rod in 1/4 turn increments. These adjustments take time, and patience is very necessary, as it takes time for the neck to set. Tune your bass each time and sight down the neck, looking down the side from the bridge. If your neck is bowing in the wrong direction, try turning the truss rod the opposite direction. ( some basses are in reverse) Once you have achieved a slight bow in the neck when the bass is at your tuning, loosen the strings slightly and move to your saddles. Your saddles are set to a fretboard radius. Some techs like to use a fretboard radius gauge, I never do, as I set mine for my playing style. you will have 2 allen set screws in each saddle on your Ibanez. Make sure each saddle is level to itself. turn each set screw the same amount ( a crooked saddle will not seat the string properly, and may rattle} and raise it by one complete turn, for each saddle...tune and play. repeat this until the desired action is achieved. Once your action is set, you need to check your string intonation. You need each string to be the same note open, and at the twelfth fret ( octave) A good tuner is very important here. Tune your open and then check the twelfth fret. If they do not read the same, you will need to either A pull the saddle back or B move the saddle forward by turning the phillips screw at the back of the bridge. If the twelfth fret reads sharp, the saddle needs to move back, if it reads flat, move it forward. You should only need to move the saddle slightly one way or the other to acieve this. If the intonation is correct, chords ring out true, and an E is an E, no matter where you play it on the fretboard.
If you tend to downtune the E string to should have no troubles. If you tune the whole bass down, you'll need to set your intonation for that tuning. Real low tunings are hard to set proper as the lower the note, the longer the scale needs to be. Your SR300 4 string will sound best in E, E flat or single string dropped to D.
Once you raise your action, check the height between the top of the pick-up to the bottom of the string. Too much space, and the signal will be weak. To little space, and the signal will distort, and you will get a popping from the string hitting the pick-up. Set this also to your own personal preference.
I know this is a lot, but with patience and practice, proper set ups will take less time and you will get the most from your bass.
Just so you know...I have three Ibanez basses. A SR406 6 string, an EDA905 Ergodyne 5, and an ATK300 4...and one Fender P bass.
Good Luck,

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