Fender type saddle curvature?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by eno50, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. eno50


    Jan 31, 2009
    North of Memphis
    Ok guys help me end this debate ....
    Two guitar players and myself the bass player,all of us
    claim to be set up gurus(LOL) ,after all we have set our own guitars up for years.
    The topic came up and I don't even know how but the next thing I know we were all argumentative over saddle curvature... I have always set my fender bass bridge
    ( old style ,flat bent lip,5 screw with four saddles)up with the saddles following the curvature of the fret board.
    I never had a problem with it,I don't know how I started this,I think I just seen other basses like this and thought it was the right way to do it.
    However one of my friends say it wrong and that the saddles should be parallel to the bottom of the bridge
    plate, I say It does not matter and he says it does bla bla bla....
    I know there are some Pro Luthier's on here that can chime in on the right way or does it really matter....
    Thanks Eno
  2. JLS

    JLS Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
  3. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    That's not just your take. That's what Fender recommends and what every good repair person will do when setting a bass up. Keeping the saddles parallel to the bridge plate keeps the strings evenly spaced, keeps the saddles from sliding around (equal tension on both sides of each saddle), and stops the strings from coming out of the saddle divot.
  4. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Each saddle should be parallel to the bridge plate. The saddle heights should follow the curvature of the neck.
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  6. Turnaround


    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Instrument Technician, Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    I agree with the others - saddles should be parallel to the bridge plate. Heights are ajusted so the strings follow the curve of the fretboard/fingerboard.
  7. eno50


    Jan 31, 2009
    North of Memphis
    Well it looks, like ,I was wrong in curving the saddles,they should be parallel with the bridge plate..... I guess an old dog can learn a new trick.....
    It seem's tho it would hard to pull a string off one of those threaded saddles, it has never happened to me and I dig in pretty good...
    Well I will have to by my friend lunch...I'am cheap he may have to settel for a Happy meal......
    Thanks for all respone...Eno
  8. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Although it is not accepted procedure, I do tilt the E and G saddles about 1/16" lower on the outside on my non-threaded saddle, non-grooved plate Squier VM jazz. It actually stops saddle skating. I guess that the string now contacts the inner wall of the saddle groove and the saddles are forced inward by tension. Or so it seems. I just know that my saddles don't skate anymore.

    The A and D are parallel to the plate.
  9. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I run my strings under the bridge saddles so as not to mar the pretty chrome finish. For the more conventional types, yes, maintain the saddles as close-to-parallel to the baseplate as possible. This holds true for Fender-esque barrel and channeled (i.e. ABM) components.

  10. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Droll Riis, very droll. :)
  11. Grissle


    May 17, 2009
    I think you might be confused. By parallel we mean not angled, as in one side of the saddle higher than the other. And by following the curvature or radius, the A/D saddles may be slightly higher than the E/G.
  12. eno50


    Jan 31, 2009
    North of Memphis
    Well I have always been confused....
    No the way I have been setting up my bass is to have the bottom or top of the saddles, radius the fretboard,so yes the saddle would be tilted on one side
    a little to match the fretboards radius...
    No what everyone is telling me is that is not the correct way of setting the bridge or saddles up and that they the saddles should stay parallel to the bottom of the bridge plate and ,how should I say it ,stair steped to the to the radius of the fretboard.
    That is my understanding...correct me if I'am wrong...
  13. The individual saddles should be parallel to the bridge plate, but their height needs to follow the radius.
  14. How about that. I've been setting up my stuff that way for 48 years. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to find out I'm right.
  15. The point of your snark being?
  16. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    riis also bowls overhand, so watch out!

    anyway, this is "correct"...


    ...but the "cheat" 96tbird mentioned of tilting the outer ones a little to help pull them in via string tension is legit, too. (i don't like it aesthetically, but what works works.)
  17. eno50


    Jan 31, 2009
    North of Memphis
    All said and done a picture is worth a thousand words
    Thanks for taking the time to post a pic...
  18. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Hey, quit looking at my bass!!! :p
  19. Britbonic

    Britbonic Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    Well I guess you learn something new everyday. Once I learned about how much difference in makes in action and playability, I've been following the fretboad radius for years. However, I've almost always adjust heights such that the saddles aren't parallel to the bridge. Not an extreme difference, such as in the illustration, just a slight one that tends to follow the radius. Noticed that my SR5 came setup from the factory this way (really nicely I might add). So question, what's the problem with a slight angle on the saddles?

    BTW, curious was the original debate about saddles following the fretboard radius or saddles being parallel to bridge?
  20. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    music man saddles are very much meant to stay parallel to the top; those two pillar things on the outsides then hold them all together.

    in general, the problem with tilting the individual saddles is that you end up with most of the string's downforce on one screw, which can lead to rattling or even the other screw turning on its own.
  21. Turnaround


    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Instrument Technician, Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Amazing how my pic gets around!

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