1. Sheldon Dingwall
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. Tuesday, 20 September 2005
  4.  Subscribe via email
I'd like to outline how we go about setting up the instruments. I welcome input from others.

I always start with the truss-rod, then nut, then bridge.

We measure truss-rod relief on the outside bass string (B-string on a 5 or 6, E on a 4) by fretting at both the 1st and 17th frets, then checking the gap between the string and the 7th fret.

For players with a light touch .020" or less of relief is about right. That's about the thickness of a Dunlop .5 mm guitar pick. Players with a heavier touch need to loosen their truss-rods for more relief.

Ideally you want the neck as straight as possible. You'll know if the neck is too straight if you are getting excessive buzzing in frets 1 through 7. A little buzz when you dig-in is OK and to be expected. You just don't want to have buzz happening when you are playing normally.

Once the neck is adjusted correctly, double-check the nut. Open strings should not buzz. When fretting at the 2nd fret, there should be a slight gap over the 1st fret - not more than the thickness of a piece of paper or two. If you are getting buzzing on the open strings you can either loosen the truss-rod 1/8 turn or have the nut replaced (they wear out and need replacing from time to time).

Only after checking the nut and truss-rod do you go to the bridge. At this point if you want to lower your action further, you can lower the saddle riser screws. It's best to do this in measured amounts. I.E. 1/4 turn on every screw, re-tune and play for a bit.

You can lower the saddles until you get buzzing in the upper frets 10th and up. The harder you play, the higher the saddles need to be. The lighter you play, the lower they can go. It's best to keep the saddles as low as possible (without buzzing) as higher saddles create more stress on the string leading to breakage.

The easiest way to check intonation is to tune the open string, then compare the pitch of the 12th fret harmonic to the fretted 12th fret note. They should be the same. If the fretted note is sharper than the harmonic, the distance between the 12th fret and saddle is too short and the saddle needs to be moved back a bit. If the fretted note is flatter than the harmonic, you need to move the saddle forward a bit.

Once the saddle is moved, you'll need to re-tune before checking.

If you use Dingwall strings and maintain your truss-rod adjustment, you can go years without having to touch your bridge.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
BurningSkies Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
Thanks, Sheldon!

To you and your shop's credit, I haven't really done too much to my AB1's original setup. It's only been 4 months, but do have periods of lots of play (last month we had a few 4 show weekends @ 3+ hours per show) and I practice lots, all in a region with lots of climate change.

I think I could get my action a bit lower from the description you give above, but I have no complaints on where it is now (Its as low or lower than any other bass I've owned). Since I got the bass, I've tweaked the trussrod twice about 1/8th of a turn each time, and I did try once to lower the saddles, but any lower and the strings buzz.

I'm surprised at how low the strings are without any buzz, even with a fairly strong attack.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 1
Smallmouth_Bass Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
And what do you suggest for pickup height?
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 2
Sheldon Dingwall Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Admin
0
Votes
Undo
[quote="Smallmouth_Bass":3rtam3t3]And what do you suggest for pickup height?[/quote:3rtam3t3]

Good question.

We set the treble end of the pickup to within about 3/32" (2.4 mm) from the G or C string when fretted at the 24th fret. We set the bass end of the pickup at about double that. You can dial it in further by plugging into a recording device and using the input VU meter to gauge how much to lower or raise the bass end of the pickup to balance with the treble end.

The shape of the magnetic flux field extending above the pickups looks a little like an upsidedown guitar pick. So the closer to the string the pickup sits, the larger the magnetic sensing area the string cuts through creating a bigger tone and more output. Conversely the further away the pickup is the more the output drops off and the thinner the tone.

If the bass end of the pickup is too high, you'll notice a pronounced "warbling" sound on the bass strings when played in the upper frets. A little "warbling" is normal. As long as it's subtle, you're OK.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 3
Smallmouth_Bass Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
What about bass cleaning and wood maintenance?
Do you recommend oiling the wood periodically (specifically for the Afterburner IIs)?
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 4
Razman Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
[quote="Smallmouth_Bass":2q3puq74]What about bass cleaning and wood maintenance?
Do you recommend oiling the wood periodically (specifically for the Afterburner IIs)?[/quote:2q3puq74]

Hi,

I have an older Voodoo with a glossy swamp ash body w/a maple laminate neck & pao ferro fretboard, and sheldon instructed me to use a good quality guitar polish on the body, Kiwi neutral shoe polish on the back of the neck (it only needs a small amount) and lemon oil for the fretboard. I also add some carnauba wax to the neck as the shoe polish tends to grab my thumb but the carnauba really makes it smooth and slick. I have also been experimenting with EagleOne Nano wax on the body and am happy with the results.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 5
Smallmouth_Bass Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
How long does it generally take for a neck to settle after making a truss rod adjustment?
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 6
Sheldon Dingwall Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Admin
0
Votes
Undo
[quote="Razman":16wmqub8][quote="Smallmouth_Bass":16wmqub8]What about bass cleaning and wood maintenance?
Do you recommend oiling the wood periodically (specifically for the Afterburner IIs)?[/quote:16wmqub8]

Hi,

I have an older Voodoo with a glossy swamp ash body w/a maple laminate neck & pao ferro fretboard, and sheldon instructed me to use a good quality guitar polish on the body, Kiwi neutral shoe polish on the back of the neck (it only needs a small amount) and lemon oil for the fretboard. I also add some carnauba wax to the neck as the shoe polish tends to grab my thumb but the carnauba really makes it smooth and slick. I have also been experimenting with EagleOne Nano wax on the body and am happy with the results.[/quote:16wmqub8]

What brand of carnuba are you using?

Watch out for waxes containing silicone. It causes repair headaches down the road.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 7
Sheldon Dingwall Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Admin
0
Votes
Undo
[quote="Smallmouth_Bass":107xrqxm]How long does it generally take for a neck to settle after making a truss rod adjustment?[/quote:107xrqxm]

90% of the adjustment will happen instantly. The last 10% about 24 hrs.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 8
Smallmouth_Bass Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
Yes, I believe I was also told to use small amounts of pure lemon oil to clean and Kiwi natual shoe polish for the back of the neck. I haven't required to clean the bass yet. The shoe polish works well but I wish it didn't make my bass smell like a shoe! They've got to come up with a flower scented natural polish or something. It only lasts for a couple of days anyway, so I guess it's not too bad.


No word on oil just for general upkeep of the bass for the bass to absorb, if required at all. I do however, try to keep the relative humidity around 40% and keep the temperature stable.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 9
grygrx Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
This might be dumb, but I didn't see it mentioned.

With Dingwall AB1 trussrod adjustments. Righty tighty, lefty loosey?
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 10
BurningSkies Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
[quote="grygrx":up01u23n]This might be dumb, but I didn't see it mentioned.

With Dingwall AB1 trussrod adjustments. Righty tighty, lefty loosey?[/quote:up01u23n]

Yup.

Just as god intended it.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 11
Razman Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
[quote="Sheldon Dingwall":2n5udjzo]
What brand of carnuba are you using?

Watch out for waxes containing silicone. It causes repair headaches down the road.[/quote:2n5udjzo]

Carseal billiard que wax. I'll have to check and see what's in it, but I think it is pure for the most part (no silicone). I'll check to be sure. I've had it for a long time (it's been a while since my pool-playing days) but it still seems to be good. I'm not sure if I can even get more of it anywhere.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 12
Razman Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
I found the can, here is what it is:
Karseal Cue Wax, made with #1 Carnuba wax. Also contains petroleum distillates.

Karseal Corp
11552 Hart St.
N. Hollywood, CA 91605

I Googled them and they still make the stuff; I'm sure you could find some at a billiard shop.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 13
Sheldon Dingwall Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Admin
0
Votes
Undo
Thanks Razman, I'll check into this too. I just need to confirm that it contains no silicones.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 14
Mark L Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
Has anybody used Trewax clear paste wax? It says it has carnauba, but how can you know if it contains silicone or not? It comes in a can like car paste wax, and at the rate I'm using it this can looks as if it will last about 100 years.

Sheldon, would you elaborate on how silicone damages the wood? I'm assuming that it keeps the wood from 'breathing' and creates an unbalanced finish. Also, since these type waxes have distillates in them, is the old wax removed with each new application, or will it build up? Is wax meant to be build up in layers?

Mark

Voodoo Zebra #3006
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 15
BurningSkies Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
I've got to be honest, I've only been using the Kiwi natural, as per the original instructions, and after the very first time, I haven't had any problems. At this point, I don't see a reason to deviate. I usually do this about once a month, and I do it at the same time that I switch out my strings (I always have a set soaking in denatured alcohol, ready to go).

- I wash my hands well, then I apply the wax using a paper towel, making sure that there is a thin but precieveable layer. I let the wax 'dry' in the same way car wax dried to cloudy. I also very carefully avoid getting wax on my hands...it'll track off on the neck later once I've polished it out, and it does make everything feel sticky, even after carefully washing your hands.

-I rub off the residue, using another papertowel. Sometimes, I do a second coat/removal.

-After I've used the papertowel, I get out a clean cotton (100%) cloth. I keep a pile of nice soft absorbent bar-cloths on hand, as I keep one in my case to clean my strings while/after playing (obviously, use a clean fresh one). I spend some time 'rubbing out' the neck, using quick light movements, repeatedly and for a while, until the neck feels smooth and slippery under the cloth.

-All done!


It's been working great.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 16
Mark L Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
When I first got my Dingwall, and before I learned how to wax my neck properly (our techniques are identical), I went to a humid outside gig and the neck, and my hands, were tacky all night. That was a [i:1n3l0tk1]bad night[/i:1n3l0tk1], as you can imagine.

I've used denatured alcohol for years, but I put it in a small contact lens solution bottle, stand my bass on end, then [i:1n3l0tk1]very carefully[/i:1n3l0tk1] run some down each string with a towel positioned by the bridge to catch any excess. Then wipe the string with a terrycloth towel. I usually repeat this twice with each string, and I try to do it after every gig/rehearsal. It definitely extends the life of the strings. I was forced to do this in the past to save money. Now I can afford to buy strings every gig, but I don't. The current set on my Voodoo is about a year old and it still has plenty of snap left.

When lived in Dallas they actually stopped selling denatured alcohol over the counter to just anybody because it is apparently used in meth labs! So then I turned to, don't laugh, Everclear, 190 proof grain alcohol!


Mark Voodoo Zebra #3006
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 17
Sheldon Dingwall Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Admin
0
Votes
Undo
[quote="guitarded":3tixi4ma]Has anybody used Trewax clear paste wax? It says it has carnauba, but how can you know if it contains silicone or not? It comes in a can like car paste wax, and at the rate I'm using it this can looks as if it will last about 100 years. [/quote:3tixi4ma]

That's one I haven't tried. I've tried Briwax and found it sticky. Johnson's and found it got cruddy feeling after a while.
Renascence is nice, but doesn't last very long.

I looked into Q-wax yesterday, but it looks like the company has either gone out of business, been sold to another or moved completely out of California.

[quote="guitarded":3tixi4ma]
Sheldon, would you elaborate on how silicone damages the wood? I'm assuming that it keeps the wood from 'breathing' and creates an unbalanced finish. Also, since these type waxes have distillates in them, is the old wax removed with each new application, or will it build up? Is wax meant to be build up in layers?[/quote:3tixi4ma]

Silicones absorb into the wood and paint, making future refinishing and gluing very difficult.

Usually the new wax will disolve the old and remove it. We've gone to immediate buffing after application to keep the buildup as minimal as possible.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 18
Mark L Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
I found out that Trewax (trewax@carrollco.com; www.trewax.com is silicone-free, just carnauba and distillates. It's made in near-by Garland , TX. It seems to last a good while (the $8 can is enormous, as big as maybe 6 or 7 shoe polish cans) and it even stays smooth at humid gigs. The instructions say to let it dry five minutes, but I wipe it off right away, then repeat a couple of times.

Mark
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 19
Geoff St. Germaine Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
I use Minwax Paste Wax. I really like the feel of it. I've tried the Kiwi as well... it seems to be a little more sticky to me.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Ask Sheldon
  3. # 20


There are no replies made for this post yet.
However, you are not allowed to reply to this post.