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gareth

Fender Precision Bridge Position

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I came across an interesting post on fb today as per first photo

I didn’t know the bridge position changed - it’s difficult to understand how this was achieved whilst maintaining a 34” scale length unless the length of the neck cavity was reduced to compensate 

Second photo is from the black and molinaro book

54DACA06-FF2D-4682-9834-6F92FEA2966D.png

B4E96BAF-772F-4A13-98C9-575C0ED66217.jpeg

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I found this comment on Talkbass 

It seems the bridge was moved closer to the end of the body to accommodate the long G string saddle screw 

So it seems it happened in the 1970 to 1973 period

From 1974 the bridge was returned to its pre 1970 position

E5E2CEA1-9887-4766-ADEE-5204DD225310.jpeg

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2 minutes ago, Jonse said:

Dodgy 70s quality control? Look at those maxed-out saddles! 

Long G saddle screw apparently 

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So below photos from Andy Baxter of a 1975 and 1971 precision

All of which confirms that bridge DID move between 1970 and 1973

EE63B380-F86E-4460-8890-83146A533BC6.jpeg

F3121F62-3DDB-45FC-9747-02FEE86E0269.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

In around 1970 Fender moved the bridge pickup of the Jazz and the bridge itself about 1/2" to the rear (0.4" on mine). The G string required  a longer saddle screw and all the saddles ended up closer to the edge of the baseplate to intonate correctly. They moved the P bridge to the same position at the same time. Goodness knows why! I've got a '72 J and a '72 P and can confirm. They reverted to the 'proper' bridge position a couple of years later. Presumably having realised what a dumb move it was.

Edited by ikay
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1 hour ago, ikay said:

In around 1970 Fender move the bridge pickup of the Jazz and the bridge itself about 1/2" to the rear (0.4" on mine). The G string required  a longer saddle screw and all the saddles ended up closer to the edge of the baseplate to intonate correctly. They moved the P bridge to the same position at the same time. Goodness knows why! I've got a '72 J and a '72 P and can confirm. They reverted to the 'proper' bridge position a couple of years later. Presumably having realised what a dumb move it was.

Thanks very much

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My main bass, which I thought was about 1975 for many years, has a schaller 3D bridge. I swapped out a pickup many moons ago, as it went open circuit. The date number on the pickup was a bit washed out and ended in a 3 or 9, I couldnt really tell and had nothing to compare it to.

Then, strangely, I saw a thread about this bridge and a long screw in the G saddle. I put the original bridge on my Red Sting replica, went and had a look and it's got the long screw.

Another look at the pickup and comparing images on the net and it's a 3!!

after almost 30 years I found out it is 1973. The numbers on the neck heel have faded away. They used to be there but there was no known decode that I could find. Now you can decode, I can't see them.

Still i will shortly have owned this for 30 years

Yep, gratutous pictures time

First up the original bridge

red body.jpg

Fender P bass 1975 004.JPG

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Wow this thread is genuinely an eye opener. I had no idea the bridge position differed like that.

I have a 70 with a long G intonation thread. I assume that means the bridge is in the further back position. How strange.

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In all my years of messing with my own builds, it doesn't matter where the actual bridge plate sits, it's the string length from nut to G saddle which counts. If in any doubt, measure from the front edge of the nut to middle of the 12th fret and double it. That's where the middle of the G saddle has to start at and then adjust height and intonation.

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Yep, the bridge on my '72 sits much further back than the one on my '77. It also means the bridge cover sits right on the edge of the body, looks a bit weird with it on.

As far as I know it was done alongside the Jazz's pickups being moved about (as ikay says above).

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Aside from the bridge position, are the necks actually any shorter?  Just asking, folks.

If Fender had shortened the necks during this period, then the bridge would have needed to be moved back to make it intonate. 

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1 hour ago, NancyJohnson said:

Aside from the bridge position, are the necks actually any shorter?  Just asking, folks.

No, the neck is exactly the same as a regular 34" P. Moving the bridge didn't alter the scale length, it just resulted in the saddles having to be adjusted further forward on the baseplate, hence the longer G intonation screw.

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5 minutes ago, ikay said:

No, the neck is exactly the same as a regular 34" P. Moving the bridge didn't alter the scale length, it just resulted in the saddles having to be adjusted further forward on the baseplate, hence the longer G intonation screw.

So if nothing else changed other than the bridge being moved to ensure that the scale length remained at 34” logic says Fender should have introduced long intonation screws on all strings not just the G

But they did not 

All in all this seems like an aberration on the part of Fender that fortunately lasted only a few years 1970 to 1974 and was then corrected when the bridge was returned to its pre 1970 position

We discuss all kinds of things that change a bass on this forum

This seems a pretty major change that has hitherto not been discussed - how do precisions with these differing bridge positions compare sonically, playability, aesthetically, etc, etc???

 

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36 minutes ago, ikay said:

No, the neck is exactly the same as a regular 34" P. Moving the bridge didn't alter the scale length, it just resulted in the saddles having to be adjusted further forward on the baseplate, hence the longer G intonation screw.

Here's my '72 and '75 side by side. You can see the bridge position and the saddle positions as a result. An extended D string intonation screw could have been useful! 

 

20200406_093509.jpg

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59 minutes ago, ikay said:

No, the neck is exactly the same as a regular 34" P. Moving the bridge didn't alter the scale length, it just resulted in the saddles having to be adjusted further forward on the baseplate, hence the longer G intonation screw.

I wonder whether John Deacon was using a Precision from this period?  When you listen to some of his isolated lines, the intonation does sound way out.

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