Tobias Bridge Saddle Rock
I have a Tobias Basic 5 #2077 that I've owned about 14 years. I love this bass but ever since I've owned it, I have battled saddle rocking that causes a slapping sound. This happens mainly on the D sting and is more pronounce when I play closer to the bridge. I think that maybe the bridge is just worn and needs to be replaced. I e-mailed Mike Tobias, who was kind enough to e-mail me back. Mike said that the bridge was made by Trev Wilkinson, who has been out of business for several years. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks.
Can you post a picture of the bridge?
If it's the one I'm thinking of, I used to love that bridge. I had one on my Carvin. But now when I look at them I wonder how they didn't all suffer from that problem. There are a number of current bridges out there that are better designed and should not have this problem. Most, if not all, will not match the screw pattern for the Wilkinson.
I use the Hipshot A myself, 95% of the time. These bridges have "walls" between the saddles that keep them from moving side-to-side. Hipshot may know if this bridge is a good replacement for your existing bridge.
You will likely have to fill the old screw holes with dowels and drill new ones for the new bridge unless by some miracle you find a bridge based on the same pattern. It's not terribly difficult to do, but a drill press will help a lot.
Thanks for the info! Here is a link to a photo of the Tobias bridge.
Have you used both aluminium ad brass bridges? Some sources say that the brass Hipshot will give me a little more articulate sound, which I prefer.
You might be able to get by without drilling any new holes (depends on the spacing), but I agree with FBB Custom: a Hipshot A style (brass) is the way to go.
Looking at the pic, your Tobias bridge seems to have four holes securing it to the body.
Here are the dimensions for the 5-string A bridge: http://www.hipshotproducts.com/files/all/a_5_stg.pdf
The Hipshot B bridge also has four and may (or not) be a drop in fit too. Here are the B bridge dimensions: http://www.hipshotproducts.com/files/all/5stgbstyle.pdf
.687 = 17.5mm Best of luck,
Tobias Bridge Saddle Rock
Bridges don't really wear out. Break angle there looks low. You could shim the neck is the saddles can be jacked up a bit.
It's a neckthru instrument there is nothing to shim.
He doesnt need 19mm he needs 17.5mm
I'm affraid bad news, as I also looked for a suitable drop in for my Tobias Signature 5 that
also has a Wilkinson bridge but a different type, thats even worst actually;)
but it was on when it was built I refined it a bit and live with it:)
Anyways Being that I already walked the same road as you I can tell you this:
The holes of the Wilkinson wont match any hipshot bridges, you have to drill new holes,
and because your serial is quite low one of the earliest Gibson basses, which quite possibly
could be made of stock of Burbank prepped woods yay!.
I'm quite sure it's a perfect bass anyway I wouldn't drill any holes in it, if it was not needed.
What can be a solution is buying a new Wilkinson bridge and change out the saddles,
you still can buy these type of bridges...
I think due to vibration the saddle hight screws could be not quite as tight in the saddle and makes the loose and eventually make the saddle rattle... or is it rocking sideways???
I'm sure it's fixable without changing the bridge out.
I just thought long and hard, at this time there were some different bridges being used in this transition period, if you wanted to swap the bridge that is.
These don't have matching mounting screws holes to the Wilkinson bridge but do fit this period where
these were made and are an upgrade as a bridge to the Wilkinson.
The ABM roller bridge or the Schaller roller bridge.
Here some examples here the last Burbank signature serial 2023 with that type of Schaller bridge
and a pic of a standard with an ABM roller bridge.
Both bridges still can be found on Ebay..
This would be the abm variant...
I also had a look at your Photos of the bridge, what I see there is that alot of the saddles the hight screws are not set at an equal length, what is really important is to make sure every saddle rest on two screws and the saddle itself is perfectly horizontal, if this is not the case the can rattle or rock.. Try to adjust this with a correct size allen wrench first, if that doesnt work cause the vibration setting the screws loose and end up uneven again then think of the other options I gave you...
Thanks everyone for your input and suggestions. I took the bass to a place here is RI (Noll Guitar Repair) that has done other work for me, and guitar player friends, that I have been happy with. They think they can solve the problem by doing a neck "set up", and raising the saddles, thereby putting more tension on the saddles. The screws in the saddles have also been "self adjusting" when I do a lot of slapping. They thought that they could solve this problem with lock tight. They said that they would have it done by this weekend...we'll see if it all solves the problems. I will report back.
Here's mine nr 2044 signature 5
I picked up my bass from Noll on Friday. So far so good. He said that they have a 90 day warranty on the the set up. He feels real good with no snapping from rocking saddles. I have also attached a pic. (Tobias Basic #2077)
The height adjustment screws could have loosened over time and maybe even damaged the threads a little making it easier for them to move on their own. Loc-tite sounds like a good solution as well as trying to raise the saddle height as much as possible. If that fails, then you may have no choice, but to replace the bridge.
Maybe you could get a local machine shop to route channels in the base plate of the bridge for the height adjustment screws to ensure side-to-side alignment? That way, you could keep the original bridge, but it would probably be a bit more stable.
Well I did a 45 min. rehearsal, and a 30 min. set at church plus several hours of practice and I'm starting to hear the slapping again from the saddles rocking. At this point it is only the D string (E,A,D,G,C tuning). I don't think that the saddle screws are vibrating out like they were before. I'm going to take it back to the shop, the first of next week and see if they have any other solutions
Update- I revisited Noll Guitars. The re adjusted one of the saddles and applied more lock tight. They said if it does it again, just bring it back in.
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