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How to Set up a Squier Bass VI

How-to-Set-up-a-Squier-Bass-VI Newton Strings Mastery Bridge Staytrem
How to Set Up a Squier Bass VI with only a set of strings, for perfect intonation. Without having to buy a StayTrem or Mastery bridge

How to Set Up a Squier Bass VI, in this article, I’ll show you exactly how to make your Bass VI and make it play in tune, with perfect intonation and playability. And it will not cost the earth to make it do so.

How to Set up a Squier Bass VI

I bought myself a Squier Bass VI because I wanted something meaty, low, and easy for a guitarist like me to play.

Choosing a Bass V1 is pretty easy these days, as the current Squier Classic Vibe Bass VI model is readily available and is essentially a solid instrument. Thomann sells the Squier Bass IV in Black or 3 Tone Sunburst.

Over the years, the Bass VI has been used by many musicians, including Jack Bruce when he was in Cream, Joe Perry used them in Aerosmith, Robert Smith of The Cure is also known for using them frequently, and it was used by both John Lennon and George Harrison in The Beatles.

It is a lot of fun to play and covers a lot of ground, especially in the studio and also for songwriting.


Squier Classic Vibe Bass VI i
Purple Metallic Limited Run

Purple Metallic

Mine is one of the current limited-run purple metallic models from Andertons in the UK, which is exclusive to that store.

I chose it as I’m a sucker for purple, and I also love tortoiseshell pickguards, so for me, it was a no-brainer.


I knew before I had the guitar delivered that intonation would probably be an issue.

This is because Squier has put a super lightweight set of strings from the factory on these models.

They ship from the factory in Indonesia with a set of nickel-plated steel .024-.084 strings, which are far too lightweight for that low E string.

This leads to a flappy, low E string that will not intonate correctly, making the Bass VI less fun to play than it should be.

The Solution

Many third-party upgrades and expensive Bass VI string sets are available for these instruments.

Yes, you could buy a set of La Bella Flats, a StayTrem BassVI bridge, or even a Mastery bridge.

But all you need is a decent set of strings, and after some research, I decided to go with Newtone Strings, which are handmade in the UK.

Newtone Strings
How to Set up a Squier Bass VI  with Newtone Strings

Bass VI Strings

You need to buy the Axion Custom Works Fender VI set, which retails for a very reasonable £20.65 plus postage at the time of writing.

These are made of nickel-plated Steel over a Hex core, thicker on the .080 and .100 than standard. The set is .024 .034 .044 .056 .080 .100 

How To Set Up

My article on How to Set Up a Jazzmaster Trem will give you all the essential information for the trem system and how to make it work.

Tools Required

Optional Extras

Top Tips

Take your time and go slow.

Make sure you have a clear workspace and no distractions.

I also like to set up some good music while working, so I listened to QOTSA’s Rated R and the Eagles of Death Metal’s Zipper Down as I worked for this job.

If you do the maths on those two albums, you will see I spent around an hour and a half plus on this job. That was before I got around to re-stringing the Bass VI.

The Process

I carefully stripped the old strings from the Bass VI and saved them, as they make good backups and had only been played by me for a few days.


As I had the strings off of the guitar, now was a good time to remove all the plastic from the pickguard, clean the frets, oil the fretboard, and oil any moving metal parts.

Squier Classic Vibe Bass VI i
Sewing Machine Oil


For this job, I used Fret Doctor to oil the Laurel fretboard and left it to soak in. Then, I removed the tremolo from the Bass VI and used sewing machine oil on the moving parts.

Lubricate metal parts
Lubricate metal parts

I like to use sewing machine oil for this job, as it keeps the tremolo and the bridge working smoothly. Anywhere where moving metal parts are in constant contact is where you want to use a small amount of the oil.

Apply some to the main pivot points and the spring inside the trem system and on the Mustang bridge saddle screws.

Squier Classic Vibe Bass VI i
Fret Doctor Fretboard Oil

Mustang Bridge

These Classic Vibe Bass VI models have a Mustang bridge, perfect for the job and will intonate correctly if you use a decent set of strings.

Yes, I love StayTrem bridges, but at £100 plus a 20-week waiting list, they are a pricey upgrade and not really needed. The same applies to Mastery bridges in terms of their cost.

I’ve been setting up guitars for over 35 years, and I don’t need to change something on a guitar or bass unless it is broken or poorly made. This Mustang bridge is neither of these and needs to be set up correctly.

Since I had some spare time, I broke out my Monty’ Montypresso Wax and rubbed a little into the fretboard to keep it nice and dark. Once I had let that sit on there for a while, I set about polishing the excess off and cleaning the fretboard of any excess oil/wax.

Polish those frets

Next, I got out my fret eraser and my Dremel tool, which allowed me to get my frets to a mirror shine and smooth as silk.

Squier Classic Vibe Bass VI i
Fret Eraser

The factory fretwork on this Bass VI was excellent, but the polish made it much better.

I started with the fret erasers and used my Dremel with a little polishing compound to get a good shine.

Squier Classic Vibe Bass VI
Dremel fret polish

Lube the Nut

Then, before I set about re-stringing with my fresh set of Axion strings, I used some of my nut lubricant on the nut, the string tree, and the Mustang bridge saddles.

Squier Classic Vibe Bass VI
Lubricate Nut Slots

Essentially, you need either Nut Sauce, Chapstick, or something similar here. I actually make my own, so I had some prepared in a syringe that makes it easy to apply.

Any points of metal contact will want lubrication, as it will help everything stay in tune.

Squier Classic Vibe Bass VI
Lubricate Mustang Bridge Saddles

Stringing Up

Now, it was time to re-string the Bass VI, and you need to be careful with these Hex Core strings.


  • Measure the strings before you cut them.
  • They must be pulled past the next machine head and bent using the pliers, which stops the string from unraveling.
  • This gives us enough string at the end to poke into the hole of the Vintage Tuner Slots.

Thankfully, Neil Silverman of NewTone Strings has made a great little video to demonstrate this, and it is well worth watching before you undertake this job.

Squier Classic Vibe Bass VI
Measure before bending or cutting string

I used a string winder attached to my electric screwdriver to speed up the re-stringing, but a standard string winder is just as good. Keep the string taught as you wind them on and feed it downwards around the tuning post.

Squier Classic Vibe Bass VI
Bend before cutting

This will ensure a good break angle over the nut and help avoid any tuning issues.

Tuning & Intonation

Tune the strings to pitch and stretch them in. Now, set the guitar’s intonation. I recommend the TRAIN system to get this right.

Tune, Relief, Action, Intonation, and Noodle are the orders in which you should make these checks and adjustments.

Squier Classic Vibe Bass VI
Restrung, intonated and in tune

A lot of relief in the neck will have both an uncomfortable high action and dodgy intonation, so there is no point in adjusting the action and intonation if adjusting the relief undos your other adjustments.

Check the neck relief by fretting the first fret of the Bass VI and then fretting the 17th fret. Then, around the 8-9th fret, there should be a little gap, a bit smaller than a bank card.

Adjust the truss rod accordingly: lefty loose – less tension, righty tight – more tension. I always loosen a truss rod a little first because that will get it moving and stop any accidental overtightening of the rod.

Constantly adjust in quarter turns, as a little goes a long way with a truss rod.

Check your action next. The two Mustang bridge posts adjust the action and require the correct-size tool. Ideally, you are looking for around 1.5mm up to 2.5/3mm with a bass string, and you measure at the 12th fret.

Now, double-check your tuning, relief, and action. Once you are happy that all three are how you like them, you can adjust the intonation.

Check the intonation by playing an octave at the 12th fret, which should be ideally in tune. Now fret the 12th fret and then adjust the Mustang saddles backward or forwards until the fretted note is perfectly in tune.

If the note is sharp, you need to tighten the saddle screw, as it will lengthen the string length from the 12th fret to the bridge saddle. However, if it is flat, we need to loosen the saddle and move it forward to shorten the length between these two points. Repeat this process for each string and take your time; a chromatic tuner will make this job much quicker.

Now, it is time to noodle!

If you uncover any tuning, intonation, or action issues, repeat the whole process in the correct order. Over the years, I have found that following the TRAIN method makes setting up any guitar or bass much easier.

A good rule of thumb when adjusting the saddles is that with a Bass VI, you will probably want to move that Low E backward to get the intonation correct. I would start by moving roughly the width of the low E string (.100 ) itself backward.

Now, your Squier Bass VI should play like a dream, and that low E will be excellent, in tune, properly intonated, and sound massive.

I have no affiliation with Newtone Strings or Andertons and purchased everything with my money.

Thomann sells the Squier Bass IV in Black or 3 Tone Sunburst models. Unfortunately, the limited edition versions are now sold out at Andertons.

More Information

More How To guides on Guitar Bomb


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7 thoughts on “How to Set up a Squier Bass VI

  1. Useful article! BTW, that purple metallic is also sold by Chicago Music Exchange, , but is often out of stock. I have one on order that should arrive mid-December, and if you order one now from CME, you’ll have to wait until next summer.

    1. That would make sense. I’ve seen Andertons and CME both do exclusive colours on models together in the past. Looks even better in real life and so I’m pleased I went for this purple one over standard colour.

  2. Hi I have a squier bass vi. The tremolo doesn’t work. I think it spring is tightened too much. It was like this when I got it new. I’ve watched the video on setting up the jazzmaster trem but the bass vi doesn’t have the lock.Do I just loosen the screw at the front of bridge?

  3. Hi, nice read. It’s fun to see that the limited edition colour, tort pickguard and matching headstock looks exactly the same as my metallic purple “Revelation RJT-60B” Bass VI. It’s a UK company backed by Alan Entwistle (production is not, as with Squier) and I bought it when I lived in London. I’m glad I did it back in 2019, I’m now in Italy and with new custom rules ordering from the UK has become a costly (and slower) headache. I’m now quite reluctant to buy stuff when it comes to products shipped from Britain, tbh, and it seems like a lose-lose situation to me.
    The Revelation is quite similar to the Squier, but given Entwistle’s own spin, it borrows a s few elements from the Jazzmaster, such as fat Alnico P-90s for pickups and 5-way selector switches instead of the Jaguar plate.

    My choice of strings was the set from Fender, which goes with the same .100 gauge and the scale is long enough to go through the bridge as well. Thomann sells them for around €17 (+ shipping) – I’d probably buy the Newtone as well if I still were in the UK, but I’ve already explained that point above.


  4. Here’s 2 things you can do;
    You can turn the bridge upsidedown like tradition “Fender” branded bass VI. This usually works better than how orientated from the factory.
    Or, instead I went with a Fender “Adjust-o-matic” bridge since they match the neck’s radius and have more wiggle-room and precision than the mustang-type bridges.

    However, if you wanna go this route, you will need to file down each string’s individual saddle to fit the heavier gauge strings so they can sit in there better and not pop off. Also you’ll likely need to do work on the body, and subsequently the pickguard, to accommodate it’s thicker bridge-posts. All-in-all, about 3 hours of work to have the most reliable and best playing Squier bass VI
    So, if you have the experience, and are comfortable working on guitars, this mod is totally worth it.

  5. any advice on tightening up the trem arm? my trem works fine but the arm swings all over the place. didn’t have this issue when i first bought it and haven’t done any work or anything like that on it…

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