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Set-ups

  Tuesday, 20 September 2005
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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.
15 years ago
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#2188
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[quote="lomo":2hj135h9]I hope Sheldon will chime in on the Trewax vs Lemon oil issue. I've used lemon oil for years on fretboards and furniture, and it dries well. It's a very thin oil. In addition, as far as adhering to the principle of a balanced finish between fretboard and the back of the neck, what could be better than the same exact finish? Sheldon................................[/quote:2hj135h9] That was sort of my thinking on the subject as well. I was turned onto the tru-oil/gunstock wax by Ernie Ball as mentioned. My SR5 had a maple neck and fretboard, so I used on everything with good results. As recommended, I cleaned with lem oil the rest of the time. My ABI was the next bass I owned after that, so the same habits carried over. Really with my SR5 the tru-oil step was unnecessary, but I didn't know any better at the time. After building a couple basses and finishing with Tru-oil I have learned a few things. Tru-oil is a basically a hard finish, and if applied right, it shouldn't require touch up very often on the back of a neck. Occasional waxing should be sufficient. Fretboards may be a different story.
15 years ago
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#2191
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Hi guys. Thanks for all your input. I haven't tried Trewax, but you've piqued my curiosity. Lemon oil is mineral oil (baby oil) with lemon sent and coloring. It doesn't dry as much as it evaporates. It's a great cleaner for the fingerboard and can be used on the back of the neck. It's fine to use it on ABII bodies as well although it tends to make them look and feel "oily". Tru-oil is a popular product. We used it for a while, but found that it didn't stand up very well to certain types of perspiration. If you've tried it and it's working for you, then it's OK to keep using it. If the BC wax has silicones in it, I'd avoid it completely. The finish we use on the necks and ABII bodies currently is Lee Valley Gel Finish which is re-branded Behlen Master Gel. This is the best finish we've found so far.
15 years ago
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#2200
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It seems we're not on the same page I'm talking about 100% real, pure, lemon oil, from the seeds and skin of the yellow fruit (Enviro-Magic, pure Brazilian Lemon Oil-available via the net). My ex-brother-in law, a well-known (among French Quebecers) luthier turned me on to this for fretboards, but cautioned against anything other than the pure/real deal. Anyway, I gather that this is a reasonable choice for the back of the neck as well and I'm gonna try it.
14 years ago
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#5653
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Well, I'm bumping this thread as I recently got my used tung oil finished, honeycomb color Prima. It came with no papers/instructions on how to maintain the finish, so I'd like a simple answer with brand names and exact product names, as I will most probably have to order the products from the USA (for example kiwi shoe polish). I just want the bass to remain as it is, I love the smooth feel of the neck, don't want a wax that makes it any stickier. Thanks! BTW, would you recommend the Warwick beewax for any parts of the bass (if you're familiar with it)?
14 years ago
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#5705
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"Welcome back" bump!
14 years ago
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#5706
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[quote="Dragonlord":2lzd5o1h]Well, I'm bumping this thread as I recently got my used tung oil finished, honeycomb color Prima. It came with no papers/instructions on how to maintain the finish, so I'd like a simple answer with brand names and exact product names, as I will most probably have to order the products from the USA (for example kiwi shoe polish). I just want the bass to remain as it is, I love the smooth feel of the neck, don't want a wax that makes it any stickier. Thanks! BTW, would you recommend the Warwick beewax for any parts of the bass (if you're familiar with it)?[/quote:2lzd5o1h] How does Warwick wax feel on necks? If it is working for your Warwick and it's not making it sticky feeling it will be fine for your Prima.
14 years ago
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#5710
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Well, for the first few minutes it's a little sticky, but it's back to smooth soon. I was thinking, as the finish is tung oil, would I be better off using tung oil? I found this one: http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-LIFE-TUNG-OIL-S ... dZViewItem Is the finish on the neck also tung oil? Could I use this tung oil for the neck and body? How often should I apply it? Sorry for the rain of questions, it's just such an amazing instrument that I want to take as good care of it as I can.
14 years ago
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#5721
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When we use tung-oil, we use Minwax brand.
14 years ago
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#5839
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Sheldon, having some trouble! My Prima came with 5 black allen keys, which the previous owner said came with the bass... I tried to set up the bass last night, actually to add some relief to the neck as it was too straight... I figured that the thickest key would be the one for the truss rod, but I couldn't fit it in there. Finally, I managed to do it with the second thickest after quite a few tries... anyway, today I realised that it has developed this horrible buzz when fretting on the 6th fret... I saw that it came from the 5th fret. Now, I don't know if something can be done for it with the nut height (can it?), as my bass has a zero fret, but I thought I'd try anyway... but I couldn't fit any allen key in there! The second thinnest was too thin, the third thinnest seemed to be the right one but it was a little too thick. These seem to be the standard allen sizes, I've got another set and they were the same... Maybe the previous owner had messed with wrong allen sizes and damaged the inputs? Help please...
14 years ago
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#5840
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Hi Dragonlord. If the other set of allen wrenches you have are the same as the ones that came with the Prima, then probably they are metric (European) standard. You should try to find for American (inch realated) allen wrenches. Unfortunately not many hardware stores carry them
14 years ago
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#5841
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Dunno... that wouldn't make much sense though (to be european), as they came from the USA with the bass and they do seem to be the original wrenches.
14 years ago
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#5842
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Here's what I can tell you about the original tools for my '99 Voodoo: 4 of the five are standard (US) size, and one is metric. The trussrod tool is 9/64" on mine. I don't see any way the trussrod head could be stripped unless somebody got into a fight with it in the past. Did you set the neck relief per Sheldon's set-up instructions? http://www.dingwallguitars.com/forum/vi ... .php?t=530 I know that the neck on my Voodoo can be nearly dead-flat without buzzing. Does the buzz go away when you flatten the neck back out? Mark
14 years ago
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#5853
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[quote="Dragonlord":3oj9au66]Sheldon, having some trouble! My Prima came with 5 black allen keys, which the previous owner said came with the bass..[/quote:3oj9au66] Prima's of that vintage came with Ball drivers. They look like a cross between a screwdriver and a hex wrench. The key is that the adjustment end is shaped into a "ball". [quote="Dragonlord":3oj9au66] today I realised that it has developed this horrible buzz when fretting on the 6th fret... I saw that it came from the 5th fret...[/quote:3oj9au66] Something's not right. Is the buzz between the zero and 5th fret or between the 6th fret and bridge? If it's between the zero and 5th fret, a little more relief or a little less relief will cure it. Does the 5th fret have a groove worn into it? [quote="Dragonlord":3oj9au66] Now, I don't know if something can be done for it with the nut height (can it?).[/quote:3oj9au66] I recommend leaving the nut height as is. The only downside to a zerofret with straight string to tuner pathways is a little buzz can develop in the nut spacer slots. There is no real fix for this that I know of other than putting a small piece of thin cotton or tape around the string in the slot. This can be tricky because the gap is so small. Don't try to force the string into the slot. Let me know how you make out.
14 years ago
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#5858
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Sheld, thanks for the response. Only one out of five wrenches has the ball end... so I guess the seller messed it up and sent me the wrong wrenches? BTW I found an allen wrench at my guitarist's house that fits perfectly for the nut adjustment. So, can I buy a new set of wrenches from you for such an old Prima? The buzz occurs between the fretted... uhm.. fret and the nut. Not really sure on which fret exactly. The frets seem fine, so I guess it will be fixed as you said with some truss rod adjustment, only I don't have the tool to do it! BTW, funny that you said that about the nut spacer slots, because before I saw your reply I tried sticking a guitar pick there to make the string fit tight... I thought it stopped and that I had found what was causing it, but it appeared again a little later, so I think that is just reduced the problem. So I'll just wait until I get the proper tools to set the bass up... If you can't provide me the tools, could you please point me to a shop with the exact set I'm looking for? thanks
14 years ago
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#5859
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Hi Dragonlord, Buzzing between the nut and fingered note is more common on fretless', but is simple to dial out. We've been careful to not change screw sizes over the years. Our current wrenches will be compatible with your bass. Send me an email and I'll get you pricing on a set. The truss-rod wrench is a 9/64" ball ended hex.
14 years ago
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#5860
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Dunno, I'm confused, that's what I seem to have, yet I can't seem to get the ball end to clip into the truss rod. I'll try to borrow a newer set from fullrangebass sooner or later and see if it does the trick. After all, I only want to fine tune the setup, it is very playable as it is and the buzz isn't heard through an amp, as it happens very far from the pickups. Thanks
12 years ago
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#12019
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Sheldon, I have read the specs you noted for distance (fretted at 24th) in this thread, and have a question, I have an aggressive style and getting even close to those specs result in my hitting the string against the pick up - occasonally - leaving marks on the pick ups where the strings are rubbing over time on all strings (except the B) I want to max the sound quality - and wanted your advice on how far i could distance it with out starting to loose sound quality (it seems i notice a decrease when i back it off - not only of volume but tone and timbre) I love the sound based on keeping it close -but would prefer not to be wearing the Pick up Covers down...
12 years ago
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#12753
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Anybody ever use Clayton Guitar Care products? http://www.steveclayton.com/polish.html Specifically, their Carnauba wax? If so, how did it work for your Dingwall neck? Use any of their other products? i.e. guitar polish, etc. Thanks for any info!
12 years ago
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#12754
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I haven't tried those but I used Dunlop's System 65 kit with my old AB and was pleased with the results. http://accessories.musiciansfriend.com/ ... sku=425269
12 years ago
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#13737
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New Dingwall bump So, I've got a pretty bass in my hands and I'd like to keep it that way :) I know literally nothing about finishes and finish maintenance. Well, except for the things mentioned in this thread. I've learned that I need to oil the fretboard with lemon oil, and wax the body and neck. All kinds of brands have been mentioned here, and I'd need to tour the stores until I find something. How do I know when the body/neck/fretboard need to be taken care of? Or should I go by schedule? How do you wax a bass anyway (I'm yet to see a car waxed :oops::roll:) Also, what should I do to keep the strings clean? Except for playing with clean hands, of course. Should I just wipe them with something after playing, or get one of those Dunlop string cleaning kits? And now, the silly question. Is it bad if I keep the bass on a stand in my room instead of in it's case? It would be more exposed to moisture changes, but nothing radical. And the fine dust it would be exposed to does nothing? I guess it could get into string grooves, shortening string life. Better safe than sorry, heh.
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