Bridge frustration - HELP

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by chaz917, Jul 15, 2003.

  1. I've been looking through forums trying to find some advice on this, but have been unsuccessful. I realize this isn't a very interesting topic, I was just hoping someone could help! I play electric, and recently bought an inexpensive double bass. (DeVilli 4-string, 3/4... nothing fancy) Anyway, I'm going mad trying to get this bridge to keep from collapsing!!! I even went out and bought a level to make sure it was evenly balanced. I measure from the bridge's feet to notches in f-holes on both sides to make sure it's even, and it still falls apart every time I attempt to get it in tune. I read somewhere to use a pencil and color in the notches on the bridge to make the strings slide more easily during tuning, but this doesn't seem to help either. I really have no idea how to remedy this, and its making me very unenthusiastic about playing upright. Any suggestions would be quite appreciates. Thanks in advance!
  2. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    sounds like the feet of the bridge are rounded. happens when bridges are fit with sandpaper...
    where did you get this instrument?
  3. I got it on an eBay auction. It is new and was setup before shipping. The bridge is made from 'aged northern maple'. What exactly do you mean by it may be rounded? Is this something I can tell just by looking at it?
  4. First off I would say bring it to a luthier, they will be able to remedy the problem. Second do go to crazy with the pencil markings on the notches. I had a Carlo Robeli I strung with nylon wraped LaBellas and I over did it with the pencil markings, I had similar problems with the bridge slipping. It seems like you need some friction between bridge and strings to hold it in place.
    Your bridge may be to thin which causes it to bend under string tension, but like I said bring it to a luthier!
  5. Thanks for your help so far.
    I didn't apply too much pencil markings to groove fearing that it would destroy needed friction--just enough to ease the strings along.
    I was just thinking about something: usually when it all collapses, I loosen the strings quite a bit in order to replace the bridge. However, the last time I simple pushed the bridge back under the 'close-to-in-tune' strings. Is it possible that placing the bridge under loosened strings and then tuning up moves the bridge around too much and changes its position to the point that it just falls?
    I don't know of any luthiers around here (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) but there are bound to be some in New Orleans. Are there any good directories around? (I'm sure there are...)
  6. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    chaz, you've found one of the two sites you need to know about right here at TalkBass. The guy who owns the vault of DB info is Bob Gollihur.

    Go to, and you'll find Bob's main bass link page. There are a couple of well-marked links on that page to Bob's bass luthier directory.

    However, without too much effort on the main page you'll find tons of info about how your bass is supposed to work. Something's not schmecking for ya, hard to tell whether it's the bridge, you, or a combination.

    As Nick was saying, if the feet of the bridge (them what it stands on) have been ROUNDED -- if they don't have a nice, square, solid mating with the bass -- it could make it more likely to want to tip over, especially if it's not vertical to begin. Hit it then with tension and over she goes.

    BTW, you haven't heard a little wooden "clunk" yet from inside the bass? Like a stick falling down in there? Just checking....
  7. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    "aged northern maple" doesn't mean "correctly fit bridge".

    Do this with the lights on:
    1)Lay the bass down on your bed or sofa.
    2)Loosen the strings and remove the bridge from the bass.
    3)Flip the bridge upside down, in your hands, and lay a straight edge (ruler, long edge of razor blade) over the bridge feet. That is, the surface of the bridge feet that contacts the top. You want to check the surface from the front of the bridge foot<--->back of the bridge foot.
    4)This surface should appear flat, or better yet, slightly concave. From your complaints, it may in fact be convex, or round.
    5)Now lay the bridge down on the sofa. This would be a good time to go to the kitchen and get a beer, or if your a minor, a Mountain Dew.
  8. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Ebay- said it all right there.

    How about shopping at a luthier's shop who knows what they are doing? The service after the sale should be well worth the extra money.

    This is for everyone- be careful out there, you probably spend more fixing the junk you buy on ebay rather than just getting it done right the first time.

    And I'm not a luthier...

    These luthiers on the forum are so nice to take care of your ebay mistakes, let's start giving them our business.
  9. Alex- Jeez man, so sorry some of us don't have money trees in our back yard... a nice inexpensive bass that has an okay sound suffices--besides, a good musician can make do with a decent instrument. This "eBay quality bass" that you so quickly dismiss as insufficient actually has a pretty good sound and meets my needs musically and financially.
    Regardless, you should try being more constructive in your posts-- this post isn't about the quality of basses purchased on eBay.

    Nick-thanks so much for the instructions, if that doesn't work out, I will probably check with a luthier.
  10. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    ... hey, this bridge thing is no big deal. chaz will get that sorted out easily enough.

    It's got nothing to do with e-bay, schmee-bay, whatever. Give the guy a break already.
  11. Yeah, I really fail to see how buying a bass from a luthier instead of eBay has anything at all to do with making minor bridge adjustments when I can ask for help from fellow bass enthusiasts. The only reason I can see for you guys posting your comments on the quality of MY bass is that you have this huge ego that many pretentious musicians appear to have.
    I also fail to see how this will cost me more in the long run as the bass I bought is inexpensive and I can make these minor adjustments myself. If you would have read the original post, I stated that I am an electric player, thus if this doesn't work out in the end I won't really have lost out on the deal. You guys need to get off your high horse.
    *The question I asked was "How do I fix my bridge?", thus telling me that eBay is not a good idea, etc really doesn't help me at all, does it? I cannot go back in time and not buy the bass. So, if you're not answering my question I would appreciate you keep your opinions to yourself and not bash people who decide how to spend their OWN money.
    As a side note, I hoped that when I signed up for this forum I wouldn't experience such pessimistic and authoritarian posts as every other forum I have ever been to. Guess I was wrong....
  12. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    since Chris Fitzgerald is busy right now...

    kumbayaaaa, kumbayaaaa!

    Chaz, man, very few cats on this board are pretentious. (The pretentious ones just lurk around and don't post.) All we are trying to say is many upright players have had setup problems with instruments purchased online. If we were all in the same room, we'd be smiling and giving you a wink, with some raz thrown in.
    It would be a good idea to find out who does good upright bass work in your area. Sooner or later, something major will need to adjusted, (i.e. dress fingerboard, cut a soundpost) and it will make more sense to have a trained pro do it. That's all...
  13. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny

    Your reaction to Alex is way over the top. His comments were not at all what you are suggesting. I think it is time for you to move on to the next forum where you'll no doubt find the people there mostly pessimistic and authoritarian.

    Nick- That's not how the song goes.
  14. I`m one of them, but all you guys know that once he`s hooked he`ll be saving his pennies to buy a quality Bass like I and so many others have. My main regret is that I didnt find this site and a Teacher BEFORE I bought my Ebay surprise;)

  15. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Oh, don't mind him, he was just trying to help. He would have done a better job of it, too, only he's still reeling from the release of this picture, captioned:

    "Why Nick eventually lost the audition for the lead role in 'Boogie Nights' "


    ..which was posted in an earlier thread. Poor sap. This will probably haunt him for the rest of his life. Yet another example of what pessimistic and authoritarian posting habits can do to an innocent bystander....
  16. Chris,
    The Boggie Nights slam is great...thats funny.
  17. Spend some time reading old posts and get to know the context and the personalities here. At least on the DB side of the board (I don't know BG, don't often go there), you will find the level of experience, knowledge, intelect and tolerance very high, and the level of pretention and egotism very low. There's lots to be learned here.

    And don't get offended if someone goofs on your handle- it's a well worn tradition.
  18. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Thanks Jeff, no harm intended to any ebay users.
    I would buy a few things on ebay, like stock stuff you can't screw up that doesn't need an expert's skill and touch to make workable.

    I just feel it is easier, and probably cheaper in the long run to deal with reputable and knowledgeable trained professionals, and to pay them accordingly.

    No pretension attempted here, just frustrated at every new student who shows up on my doorstep having some major issue with their ebay-purchased bass, or even some shops out there.

    Just find a reputable shop and take an expert along. Most of these guys don't make a ton of money, and won't try to take advantage of a young guy, especially when he has brought his teacher along who gives the guy a lot of business.

    Buying from schmucks just doesn't help the cause much, and I guess that's why I'm frustrated.

    I always post stuff knowing that some other young guy might read it and think twice before buying someone else's bass problem.

    good luck to you
  19. Gufenov


    Jun 8, 2003
    For what it's worth, I spent a great deal of time reading these forums :bag: (yes, including the newbie links) before making a decision about my first bass. Luthiers are a little scarce where I live, so ordering online made sense - but I wanted to deal with someone I could trust. Primarily due to the advice and guidance I got from these boards (like "don't buy from e-bay"), I decided to order an ES-1 from Bob Gollihur. (OK, Kay bashers - let 'er rip!) I know it's not the best available, but it meets my needs (bluegrass festivals) and fits in my budget, and I'm pretty confident Bob will work with me if anything isn't right. Just wanted everyone to know that your advice IS taken - sometimes.

    P.S. If delivery goes as planned, next week - I'm in the club!

  20. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    ...nice to return to a respectable tone of discourse again.

    I think chaz went overboard in his response, too, but I can't blame the guy for feeling slagged. I chimed in with the "schmee bay" thing because I find the whole argument specious in relation to the problem chaz came to us with.

    Any halfway intelligent person should know that on e-bay, ya pays yer money, ya takes yer chances. That's life.

    Sounds like chaz has realistic expectations out of his e-bay bass, and the problem he's asking us about is minor. Futzing around with a bridge is a pretty good practical introduction as to why you may want to work with a luthier -- or why you may not.

    It would be a different story if we were talking about a serious flaw requiring serious skill to address. But I've got sympathy for the lone wolves who take these things on for themselves. He needs advice and information, not dissing. Let him learn his way.