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Bending Bridge

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Osama_Spears, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. Over the summer, without taking notice - my bridge has began to bend towards the finger board. I have had the bass (Shen) for a little over a year now, and ive had to set the bridge myself. I spoke with my instructor and he suggested a repair man to take it to, but I am curious if I am able to salvage it. A friend of mine suggested boiling the bridge, putting it under some text books, and putting 'er back on. Is this a common DIY repair?

    Heres a picture of my bridge. Is it salvageable? Am i going to just have to dive in and buy a new bridge/have it repaired? What could happen to my bass if I do not repair it - will the bridge eventually crack?


  2. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    May 26, 2005
    Forest Grove, OR
    This will probably sound silly, but you say you "had to set the bridge" yourself-- is there any possibility the bridge is on there backward? With this being the only photo it is difficult to tell, but from this angle, that is exactly what it looks like to me. The cut of the feet and everything...
  3. could be it, but the name is supposed to be facing the neck right?
  4. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    Obligato strings will do that to any bridge if you don't regularly yank it back down. IMHO your bridge is toast.
  5. That can probably be straightened, but you're going to need it re-set by someone who knows what they're doing to make sure it stays straight... in which case, you may as well have them do the straightening.
  6. My violin did the same thing. Seemed to be just an age and string pressure issue. Mine was warped and twisted. They will likely replace the bridge to insure a lasting repair
  7. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    Straightening a bridge only works temporarily.
  8. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Its time for a new bridge Mr Spears, along with a lesson on how to keep it straight up and down. :)
  9. Pentabass


    Dec 11, 2007
    What if you cut a few strips of the carbon fiber rod that you had used for the neck, and lay them in? I would say four cuts with the table saw, two on each side of the bridge legs. Would that keep the bridge straight? :)
  10. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    May 26, 2005
    Forest Grove, OR
    Name could be on either side, depending on how the luthier cut the feet-- but those feet would not have deformed far enough to put the right-angled face on the side toward the neck-- and the right-angled side has to be toward the tailpiece...the name means nothing.

    The whole bridge seems to be backward, and I think it would be worth turning it around, as that would put the straight side toward the tailpiece.

    Does anyone else see what I am seeing? Look at the foot of the bridge, and the relation to the belly of the instrument. It really looks to me as though a correctly cut bridge was inadvertently installed backward, but it is hard to believe, as most of the time the top is so distinctively cut to match the Romberg flat that you really couldn't get it wrong.

    I'm with the others-- if the bridge is not on there backward, then it is emphatically "toast".
  11. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Backwards or forwards, it's warped.
  12. jtlownds


    Oct 3, 2004
    LaBelle, FL
    That bridge sure looks backward to me, too. Also badly warped, don't waste your time trying to straighten it. Backward bridges are a lot more common than you might think. I have owned 2 basses that had the bridges on backward at the time I bought them. A friend of mine recently bought a new Engle S9, and had it shiped to the music store that she ordered it thru. The shop "luthier?" installed that one backward too.
  13. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    My first thought: backwards.
  14. Anyone else from time to time peruse a shop's site where they make a habit of installing bridges upside down? I've always found it curious... :confused:

    Although, as long as one face is perpendicular and everything fits and lines up right, does it even matter? Or maybe there's a subtle reason, like swapping your E and A tuning heads. (That always freaks people out when they pick up my bass... :p)

    Edit: Are we sure warped bridges can't be saved by heat and/or steam? I'm seen wood do some crazy things... Or maybe it just isn't worth the effort. I want to try one of those composite bridges; those still around? I'm too lazy for Google. Moses made'em, eh? I loved the cello fingerboards, never got to try a bass one. I heard they were kind of floppy. Least that's what Smilin' Bob said at NAMM.
  15. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA

    You can definately straighten a bridge with steam and clamps. The problem is that the bridge will almost always bend back into its warped shape in a matter of days (sometimes hours). I do occasionally straighten a bridge, but only if it has a minor bend. Then it's important to put lots of graphite in the grooves, and keep the top of the bridge perfectly located.
  16. It's done. Love the afterlength damper. I use the same little thingy.
  17. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
  18. some bridge makers like aubert,despiau have a front and back...looks like this..( /l ) more subtle than what i've tried to illustrate,but there none the less.. violin/viola..the name is printed on the back (vert.face).. cello/bass..printed on front...quality is an important key to bridge life,there is a lot of no name junk in use,also it takes 5 seconds to check the bridge set up before you play..like putting on the seatbelt before you drive. i have noticed that bass bridges w/adjusters sometimes tend to lean forward on the non- threaded post because a little wiggle room is added for fit and ease of adjustment,so..check often.
  19. So do you guys suggest I re set the bridge in the opposite direction? I have jazz band tomorrow and would need to do it like...tonight :x
  20. jtlownds


    Oct 3, 2004
    LaBelle, FL
    If you turn that bridge around, your string heights are going to be all screwed up. I would leave it alone until you are ready to replace the bridge.

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