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Schaller 3D-4 Bridge


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Schaller 3D-4 Bridge


I wanted a replacement 4 string bridge to give me a narrower string spacing than the standard 19mm. I like a spacing of 17mm, but there aren't that many options out there. When looking at the Schaller product literature online, it said that the string spacing had a range from 14.5mm to 24.5mm; so I took the plunge as the spacing range would give me the 17mm plus scope to experiment. Also I liked the aesthetic of the design, which is really important to me. When it arrived I was very impressed by the build quality / engineering. The bridge oozes class, it really is stylish. My first impression was 'every bridge should be of this standard'. Even the box it is packaged in is one of the classiest you'll come across!


However, there are a few pitfalls to be aware of:

(1) String spacing: you may be able to set two strings to a 14.5mm spacing, but not all four, so that figure is pretty misleading! The narrowest the bridge will go is about 53.5mm overall (E-G), so a string spacing of about 18mm is the tightest you'll get. Also, when you fit the strings the rollers rotate, so it is hard to get accurate/consistent spacing without a fair bit of trial and error.

(2) The saddles are so long the intonation range is much more limited than a standard 'barrel' saddle bridge. That isn't a problem in itself - before fitting the bridge I lined up the saddles as much as possible with the existing bridge, which meant there was only about 5mm of intonation travel available. Care is needed when screwing the bridge down to get its location spot on, as there is such little amount of play available to adjust the octaves. Also, this meant new screw holes were needed in the bass body. Fortunately for me, these were nearer the strap button so the bridge covered the old holes.

(3) The bridge comes with a 3mm thick base plate to raise it up should you need to. I didn't, which I was glad about as the base plate alone weighs 48g and this just adds unnecessary weight to the instrument (the bridge without the bass plate weighs 195g). Instead of using the plate it seems longer grub screws can be fitted in each saddle to get the same effect. The grub screws Schaller supply are quite short; the ones I took off the outgoing saddles were about 5mm longer so more than compensated for the base plate thickness and I'd have used these had I needed to.

(4) the strings come through the back of the bridge at 19mm spacing, so there is a bit of a change in linear direction as they pass over the saddle. I hope this doesn't cause the saddles to move or encourage the strings to jump out if played aggressively. We'll see.


Overall a stunning looking bridge. However, you need to give some careful thought to how to fit it before you start drilling new mounting holes. There are some design issues that could be improved: I think it would be a better bridge if the saddles were a little shorter and the string spacing was set at 18mm rather than 19. 

Finally, if I'd known that 18mm string spacing was the narrowest I could get, then there are other (and cheaper) options out there to consider and I wouldn't have bought this bridge; I'm disappointed that I could not get the 17mm spacing that the literature lead me to believe. 

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