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The right action

Kronisk
Posts: 19
8 months ago
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This video at has made me think about how I have my bass set up.
I have the action set fairly high because I like to really press down on my strings, but this video and the way the string's vibration is travelling through my fingers and hurting them, is making me rethink that.
Can you share with me any insights into how you set action or hold the strings down? I feel that I need to rebuild my techniques from the ground up.
2nick3
Posts: 512
I agree with every point he made in that video. Rhett's a great guitar player, and a lot of the stuff he covers applies to bass as well.

I'm also guilty of playing too hard, but I have gotten a lot better with it. Getting the action down is a big part of it, but learning how hard is hard enough is the real key. Rhett demonstrates it a bit in the video - play the note, then release a bit of pressure and play it again. Keep doing it until it finally sounds bad, then go back to playing a bit harder. That's as hard as you need to play it. It's a good exercise to combine with the “Play every X on the fretboard” exercise. Get the touch right on every G on the board, then when you start playing whatever you're going to you'll play with a lighter touch. When you feel you're playing too hard again (at first it would take me seconds to go back to it) do the exercise again to lighten up.

It's amazing how much smoother, cleaner, and faster I can play now with the lighter touch. Well worth the time to work on it. And no more Popeye forearms, either!

Kronisk
Posts: 19
Thank you for your response. I am always a bit set in my ways and going to extremes with things like the action or tunings. It is only a matter of time before I start tuning my five-string down to A or G#. Haha. Sometime in the near future I will start lowering the action and going through this exercise until I have a better understanding of how hard is hard enough. I still hope there is a technique to determine how high the action really needs to be, however. Maybe I can dig around on YouTube and find a video with advice about that. Anyway, cheers…
2nick3
Posts: 512
One of the negatives of higher action combined with playing hard is you are more prone to getting the “clack” sound as you fret a note. I hate that “clack”. It drives me crazy. Crazy. The way I've been controlling it is to spin down the tone control on the bass itself. Which really impacts the overall tone.

For doing your own setup Elixir Strings has a very good tutorial. The first (of 4) sessions is here:



There are other good ones, where you may pick up some other tips, but that one is pretty complete.

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