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brass adjusters w/ brass inserts

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by B String, Nov 24, 2003.

  1. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    In your(collective)opinions....
    What effect do brass adjusters with
    brass inserts have on basses. I have a
    newer Wilfer and am not sure I want to
    start off with a whole new bridge if I
    don't have to, but the sound seems a bit...
    .... ehh choked?? What do ya think??
  2. You aren't going to get a universal agreement on this one, but IMO the more mass you add to a bridge the greater the muting effect. Brass adjusters by themselves are too heavy for a lot of basses. Add the inserts and ...
  3. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    I agree with Bob on this one. Get rid of the brass!
  4. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    The only problem seems to be that
    my very qualified luthier can't get
    the inserts out. I think they are glued
    in. Do you think its a big enough sound
    difference to make it worth cutting a
    whole new bridge? Will it really help to
    open up the bass?
  5. Yes and Yes
  6. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    This is a strong opinion from a
    coservative mid-western luthier.
    You might want to check JYD´s thread about bridge adjusters a little bit lower on this section.
    Some interesting opinions about the effect to the sound, especially by Ahhnold ( who once replaced the brass adjusters with aluminiums, after which the bass sounded.....worse! ).
    There are lots of varying aspects. Have you tried to "open up" the sound in any other way? How´s the soundpost setup? I just mean that you could try some some other things before cutting up a new bridge, ´cause it´s always $$$.
    Well, you said you have a very qualified luthier, so I guess he has tried everyhing else...

  8. Yes, it is true tht Arnold had ONE occation where brass sounded better than aluminum adjusters. However, in this case we are talking about not only Adjusters here, but also brass inserts. I have NEVER seen a case where adding addional weight to a bridge improved the sound. Weight kills sound - Period!
  9. I do believe you, Bob. In fact I thought brass adjusters were made with inserts, because the ones I was talking about in JYD´s thread had inserts, and they were the same which Contrabass shoppe in UK sells. Never seen brass adjusters without the inserts.
    Here´s a picture how they looked like:


    No matter what they say, I rejected them when I saw them and held them in my hand
    ( heavy ! )

  10. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    I'd also look at the thickness of the bridge and the thickness of the bridge feet. You might be able to get away with thinning these out(if they're not done correctly!).
    However, if I understand you, you are taking a bridge off one bass and putting it on another. No two top curvatures are exactly the same, so you have to be able to get the feet to fit correctly, and that might not be possible.
    Put a new well fitted bridge on it, and be done with it. Poorly fitting feet can damage the top, and will be much worse for the sound than those inserts.
  11. Martin - I've got to ask what you read that gave you this idea?
  12. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I would most certainly be using a new
    bridge. Would a thinner bridge top, also
    help to open up this bass up?
  13. I've never been able to say that brass adjusters are a problem. To tell the truth, in my 45 years of playing on and with double basses, I can't tell the difference between any materials used for adjusters!
    Also, B, it seems you're jumping at too many things at once, as far as wondering about thining out the bridge too. I've found, if you try too many things at once, you're asking for alot more confusion.
    For your choked sound problem...I vote for a simple sound post adjustment!!
  14. Hey Paul, since I know that you are younger than me, let me say that I do notice a difference in materials when it is as HEAVY as brass. You'll learn these things when you get a little older:)
  15. tsolo


    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    Can you tell any difference having adjusters and not?
  16. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Sorry if it seems that i'm grasping
    at straws here, but i've got this really
    beautiful new bass that i'm pumping lot
    of money into with no great return. (yet)
    My very capable luthier has done a setup
    with alot of soundpost experimenting. The
    bass a few wolfs and dead spots. Its just
    blaahh... Is it perhaps time to change
    luthiers, or just bridges. I love this Wilfer
    and I'd love to make it my dance partner.
    The brass is the only thing I can think of.
    I'm open to other ideas. You guys are about
    as learned as it gets. HELP!!
  17. Actually it's been so long since i've played a bass that i'm familiar with,with NO adjusters, I can't tell you.
    And Branstetter, I wouldn't be bragging about being older than me! I remember when there were no adjusters! I remember when basses only had 3 strings! I remember when there were no adjustable end-pins! I remember when...I remember when you had to tune your bass with your teeth!
    All kidding aside, B...where's your bridge in relation to the notches in your F hole? About where is your bridge in relationship to your sound post? What kind of strings are you using? What kind of music do you play?
  18. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Sheesh!!! Great questions. I'll have to
    look at all of these items, probably after
    T-day. I'll try and get back to you with
  19. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Have a new bridge cut, w/out adjusters, and see what it sounds like. Generally, more bridge weight does deaden the sound. Sometimes, it provides more bottom end. You would get a better perspective/more informed decision by having your very qualified luthier cut you a new bridge. BTW, what does your very qualified luthier suggest?
  20. Nuno A.

    Nuno A. Velvet Strings Customer Service

    Jul 9, 2001
    I have 2 basses with bridge adjusters, one has aluminium and the other one has brass adjusters with the inserts... sound wise i noticed a big difference in sound(more volume and more definition), but when my luthier put the new bridge with the brass adjusters , he also changed the sound post and the tailpiece, so , cant comment on the effect of the adjusters, however is much easier for me to use the brass adjusters with the inserts than the aluminium ones, they are much more precise and easier to turn....
    Anyway, i never heard any of my basses without those metal round things on the bridge..:D
    If i didnt live in Switzerland and had to play in the mountains in the winter with -20 celsius and + 30 celsius in the summer , i would like to give a try to a bridge without the adjusters....


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