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Bass Guitar Setup


How to Set up a Bass Guitar



Bass Guitar Setup | How To Set Up A Bass

Page Update 3/7/2016


Bass guitar maintenance tips for musicians - Below we will give some simple bass setup tips and bass guitar maintenance tips.  If you are not sure how to setup, adjust, or maintain your bass guitar feel free to check out some of our tips below.  Otherwise take your bass to your local guitar shop as most guitar stores will adjust your bass guitar for a fee.  There are many options out there for any bass player who needs to have their bass setup properly. 

Please remember before working on your bass in any way, make sure you are unplugged from your amp to avoid any electric shock.  Consult a professional bass guitar technician at your local music shop.

Bass Guitar Maintenance Tips

  • Bass Guitar Polishing - It's a good idea to pick up a good guitar polish for your bass guitar.  The guitar polish should be applied only to the guitar body, and only if your neck is a gloss neck.  You do not want to apply polish to any bare wood or even the metal pieces on your bass.  Some polish may affect the finish of your chrome or gold tailpieces, knobs, or jacks on the bass guitar.  So get yourself a guitar chamois and polish in rub in a little on your glossed guitar body at a time in circles.  Then use a dry chamois to wipe down the area that you have polished.  Your bass should now shine and look like new.  Some guitar manufacturers are now making guitars with unfinished bodies.  Please make sure you are applying polish to only a finished guitar body that has a protective coating (typically Lacquer) over the paint.


  • Bass Neck Adjustment - Sometimes your bass guitar neck may become curved or arched toward the headstock of your guitar.  An easy way to check it to hold your bass up to a light.  You'll want to look from the body up to the neck and see if you see some curvature in the neck.  Most basses have an adjustment at the headstock of the bass that may be adjusted for this purpose.  You'll want to use a hex wrench or similar type tool for this adjustment.  Use quarter turns and keep checking the neck curve.  This is a trial and error process, but will do wonders with the playability of your bass with a straight neck.  By the way if your neck adjustment does not appear on the headstock it's most likely at the butt of the neck.  This is a more tedious adjustment because you may have to remove the neck and strings to get to the bass neck adjuster.  Visit this page on Truss rod adjustments for modern and vintage guitars.


  • How to String Your Bass Guitar - Restringing Bass Guitar -  Stringing your bass guitar is not as difficult as you may think.  Most basses have either a string through body or a string through bridge.  This just means you either start stringing your bass either through back of the body or through the bridge at the bottom of you bass body.  Usually start with your low E string or thickest guitar string on the 1st hole at the top.  String that through the nut (plastic piece at top of neck but below headstock) of the guitar and wrap a couple of time around the tuner and take string through the hole on that tuner .  Make sure you take the string through the hole but on top of the wrap you just made to hold down the wrap of the string.  Most guitar techs use pliers to pull and tighten the string and then cut any excess with some wire cutters.  These tips should help you string your bass guitar in an efficient manner. Learn more about stringing six string guitars as well.


  • Fret Buzz - Eliminating Bass Guitar Fret Buzz - If your getting fret buzz on your bass, your strings are likely to low and buzzing (rubbing to close to the frets) on the frets.  There are usually two easy ways to adjust for bass guitar fret buzz.  First, check the curve of your neck with the tips listed above.  Is your neck curved to much or to little?  If so straighten out your neck with your neck adjustment info given above.  Secondly, your bridge pieces may be set to low.  A lower setting on your adjustable bridge pieces may cause fret buzz.  The bridge pieces on a bass are usually the four ridged piece where the strings set on the bridge.  They usually have screws to adjust them up or down.  Try raising the pieces under the strings where you are hearing fret buzz.  It's a good idea to just raise them a little at a time until the buzzing sound disappears.  If you are not comfortable with this adjustment, most local guitar shops should be able to take care of this for you at a decent price.


  • Bass Pickup Height and Bass Pole Pieces - If your bass pickups are sounding a little weak, you may want to try adjusting your bass pickups to get them closer to the strings.  Some basses give you the option to adjust bass pickup height and bass pole pieces.  Adjusting both of these options should help you get a stronger sound from your pickups.  One word of caution, do not adjust to much as you will get out of phase type sounds from your bass guitar.  To adjust pickup height there are screws on either side of the pickup which usually raise or lower the pickup.  Make sure to just try small adjustments.  To raise or lower pole pieces, you need to have pickups with adjustable pole pieces.  The pole pieces are the metal pieces or magnets that you see in the middle of the pickup itself.  These pieces actually pickup the sound from the vibration of the strings on the bass.  If your pickups have adjustable pole pieces, you'll see a hex wrench slot or screw as the pole pieces.  One can raise or lower the pole pieces to change the hotness of the pickup.  Remember, a little adjustment goes a long way.  Visit our Guitar Pickup Adjustment page for more details on six string guitars. 


  • Bass Strap Locks - It's a great idea to get Guitar Strap Locks for you bass guitar.  They are easy to install and prevent your bass from falling from your strap while you are playing it.  Basically, Schaller strap locks work great, but I've seen other brands work just as well.  All you need to do is get a wrench and apply the locks to the strap itself.  Then, get a screw driver and remove the old strap buttons from your bass guitar.  Next, screw in the new strap button to the side of the body of the guitar where the old strap holders were installed.  Your bass guitar is now secure and won't fall during your next gig or show.
  • Guitar Pickup Wiring and Manufacturers - Check out this page for Bass Guitar Pickup Wiring sites for Fender, Gibson, Jackson, EMG, and many more along with Guitar pickup Manufacturers Listings