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String tension (yes - strings again; different bass though): feels higher

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  • String tension (yes - strings again; different bass though): feels higher

    Check me here...

    Just upgraded the fretless neck on my Jazz copy. Same 34" scale same number of frets, went to jazz profile neck from P profile. Everything else constant: strings, tuners, bridge, etc... Strings are D'Addario XL Nickel .110's, my preferred gauge.

    I've been slowly tensioning the truss rod over the last few days for my desired neck relief (Gary Willis method for those who might ask). Ultimately shimmed the neck just a little with a business card shim to lower the action. 

    After all this - here is where I stand:
    -Neck relief is acceptable - pretty flat.

    -Action is still higher than I desire (~4 to 4.5 mm at the 12th fret marker unfretted, about 2 to 2.5 mm at 7th fret marker when fretted at first fret and last fret. G string seems a little higher, but I haven't measured it.).

    -Most importantly: String tension feels higher than I am accustomed to with these strings and some normal fretless techniques seem harder and it is more difficult to keep the string fingered against the board.


    As far as I am aware; string tension is a function of string gauge, scale length, and pitch. Therefore truss-rod tension (i.e. too high) and neck shimming should not affect string tension once I have re-established proper tune (this bass usually lives at E-A-D-G and occasionally in D-A-D-G)

    So, what gives? Why does this feel so weird? It stands to reason that higher string tension would require higher truss rod tension to maintain set-up parameters; am I wrong? 

    What else should I check and/or adjust? The truss-rod has approximately 2 full turns on it from when I received it and I assume it was de-tensioned as the seller cannot verify one or the other.

    I'm stumped. At a point where I'm deciding whether to return to the original neck and sell this one off or get over my fear of continuing to tension the truss rod to try to lower the action.

     

    Advice? Thoughts? Blatent Criticism? Recommendations to give up bass and take up needlepoint?

    Thanks.

    The poster formerly known as Pawn Shop Rig<br><br>Wanted:<br>*SansAmp BassDriver Deluxe<br>*Fretless Acoustic 4-string ($200)<br><br>PM me if you're looking to unload one...<br><br>Rig: BTB1000 / SX 62JBF w/ Squier Ebanol Fretless neck / Roadstar II --&gt; GK MB210

  • #2

    Cyclical wrote:

    -Neck relief is acceptable - pretty flat.
    -Action is still higher than I desire.........about 2 to 2.5 mm at 7th fret marker when fretted at first fret and last fret...........
    -Most importantly: String tension feels higher than I am accustomed to with these strings and some normal fretless techniques seem harder and it is more difficult to keep the string fingered against the board.


    That 2 to 2.5mm is relief. And 2.5mm on a fretless isn't what I'd call flat.

    If that relief is more than you had before what you think is added tension could be you having to push the strings down farther and/or harder to reach the fingerboard.

    You're right that the same strings at the same pitch and the same length will have exactly the same amount of tension. Truss rod tightness has nothing to do with it.

    How much relief did you have dialed into the previous neck?

    Are your bridge saddles lowered all the way down?

    Comment


    • Cyclical
      Cyclical commented
      Editing a comment

      Good questions. Thanks for replying.

      Bridge saddles are as low as possible while keeping strings in profile with the neck; so yes.

      I wish I had measured the relief on the other neck; alas I do not have that dimension as a guide.

      My main bass which I love the setup of (which is fretted) is about 1.5mm off the frets when fretted at first and last. (sorry for the approximate measurements - my digital calipers' battery is dead.

      Perhaps I'm all screwy on this afterall. I was beginning to think that I understood it... .png" alt=":smileysad:" title="Smiley Sad" />

      If I am understanding correctly, you're suggesting that there is still too much neck relief and that the truss rod needs to be tightened more. Am I on track there?


  • #3

    String tension and fretting pressure are not the same thing.  Higher strings require more fretting pressure and that is probably what you are feeling as extra "tension".  Get the strings to the proper height before anything else.

    Well, I'm not sure how much I can respect any man who takes Lug seriously - King Kashue
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    Comment


    • Cyclical
      Cyclical commented
      Editing a comment

      I think you're right on topic there, lug - that made a lot of sense related to what I am experiencing and trying to describe.

      Here's the latest:

      Put a small (< 1 mm) block under the neck and the action seems to be improving. I've adjusted the bridge saddles a little to try to improve the situation some too. Enough 1/8th turns on the truss rod that I have lost count...hopefully not to my demise. It is feeling tight, but o.k. compared to one of my fretted basses. Currently, the unfretted action is sitting in the 3 - 3.5mm range at 12th line with fretted string height somewhere south of 2mm at 7th line. I'm getting toward what I want, but not there yet.

      When playing, the E and A are buzzing on the fretboard at around  the 15th/16th fret line. 

      After letting the bass sit for the night to catch its breath, I think my next step is going to be to go to a little less dramatic shim in hopes of removing the above described buzz on the E and A. I'm reluctant to do much more on the truss rod unless someone else advises otherwise (which I'm sure would be hard to do without feeling how tight it is and seeing the relief.

      Thanks everyone for chiming in. Any more thoughts?


    • lz4005
      lz4005 commented
      Editing a comment

      lug wrote:

      String tension and fretting pressure are not the same thing.  Higher strings require more fretting pressure and that is probably what you are feeling as extra "tension".  Get the strings to the proper height before anything else.


      That's what I said on Thursday.

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