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Adjustable bridge: is this a mistake?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by free4all, Dec 9, 2004.

  1. free4all


    Apr 27, 2004
    Hi everyone. I just bought an adjustable bridge and found out that those holes in the legs go through the bottom of the feet. I attached a photo (hope I did it right) where you can see the holes (sorry about the quality of the photo, my digital camera is nothing more than a toy)

    Should I complain and ask for a replacement? Or is this normal?


    Attached Files:

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  2. Jazzman


    Nov 26, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Looks normal to me...nothing wrong with them drilling completely through the feet.
  3. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Ya gotta get the holes in there somehow, right?? ;)

    That's normal. Holes for adjustable bridges are drilled *before* cutting the feet off - that's why they go through the bottoms of the feet.
  4. free4all


    Apr 27, 2004
    I see! :p Thanks guys, that's a big relief! At the same time, for some reason, those holes kind of bother me :meh: I wonder if they inhibit the vibrations of the instruments.
  5. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Well, when it's fitted to the bass, you'll never see 'em. And your vibrations will do just fine.
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    You know you have all passed up a perfectly good "bridge worms" scam...
  7. LOL!!!
  8. luthierbass


    Jan 2, 2005
    well by haveing adjusters in the bridge that alone hurts the vibrations of the bridge. I work in one of the biggest bass shops in Los Angeles. and i found out that they kill about 25% of the sound.. if your string height doesnt change over the seasons then your bridge doesnt need them. those were made for basses that changed a lot because of weather. There used to be bassist that would have three bridges and soundpost most seasons.
  9. I found 2 things usefull with bridge setup

    1 was to drill holes into the bottom of the feet up into the legs of the bridge (about 2 3rd's of the leg length)

    2 remove as much excess wood as you can without damaging the structure of the bridge helped sound a lot esp with a ply bass I useed to have.(generaly made it more responsive and a little brighter and improved articulation)

    That and having 2 bridges 1 for winter 1 for summer as opposed to those adjuster things we see so much of.. never liked them

    My 2C worth.
  10. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    How do you measure the 25% reduction in sound? Is this arbitrary, or do you set up a professional microphone and decibal meter in an anechoic chamber? I find many basses IMPROVE with adjusters. This is in the ears of professionals who play them in symphonies, shows and jazz groups. Perhaps in L.A. where the weather is fairly constant, players don't need to address the issue. But try dealing with the climatic variations in the Northeast or Mid Atlantic or Eastern Canada with a solid bridge!
  11. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    Whether or not adjusters help or hurt tone will be argued til well past when the cows come home. And then comes the argument of how much space is allowable, what material is the best, ad infinitum. The holes thru the bottom are normal, see the highly exalted and much cowtowed installation method that we outline on our site, www.samuelshen.com. Go to accessories, Bridge adjusters to read our spin on wheel install if you like. ;)

    That's perfect, Ed! I'll be sure to file that away for the next unsuspecting bassist.
  12. This is a very interesting comment, i checked your profile and unfortunately that did'nt help. Could you tell me your source for such a bold statement?
  13. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I heard Practicing makes your bass sound better, can anyone confirm this?
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I find that I strongly disagree with about 77% of this post. :eyebrow:
  15. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    What about me?

    I don't just use adjusters for climatic compensation. (Besides in the Midwest, the temps only vary about 90 degrees or so from season to season with humidity changes as little as 50-60 percent, so they aren't really needed)

    I sometime just want the strings higher than other times. When I am playing R-V stuff with the bluegrass boys I crank them as high as I can get them for max digability.

    If I am playing amped pizz with a songwriter friend of mine, kind of a new age contemporary acoustic thing, I lay them as low as I can without the clackity clackity.

    Most days for arco practice and general use, they are somewhere in the middle.

    I'm not going to worry too much about the 25 percent until I am certain I am getting the first 75 percent out of thing!! :)

  16. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    You are 88.73% on the money ;)
  17. Some years ago, some scientific types got together to study to death the question of whether adjusters modify tone/volume. It's on the 'net, Branstetter or Fuqua probably can post the link. I found it picayune and unconvincing. As scientific as they could be with their methods, it still boiled down to the subjective opinions of a panel of listeners.

    I rarely see adjusters used by Euoropean orchestral bassists. They all say they keep two bridges. I see it as a general prejudice.
  18. If we are talking about the same article, the fatal flaw in the study was that they used one bass and switched a half dozen or so different type adjusters. Any competent bass luthier will tell you you just can't make the assumption that a particular type of adjuster will sound the same on any other bass. On most basses, heavy brass adjusters will act as a mute. However, I've have seen basses that actually sound better with brass. Their methology may have been scientific, but because of their false assumption, the study is totally useless.
  19. Some salt to add to the discussion.... !

    One of the things that makes a carved bass better than a plywood one is that the vibrations go directly from the string to the bridge to the top of the instrument.

    With a ply bass those vibrations then go thru 3 or more different layers of ply that make up the top. This could be argued as the main reason why the sound of a ply bass is not as alive or rich compared to a carved bass.

    With adjusters you are adding 2 additional layers (or more) before the string vibration gets to the top of the bass.

    My experience has been that adjusters dampen the sound and add a slightly metallic element to the sound.

    This is ok as some people don't mind a metallic element to their sound (Ron carter comes to mind also Barrie Philips ) (spelling?).

    What's very important about this thread is that there seems to be 2 major approaches to this issue and both have claimed advantages and disadvantages.

    Adjusters In favour
    freedom of quick adjustment of string height.
    ability to change sound due to string height
    Metallic element to sound (can be useful, May not be what you want)

    Wooden Bridge In favour
    bigger sound
    Warmer sound
    better articulation with the bow

    I shall now duck for cover!

  20. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    A plywood bass top should not be percieved of as a bunch of layers. It's a composite plate which vibrates as a whole. The laminated structure makes it stiffer than a carved top of equal mass, and the vibrational nodes are different because of grain orientation and its unified thickness. That's what makes it sound different than a carved top.
    I just strung up a new handmade bass with a solid bridge, then days later installed the Stenholm adjusters. To my ear, and the ears of two other pros, the bass sounded better--more even, less wolfy, more low end bite. I personally think adjuster wheels add some flexibility to the bridge and help the feet nestle into the top better. Since the bridge feet primarily function like pistons, moving up and down with the vibration of the strings, the adjusters really can't "steal" sound from the bass, as they are just as stiff, if not stiffer in that attitude as the maple of the bridge.