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Vintage 70's bass guitar - worth getting it fixed?


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40 minutes ago, Velarian said:

Is that Russian?

 

A bit of string tied to the machine heads seems easier to me. 🤔🤷‍♂️

See the sketch above. Basic school leaver algebra steps. Plug measurements into calculator, job done.

 

No strings nor Russian required.

 

Bp is shorthand for B×p. ( I should really have done it B.p )

 

You can test your own basic algebra by working from other similar triangles to arrive at the same result for P=...

 

Eg side pairs

P-N, p and B-N,(p+b)

 

Similar triangles are only different in the lengths of the sides. They are similar in that all the angles are the same. This makes the ratio of the side lengths the same also. Very handy.

 

You may notice I drew it with a horizontal base. Extending the apex of the actual shape out to a triangle and working with half you will see none of the maths changes.

 

Triangles, the most powerful maths in an unforgettable box, alongside circles.

 

Put them together and add some calculus and you can just about get to the moon.

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19 hours ago, Downunderwonder said:

similar triangles:

( P-N )÷p = ( B-P )÷b

 

19 hours ago, Downunderwonder said:

Solve for B...

If you understand that everything you do to one side of = you must do to the other, you've learned algebra.

 

The rest is spotting which operations to apply to get down to B =.'Russian '. Less cunnng required than Quordle if you ask me.

 

( P-N )÷p = ( B-P )÷b

 

Smash both sides with algebra until left with B and what is left on the other side is the calculation for B.

 

multiply by b:

( P-N )÷p×b = ( B-P )÷b×b.

( P-N )÷p×b = B-P [anything divided by itself is 1, anything divided by 1 is itself]

 

Add P

( P-N )÷p×b +P = B-P+P

[- something + something = nothing]

 

Rewiting

B= P + ( P-N)÷p×b

 

If they had called it 'Bob' instead of 'Algebra' maybe more people wouldn't have missed the bus.

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Thanks for the detailed breakdown. I’ll ponder it when I’ve had a couple of coffees, after I’ve done the daily Nerdle; which is about as taxing as maths gets for me these days. 😊

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@bertbass Thank you for that. I'll look for something similar in the US. Looks like a good option though.

 

I just found the original bridge for this bass. The string spacing is much closer than the one I had on there most recently. The bottom one is the original.

 

1701466642_PXL_20220411_183341098(1).thumb.jpg.19dd58947b84f723132a6ac8c7f7fdd1.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Presuming I did this correctly (I measured from the center of one hole to the center of the next) the original bridge string spacing is 17.5mm. The replacement bridge I was using is 20mm. Another source of my issue.

Edited by dajaphonics
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Funny you ask. So I just put it on and was stringing it up. The big neck mudbucker pickup is so bulky it kind of gets in the way. I decided to desolder it and remove it from the bass. I'm in the process of stringing it up now. I'll let you know how it goes. I'll probably need some pointers on getting the bass intonated. This is assuming it makes sound 🤣

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The original bridge is back on! I realized that the E and A side of the bridge spring wasn't installed so I had to take it off again to put it on. Then I realized that the spring only allows it to go back so far since the tension was too high so I removed it. 

 

Ok, so now that the neck pickup is out of the picture, it's a little uglier but more usable. The strings align over the strings much better. I have no idea why the first person who has a guitar business couldn't do something as simple as this. He soldered and installed the pickups but wow he failed to do something so basic. Then the second guy who I just met also had no clue. So a big lesson here, don't trust just anyone with your bass. 

 

I might try to get a second Allparts bridge pickup for the neck position unless someone has another pickup they'd recommend. I'm not sure if this is overkill but I like how it sounds plus they're only 27 USD. Does anyone have any ideas on how to cover the area around the bridge pickup to make it look a little better? I contacted Allparts and they said the ring came with the pickup (which I bought in like 2014). So the guy who installed it must've thrown it away.

 

I made a little video so you can see the intonation is still off but maybe not terrible. There's no fret buzzing like there was before. Any ideas or a good video on where to look on trying to improve the intonation? Or is this close enough? 

 

 

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i) If you can wind the saddles back a bit more then try it.

 

ii) One always has to compromise with these two-saddle  bridges. If you get one string dead-on, the string that shares the same saddle is almost always out. The trick is to adjust the scale length so that one string intonates slightly flat and the other string intonates slightly sharp. Players of traditionally-configured Telecaster guitars do this.

 

iii) If you're mostly playing across the board between open and 7th fret then 'sweetened' tuning might (or might not) help. Try tuning the open E about 5 cents flat; the open A dead on 440hz; the open D about 5 cents sharp; the open G string 5 or more cents sharp. It won't look right on the tuner but it might sound better to the ear. Caveat: this works on one of my basses but not on the other 

 

iv) Man goes to the doctor, says 'Doctor, my arm hurts when I bend it', Doctor says 'Stop bending your arm then'. If all else fails, stop playing notes up near the twelfth fret :lol:
 

Edited by skankdelvar
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Man goes to the doctor, saying 'Doctor, I have pains all over', Doctor say 'Point to where it hurts...'. The man prods himself on the leg, then the arm, then the stomach, each time with an "Ouch". Doctor says 'You've got a broken finger'.

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@skankdelvar That's interesting about the original Telecasters. I didn't know that. 

 

I was able to move the pegs to practically the end of the bridge right over one of the screws. It seems odd that it's in the original position and it needs to go back this far to be intonated. The intonation is now I would say pretty decent without doing additional work. One thing I noticed is that the back part of the bridge is pulling two of the screws up.

 

PXL_20220413_153413795_MP.thumb.jpg.2049b6a5aebff8fd19e96ab43f4ca09d.jpgPXL_20220413_152823957.thumb.jpg.257b907a4234028af4f17698d5ae70ca.jpg

 

I noticed that the first time I tuned this up, I was no longer hearing the ground hum. When I had to move the pegs back the ground hum came back. I think this is because the bridge is now lifting up and the ground wire is no longer making contact with the bridge. I just ordered some copper shielding tape like some helpful forum members suggested earlier in this thread.

 

You can see how far back I had to move the pegs to intonate the bass. Thanks again all for the help!

PXL_20220413_152752201.thumb.jpg.1ddb9c1676f7e46182ef7ff4d2aa9f5e.jpg

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1 hour ago, dajaphonics said:

... One thing I noticed is that the back part of the bridge is pulling two of the screws up...

 

I think that that's a sign of trouble further down the line, and would recommend addressing it straight away. Several methods, but looking at that intonation set-up, I think I'd take the strings off (again..!), remove the bridge and move it back, about half the distance of the intonation screws length. Drill new screw holes, but well under-sized, so that the screws have wood to bite into. If possible, use longer screws (not so long as they come through the body, of course; just slightly shorter than the body thickness at that point...). With the bridge a little further back, and the bridge screws now holding the bridge firmly in place, the intonation will need to be little further forward, which is no bad thing, and there's more scope for adjustment. The earthing wire would be better trapped, too.

As an aside, I'd be very wary of those barrel height adjuster grub-screws. There's been many a wrist sliced open with the darned things, when they are as high as that. A couple of options (the original 'ash-tray' cover helped avoid accidents, but maybe no longer an option..?). Once the height has been set, I'd see about taking them out and shortening them (sawing the bottom off...), leaving just enough for further work. I'd have them short enough to bury themselves in the barrel, with nothing to protrude; access is still there to turn 'em, but they'll not be a danger any more. Just sayin'. :friends:

Edited by Dad3353
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1 hour ago, dajaphonics said:

It seems odd that it's in the original position and it needs to go back this far to be intonated.

 

It's entirely possible the bridge was inaccurately positioned during the manufacturing process. Quality control was a bit uneven back in the day and, even recently, I've seen entry level basses with the saddles way too far forward or back, likewise strings missing the centre of pick-up pole pieces.

 

If the bass sounds and plays OK then you won't need to move the bridge. 

 

1 hour ago, dajaphonics said:

the back part of the bridge is pulling two of the screws up.

 

Yeah, the screws are pulling out of the wood and you'll want to fix that. You need to plug the rear two screw holes so the screws can bite.

 

@Dad3353kindly outlines the approved approach in his post but I'm a lazy sod so here's the quick and dirty way.

 

You need to plug the holes but matchsticks are made of soft wood and the screws will eventually pull out again. Secure yourself some cocktail sticks, the ones they stick the little olives on. They're made of harder wood and won't splinter. If the screws are really loose you might need more than one cocktail stick to do the job.

 

Take the bridge off the bass. Break the thin pointy end off a cocktail stick and throw it away. Push the remaining bit of cocktail stick firmly into one of the loose holes and, using a pencil, mark the stick where it's level with the top of the hole. Cut the stick below the mark so that the stick won't protrude out of the hole.

 

Daub the stick liberally with wood glue and push it into the hole. Wipe off any glue that gets on the body of the bass. Once done, repeat with the other hole then leave the glue for a day so it can set. 

 

Screw the bridge back on to the bass, ensuring your earth is making contact. The other benefit to this repair is that pulling the bridge flat (and back) will microscopically lengthen the scale and also lower the action (which you might need to raise to get back to where you were before the repair).
 

Edited by skankdelvar
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7 minutes ago, skankdelvar said:

...You need to plug the rear two screw holes so the screws can bite...

 

He's right, of course, and that's an oft-used 'approved bodge', but I think, seeing the intonation as it is, I'd still recommend going the extra mile. The cocktail stick method works, though, if done as described above. B|

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3 minutes ago, Dad3353 said:

 

...seeing the intonation as it is, I'd still recommend going the extra mile. 

 

Oh, sure, myself, I'd prefer to move the bridge but that option's still open to Daj if he wants to try it further down the road. At which point we'll re-open the 'algebra vs masking tape' debate and we can all completely lose our minds :lol:

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On 12/04/2022 at 21:30, skankdelvar said:

 

 

iv) Man goes to the doctor, says 'Doctor, my arm hurts when I bend it', Doctor says 'Stop bending your arm then'. If all else fails, stop playing notes up near the twelfth fret :lol:
 

Who on earth would do something like that ? Apart from a closet-guitard… 🤔

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