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bridge position

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by CochiseG, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. CochiseG


    Mar 22, 2009
    Hi! I,m new on the these boards.

    A couple of weeks ago, i replaced the bridge on my cheap cruiser p-bass (which is the only one i have) because the e string was to near the neck to my taste (it would slide off the neck at times).

    the bridge was placed with an angle, but i didnt keep it, i put it straight, changing it angle about 10 degrees. what i did was measure the strings so the get to 17 inch up to the 12th fret from the bridge.

    Anobody has a way to see if the bridge is correctly set on a bass? A friend was saying that the harmonic on the 12th fret should sound the same as the note, and it sound the exact same, but when i play a g on the 15th fret, e string, it sounds off my open g string
  2. bassistgook


    Feb 5, 2009
    A few things can cause this. First of all playing a G that high on the neck on a string that has a much larger gauge is gonna sound different. Another thing is intonation. If your intonation is off the playing the G on your E string that high is gonna either be sharp or flat. Hope this helps.
  3. lethargytartare


    Sep 7, 2004
    The 12th fret should be the mid-point between the saddles on the bridge, and the nut. So generally speaking, you would set the saddles to the middle of their adjustable range, and position the bridge so that the saddles are the same distance from the 12th fret as the nut is. Then, once mounted, you would set the intonation, which would alter the positions of the saddles (and I'm omitting all the action, relief and other stuff, but you should run through all that too).

    If the intonation is off, your strings will seem to slip out of tune the higher up you go on them. And, yes, the open note and the 12th fret note should be register the same on a tuner -- IME the better the tuner, the easier it is to set the intonation. I've also seen guitars that had horribly corroded strings that I couldn't get intonated properly...

    dig around these forums -- everything you need is well discussed and documented by some very thorough and decent folks!

    good luck!!

  4. CochiseG


    Mar 22, 2009
    Thanks a lot! What i did was to set the intonation by ear, but i guess a tuner will do this better than i did :p At least i<m happy i placed the bridge correctly (i centered the saddles and measure to the 12th fret so i had the same distance as nut to 12th)

    Does the action change the intonation in any way, if so, should i set that first? how do i know i have to change my action?
  5. lethargytartare


    Sep 7, 2004
    Action is all about preference -- if you like it high, set it high; if you want it lower, lower it -- there's no right or wrong there. But, yes, changes in the action will affect the intonation. In fact, how hard you press the strings will affect the intonation, so the trick to it is that you need to fret that note just like you do when you play, to get the best result...but in practice, you've got room to "miss" and the bass will still sound good.

    So, relief, then action (and nut), then intonation. But don't feel bad if you find yourself going back to change the action after you've set the intonation and played it a while...it can be an infuriatingly slow process early on, but just don't rush, and don't force anything. If you wail away on your strings, you might set really low action (like everyone praises), and hate the clackiness. If you set it high enough to end the clacking, you might find it kills your fingers if you play fingerstyle...set it up, play it, and see how you like it -- then set it up again slightly differently.

    If you find yourself fighting with the truss nut, consider stopping and getting a pro -- you don't want to strip or break that. And if you dive into adjusting the nut slots, again, take your time -- figure 60 bucks to get a pro to make you a new one.

    If you can spring for one of stewmac's setup gauges, you'll thank yourself -- you can get useful measurements to help keep track of settings you really like.

    And I highly highly recommend you read threads here about the process -- you can learn a ton from mistakes and successes others here have made, and documented.



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