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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.
12 years ago
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#13738
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Bocete, Since your AB-2 is fretless, I believe the fingerboard is coated, and shouldn't need lemon oil for the wood. For your strings, you should think about doing what some of use do. Wipe them down after playing with a cotton cloth. Then once they start sounding 'dead' to you, take them off and soak them in denatured alcohol for a bit then they'll be close to new sounding. I rotate between two sets of strings, so that I always have one in the alcohol, and one on my bass. That way I never have a time without a set on my bass.
12 years ago
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#13739
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Ivan no. The fretboard is epoxy. Do not oil it as Burning was stating too. With that finish the best thing to do is nothing but wipe it with a dry rag. I never put anything on the bass or cleaned it and it still looks close to factory new. Washing your hands before you play is about the best thing you can do to extend string life. If you use denatured alcohol on them be sure to take them off the bass 1st as alcohol will remove that natural finish. I have an '05 ABII-5 that I've never oiled, no need to. I didn't touch the bridge either. Sheldon IMO nailed the intonation so if I wanted lower action I would straighten the neck (tighten truss rod) or losen to add more relief for slightly higher action. I would leave your bass out if you're going to be using it because you want the bass to do what it's going to do in your climate. That fretless hung high on a wall throughout it's life.
12 years ago
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#13743
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Depending on how much you sweat, your body chemistry and how much you play there may be areas of the bass that become dryer and other places that tend to collect more body oils.I find microfiber clothes are great for wood(any finish), plastic and all types of metal, and because they're lint free I find them to be the best way to detail a bass without having to use any cleaning agents.An auto parts store is a good place to pick them up.
12 years ago
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#13801
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I've bought a microfiber cloth, cleaning the bass after playing it. I also started bringing a towel to rehersals, I've noticed my hands get very sweaty so I clean them between songs. The strings are still clean :wink: As for the denatured alcohol - I've got a bottle of some industrial-looking alcohol, but it says "raffinated ethanol". I'm not sure raffinated is the same as denatured, but what do I know. Also it's 96% whatever, so if the other 4% is water the strings will rust. Will they? Anyhoo, where can I buy something I'm sure to be denatured alcohol? A paint store, I guess? I'm not sure how "denatured" translates to Serbian (i.e. couldn't google it :roll:) so I'm not sure I'd get the right kind of alcohol if I went to the wrong place to look. Thanks.
12 years ago
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#13802
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The difference in the US between regular alcohol and denatured alcohol is that reg alcohol is 76% which won't really be effective as an adhesive remover/solvent. Denatured is 91%, really effective solvent w/out being industrial. The percentage of H2O leftover will not rust the strings. Take the strings off the bass when using denatured 91% alcohol. [quote="Bocete":3ur2x7ms]I've bought a microfiber cloth, cleaning the bass after playing it. I also started bringing a towel to rehersals, I've noticed my hands get very sweaty so I clean them between songs. The strings are still clean :wink: As for the denatured alcohol - I've got a bottle of some industrial-looking alcohol, but it says "raffinated ethanol". I'm not sure raffinated is the same as denatured, but what do I know. Also it's 96% whatever, so if the other 4% is water the strings will rust. Will they? Anyhoo, where can I buy something I'm sure to be denatured alcohol? A paint store, I guess? I'm not sure how "denatured" translates to Serbian (i.e. couldn't google it :roll:) so I'm not sure I'd get the right kind of alcohol if I went to the wrong place to look. Thanks.[/quote:3ur2x7ms]
12 years ago
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#13803
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[quote="Funkshwey":2mw0iboj]The difference in the US between regular alcohol and denatured alcohol is that reg alcohol is 76% which won't really be effective as an adhesive remover/solvent. Denatured is 91%, really effective solvent w/out being industrial. The percentage of H2O leftover will not rust the strings. Take the strings off the bass when using denatured 91% alcohol. [/quote:2mw0iboj] Thanks. When the strings get dirty I'll soak them in that 96% alcohol I've got. Worst case scenario, the set is ruined so I'll have to use a new set. Btw, [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denatured_alcohol:2mw0iboj]wikipedia[/url:2mw0iboj] states that absolute alcohol (ethanol) is very expensive because it can be used to manifacture drinkable alcohol. Denatured alcohol is just spoiled ethanol, mixed with stuff to make it undrinkable. Why do that? To make it exempt of alcohol related taxes. Most of the time you can use absolute alcohol instead of denaturated alcohol with no trouble - but the latter is a lot cheaper. Interesting :)
12 years ago
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#13808
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denatured alcohol is ethanol mixed w/ low quality methanol (wood alcohol), a denaturant, its pretty toxic to drink, but it act similarly to ethanol
12 years ago
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#13837
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You can also use Everclear (grain alcohol) from the liquor store, but it's very expensive compared to the denatured stuff. On the plus side, you can drink it, but be very careful. It's powerful stuff! Mark
12 years ago
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#13838
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[quote="guitarded":3c1x96w0]You can also use Everclear (grain alcohol) from the liquor store, but it's very expensive compared to the denatured stuff. On the plus side, you can drink it, but be very careful. It's powerful stuff! Mark[/quote:3c1x96w0] Haven't had a sip in 5+ years :) I'm gonna give it a shot with the alcohol I have here, as soon as my strings get dirty. I think it'll work perfectly.
12 years ago
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#13842
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I don't think you can get everclear here - it's illegal. Closest we have is B-151 (151 proof). Seems to me you may as well get the cheap stuff and save the expensive stuff for drinking - it may burn, but it's good! :D I've always just boiled strings. I don't know if that's the best way to clean them, but it seems to work for a short while. Not too concerned about rust on stainless strings --> I don't live by the ocean.
12 years ago
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#13847
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[quote="TheGrandEnigma":1w15sa7q]I don't think you can get everclear here - it's illegal. Closest we have is B-151 (151 proof). Seems to me you may as well get the cheap stuff and save the expensive stuff for drinking - it may burn, but it's good! :D I've always just boiled strings. I don't know if that's the best way to clean them, but it seems to work for a short while. Not too concerned about rust on stainless strings --> I don't live by the ocean.[/quote:1w15sa7q] I've done both, and I can positively state that the denatured alcohol route is much better than boiling (its been about 15 years since I boiled, but I DO use denatured alcohol regularly).
12 years ago
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#13863
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[quote="BurningSkies":2oh0yd7h][quote="TheGrandEnigma":2oh0yd7h]I don't think you can get everclear here - it's illegal. Closest we have is B-151 (151 proof). Seems to me you may as well get the cheap stuff and save the expensive stuff for drinking - it may burn, but it's good! :D I've always just boiled strings. I don't know if that's the best way to clean them, but it seems to work for a short while. Not too concerned about rust on stainless strings --> I don't live by the ocean.[/quote:2oh0yd7h] I've done both, and I can positively state that the denatured alcohol route is much better than boiling (its been about 15 years since I boiled, but I DO use denatured alcohol regularly).[/quote:2oh0yd7h] I'll give that a try, thanks for the tip. :)
12 years ago
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#13867
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I used to boil, but I'm pretty sure that repeated heating eventually breaks down the strings. I noticed more broken G strings, even with stainless. I use the alcohol method. Mark
12 years ago
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#13941
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So how long should one soak a set of strings in denatured alcohol?
11 years ago
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#16214
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[quote="Bocete":31426lvt]When the strings get dirty I'll soak them in that 96% alcohol I've got. Worst case scenario, the set is ruined so I'll have to use a new set.[/quote:31426lvt] So I did put a new set, I think it was in December last year, I don't know precisely. I soaked them in alcohol, and put on a shelf: the plastic box was closed tight so alcohol would evaporate. So, Today is ~5 months later. I took the old strings off the shelf. They were soaked in alcohol ever since I put it there. The strings are somewhat rusty: I wish I could get a picture to show how much. It's really minor, there are only a few rusty spots; most of the length is pristine. However, I would say that the set is ruined. It almost looks as if the dirt between the string winds got rusty, not the string. I haven't succeeded in removing much, though. Weird. By the way, washing hands before playing and cleaning the string with some cloth after really does the trick - my current strings are still perfectly clean and sound pretty good. I can't say just how brighter a new set would be, but it's still a pretty bright sounding bass. I still roll off treble a bit. I only took the old set from the shelf to see how they're doing.
11 years ago
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#16216
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5 months huh? I don't think I would have soaked them longer than overnight, but I've never done the alcohol treatment on strings before. Too bad about the strings. :(
11 years ago
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#16218
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If the alcohol is 96%, possibly the other 4% is water. Try the overnight and let dry method next time.
11 years ago
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#16219
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Yeah, I should have thought it out better. Too bad about the set; I still have a spare one though, and these I use already play just well. When looking at the minor (but severe enough) rust after all this time, I guess leaving the strings overnight won't do any damage. On the bright side, the strings are indeed clean. Apart from the rust, there's no dirt whatsoever :lol:
11 years ago
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#16229
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5 months in 4% water is too long. I will only soak mine for a couple of days. They never sound like new strings, but they do come close. Mark
11 years ago
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#16233
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To be honest, it's probably not 4% water. Denatured alcohol is pure alcohol that is poisoned to forbid it being used to make alcohol drinks. So the 4% is probably not water. Besides, the strings are mostly rust-free, with an occasional spot of length 2-3mm that got very rusty. It's possible that there were air bubbles or something in the string that caused the rust on those rare areas. If it were water in the alcohol, the entire string would be rusty. Still it's ruined. When this set gets dirty, I will soak them for a few days, then take them out of the alcohol and keep in a moisture-free box until they're needed once again.
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