What Does It Mean to Setup a Bass Guitar?

The point of setting up your bass guitar is to make it play well. That means it plays in tune, it sounds good, it feels comfortable to fret and pluck the strings, and it just suits your playing style in general.

Before you begin setting up your bass, I want you to understand what makes your bass play the way it does.

Follow each link to get a basic understanding of each concept before you follow the bass setup tutorials below. The same things apply to doing a standard 6-string guitar setup, too.

There are 4 basic things you can adjust on your bass:

  1. The straightness of the neck
  2. The height of the bass strings
  3. Intonation
  4. Pickup height

How to Setup a Bass Tutorials

Printable Tools

You'd be best off buying real, precise gauges from a guitar repair supply place. If you're impatient or broke, these'll do ok.

I recommend saving PDFs to your hard drive and opening them outside of your browser. Adobe Acrobat crashes browsers often.

bass guitar radius gauge (PDF)