Help filing Hipshot bridge saddle.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Srirachaglo, Feb 24, 2013.


  1. Srirachaglo

    Srirachaglo

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    Hi there. I can't find a thread that covers the specifics of this operation, but feel free to point me to one if it exists...

    I love the Hipshot replacement bridge for Rickenbacker (aluminum), except I can't get the beefy E string saddle to go any lower. I switched to LaBella Flats with a thick E string. I can get the other strings perfectly low, but my E saddle is bottomed out and is still too high. Relief is good (almost straight), and my nut has already been dressed by a tech. I guess I need to file that saddle! What are the specific tools/files needed for the job and the proper procedure in how to do this correctly?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

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    Be sure to set your witness point(s), especially the E string, to secure the proper break angle. This may buy you the desired string height. E's & B's are particularly troublesome as they are resistant to bending and more likely to form a "lazy loop" as they pass over the bridge saddle.

    If push comes to shove, an E nut file would work as would any number of precision files. Remember to center and lock the roller-type saddle.

    Riis
     
  3. Srirachaglo

    Srirachaglo

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    Funny you mention the angle break. Another TBer suggested the same thing to even out tone issues with this new set and it helped. Action is still a bit high on that string though. Still not sure the procedure on filing... do I remove the saddle, hold it in one hand and file with the other, or should I clamp the saddle (don't own a vice :( ) and file it in stationary? Unidirectional grinds, or back and forth?

    ...maybe I should take it to a luthier :rollno:
     
  4. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

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    I would leave it where it is: mounted / secured in the saddle base. This will act as its own vise. Approach the saddle from the front aspect. A few swipes of the file will go a long way (much like a nut slot) so stop frequently and check your progress. If unsure of your skill level, take it to a trusted tech. One bright note: if you screw things up, HipShot will provide replacement barrel saddles.

    Riis
     
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  6. Srirachaglo

    Srirachaglo

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    Helpful advice for barrel saddles, but these are modern roller saddles like the TYPE-A bridge. So I guess I would remove the saddle then?

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

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    I wouldn't. They're probably more stable in their current locked-down position. They are removable but why bother? If you can tweak a nut while installed, you can do the same with the modern roller. If you really want to file the saddle independently, remove the entire saddle block, loosen the locking hex screw, and push the roller out through the side.

    Riis
     
  8. Josh Borisoff

    Josh Borisoff

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    Hi Sriracha, I agree with Zooberwerx. Using a file on the saddle insert while it is in the saddle means you won't have to worry about positioning afterward.
    I would recommend setting the insert in the correct location (with respect to string spacing), locking it down (medium pressure on the set screw is all you need. over-tightening can cause the insert to deform) and using a file to gently remove small amounts of material while checking the string height periodically. Once you're happy, just leave it in place.
     
  9. 96tbird

    96tbird This Indian movie is really boring man. Supporting Member

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    Plus since your saddle is already bottomed out, if you go too far you just raise the saddle.
     
  10. Srirachaglo

    Srirachaglo

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    I just realized everyone is talking about filing the GROOVE in the top of the saddle. I thought I was supposed to file the flat BOTTOM of the saddle to make the bottomed-out saddle shorter. Hmmmmmmmm.
     
  11. Josh Borisoff

    Josh Borisoff

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    Quick question: how much farther down does the string need to go? Are we talking 1/16 of an inch or more?
     
  12. Srirachaglo

    Srirachaglo

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    Hi Josh,
    Yes I am seeking adjust ability +/- 1/16"
    That fat, flat .105 E just wants to ride high in relation to the other strings that are nice, low and radiused. Even my skinny Thomastik E string wanted ride high when I used that set.
     
  13. 96tbird

    96tbird This Indian movie is really boring man. Supporting Member

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    Nothing wrong with shaving the bottom of that one saddle then.
     
  14. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

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    Best tool for removing or refining the bottom of the saddle is a stationary belt sander.

    1. Use an old belt and reserve it for metal only.
    2. Blue or etch a line on both sides of the saddle.
    3. Hold the part in a pair of pair of vise grips as it will get uncomfortably warm.
    4. Pad the jaws before using.
    5. Cool the piece by immersing it in cool water every ten or fifteen seconds.

    It will be interesting to read Josh's opinion. Maybe they have a different solution.
     
  15. Srirachaglo

    Srirachaglo

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    Wow. Since I live in a small NYC apt and have literally none of those tools, maybe I'll wait to see what Josh says. Haha - thanks!
     
  16. Arial Bender

    Arial Bender

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    Belt sander is serious overkill, you can sribe how much to take off by setting something next to it & scribe with a razorblade. Put a piece of sandpaper on a flat surface and have at it.
     
  17. Josh Borisoff

    Josh Borisoff

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    That's more material than you'd want to take off the saddle insert, for sure.

    Sanding the bottom of the saddle is the best option in this case. The two main concerns are:
    1. Chipping off the plating on the sides of the saddle. Not really a concern to the sound but it can look somewhat shoddy.
    2. Sanding the bottom at an angle, causing the saddle to not sit flush and possibly rattle against the bridge plate. ( the solution here is to sand an extra .01 off the bottom so that you can use the height adjustment screws).
    If you'd prefer, PM me and we can work something out for you.

    Btw, i havent heard of this particular issue happening before. what's the model of your bass and did the original bridge have adequate height adjustment?
     
  18. Srirachaglo

    Srirachaglo

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    PM sent.
     
  19. scotch

    scotch Will play bass for fish tacos. Plus cash. Supporting Member

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    Hipshot customer service pretty much rules!
     
  20. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

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    Serious over kill? It depends on how much time is available. If you have a shop full of guitars waiting for attention time is at a premium. Also, if a lot of material is to be removed, in this case .0625", manual sanding against a plate will take a very, very long time.

    As far as the small NYC apartment goes, small stationary belt sanders take up roughly a cubic foot of space and cost a hundred dollars or less.
     
  21. Josh Borisoff

    Josh Borisoff

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    Thanks!
    :bassist:
     

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