Frequently Asked Questions: Technical

This is the Tech FAQ for the Ashbory Bass. If you have questions about the Ashbory Bass in general, please check the General FAQ. There is also a variety of articles and documentation available.


Q: My G and/or D strings aren't keeping tune very well, even after a couple weeks. What can I do?

A: Patience! Provided your Ashbory string doesn't break, it will sound fresh long after a standard electric bass metal string has become dull. The downside is they also take longer so stabilize. The G seems to take me about 2-3 weeks to become more stable, whereas in about 3 days electric bass strings are usually pretty stable.


Q: I break G and/or D strings from time to time, but not the E or A. Can I buy single string replacements?

A: Yes! We've had been asking Fender to make individual strings available for a long time them and now they are available individually. See the Strings and Accessories page in the online shopping cart.


Q: A string has stretched enough to where it wraps around the post enough that I have a hard time tuning without the knot in the interfering with the other tuners? What should I do?

A: I recommend tying a knot in the string down from the current one, or undo the current knot and create a newer one past the point where the current one is. You could cut the string shorter but there's disadvantages:

  1. You can't reattach the cut length if you accidentally cut too short.
  2. If a string breaks at the bridge, it can sometimes be saved by removing the short and using or recreating the knot at the end of the string. It is nice to save a string when possible since it spares the stabilization time of a new string as well as the cost and wait of getting a new set.
  3. I've never had a problem with the extra string ends off the tuners causing any real problems.
  4. There's generally enough room to stash the extra length of the G under the bridge if you really dislike the extra string hanging from a tuner.


Q: How do I remove the pickup from the bridge?

A: The pickup and bridge are for all practical purposes the same part. When you remove the bridge, you're removing the pickup.


Q: Is there was any way to "bow" the Ashbory?

A: You need to have a high string tension for bowing. The Ashbory has low tension strings so no luck there. An ebow wouldn't work since it uses a magnetic field and the silicone Ashbory strings are not magnetic.


Q: I'm interesting in building my own Ashbory. Do you have any measurements?

A: Here's a great answer from the Large Sound message board from member 'C10'. Measurements are from a DeArmond/Fender Ashbory:

My bass and tape measure are nearby and I have lots of free time. I hope you don't need metric...

Total length: 30 1/2" ?

Body: 1 1/4" thick excluding plastic battery cover plate (maybe 1/8" thick?). Widest point is about 5 1/2".

Headstock: 7/16" thick, widest point 3 5/16"

Neck: 1" at nut (includes heel but not nut 'height' - I think it's called a 'volute'?), starts at 13/16" behind the 1st fret marker, thickening to 7/8" around the 19th fret marker.

Fretboard width including white trim runs from 1 11/6" just behind the nut, to 2 1/16" where it ends (12th fret is 1 15/16" , 24th fret is just under 2 1/16").

Fretboard markers are 6/32" diameter thru the 12th fret, the ones on higher frets are 5/32". Side dots are tiny, maybe 1/16".

Nut: 9/32" height over the fretboard, 2 11/16" wide, 3/32" thick

Tuning pegs: 3/4" diameter (widest part) , 11/32" (narrowest - where the string winds onto). The shafts are around 2 1/4" - 2 5/16" apart on center, they are about 5/8" high and stand off the headstock about 1/8"

Bridge is 2 7/16" across, 1 3/8" long on the edges and 1 3/4" from the "peak" between the middle 2 strings to the back. It's roughly a 5 sided "house" shape with the "peak" pointing toward the nut? The body routing for the bridge is 1 3/4" long and 1 3/8" wide. There is a gap behind the bridge to allow room for the string knots.

Control knobs: centers are 1 1/8" apart but not in a line with each other (they follow the curve of the body about 1 3/8" away on centers), knob skirts are 3/4" diameter, about 9/16" high, with eight sided knob grip thingys. All knobs are marked 1 thru 9 with even numbers getting a vertical line instead of the digit.

String diameters (under tension) for E/A/D/G are 6/32", 5/32", 4/32", 3/32". Slack are 9/32", 8/32", 7/32" and 5/32".

LED is 1 5/8" from the highest knob (bass), and directly 'across' from it if holding the bass vertically. It sits in between where the edge of the fretboard and the G string would go, if continued down through the body. Diameter including surrounding gasket is 3/8" with the actual LED in the center about 3/16" or so.


Q: The tuners are difficult to use? Have any advise for me?

A: Yes, the tuners are difficult to use, and they are one of the design deficiencies remedied by the DeArmond models. Here's how I handle this process:
  1. Preparing: Loosen the center retaining screw. I use a standard U.S. dime for this (cost: 10 cents), they work rather well and are easy to find (for us in the U.S.) and fit in a pocket. A screw driver would work as well. I keep some tension on the tuner, whether this is a good idea long term or not is certainly debatable (possible wear) but it makes turning far easier.
  2. Tuning: I turn the tuners by turning the page and the post at the same time. You want to be careful to keep even pressure as to not bend or torque the tuner in any bad way. When you have it set, make sure the tuner doesn't slip before you tighten.
  3. Finishing: Tighten the center screw of the tuner, being careful not to turn the tuner either way during this process.
Repeat that process on the other 3 strings and you'll have an Ashbory in tune.


Q: Do you have any idea if center screws from Schaller friction-peg ukelele tuners could replace a broken Ashbory screw?

A: Answer from Nigel Thornbory, Fri, 3 Dec 1999:

Yes, provided that Schaller has not changed the design, then any parts from the uke pegs will fit. However, it may be worth advising people to upgrade to the current DeArmond tuners. I know that Fender/DeArmond are willing to supply these for improvement of the old Guilds.


Q: How do I upgrade my tuners on my Guild to DeArmond tuners?

A: Well, the tuners are available, but they don't drop directly in. See this article about changing tuners. It's doable, but not without some woodworking.


Q: My Guild Ashbory bass has a bad pickup. Can I get a replacement or have mine fixed?

A: When I bought my Guild it sounded like it might have a wiring problem but it turned out to be the pickup. Pickup failure is a common problem with Guild models. In 1996, I managed to track down Alun Ashworth-Jones to rebuild my pickup. More recently, replacement pickups have been available directly from Ashworth electronics. The replacement pickups are mentioned as "AJ61 Ashbory Bass Pickup Upgrade" on this page, since they are a higher performance pickup and should boost the performance over the original Guild pickups. Alun Ashworth-Jones told me my pickup would be superior to a fully functional original when he rebuilt mine in 1996, mentioning that the transducer elements were improved from the the ones used in the 80's. The DeArmond pickups are a different size and will not work.


Q: Can I get an upgrade pickup?

A: Yes, see the question about pickup replacement.


Notice the two small bumps on the side edge of the DeArmond pickup. They are not the proper distance apart to hold the pictured Guild bridge cover.
Q: My DeArmond Ashbory doesn't have a bridge cover like the old Guild models did. Am I missing something?

A: Nope! The DeArmond Ashbory never had a bridge cover. They aren't a necessary part of the Guild or DeArmond models.


Q: Will a Guild Ashbory bridge cover work on my DeArmond?

A: Nope! The DeArmond pickup bridges are a different shape and size than the Guild bridges. They do have the bumps for attaching a pickup cover, but they are much closer to each other than the divots on the Guild covers. See picture at right.


Q: I have a string buzzing. How can I fix this?

A: Make sure the strings leave the tuner posts from the bottom near the headstock. This will increase the amount of down pressure on the nut, fixing the buzz you're experiencing.


Q: The strings are loose in the nut. There's a gap to one side of the strings, especially the D and G. How can I fix the problem?

A: This is not a problem at all. The concern with the nut on an Ashbory isn't whether it is tight or not, but rather how much down pressure there is on the nut. Make sure the strings leave towards the bottoms of the tuner posts and you'll notice the strings stay nicely in place at the nut.


Q: When I play an open 'E' sometimes the string will unhook from the nut and take the shortest route from the bridge to the tuner. How can I fix this?

A: Your problem is that the string isn't wound sufficiently down on the tuning peg. Generally this is the case because the E isn't long enough. Thankfully, this can be fixed.

  1. Take off the E string and stretch on that puppy for 5 or more minutes. This should make your string longer, and will also make it more stable. (this is a good thing to do with all the strings)
  2. Reattach to the Ashbory.
  3. As you're tuning the now longer string, push it down on towards the bottom of the peg (near the headstock). The E string needs to leave the tuning peg at the center at the highest, and if you can have it leave lower that's better still. (it is beneficial for all strings to leave the tuners lower, as it increases down pressure at the nut)
  4. Something else worthwhile but not necessary is to tune the E in reverse, so the string as a more direct pull to the nut. The DeArmond centers are not directional, so the tuners function as well turning backwards as forward. The straighter string pull is a good thing.