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setup question and poll

jeremy c

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I have a question about setup.


There seem to be two ways you could set up string height.


You could radius the string heights to match the fingerboard. The A and the D strings would be a little higher than the E and G strings.


You could make the strings flat, in other words the tops of the strings would all be at the same height. Obviously the strings would be slightly different distances from the pickups because of the string thickness.


I have been experimenting and find that when I have the setup flat, I can play faster.


What do you think?

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I normally like flat but have been experimenting as of late.



Famous Musical Quotes: "I would rather play Chiquita Banana and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve" - Xavier Cugat

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It seems to me that there would be varying correct set-ups dependent upon the guitar/bass.


My personal idea is that the strings should be equi-distant from the fret board for better intonation (so that they're pulled a lesser distance "out of line" when fretting).

Therefore mine are arced to match the fretboard.

Now that I consider it, I've never noticed a flat electric guitar or bass fretboard, only classical models.


Here's a question: for a radial set-up do you measure from the bottom of the string or its center? (Jeremy's already mentioned that his measurement's from the string top)


And if you make the set-up flat is it better when the strings are in a plane parallel to the general plane of the fretboard or flat in a plane that's angled a bit, with the G string side closer (but still in a "flat" plane when considering the strings themselves)?

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Personally for me, it depends on the bass, more specifically the bridge. My Musicman has more of a "flat" setup (actually, the strings go from "B" higher descending in height to "G" lower),as well as my Gibson Blackbird, but the Schaller bridge on my custom bass seems to lend more to a radial setup. Just my quirks... :D

"Suppose you were an idiot ... And suppose you were a member of Congress

... But I repeat myself."

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http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/63/condition_1.html (my old band)

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you can measure anywhere (bottom, center, or top) as long as it is consistant from string to string


Here's a question: for a radial set-up do you measure from the bottom of the string or its center? (Jeremy's already mentioned that his measurement's from the string top)



I don't know what I have, but ever since I got my bass back from the shop it hasn't felt "right"

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Hmm, another poll I won't "vote" in, but spatter the text area nonetheless {usually some key choices are not there that would be closer to my situ anyway ; }


I set my action as low as it can go and still take the level of pummeling I am typically into, for the strings I am using. That means that usually the bottom of the E is a tad higher from the radius than the bottoms of G-D-A, and that the bottom of B is a little higher yet. This works decently for me in terms of string sensing balance on the pickups too.


Of course there are radiuses as round as 7" and as flat as maybe 20", and there are compound radii, and -


; }


Sidebar: it always gives me yocks to think of working at being fast since most of the time it seems like producers and hotshot guitarists want bassists to dumb it down to just before the point drool is seriously beginning to form ; } ...Nonetheless, I sometimes work at speed for either and both hands hoping that some day -

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I have, for the most part, matched the radius of the fingerboard...


However, I have a tendency to match the heighth at the bridge saddle...


I guess that means I compromise...try to put a little radius in my strings, but flatten it out so that no saddle is substantially lower than another.


I tend to get speed from moving closer to the bridge; not only is the radius a bit flatter, the string responds quicker (as you know.) Slower and fatter lines cause me to move my hand away from the bridge.


Oh shoot, I don't know what I do. I can't play all that fast anywhoo.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.


Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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This post intrigued me, so I went home to check my basses and found....


My precision has a flat fingerboard, I'd never thought it would. That bass is set up with a flat radius to match the board.


My Gibson has a radiused board, so naturally, I have radiused strings.


So, when I responded to the poll, I should have voted radiused and flat.....


I personally like playing up closer to the neck, down by the bridge doesn't feel natural to me, and the strings are tighter and the volume is less. Just my personal taste I guess :D

I'm trying to think but nuthin' happens....
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If you watch the Jaco video, he says that he plays close to the bridge so that he can play faster. He says he doesn't need to wait for the string to come back after he plays it.


And then there are radiused pickups. A rare commodity. I talked to Brian Bromberg the other day and he was raving about his.


My Mike Lull bass has Lindy Fralin custom wound radiused pickups. But I still like the strings a little flatter. If the strings are radiused, I often feel like I have to reach down into a whole to get the G string.

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I like a slight radius to the strings, but for practical reasons, low (pitch) stings like the E and the optional low B need to be higher than high strings like the D, G, and the optional high C, so that radius is slightly skewed.


Faster? Hmm. I'm not particularly fleet of finger, so I can't really comment on speed. Flat setups annoy me.

The Black Knight always triumphs!


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