Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

IconProjects, musings about guitar builds, guitar repairs, vintage tube amplifiers, old radios, travel, home renovation, and other stuff.

Breedlove BJ350 Acoustic Bass - Setup

A couple months ago, I bought this Breedlove acoustic bass - the model number is a BJ350.  Now, I am not really a bass player - I just emulate one from time to time.

I really wanted a bass to use for recording.  As much as I'd like to have something like a Precision or a 4001, I also wanted the ability to practice on it without an amp.  So this is what I wound up with.  Mine is a B stock model - it had a scratch on it somewhere but darned if I can find it.  So I saved some money and still got a super nice new bass.


The action was a tad high and since it's part of Breedlove's 'Atlas' series (made in Korea), it has a plastic saddle.  It comes with D'addario roundwound strings, which sound pretty 'zingy' to my ears.  I did a little research and decided I wanted to try some Tomastik-Infelds on it.  So in one shot, I replaced the plastic saddle with bone, and changed out the strings.

I'm super impressed with this bass.  It's made of all solid woods - the top is cedar- and sounds great.  You also get a very nice hard case (it's huge) and, as a nice touch, Breedlove throws in an extra saddle, a truss rod wrench, and some saddle shims.

The bass also comes with a L.R. Baggs pickup/preamp/tuner built in.  This is a real deal for the money.

The saddle on the bass as I received it was the lower of the two that come with it.  Since I wanted to lower the action a bit, I just used the 'stock' saddle as a template to cut a new one from a bone blank.

The whole process is documented elsewhere on the blog, but this is a quick overview.  I've been doing a ton of saddles lately, and this one went super fast.

Here I used the stock saddle and traced it onto a blank.
Cut and file it to shape.

See how fast I did that?

I made it the same size as the original, so I need to just take a bit off the bottom.  The original string height was 9/64 (!) on the low E string.  I decided to take about 3/64 off the bottom and see how it played.

I've learned to tightly hang onto material when using the ROSS.  Otherwise it flies off into the nether regions of the Dungeon.

Some final shaping, a couple of test fits, and then a polish.

I really like this polish.  Works well on my car too.

New bone saddle on the top - the original is on the bottom.

There are some minor fret file marks on the frets, so I used my new fret erasers to clean them up.

You see the finer grits here, but I had to drop down all the way to the lowest - I think its 180 - and work up from there.  The frets are perfect now.

This bass is really beautifully made, and it's a real bargain for the money.  I'm a little finicky about my setups, so I always wind up fiddling a little, but the bass played reasonably well right out of the box.

Then I string it up with the new strings.

These strings are interesting in that they have nylon cores.  Usually bass and guitar strings (except classical, of course) have steel cores.  The package says the nylon gives them "organic, upright-like tones," which sounds promising to me. 

They also are a smaller gauge and have less tension than standard bass strings.  I'm thinking this will be a good thing in the long run.

I've read nothing but good things about these strings, so I have high hopes.


Post a Comment 0 comments:

Post a Comment