bridge gap

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Link, Sep 2, 2002.

  1. Link


    Jul 6, 2002
    Latrobe, PA
    I went through most of the archives and couldn't find an answer, so I hope i'm not repeating a thread... anyways I noticed that my bass bridge was leaning a bit towards the finger board. I took the tension down and "reset" it. I don't have bridge adjusters and I noticed the top of the bridge feet are leaving an impression. I don't live too close to any luthiers which doesn't help with general maintence or anything... But... Now, figuring that little bit of a lean occurs over time, i know that too much of a lean can be disasterous. I have a few questions...
    How much of a gap between the foot and top is "natural" or "safe"? Is there anyway to slow down or "prevent" it from leaning so much, or should I just take the tension down every month or two and set the bridge against the top again... I've heard of tapping it down gently, but I'm afraid of damaging the bridge or bass itself...
    Thanks- ~Link
  2. stingray96191


    Jul 27, 2001
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Unofficially Endorsing Ernie Ball Music Man Guitars
    Actually if you live in latrobe, there is a man in penn hills named Dave Manella, of Manella GUitars, that does wonderful work. Hes at most 50 miles from you. I would reccomend him if its really a problem.


    when i find his address and phone # ill post it here, but he has a storefront and regular business hours.
  3. Tuning and playing the strings will tend to pull the top of the bridge toward the pegbox. Well set bridges are shaped in such a way to prevent "tippling" off their feet. If the bridge is of poor quality and/or not shaped correctly, it will tend to warp or curl upward. This throws off all the lines of force in the bridge/table geometry and can eventually pop out.

    A poorly fit or tippled bridge will not have full contact with the table and will tend to dig in to the finish and wood. In a perfect world, the bridge feet will have 100 percent contact with the table whith the strings tuned to tension, but I shoot for 85 percent contact as measured by lipstick spotting or carbon paper, with the rest of the 15 percent within .002" (thickness of a sheet of paper).

    If a well placed karate chop (All Hail Bob G. likes to use the spine of a book) fails to seat the bridge within these tolerances, I advise you to have the bridge looked at by a luthier. He may opt to refit it or fit a new one. He will also be able to look at the whole instrument to see if some other things need attention. For example, if the table has sunk appreciably, the soundpost may be too long and cause the table to distort or bulge out in this area. This can cause the bridge to fit poorly.
    Good luck.
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
  5. Link


    Jul 6, 2002
    Latrobe, PA
    I should have time after school tomorrow to try and take some graphite to the bridge... thanks for the info guys!- big help (esp the link to the other thread)... ~Link