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Alembic Club » Alembic Basses & Guitars » Archive through March 17, 2005 » Problems with the adjustment « Previous Next »

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Username: just

Post Number: 3
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 3:44 am:   Edit Post


A few days ago I bought an Alembic Elan. The sound is great and it plays like heaven! But I am having e few problems with the adjustment of the bass. First of all the E-string doesn't sound as powerfull as the other strings. I have this problem also when I play without an amp. After some moments I found out the E-string doesn't lay as deep in the nut as the other strings. I use a 105mm string and it seems like the nut is actually made for a smaller gauge but got used to 105mm over the years. How can I make it fit well?
The second problem is a buzz allover the bass. I searched the threads and read a piece about some play in the bridge. This turned out to be the case, but I don't know how to help it. The connection between the bridge and the screws is very tight, but the screw can move a little at he points where they go into the bass.
I'm sure one of you can help me overcome these problems, so I can fully enjoy my piece of craftsmanship.


Username: davehouck

Post Number: 1419
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 4:54 am:   Edit Post

Congrats on acquiring an Elan!

If the groove for the E string in the nut is not wide enough, I suppose you could get some very light sand paper and gently widen it; or you could get a local luthier to do it for you. Or you could even order a new replacement nut from Alembic, specifying the string gauges you use.

Does your bass have a brass sustain block under the bridge, or does your bridge screw directly into the body?

Intermediate Member
Username: pace

Post Number: 131
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 5:13 am:   Edit Post

>>>The second problem is a buzz allover the bass.<<<<

any chance that this is due to hex-core strings?!?!
Username: just

Post Number: 4
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 7:02 am:   Edit Post

Thanks for your reactions. My bridge is screwed directly into the body. I don't have hex-core string but I must say the buzz seems to come from the strings itself, not from the nut or the bridge. I think it is in the whole body of the bass and might be generated in the bridge. Maybe I can try to fix the bridge, but I don't know how to do that without adjusting the height.

Intermediate Member
Username: son_of_magni

Post Number: 164
Registered: 1-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 7:33 am:   Edit Post

It sounds like you need to just go through the whole instrument and make sure nothing is loose. This means strap buttons, tuning machines (the nuts on top), pickups and pickup screws, and inside the battery and control compartments. And just as I typed that I realised what I would check first. One or both truss rods may be loose. That could cause a nasty and mysterious vibration over the whole instrument. Even if the neck curve is fine with no truss rod tension, I always snug the adjusters enough that the rods can't vibrate.

If none of those ideas help, and it's not the bridge saddles, then the next thing would be to replace the strings.
Good Luck - SoM
Advanced Member
Username: bob

Post Number: 370
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 11:38 am:   Edit Post

Start with SoM's suggestions - check everything, inside and out.

The fact that you have some play in the height adjusting screws for the bridge is normal, and with strings in place and tuned there should be more than enough pressure to keep these from moving. It's extremely unlikely that these two screws are causing your problem. (The recent discussion about bridge play was for individual saddles, riding on the intonation screws.)

As for the fit of your E string - be careful. I would recommend using a needle file (or better yet a nut slot file, but not many of us have those). Ideally, you'd like a half-circle groove that precisely fits the string. However, you don't want to cut it too deep because then the action won't be consistent with the other strings. You also want to have a well-defined witness point, i.e. you do not want to have a rounded, curved entry on the neck side of the saddle, and the back side of the slot has to be deep enough so that the string is fully seated on the front (neck) side.

If you're patient, have good eyes (or a magnifier), and understand the concepts, it's not too hard - otherwise, have someone do it for you.
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 1424
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 11:45 am:   Edit Post

Another thing to check is inside the control cavity. There is what looks like a short length of pipe that the wires go through; (I think it's called a bead). This normally has some felt or something soft to keep if from rattling. Check to make sure it's not loose.

There are four screws that attach the outside rails to the barrels of the bridge; you might want to check that those are tight.

If you are the type that likes to keep your bridge nice and shiny; you may eventually want to disassemble the bridge for polishing. So, if you are sure the rattling is coming from the bridge, this might be a good time to polish the bridge.
Username: just

Post Number: 5
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Friday, February 25, 2005 - 2:29 am:   Edit Post

Still cannot find the cause of the buzz. Truss rods are allright everything in the control cavity is fixed. Changed the height of the nut and the buzz seems to have gotten worse after I made it higher. But the nut seems allright and the buzz wont stop when I hold it. The center locking screw is fixed. I holded every single part of the bass but it won't go. Think I'll try new strings but I don't expect too much of it.
Senior Member
Username: the_mule

Post Number: 433
Registered: 1-2004
Posted on Friday, February 25, 2005 - 5:47 am:   Edit Post

Just, have you checked if the height-adjustable nut itself isn't loose or anything?

Username: mpisanek

Post Number: 8
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Friday, February 25, 2005 - 6:39 am:   Edit Post

I bought my bass second hand and it to buzzed. After going crazy I discovered that there was a cable vibrating against the plastic coverplate of the electronics compartment. To solve the problem I used a small piece of foam inserted into the compartment. Problem solved for me.

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