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String angle across the bridge

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by riimodar, Feb 20, 2014.


  1. riimodar

    riimodar

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2006
    Dear colleagues,

    I'd like to ask you to do a simple measurement for me: What string angle across the bridge does your bass(es) have? If any of the luthiers here can comment on what is a normal/standard angle, this would be really appreciated.

    Just for the case you are curious why am I asking this: Now I am dealing with a bass with a short bridge (14cm / 5.5inch). I believe this is a proper bridge for a given bass as the bass has a highly arched top and a thin saddle. The strings probably exert the same downward pressure to the top as when you have the standard 17cm/6.5inch bridge on a flatter bass with a standard saddle. I would like to justify this idea by comparing the string angle with other basses.

    For a given string tension, the angle defines the downward pressure to the top. Unfortunately, it is not a common practice to measure the angle. The height of the bridge, the saddle, the (over)stand, they all are often discussed in relation to bass stiffness, tone character etc. These are all just partial data, while the definitive measurement is the angle. The saddle and the overstand heights influence the ease of access and esthetics, but the sound is in fact influenced by the angle.

    Thanks for any measurements or comments.
     
  2. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago
    With adjustable bridges the angle will change, no? Saddles can easily be changed to influence angle, overstand and neck angle, not so easy.
     
  3. riimodar

    riimodar

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2006
    I agree. Now: what is YOUR angle, Eric? Thanks!
     
  4. DoubleMIDI

    DoubleMIDI

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    Location:
    Germany, Nordrhein-Westfalen
    33° deg on my 5-string 4/4. About 7/8/9/10/11 mm action at the end of the fingerboard.
    Thick top, could hold the tension of Spiro stark (but not my left hand ...).

    I think it depends on the bass top and strings which angle is best for your instrument. For those with a weaker top, it would be possible to raise the saddle to make the string angle at the bridge smaller and reduce the pressure on the top when using medium to higher tension strings.
     
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  6. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Forest Grove, OR
    I assumed that the angle in question was the angle the string makes, crossing the bridge (Nut to Bridge to Tailpiece) In a violin it is supposed to be 158 degrees...probably less on a bass, but...
     
  7. riimodar

    riimodar

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2006
    Thanks a lot for the first measurement!

    Yes, this is the angle I meant. I thing this is also waht DoubleMIDI measured: there is 33 degree break (slope) after the string crossed the bridge. I.e. his 33 degrees is 147 degrees in your interpretation (180 - 33 = 147).
     
  8. riimodar

    riimodar

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2006
    To make clear what I mean by the string angle, I made photos of my gauge and how I use it to measure the angle.

    On the concerned bass, the angles of individual strings differ a little, ranging from 30 degrees (G string) to 33 degrees (A string).
     

    Attached Files:

  9. espass

    espass

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2013
    Reduce pressure on the top=change in sound/volume(softer, louder)?
     
  10. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Forest Grove, OR
    "Yes, this is the angle I meant. I thing this is also waht DoubleMIDI measured: there is 33 degree break (slope) after the string crossed the bridge. I.e. his 33 degrees is 147 degrees in your interpretation (180 - 33 = 147)."

    OK, I understand. Thanks. I was wondering why the huge difference.
     
  11. DoubleMIDI

    DoubleMIDI

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    Location:
    Germany, Nordrhein-Westfalen
    Yes, sorry, of course 147=180-33 degrees. I was thinking in deviation from the straight string, not the angle between the two string "legs".
     

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