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Ah Nuts, Filed Again!
I got the appropriate file out of the needle file set by angling the slot down toward the tuners just a bit. My goal was to get that first fret clearance by patiently filing, testing, filing and testing until it was a hair higher than what I wanted.
Then I played chicken with myself, taking another file swipe in hopes of getting the nut a bit lower without getting it too low. Repeat this procedure with the other three strings. When it was done, I got a larger flat file and a sanding block and took down the top of the nut and smoothed it with sandpaper.
The goal is to have about one-third to one-half of the string above the nut, which helps it glide smoothly during tuning. This time, I cut the top too low for the E string, but not by much. The heights above the fingerboard were just fine, though.
Taking Her For A Test Drive
With the nut slots lowered and the action set, my Stingray-on-the-cheap was ready for a try-out. Off it went to rehearsal with my Blues/R&B band. The sound was full, but not boomy. Clear, but not bright or harsh. The tone control – just a simple treble roll-off – did a nice job of rounding off the top end. I found myself turning the tone control down about 10 percent and it sounded great—very natural..not a speck of hum! And as I expected, the parallel setting couldn’t hold a candle to the beefier series mode.
One handy add-on I came up with was a pair of LokStrap disks. These little gems are cheap—only about two bucks—and they do the same job as the Straploks without the installation hassle. Just put the strap on the button, slip on the LokStrap, give the inner disk a half turn and the strap stays on.
Cheap Date, Happy Ending
And there you have it! Not quite a Stingray, since it lacks the preamp, but with a little time and patience to round up parts and put it together, it’s a bass that I’d be plenty willing to take out to a gig. At about $200, I think it turned out to be a real bargain.