To be precise, a bass guitar or simply a bass is a musical instrument which looks somewhat same as that to an electric or an acoustic guitar. However, one thing which differentiates the bass guitar from the normal guitars is that the bass guitars tend to have a longer neck and higher scale length. Apart from this, a typical bass guitar also has an extended number of strings, which range from 4 to 6 in numbers. The bass guitars played a crucial role in the late 1960s to bring the rock music to the mainstream media.
Talking about the functionality, most of the bass guitars which consist of four strings are tuned with the same procedure as that of a double bass guitar. Mostly played with the thumb or the index finger, the bass guitars have an option of being played with a reinforced pick. Most of the bass guitars are powered by an electrical source and should be connected with an amplifier as well as a speaker to enable the audiences to hear it loud and clear.
How high should bass action be?
Now, the question which arises over here is how high should the bass action be? Well, in order to know the correct amount of base which is required for particular music, you will need to adjust various parameters and set up your bass guitar as per the requirements of the particular song. So, in the following part of the article, we will be discussing the two most critical parameters which are needed to set up a bass guitar, the truss rod and the action.
Well, in order to set up your bass guitar, you will need to think about the most basic element of a bass guitar, which is a loud sound as well as a big and dominant tune. This also incorporates all the high scale vibrations and terrific waves a bass guitar can create. For keeping this in mind, you will need to set up your bass guitar in a way such that it compliments your playing style as well as the kind of music you require. So, be it a Jazz player or a rock band, the basics of your bass guitar play an important role to take the essence of the music to a whole new level.
However, before commencing the setting up of your bass guitar, you will be needing some important tools, which are listed below:
- A large Philips screwdriver
- Spanner wrench
- Allen keys
- Socket spanners
- A 6-inch scale with graduations of 0.5mm
- An electronic tuning equipment
- A neckband in order to secure the bass
- And last but not least, an active pair of ears.
Truss Rod Adjustment
Adjusting the pitch and the neck rest of your bass guitar is, perhaps, the most initial step for adjusting and setting up your bass guitar. Technically speaking, the neck rest of your bass guitar determines how much your neck will move apart from the strings of the guitar. However, one thing which you should notice here is that you should keep checking the conditions of the strings. If you feel that the strings have become old and are not producing a fine-tune, you should replace them at the earliest.
- Firstly, you will need to install your neck rest. So, in order to do this, you will need to install a capo over the first fret of your guitar. Now, once this is done, you will meet to hit the least pitched string on the location where the neck and the body meets
- Now that you have installed a neck rest on your guitar, you will need to check how comfortable you are with it. If you find that the neck rest is leaned towards the string set of a guitar, you will need to adjust the truss rod in a counter-clockwise direction. This will help to ease up the excessive fret on the other strings and will give you a uniform bass action.
- However, on the contrary, if you have too much space, you will need to adjust the truss rod in a clockwise direction. This is because if the distance is too much it will create some buzzing noises at the bottom side of the fret and hamper your bass action.
Adjusting the Action
Now that you have adjusted the truss rod perfectly, you will need to focus on the distance which the sound waves have to travel on the strings from the fretboard. This particular activity is known as the action adjustment and plays a very important role on the bass action of the guitar. This is because once the distance increases, the sound waves travel longer and thus, the bass action reduces and vice versa.
Why is a bass guitar important in a rock band?
Have you ever seen someone building a house? Well, if the answer is yes, then you must have an idea about the importance of a good foundation. Well, in similar terms, if a rock band needs to perform to its epitome, the bass guitar acts as the foundation of their music.
Frankly speaking, the bass guitar acts as a vital connection between the drummer and the other members of the rock band. The basic purpose of a bass guitar is to mingle with the drum set and ease up the flow of the overall beat of the music. Apart from the main beat, the combination of drums and bass guitar is also important to enhance the pulse, warmth as well as the core of the music, so that each and every person can feel all the beats and instruments involved in that particular music.
So, by following the above mentioned simple steps, you can determine how high the bass action should be of your bass guitar and how to alter and adjust the parameters to change the bass action. Although these adjustments are very crucial, yet, the overall quality of the music depends on the guitarist and one should perfect the art of playing the bass guitar to create some amazing pieces of music.
I am working as Artist Manager/Music Supervisor at 72 Music Management.
Managed album to Grammy Award in 2017 with 7 Nominations from 2014-2020.
Clients: A.J. Croce, Blind Boys of Alabama, Bobby Rush, Dom Flemons, Dustbowl Revival, Sarah Grace
Governor of the Memphis Chapter of The Recording Academy
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