Bridge Installation

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Theshortlist_to, May 9, 2005.

  1. Theshortlist_to


    Apr 20, 2005

    im going to buy a Mighty Mite body in an attempt to create my very first home put together bass, and as these bodies have no markings of where to put the bridge.

    whats the best way to mark out your bridge in the correct place?

    will a bridge in the wrong place effect the intonation?

    if someone could shed some light on this it would be brilliant.
  2. Good questions and a great time to ask them - before you begin the work! :)

    Yes, placement of the bridge has everything to do with proper intonation of the instrument. Though your bridge has the capacity for adjustment, if you mount the bridge too far north or south, you can get it outside of this range of adjustment and you'll never get the bass intoned. Not only is the location important, getting it square to the neck center line is important too. A straight pull on the strings over the saddles is important to intonation because false "witness" points can appear when the string bends laterally as well as longitudinally across the saddle. So here's a good method on how to do it. This method assumes that the neck bolt holes have been drilled and you have a neck ready for installation. If you don't, you'll have to have a neck for this method...

    The idea is to use the neck as the guide without too much attention paid to the body itself. Of course we don't want to put the neck and bridge in sideways but it's really the neck/bridge relationship that's important in this case, not the bridge/body relationship. Mount your neck and tighten it down snug. Now run strips of masking tape from alongside the neck all the way to the butt of the body on both sides of the neck and the center of the body. On these tapes, we are going to mark the scale location and the square up the bridge. The next step requires (2) straightedges (not wood yardsticks!) at least 24" long. If you can get a pair of rulers this long, that would be best. Next, lay the rulers alongside the neck - butted against the neck so that the edge of the straightedge is flush against the side of the neck. Locate the straightedge so that it starts before the 12th fret and ends after the area where the bridge is going to go. When you get your edge located, tape it down in place and do the same thing to the other side. You'll now have a pair of rulers laying alongside the neck with their ends flairing out as they go towards the rear of the bass. Now take a tape measure and precisely measure from the 12th fret down the straightedge towards the bridge area and mark 17" on the tape under the bar. Do the same thing on the other side. These marks represent the 34" scale of the bass where your saddles should start and they also are the two points that, when connected, make a perpendicular line to the centerline of the neck. Draw a line over your two marks and across the center tape on your body. That is the line that you can use as the location to put your saddles to start and you can use the line as a reference for the front edge of your bridge to keep it square. If you measure between your straitedges at the scale marks, you can find the dead center of the bass and mark that. Then you have the centerline and a perpendicular line to that one for referencing your bridge. When setting bridges, I like to put my saddles at nearly full extension when it's first mounted. I've never had a string be flat on new installation - they are always sharp and that means the saddles are going to be pulled back to compensate. Having them up front just means that they will be in a nice place when they reach their final adjustment point.

    Hope this helps.
  3. RobertUI

    RobertUI Thumper Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Herndon, VA - NoVa
    Once again your expertise proves as helpful encouragement Hambone! I am about to put a new neck on my Yamaha bass, and have been VERY concerned that it's going to be 1/2 inch too long or too short. The location of the bridge on the body is such that there's room to move it forward or backward depending upon need. You've now given me the insite to properly locate my bridge.

    I realize that my pickups may not be in their sweet spot, but being that this is going to be an ongoing project, I may not care b/c this body may be in store for some real routing :smug:

  4. Theshortlist_to


    Apr 20, 2005
    thanks thats been a great help, i'll have to get all of the parts in and order a neck but that will come in great help when putting it all together
  5. Your quite welcome. You actually got all that? :eyebrow: That is a hard thing to explain by word because it's so visual. I didn't know if I put it across well enough to get on the first go-round.

    You can duplicate the sweet spot for most any bass made by simply measuring the distance from the 12th fret to the center of the poles of the pickup. Don't do it any other way because there are so many small variations in the size the other components that people use for reference. The 12th fret is the primary harmonic on every bass and the center of the poles is the same on every pickup no matter how large the casing. Since those things never change on any bass, those should be the references.
  6. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Bump. Hambone - You wouldn't be able to get some pictures of what your talking about would you? I need to mark out my bridge/pickups on my bass i'm making and i'm a bit worried that i'll get it wrong.

    Also - Hambone, or any others. Whats a nice bridge for a good price? I was thinking about just getting a badass II, but I think they're pretty overrated. I'm looking at around the $50-80 mark ($Us) as i'll have to pay shipping etc to get it here as well. It doesn't have to be a masterpeice, just a descent bridge, as this is my first bass and i'm not sure how it will turn out.
  7. Believe it or not, the Custom Shop parts bridges - the Slim tail, the Fat Tail and the Contour Tail are all pretty decent low cost bridges that I have used on several basses (including the Jazzwick!) and they work great! In fact (big Hambone secret here) The Contour can be modified in (2) seperate ways to be able to string through the body if that's your desire. That makes it worth even more because it comes in 5 and 6 string versions and a string thru in a 6 is hard to find.

    I'll see what I can do for a pic. ;)
  8. whitedk57


    May 5, 2005
    Franklin, NC

    Any pics yet Hambone?