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Username: dmldds

Post Number: 24
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, May 03, 2005 - 11:22 am:   Edit Post

Hi folks. This is my first post in this forum but have posted many to the Work in progress section as I am the proud owner of April's Custom Showcase SC.

I'm having an interesting problem which I didn't notice until I changed strings (from Alembic to Fodera)and messed with the bridge...the 5th fret on E buzzes...but it buzzes not toward the bridge but toward the nut (odd thing??). I've tried adjusting the bridge a bit since I set the action pretty low...I get no buzzing on the E string anywhere else.


Also, one thing I'm noticing about Alembics is just how low you can get the action without buzzing. Does anybody have any experience with the lowest settings they can achieve with their Alembics or SC in particular? That is how many 32nds on E,A,D,G at 12 th fret.


Dr. D
Intermediate Member
Username: jagerphan84

Post Number: 179
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, May 03, 2005 - 11:43 am:   Edit Post

I'm not an expert on setups, but I'm sure one of them will see this thread and add their thoughts soon. I think the local experts on setup/low action would include Roger and Joey (rogervtr and bigredbass, IIRC). One suggestion about the string buzz between the nut and fretting hand - maybe a small adjustment to the E side of the nut would take care of that. I believe you would want to loosen the center screw to unlock the nut, then adjust the appropriate side. If the buzz is only occurring in one place, the slightest adjustment may be all that's needed to give the string proper clearance.

Have no fear, the crusaders of low action are surely on their way!

Username: keith_h

Post Number: 39
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Tuesday, May 03, 2005 - 11:44 am:   Edit Post

Buzzing behind the fret is usually related to the height of the nut. If you went to a lighter gauge string they can sit lower in the slot and cause a buzz. Joey's post in the must reads has a real good procedure for initial setup and link to a setup discussion thread.
Joey's setup link:

Nice bass by the way. I love the blue color of the Buckeye Burl.

Advanced Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 400
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Tuesday, May 03, 2005 - 12:17 pm:   Edit Post

ALEMBICS can have a very low action IF your playing style allows it. It REQUIRES a lighter touch: You can't expect to lower the action to where you can barely get a cigarette paper between the string and fret, then go out and bash away with a heavy pick and complain that it buzzes.

As a practical matter, I think they can go lower action more easily because of the wonderful adjutable nut. Virtually any other bass would require you to file a litlle deeper, a little deeper, which is a tricky proposition if you're trying to get that last little fraction of an inch. On your SC, you just turn the allen screws in the nut: If you go past, just raise it back up. This is a WONDERFUL luxury.

This is why I say that ALEMBICs are the BEST instruments on which to teach yourself how to adjust your bass. The combination of the adjustable nut, the double truss rods, and the curved bridge with only two height adjustments (instead of each saddle separately)and the neck thru make for a very controllable package of variables. On a PBass for instance, you'd have a plastic nut, you'd adjust each saddle separately, and more likely than not, you'd at least have to pull the pickguard, and probably
unbolt the neck to get at the truss rod FOR EVERY ADJUSTMENT (plus, did you get the exact SAME neck set angle when you re-bolt it to the body?). It's no wonder very few bolt neck guys ever learn much about adjustment. I wouldn't go through all that, either.

If it were me, I'd raise the bass side of the nut just SLIGHTLY and see if it goes away; I'd bet it will. Keith graciously posted a link to some of my setup posts, hope they help.

Congratulations on a beautiful SC.

Best Wishes

J o e y
Username: dmldds

Post Number: 26
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, May 03, 2005 - 4:55 pm:   Edit Post

Hey guys,

Thanks for the rapid response. I thought about the idea of adjusting the nut, but my manual said adjust it only for open string buzzing. I'll give it a try.

I agree with Joey's comment about the ease of's incredible. I have a Spector which adjusting every single saddle separately is a has two screws per saddle and you can vary not only the height but also the pitch...and I wonder about the logic of that! The fact that the bridge is curved to compliment the radius of the neck makes adjustment a snap. One less variable to control. I never really thought of it, but there really is no reason to adjust every single saddle if the ideal is to match the curvature of the neck. Very simple indeed.

I am finding that I am able to really get the action down to very low stuff on this bass, like .06 " on the E and down to .04 on the G with very little buzzing at all. It's amazing.

Thank you all for the kind words on the bass. The detailing on it is really incredible. I find myself rediscovering it over and over all the time. She is a joy to play and behold.
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 1674
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Tuesday, May 03, 2005 - 8:06 pm:   Edit Post

"That's right officer, I bought these rolling papers just so I can check the action on my Alembic!"
Username: jetbass79

Post Number: 20
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - 1:49 am:   Edit Post

I always love the people who want their basses setup with what I call "stupid low" action (and this is no slam against anyone because I love basses set up this way) and then they freak out because it buzzes and I listen to them play and they play like they have a bow and arrow in their hands and they are trying to kill a water buffalo.

I have enjoyed reading that Entwhistle had a light touch because I do as well and I have been criticized by a teacher of mine who said 1) I needed super low action and 2) I needed to dig in a lot more. How ironic that Entwhistle was called Thunderfingers and yet he had a light touch?

(Bare in mind that I'm pretty sure Entwhistle has been referred to as Thunderfingers though I'm not a huge fan of his playing, nor am I much of a historian on him (don't pull the guns out on me please) as I have come from the Jamerson school of playing so I could be wrong about him as far as his nicknames)

I do have to disagree mildly with the point that Alembics are the best instruments to teach yourself how to set up on the basis that Alembics are more complicated and the novice could actually become more frustrated because of "excessive moving parts." An individual who does not know what they are doing with one truss rod can cause real un repairable problems. That being said, two truss rods can be double the problem in the wrong hands. Then you have the adjustable nut and bridge which can cause utter frustration.

It is true that old Fender Precisions built before 1983 have the inconvenience of having to pop off the neck to adjust the truss rod and then put it back on but come on, it's really quite easy if you know what you are doing. It's so easy that any of the 750 people CBS employed in the 1970s could assemble these things with ease. But for the alleviation of the inconvenience of adjustment, CBS came out with bullet truss rod adjustment at the headstock in 1971, which was a great idea. The owners of late '70s Fender Jazz Basses (I know you're out there) can certainly appreciate this feature. And not having to adjust a properly made nut (some of us have bone nuts on our Precisions) is one less thing to have to mess with. Simplicity is sometimes better.

I personally think once you have mastered the art of setting up a bolt on neck Fender (or whatever) you can then move on to something more complicated because a bolt on neck Fender (or whatever) is actually easy to set up. I have noted that some luthiers believe that the dual rod assembly in Rickenbacker basses actually does more harm than good, and maybe I am slightly biased in this respect because the 4003S I once owned had a neck that never stayed straight and yes, it sported two truss rods. Rickenbacker also believes that the dual rod assembly allows one to fix a twist, and this is simply not true, and there a weird company and whatever...

I do think the Alembic people do know what they are doing otherwise Entwhistle wouldn't have bought 15 Exploiter basses by himself.

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