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Bridge and string Height Setup

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by reuvenholzer, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. reuvenholzer


    Oct 21, 2013

    I am new in this forum and an "old" amateur , just started again to play after 25 years.

    I have just got back my old dB from renovation and there is a technical issue I would like to learn about.

    I bought a Tomastick "bell canto" set of strings and currently my bridge setup is too high and pressure of the G string below the octave level becomes difficult (pressure needed by the finger).

    The bridge is not adjustable, I will have to process the wood myself. So I need some reference points before I start.

    I wonder, if anyone can recommend a preferred string height (about the second octave of the string near the bridge)

    Current setup is:

    G 8.5 mm
    D 10.2 mm
    A 11.5 mm
    E 13.5 mm

    The dB is 3/4 in size

    Best Regards

    Reuven Holzer
  2. You can do it yourself, but if you are not experienced or don't know exactly how deep the slots should, be let a luthier do it.

    I won't go too low in the first step.
    Try G 7mm, D 8.7mm, A 10mm and E 12mm at the end of the fingerboard.
    This should be much better and useable for a lot of different strings.
    If it is still too high, go half a millimeter down again and try it.
    You can go down half a millimeter again if needed, but I won't go any lower than that. At least until you played the instrument for a month with this bridge height.
    If you go lower, you might need to get adjusters installed if you later want to get strings that have a larger vibrational amplitude.
  3. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    That's very high. Bearing in mind that the string heights at the nut and the camber of the fingerboard both have major influences over the playability quotient, most of the DBs that leave my bench are at 6/7/8/9MM under the G/D/A/E strings respectively.

    I would recommend that you take your bass back to the person (luthier?) who did your renovation and discuss these points directly.

    Good luck!
  4. I would personally recommend having a luthier install bridge adjusters so that you are able to experiment and adjust your instrument to the weather. This would even allow you to change your string height over time if you so desire.

    As far as string height, it's really something of personal preference. It's an age old question and it really boils down to two things: comfort and sound. Personally, I prefer to have my strings very low. It feels better to me than having high action and I personally think it sounds more "intimate." Some people can't stand playing my bass because they feel they can't grip the strings well and because they like a more "open" sound. Like I said, it all boils down to comfort and sound.

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