Bridge angle- conflicting ideologies?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by krfoss, Sep 8, 2017.

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1. krfossSupporting Member

Nov 29, 2007
Orange County, CA
I've suddenly heard two opinions regarding the bridge angle. The angle I'm referring to is the tailpiece side of the bridge.

1) Should be 90°
2) Should be slightly less than 90°

My bridge is currently slightly less than 90°, meaning it has a slight tilt toward the tailpiece, away from the fingerboard. The feet remain perfectly flat against the top while in this position.

So, what say you? Is this angle a problem? Is this acceptable so long as the feet remain flat? Is this a matter of ideology and either are fine?

2. salcottSupporting Member

Aug 22, 2007
NYC, Inwood.
I think most luthiers carve bridges so that the bottom is the angle reference and the top is slanted.

3. bassmanbrent

Apr 5, 2011
Vancouver, BC
It seems to me that if your bridge is slightly slanted toward the tailpiece, it will eventually get pulled to 90 degrees (or more) just by tuning up regularly. I also think your bridge might start to cup towards the tailpiece, just like it can cup toward the fingerboard if it's not at 90 degrees. Just my 2 cents...

longfinger likes this.
4. DoubleMIDI

It depends a bit on the string to bridge angle on both sides which determines the direction of the resulting force (parallelogram of force, force is the same amount on both sides of the bridge).

The force should go through the bridge feet, ideally through the tailpiece edge of the feet, since by tuning up the bridge may tilt towards the pegbox and the force gets away from the tailpipe edge towards the pegbox too.
No problem as long as the force still goes through the bridge feet, but a correction to keep the bridge feet flat on the top would be a good idea.
Usually the bridge feet have a 90 degree angle with the tailpiece side of the bridge and you may understand now why this is the case.
If the force falls outside of the bridge feet, only the friction of the strings on the bridge and the bridge feet on the top prevents the bridge from falling.

5. krfossSupporting Member

Nov 29, 2007
Orange County, CA
It sounds like so long as the bridge feet are flat against the top of the bass, and presumably the string weight is being evenly distributed throughout the surface, it shouldnt cause damage to the top.

I'm asking because the bridge on my bass that was recently installed professionally, has a slight tilt. One shop says its fine, and in fact SHOULD have this tilt, another said its a problem. I just spent money to have it installed, and would rather not spend more unless its necessary.

6. bassmanbrent

Apr 5, 2011
Vancouver, BC
It's an easy fix. No need to spend money. I think Upton has a video on bridge angle adjustment if you've never done it before.

krfoss likes this.
7. Matthew TuckerCommercial User

Aug 21, 2002
Sydney, Australia
Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
Bridges get moved back and forth over time. No big deal. I set up a bridge so the back is flat and 90 degrees to the rib line. I do this because it is simple to work on, for the user to remember and to duplicate. A few mm either way are not hugely significant, except if you have a C extension where the C tuning can go out.