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Squier VM Precision TB saddles - replace?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by 1bassleft, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. 1bassleft

    1bassleft

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    Hello all; 3rd post, 1st thread - here goes...

    I purchased a used VM Precision with the Telebucker and a sky-high action. I'm not the type that insists that the strings practically sit on the frets, either - it was like an egg-slicer.

    I've dealt with the truss rod over several weeks (slowww) to the point of fear and, if held at 1st and 16th, the strings (D'ad flats) aren't too high. Intonation is nearly spot-on, having never used a 2-saddle before. Saddle height is as low as I can make it; there is some buzz (E>12th, A>14th, D>16th, G fine) and the G-side of the saddle is practically resting on the plate.

    I haven't done any nut filing, but those brass cylinders have a simply enormous diameter. Surely I'm wasting my time if they're the problem so, has anyone else found this problem and replaced the saddles?

    Squier Bronco, Custom Shop '51 saddles and (getting expensive) the Wilkinson tilting 2-saddle bridge all look, from pics, to be narrower. If possible, I'd like to keep the thru-body, 2-saddle look.

    Any advice/experience much appreciated.:help:
  2. NYCbassist

    NYCbassist Supporting Member

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    I would just Shim the neck. Just cut a 1/2" sliver off of a credit card and put it between the heel of the neck and the body. This will tilt the neck and should "Lower" the strings.
  3. 1bassleft

    1bassleft

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    I've got some credit cards I really out to scissor up:). I've never shimmed a neck before, is the idea to keep the shim right at the back, well inside the pocket, and is it then more or less invisible?

    I can see how it could solve the problem; thanks for responding so soon.
  4. NYCbassist

    NYCbassist Supporting Member

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    Yep. You'll have to pull the neck off. Then put the cut piece of Credit card right inside the neck pocket right by the back screw holes. I would use the thinnest card you have. Sometimes the Discount cards from grocery stores are thinner and work good.
  5. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

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    It goes at the base of the pocket, toward the pickup. One thickness of biz card will make a surprising difference. A credit card is actually a pretty thick shim - I'd try 1/2 a biz card first.
  6. 1bassleft

    1bassleft

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    Thanks again for the replies. I have a few Society + discount store types of cards - exactly what you mean. Another advantage is that they're easier to cut and don't have embossed numbers, etc.

    The neck's really soft; I recently loosened the strings to do some electronics and the back bow was incredible but I think this shim tilt should make the bass quite playable. It's for my son and he hasn't got the hang of clamping his fingers to the 'board yet.

    Thanks again.
  7. Liam76

    Liam76

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    I've also had good luck using a trimmed and folded business card as a shim at the inside of the heel route. On one bass I used to own, the previous owner used a 1/4 piece of 100 grit sandpaper.
  8. NYCbassist

    NYCbassist Supporting Member

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    You got it. Sometimes it's trial & error but worst case you swap for something thicker or thinner. Good luck.
    one other thing I like to do is make sure the strings are equal distance from the fretboard edges. As you're tightening the 4 screws, you can pull the neck sideways just a bit and "tweak" it. I almost always get just a tiny bit more "clearance" for the G string this way.
    I hope that makes sense. It's hard to put into words.
  9. JoeWPgh

    JoeWPgh

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    You can layer up 1" masking tape. Say, 3 pieces at the heel, then 2 pieces, then 1. This creates a rough 'ramp' which theoretically will provide better contact between the neck and body. The green 'Frog Tape' seems to me to be the thinnest of the paper tapes.
    The above recipe resulted in a an 1/8 ~ 3/16 difference at the saddles on my Jag.
  10. 1bassleft

    1bassleft

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    Made complete sense, thanks. As it happens, the symmetry is excellent so I need to make sure that I screw it back in the way it came.

    I also like Joe's idea of "ramping" the shim. The good news is that it's all just trial + error; reversible and costing nothing more than a bit of time:cool:
  11. 1bassleft

    1bassleft

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    Partial update:
    I went for a three-layer 3M masking tape ramp and, by the looks of it (and somewhat to my surprise) a lower, 2,1 ramp should be Goldilocks' chair, porridge and bed. I'm going to let it settle the night, see if compression occurs and there's any more turn in the neckscrews.

    The immediate upshot is that the string height along the neck is much more consistent and I need to raise those saddles off the plate at last.

    More tweaking to do, but the advice has definitely put me on the right road. Many thanks.
  12. Bobster

    Bobster

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    Hi 1bassleft,

    What guage of D'Addarios are you using, those are fairly high tension strings.

    Bob
  13. 1bassleft

    1bassleft

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    Hello Bobster,

    I wish I knew. I bought this off ebay (£102, ca$150, pretty good for over here) and collected from the seller. He said they were D'ad flats, about two years old. I had my tech sort out my Jazz f/less and he installed new D'ad flats (again, no gauge info). The latter were disappointingly "unthumpy", new but have mellowed since. I like the ones on the VM, nice and worn in but not greasy or anything.

    HST, I have had my concerns that, tuned up, they really do pull the neck in. Noticeably more than the D'ads on the Jazz. I couldn't be sure whether the VM's Indonesian neck was a lot softer than the Jazz (I've had a couple of the 89/90 Young Chang Fenix Jazzes and the necks are great) but these strings really are pullers.

    I'll A/B the two now but, if you have info, I'd appreciate your follow-up. I've been tweaking the rod for several weeks now and it always seems to want to bow again.
  14. JoeWPgh

    JoeWPgh

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    Glad the tape worked for you. And yes, it's a good idea to go back and see if the screws have more snug in them. In hindsight, I probably could have gotten away with 2 + 1 but the 3 steps broke the neck pocket in 'quarters' so I went with that as it seemed the most consistent ramp. Once I strung it up, I didn't see the need to go back and undo anything.
  15. 1bassleft

    1bassleft

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    Apols for my D'ad ignorance; if it helps, the Jazz strings have light, Royal Blue threading and gold/red/black/green (EADG) ball ends. Can't see the ball ends on the VM, but the threading is either black or very dark navy.

    Although the Jazz has been hardly used, the re-string must be several years ago, now - should be older than the VM's.
  16. 1bassleft

    1bassleft

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    Joe, the tape is a great idea; it's just that I think 3 layers has pushed the angle slightly too far up. Unless it compresses, I'll reduce to 2+1 so that I'm not raising the action too high again.
  17. Bobster

    Bobster

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    Black is an interesting color. I am pretty sure all the D'Addario Chromes have a dark blue wrapping. So, you may want to check into that.

    I'd recommend going to a lower tension set of strings to help the neck out. I really like the D'Addario ultra light Chromes: http://www.daddario.com/DADProductDetail.Page?ActiveID=3769&productid=159 They have a very good flatwound tone and don't put anywhere near as much tension on the neck.

    I found this chart of string wrappings that might help you identify what you have more easily. http://www.ipass.net/davesisk/music/other/BassPlayerStringReviewDec04.pdf

    Best of luck.

    Bob
  18. JoeWPgh

    JoeWPgh

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    Sadowsky's flats are a nice medium tension. I haven't used flats in years, but I just put a set on my 62 reissue. I'm digging them. I'm surprised by their definition and clarity on the e string.
  19. 1bassleft

    1bassleft

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    Nice link, for many reasons, Bobster. If they were rounds,I'd know by the touch; anything other than 45-65-85-105 (130) gives me the jeebs. With both flat sets, I'm guessing 45-100 or possibly 40-100.

    I feel a bit of a doof; normally I'm quite thorough before handing over the cash but this one was a long trip, wife waiting in the car, playing upside down - excuses, I know:oops:. The Jazz has the D'ads (besides, my tech wouldn't say one thing + fit another) but the VM, brass ball ends, black thread, look like whoknows. The seller probably wasn't expecting me to ask and just said the 1st name in his head. TBF, they sound good.

    I'll take your advice and go lighter. Easier on the neck, on the boy's clamping fingers and it looks like the nut's expecting lighter strings, too. If my tech had asked, I would've said LaBella and the descn in your link matches that Jamerson thump I wanted. Have you tried those as well? If not, I'll probably go with the D'Ad lightest. Thanks for your input.
  20. Bobster

    Bobster

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    Hi 1bassleft,

    Sorry, I missed your response. I personally haven't used the LaBellas. I've used TI Flats, EBMM 5 String Flats, DiAddarios, and Fenders. On a four string, my favorites are the Ultra Light ECB80 DiAddarios followed by the TI JF344s.

    On a five string, I like the TI Flats and Fender 9050SL sets.

    All these strings have a "bright" break-in period but settle down to a nice thump.

    All the best,

    Bob

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