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Before I drill....is this correct?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by GotRoot?, Apr 16, 2010.


  1. Howdy All,
    I know there are several threads concerning bridge placement. I have read quite a few and am still somewhat confused. Please bear with me.....

    (I think was has confused me the most has been the lingo..ie "witness line", and referring to the movement of the saddles as forward and backard....which is back and which is forward?).

    I am building a bass using an old "P" copy body (which was a long scale) and a short scale Rondo jazz neck....Therefor the location of the old bridge is incorrect and needs to be moved. I was able to layout, drill the holes and get the neck mounted last night. Now, the bridge placement.....

    Here is what I "think" I need to do to determine bridge placement. Please tell me if I am screwed or not:)

    1) The distance from the nut to the 12th fret is exactly 15in...this indicates a scale of 30in. (measured from the fingerboard edge of the nut to the center of the 12th fret)

    2) I extended the saddles as far out as the would go...and by "out" I mean in the direction that would "shorten" the string length, and then back them off about 1/8 in.

    3) I measure from the 12th fret 15 inches and use this as the reference for the placement of the G string saddle. (The "witness line"?)

    It is my understanding the the G string when intonated properly will be the shortest length and close to the scale length of 30in, with the other strings needing to be slightly longer in length. By backing off 1/8 of an inch (before placement of the bridge) I could actually adjust the length of the G-string to be 1/8in less than 30in.

    What do you think? Is my understanding correct?

    Thank You!
    Wayne
     
  2. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Your plan sounds good to me.

    Forward usually means towards the nut.
    Backward usually means away from the nut.

    Everything else seems peachy keen...
     
  3. Greenman

    Greenman

    Dec 17, 2005
    Ontario Canada
    Sounds like your good to go. Place two straight edges on each side of your neck and follow up to bridge placement. the center of these lines is usually the center of your bridge. :)
     
  4. Thanks for the replies!!!!
    Just wanted to make sure. Went back and reread several threads i had saved links to....was confusing myself with the reference to direction...lol

    Really appreciate you responding to my thoughts!
    Wayne
     
  5. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Like Beej and greenman say.... You've got the right idea.
     
  6. Greenman

    Greenman

    Dec 17, 2005
    Ontario Canada
    How come I don't get a capital "G" ? :D
     
  7. M0ses

    M0ses

    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Has anyone ever had to adjust a saddle to shorter than the scale? Isn't that physically impossible? Not that I think it's stupid to leave that extra 1/8 of an inch, common sense tells me it's the smart thing to do.
     
  8. Greenman

    Greenman

    Dec 17, 2005
    Ontario Canada
    Factor in error of witness point at nut and saddle you may or may not need that 1/8". Add in extreme string gauge.
     
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    I did a poll of the luthiers on this once, and the answer was no, no one ever had to move a saddle to a position short of the virtual bridge line.

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=274950
     
  10. Greenman

    Greenman

    Dec 17, 2005
    Ontario Canada
    So, If you where to locate a 4 string bridge would you extend the g saddle to the full extent.
     
  11. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    I originally agreed with pilotjones on this and I have to say that in my own experience, I have never had to locate a saddle on the nut side of the witness line, but Rickett once pointed out that if you wanted to put piccolo strings on the bass at some point, you might want to have a bit of play in the bridge. I've only ever had to piccolo string a bass that was a Fender, and they have some play in the bridge, so I have no real world experience with needing to locate the bridge right on the witness line and then having to piccolo string it, but it just seemed prudent to give it a small amount of play for future possibilities. That said, if you locate the bridge on the witness line, you'll be fine in the majority of cases...
     
  12. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Just wondering, how do you see the difference with piccolo strings? They might be at higher or lower tension than "normal" strings, but they should AFAIK follow the same laws.
     

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