So, I decided that I wanted to play an instrument and that I would try to teach myself to play the bass guitar. IDK, I need more hobbies like I need holes in my head (21 apparently).
I bought a used bass, and tried to set it up myself. It worked well enough, but I knew there was a ton of stuff wrong with the more I fiddled and played. The intonation kept drifting and I had a lot of buzzing from the strings hitting things. One of the first things I would need to fix was the worn nut. Tooling for that was about $150 so instead I decided that the best thing was to buy a new bass. I still want to fix the old one, but now I can learn how a properly set bass should behave instead of second guessing myself and spending more in time and effort then a replacement.
Like a few other items on the blog, these are some notes for me to self reference that I thought someone else could find useful.
Things to read
How to adjust the truss rod & action, after which you should set the intonation.
If your instrument sounds out of tune as you get further down the neck, you need to set the intonation.
Equipment I recommend
One thing that I’ve found is cheaper is not better, or necessarily versatile.
- Fender Mustang Micro Headphone Amp. This unit can connect to your bluetooth device as a speaker. So you can play along to bass tabs from youtube or music on your phone and not worry about ground loops. As an added bonus, the amp connects to laptop via USB-C as a sound card. And I believe the music being played over the bluetooth connection streamed out to the soundcard as well.
- Pedal Tuner. Seems to work well enough However, it isn’t the best for intonation, and you need a battery and cable.
- Stroboscope tuner is the standard for intonation (and with a price tag to match). But you may as well put the $30-$75 for a cheap tuner towards this and be done.
- Bass strap. I just liked how this one looked.
Equipment I Hate
- Vox Amplug 2. I hate this thing – using the aux port would give me a ground loop from hell and it never sounded right. The Mustang Micro was so worth switching to.
Other Misc Stuff
- bass guitar for dummies book
- Power supply to power just the pedal tuner
- Slinky Strings I like them, but I don’t know if they’re something for everyone or even every bass.
Have I mentioned I don’t really know anything about playing or working on the bass? I’ll figure it out.