No Luthier, but I can adjust the height action on my bass!
Oh, it’s so cringing, as I think back about it. *Hides face in shame*. When thinking back to my very first post, almost a year ago, when reflecting on my very first purchase of a bass guitar (Fender Player Mustang short scale bass). At the time I had praised the instrument but had complained of fret buzz on the A-String when playing a B note. At the time my wife warned me that I sounded like such a newbie, and people would laugh when reading the post because I sounded so clueless. At the time, I felt hurt by her comments, but in hindsight she was totally right. How embarrassing!
Well, it’s 12 months on and I’ve learnt a thing or two now. After purchasing bass guitar No. 2 and 3, each of those instruments coming with a plastic baggy with tools, it then enlightened me that with these bits and pieces I could adjust my guitar until it suited me and my playing style. One guitar came with a thin stainless steal rod (which I still don’t know what it does); that guitar also came with a very fine j-shaped hook (again, don’t know what it does); and both guitars 2 and 3 came with an Allen key (this I do know what it does). So, after listening to a few Youtube clips (as I’m completely blind), I’ve learnt to carefully insert the Allen key into the small holes in each section of the saddle bridge, and by turning it clockwise, it moves the component which then raises the string ever so slightly. And then low and behold, my fret buzz issue went away! Hallelujah!
And you don’t have to be too precise with your adjustments, I’ve heard videos where the person is measuring the height of the string at this or that fret marker. But in my opinion, I just kept adjusting the height action until I could play each string on each fret without hearing the dreaded sound of fret buzz. Then I packed my Allen keys away and I felt pretty chuffed with myself. Haaha.
So now gaining some confidence with DIY guitar adjustments I started looking into changing out strings. As I wasn’t satisfied with my fourth guitar (and I’ll leave that story for another day). In my opinion the 4th guitar came with cheap strings, thus it created a reverb sound which was so unpleasant that it was almost unplayable, unless you turned the amp right down to 20%. And I had come across 2 Youtube clips where they had the same guitar as me and they had changed their stock strings to flat wound strings, and then their guitar sounded awesome! So, I went and bought the very same strings in an attempt to replicate their sound. The strings they both used were the La Bella Deep Talkin’ Bass Flats for short scale bass guitars.
At $99 Aussie dollars (the cheapest seller), it’s a bit pricy, but from all accounts La Bella’s were the best out there!
And prior to purchasing the strings, I sat down with my wife and watched a few Youtube clips of people changing out their guitar strings. At first I was going to take the guitar to a music store so they could do it for me (for a small fee), but after seeing how easy it was, I was keen in giving it a go!
So, just before hitting ‘add to cart’, I test removed and re-strung the guitar. And it was really quite simple. Before trying, I had a crazy notion that it might be dangerous for a non-sighted person to be trying this themselves. I pictured the string snapping out under tension and whipping me up-side-the-head. But nothing like that happened, by reducing the tension in the string, by the time it’s ready to be wriggled free from the tuning peg, the string is literally limp like a paralysed earthworm. And you just need to feed it out of the bridge holes and job done!
Replacing it is just as easy, the main thing is to make sure you feed the end of the string deep into the tuning peg hole, all the way in, and when winding it up, make sure that the string comes out at the bottom, not the top. And if you follow these simple rules, changing strings is pretty fool-proof.
So, after a week the Labella’s arrived, and their truly something else! To date I’ve only played guitars with Round wound strings, and all I’ve known is that rough feeling of the strings under your fingertips. But these Flats! They almost feel like plastic, perfectly smooth thick plastic strings, but their metal alright. As before they were tightened up, they stuck to the pick-up magnets, and it took a sharp tug to remove them away.
And the only tricky thing with stringing up a new set of strings, was the trimming of the strings down to the right length. I had to borrow some plyers from my dad, and before making the cut you need to ensure that you had enough length left to wind the strings twice round the tuning peg. But once that’s done it’s all straight forward from there! And once they were strung out, tuned perfectly to their key, they’re something to behold! The La Bella strings are so smooth, so easy to play, and so deep sounding! I think I’m going to re-visit this review at a later date after my strings have settled down (and perhaps after buying a proper bass amp). But for now, I’m impressed by them, and maybe a bit proud of myself that I’ve been able to change-out my own strings, adjust the height of the action, and customise my guitar until I was happy with the sound and how it plays.
If you’re interested to check-out what Flat wound strings Bass Centre have on offer, just click HERE! How deep can you go!?