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How Do I Setup My Bass

Discussion in 'Bass Hardware, Setup & Repair' started by Florin, Sep 7, 2019.

  1. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi guys, I am in studio now, and before each album I do my best to have a good sound, and the first place I start is the setup of my basses.

    I play rather hard for this particular album, it is genre specific, so I have quite a few pops and clanks. Most of them can be "EQ'd" and "compressed" with the setup.

    1- ACTION is important for playability, avoiding buzz and all, but it also changes the sound of the bass. Lower action- more compression, Higher action- less compression more thump.
    I set the E side first, find the sweet spot there, and then adjust the G side so I have a consistent sound on all strings. Each half turn changes the way the bass sounds, so I adjust it until I like the sound and envelope.


    2- Intonation. I do it in playing position.


    3- Pickups.
    Many times I find myself EQ-ing out some boomy/ muddy attack in low B. Most of it can be solved by pickups action. I start to E side first, raise the pickups to about 2 mm, and pan to the bridge pickup only.

    If the pickup is too close, I hear a low thump, so I lower the pickup until it is in the right proportion. It is like an EQ and compressor, turn the screw until it sounds right, and reacts right to dynamics. It is a really fine tuning, much patience needed :)
    Then I set the G side, until it sound even all across the fingerboard. I don't like clanks on higher strings, so I lower them until the sound is nice and I have just the right top end.

    Then it is time for neck pickup setup, and consider what sound do I want from it. I am using both pickups so I personally want a steady low end, that's it, no booms, no clanks, and leave the attack for the bridge pickup. I don't worry about the volume being the same with the bridge pickup, as I rarely change the pickup position during session.
    I play some hard notes on low B and lower the pickup until all the nasty thump goes away, and I get a steady subby sound. After I am happy with it, I setup the G side.



    I hope it helps, good luck guys and give me some feedback!
     
  2. Hardy

    Hardy Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Now this is a complete guide!
     
  3. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    No offence... but that is the weirdest advice I have read in a long time concerning getting a good tone.
     
  4. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    Well, then 2.5 mm for bridge pickup, and 2.5 mm for neck pickup with string pressed at 24'th fret is the standard setup for Warwick basses :) Or listen carefully how each turn of the hex and screwdriver changes the sound of your bass :)
     
  5. StreamerII84

    StreamerII84 Warwick Endorser

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    Warwick has recommended 2mm pickup height too. Using a 2mm pick as a reference, I set my bridge at 2mm from string to pickup and the neck the same with the strings depressed at the last fret only for the neck pickup. Raise or lower the neck to taste.

    PS: Through experience i've found that the pickups have to be as close as recommended to get the best tone, the neck may be a bit lower to volume balance (i.e 2.5mm), then you EQ the bass to taste. I am against the "pickup height for tone" argument with active pickups, passive pickups mileage may vary, but i only play active at this point
     
  6. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    You just said that you get the best tone around 2mm for low B :)
    That is "pickup height for tone", mate! Warwick factory setting is 2.5, you actually prefer closer. Also Warwick sets G string side closer, you set it lower.
    For most active Warwicks, yeah, I do get the best tone around recommended values, for some not even close. I can put my finger between strings and pickups on my PP CS Streamer for example. So is action, I am usually comfortable in 2.5- 3mm area, but each bass has it's sweet spot for me.
    You like 2mm area, you may find that a bit of fine tuning around that value could give you an even better sound.
    It doesn't matter, active or passive, the tone and envelope do change a lot with each screwdriver turn, you can easily test it by pressing the pickup with the thumb while playing, my point is why not using this in your advantage? You are already doing this as you said, your sweet spot is different thant he factory setting.
    Standard factory settings are just the starting point, they may work for some, but not for everybody. They never worked for me.
    ..................
    I prefer to do this before any compression and EQ-ing, especially when I am tracking alone in my home studio. I play rather hard, so it is much easier to avoid the unwanted thumps by setting up my bass than EQ-ing and compressing them out. This way the producer gets a full body sound that needs minor tweaks. I can play as I normally play (hard), and the producer can use EQ and compression to shape my final sound, not to correct unwanted thumps, which will finally lead to a poor sound.
     
    kitsapbass and Chemojay like this.
  7. Chemojay

    Chemojay

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    Wanna hang out saturday and set up basses? lol
     
    Florin likes this.
  8. Hardy

    Hardy Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    My wrists are hurting, I need a break for maybe two weeks. Yes, I will set up and clean my gear. No parties, no cinema, no playing... Only boozing is not satisfying. Just ordered some new strings, tone knobs, I have two brass bridges and a drop D tuner to install... Damn, I wanna play, not wipe dust! :mad:
     
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