Adjustable Bridge on a Plywood.

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by gruffpuppy, Jul 6, 2002.

  1. Any views on the value of this?
    I had one installed on my ES9 as part of the setup but I haven't touched it since week one.
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    It's a good idea to have them. Any wood - even plywood - is sensitive to humidity. I played a gig once on my plywood American Standard where a storm front blew in between the first and second sets. We were indoors in a club with A/C, but the atmosphere changed completely, and by halfway through the set, the string height had rasied itself to a height that was almost unplayable (the guitarist had the same problem). The next day it was fine. But if I hadn't had those adjusters, it would have been a really, REALLY long night.
  3. JazznFunk

    JazznFunk Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Lakland Basses Artist
    I've been wanting to get a straight answer for a while as to what types of weather coincide with an increase and decrease in string height. My current understanding is that warm/humid weather causes the wood to expand, thus raising the height, and the opposite is true when it's cold. Am I correct on this?
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    That's been my experience:

    wet/big, dry/small
    warm/big, cold/small.

    Should I have preceeded that with a PG17 warning?
  5. That really depends on the minds of the reader.
    Personally I would have rated it XXX.

    Thanks for the info, I have noticed depending on the weather in Mass. the thing seem to tune it self.
    I guess even ply is effected by the weather.
  6. In my humble woodworking opinion it is only the bridge itself expanding in a humid enviroment and contracting in a dry enviroment. I really don't think the plywood is moving in such a way as to raise the strings. However I think hard fast rules on what the weather does exactly to any stringed instruments are hard to come by. I would say after playing many times with the acoustic band.. guitar, mandolins, violin.. the bass (ES9) seems least effected by the weather. I've never had to adjust the bridge. But maybe it's those wooden threaded posts on the adjustable bridge *soaking* up the excess moisture on a humid day.

    Tim Tyner
  7. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    With my bass tempature makes a diffrence in string height. I found cold/more hot/less. A ten degree F shift in tempature will cause my bass to go almost a semi-tone sharp or flat. As, the bass ages it seems to be getting less sensitive. (My bass is comming up on being 1 year old now)

  8. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I put one on my plywood "just in case". I play about half the time outdoors, and it can get damn hot and humid in the AL-GA-FLA area. The things I read beforehand seemed to indicate that there wouldn't be a substantial tonal change, so I figured I didn't have anything to lose and lots to gain.

    That said, I haven't had to use it yet. But it's there if I need it. Like having to play the 3rd or 4th hour-long set of the day and could really use a lower action for a bit.
  9. JazznFunk

    JazznFunk Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Lakland Basses Artist
    Agreed.... My plywood made a HUGE jump in both playability and tone when I had a custom adjustable bridge installed.
  10. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Interesting topic. Most luthiers in France were refractory to adjustable bridges, but they are giving in and follow the trend to fulfill the demand. If you have one, you don't have to go back to the shop when you want to change the action, and you can experiment to make up your mind. And it's easier to resell your bass, etc...
    But as Pup noticed, it is not an absolute necessity, and some bucks could be saved by not having wheels. Shims can be an alternative.
  11. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Plywood basses absolutely do swell and shrink with climate changes. Sometimes more than fully carved basses. In the Eastern US, bridge wheels are a necessary evil...
  12. Another adjustable bridge question.

    I have the bridge set fairly low. It keeps the E at 10mm and the G at 7mm.

    After time or when putting on strings the top of the bridge leans toward the tuners. The feet stay planted perfect but I start to get worried when I see the top part leaning. The grooves are lubed with pencil. It doesn't seem like a big deal, loosen the strings and pull the top a little lower than even so when tuned it is even.

    Is this common or should I have it looked at?
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
  14. Thanks, it is hard not to worry about it with the adjuster threads being about a 1/4 size of the original one piece bridge.
  15. olps


    Nov 12, 2001
    I have an adjustable bridge on my plywood. It was cheaper having them installed, than getting a whole new bridge. I do find that I adjust the height, especially when the weather changes because of the seasons.