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Bridge Issue on Small Bodied Bass


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The bridge under my D string has been cut too low. Is there anyway of correcting this without affecting the tone and tuning? Background is that it’s a small bodied bass with a 42inch scale and a very low bridge. What this means is the the string windings lie on the bridge and make tuning difficult….I tried peeling them off one set but wasn’t great. Currently strung with innovation nylons. Action is very low already so nothing to play with.
Anyway, the D string is lower than I prefer. Could I put a sleeve on it for example and place it on the bridge? Cutting a new bridge out of the question.

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Is it worth considering fitting adjusters (which will add some height) and then getting the top of the bridge reshaped properly.

 

How much silk is on/past the bridge?

 

On some guitar and bass guitar bridges there are issues with silks on the witness point of the bridge take a look at this fix (with pics)

 

http://www.chubbuckguitars.com/blog/2013/04/03/1969-gibson-eb-1-saddle-up-on-silk

 

depending on how far the silks are going over the bridge on your DB, you might be able to simply take a small piece of hardwood, and drill and slot it to match the spacing of the holes in your existing tailpiece and use it as a spacer behind the tailpiece in a similar fashion.

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Is there any scope for shortening the tail wire so the tailpiece is closer to the saddle? That may help the silks problem. 

 

Then my quick and dirty fix for raising the bridge is to slip a sliver of flexible wood (I use a piece of cheese packaging) between the bridge foot and bass top to raise the action. And then lower the GAE slots to the bridge down to the D string profile.

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I managed to remove the silks but still a problem if I change strings. Thanks…will look at these ideas…think I might be able to shorten (or replace)the wire holding the tailpiece.

 

 I did think about inserting spacers under the feet of the bridge but thought that this might mess with the sound? In saying that I guess the sound in small bodied bass comes from the connection between the bridge wood and the pick up? I use a K&K bassmaster.
I have two other instruments…a three quarter and a full size but as get older I use the small bodied more and more. It’s so much easier to transport and tbh has a great sound. Tuning is a pain…I sometimes play with these guys who insist on tuning in 432 instead of 440…don’t ask.

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No, it won’t affect the tuning. The ideal ratio between the string length, the length from nut to bridge, and the after length, the length between bridge and tailpiece, is 1/6. So see how your bass measures up  and whether you could benefit by shortening the tailwire. Even so, I’d say that your priority should be to clear the length of silk winding off the bridge whether this compromises the 1/6 or not. As I said, it is an ideal ratio.

 

Spacers under the bridge feet would not be to most luthiers’ taste but this practical fix should not affect the tone unduly. I did it to a nice Upton bass without any disadvantage.

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I replaced the tailwire on my bass with 3mm Spectra, which is incredibly strong non-stretch braided cord. I think there was a slight improvement in the tone of the instrument and it definitely made it easy to get the length exactly where I wanted it. You need to use the right knot to form the loop because the cord is very slippery - the best one is probably the 'water knot', which is also very simple to tie.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Those realist copperhead pickups go under the bridge foot and aren't supposed to alter the sound. So putting some slips of veneer under the feet to raise the whole bridge should work ok. Then reduce the height of the other strings.

 

More complicated would be to joint in another bit of wood beneath the low string. I've noticed violins with a little ebony insert under the E string.  But you'd need to be a very good woodworker to do it.

 

Bridge adjusters are quite expensive to have fitted, but a really good thing to have.  My bass is much improved since I can adjust the bridge height ... raised up = better tone and louder; dropped down = more mwah and easier to play ( good for Eddie Gomez impressions). Ideally I guess I'd have the perfect bridge height for body tone and volume then raise up the fingerboard for the mwah and light action.  .... this level of tuning gets expensive.  Anyway a higher action works better for bowing.

Edited by NickA
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