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Kindness

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There are a few steps that should be taken each time an instrument is set up. Doing these steps in the proper order is critical to achieve the desired end result.

 

1. Tune the instrument to the pitch it will be played.

 

2. Set the relief.

 

3. Set the string heights.

 

4. Set the intonation.

 

5. Set the pickup heights.

 

 

Detailed explanation:

 

1. Tune the instrument to the pitch it will be played.

 

 

Everything about the setup process is interactive. In order to achieve a setup that works for you in the tuning you play, you need to start the process in the same tuning. This ensures the neck is under the same tension it will be while being played. This is a good time to point out that anytime you change string tension (e.g., changing gauges, changing from flats to rounds, changing tuning), anytime the humidity changes, etc. you should reset your bass. If you keep your basses in a consistent setup, in time you will be able to feel when the setup changes even slightly.

 

 

2. Set the relief.

 

 

Relief is the forward bow in the neck caused by the tension of the strings pulling the headstock of the bass towards the body of the bass. Basses play best when there is very slight relief. Not no relief, backbow is awful, but very slight forward relief. For example, Fender sets its relief at the factory to be 0.014

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