I have a bass.. I have questions..

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LuttiSLuttiS Frets: 958
Had it for a long time, toured, recorded and generally used it lots. 
I also haven't used it much for the past few years.

So uh.. strings are buggered and I think it could do with a set up. 
No idea what to do :)

Can anyone recommend strings to start? Don't know what guage so what does your average shop bought bass come with? 

And any tips on setting up? I don't play slappytap bass so what kind of action is reasonable? 

Fanks!
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  • TTonyTTony Frets: 14782
    I went to Strings Direct, checked the "standard" range of gauges and bought a set of 45-105 (IIRC) because they seemed fairly average, and not unduly heavy.

    Basses will be set up higher than guitars, if only because of the proportionately thicker strings.

    I've not managed to find a set of bass-sized nut files yet - and might not buy a set even if I did find them, just because I'd only need to use them once! - so my set-up was based on a straight neck, and saddles as low as they could go without causing a lot of fret buzz.  It could be lower if I could reduced the nut slot height.
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  • LuttiSLuttiS Frets: 958
    Thanks, will have a look.
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  • JezWyndJezWynd Frets: 2345
    Make sure you get the scale length appropriate for your bass. Then decide if you want flats or roundwound...
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15408
    Actually I find that most of my basses are comfortable at 1.5mm action at the 12th fret across the board, with a pretty straight neck. 

    On in a few it drops a bit more on the two high strings - so don't expect it to have to be higher than a guitar. 

    First choice is definitely flats or rounds. Once you have decided, it's then about tension, feel, sound etc..
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  • LuttiSLuttiS Frets: 958
    Rounds or flats.. erm.. in guitarist terms please, none of this bassist mumbo jumbo! 

    I guess rounds as my strings are round and never had a problem with then... ;)


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  • TTonyTTony Frets: 14782
    @Bridgehouse - do you have "proper" nut files for your bass set-ups, or is there a sneaky bassist trick to getting the slots to the right height?
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  • KoaKoa Frets: 34
    LuttiS said:
    Rounds or flats.. erm.. in guitarist terms please, none of this bassist mumbo jumbo! 

    I guess rounds as my strings are round and never had a problem with then... ;)


    Roundwound = growl and zing
    Flats= thud and thump

    there are some exceptions and of course tension can be higher with flats.
    Thomastik are a nice flat and some old Status flats I have are excellent. 
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  • NeilMcGNeilMcG Frets: 56
    The usual Fender-ish nominal setup is 12-15thou neck relief measured at the 8th fret with a capo on the 1st and the string held down on the last fret.

    Then action at 6/64in and first fret action at 20thou. I prefer 5/64in action myself with 12thou neck relief.

    There is a big ymmv in the setup though as it is down to preference, how hard you pick, how you tolerate fret buzz and how level your frets are. You may need to have a fret level done if you want a really low action.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15408
    TTony said:
    @Bridgehouse - do you have "proper" nut files for your bass set-ups, or is there a sneaky bassist trick to getting the slots to the right height?
    I use a guitar file for the G, and then I have a selection of carefully chosen thin needle files to shape the others.. 
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  • What bass is it, and what kind of sound do you want?

    For example I like a bright slightly scooped sound so prefer steel strings on my Fenders (I use D’Addario Pro Steels). 

    With some basses I prefer the warmer sound of nickel - eg Stingrays, on which I find steel strings a bit too aggresssive. 

    Personally I like D’Addario strings but can’t advise you on a gauge as I don’t tune to standard.
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  • LuttiSLuttiS Frets: 958
    Tbh couldn't be specific about what bass sound.. most bass sounds pretty similar to me.. ;)
    Don't actually have a bass amp so it's all going to sound pretty unplugged and flat.. mind you could dig out the hd500 think that's got some bass amp modelling involved.. 

    Think I'll go with the zing over the thud and experiment with height and stuff. 

    To start with a grimy run down... 10 years overdue.. 
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15408
    LuttiS said:
    Tbh couldn't be specific about what bass sound.. most bass sounds pretty similar to me.. ;)
    Don't actually have a bass amp so it's all going to sound pretty unplugged and flat.. mind you could dig out the hd500 think that's got some bass amp modelling involved.. 

    Think I'll go with the zing over the thud and experiment with height and stuff. 

    To start with a grimy run down... 10 years overdue.. 
    It's worth getting a set of rounds and a set of flats and comparing. You can take one off and reuse them as they last a lot longer than guitar strings and are happy being taken on and off. 


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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3246
    What bass is it?
    ^
    This.

    Without an answer, all other comments are pure guesswork.

    It does not matter whether the OP's instrument is a super deluxe custom order Alembic or a plywood Zenta. Make/model information will help to arrive at constructive suggestions and save wasting thinking time on irrelevant dead ends.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • DiscoStuDiscoStu Frets: 2869
    I bought a set for my bass a couple of years back. Went to fit them and a couple were too short to reach the machine heads! I had to order another set, this time extra long. Bass strings ain't cheap so that was a costly lesson. 
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  • LuttiSLuttiS Frets: 958
    It's a shine something or other.. Bought it way back when to record bass parts.. so naturally i ended up being the bassist in the band since i owned a bass :)

    Here's a then and now picture... Put you're cringe hats on! Should note that this is over 10 years ago...


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  • LuttiSLuttiS Frets: 958
    I'd like to say that it was a Halloween gig or something... But it wasn't..
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 7113
    D’addario EXL 220 XL  , which are 40-95s. 
    Entirely based on a recommendation by @fretmeister as good all rounders. 
    I thought they might be a bit light but in practice I wouldn't say so. 
    Dum dum dum, dum dum de dum, dum dum dum, dum dummmm.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32215
    LuttiS said:
    It's a shine something or other.. Bought it way back when to record bass parts.. so naturally i ended up being the bassist in the band since i owned a bass :)

    Here's a then and now picture... Put you're cringe hats on! Should note that this is over 10 years ago...


    They're perfectly adequate. Standard passive Jazz Bass electrics, full scale length and a small light body so you will definitely get plenty of zing with decent roundwound strings. If they have a failing it's the opposite, they can lack deep bass because of the light body, but an EQ pedal or an amp with decent controls will fix that - the HD500 should do. 40-100 or 45-105 strings are the standard for this sort of thing, roughly equivalent to what a guitarist would think of as "9s" or "10s".

    The furry glove probably helped take some of the brightness off it actually :).
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • LuttiSLuttiS Frets: 958
    I feel like the furry love glove really added  to the sound... 

    I always liked it as a bass. It got a lot of use a while ago..

    Before I started dating my wife I managed to smack her round the head with that bass at a gig... Lucky for the lightweight body :)
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