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Bridge Question for you all

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by gruffpuppy, Apr 4, 2001.

  1. well thanks again for all the input you guys gave me last time.
    my Cremona bass is almost in my hands. i had it shipped to a friends house and it showed up today.

    couple of questions.
    when it was shipped the strings are loose, as expected, one thing i forgot is that the bridge will need to be put into place.
    is that something i can do myself and if so how. i read the horror stories of the rolling sound post but i had him move it a little and nothing is rolling around. is it possible on these cheap DB's that the thing is glued in or doesn't even have one.

    thanks again
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    I HOPE it's not glued in- may be tight, over-tight, though. You can see the soundpost looking in through the f-hole, should be at the base of the bridge foot or slightly below.

    In earlier days before I had a sound post setter I remember wrestling a sound post into place, and with patience, a bent coat hanger or other improvised implements along with several loud curses to the Bass Gods, it can be done. Or at least it is worth a try.
  3. I guess Bob and I were posting at the same time, but I'll echo what he said just the same. :)
    If you look through the F-hole on the G-string side, you should be able to see the sound post.A lot of mass produced basses will have the sound post wedged in there pretty tight but If you don't see one, and can't find one included somewhere in the packing or inside the instrument, you better get one quick, before you tighten up the strings and apply that pressure to the top table. I am assuming it was shipped with the Bridge uninstalled. There should be indentations in the F-Holes to show the proper placement of the bridge with the feet positioned an equal distance from them (the indentations) on both sides.
  4. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    I doubt very much that the sound post has been glued. On the other hand, if it never fell with all that handling and with no tension from the strings, you could have one of two small problems.
    1. The post may have been deliberately moved away from it's optimum location, toward the side, in order to jam it in place, or
    2. The post may be in the right area, but be too long to start with.
    What's the right area, and what's the right length? Sorry, but post setting is a learned skill and requires the right tool. A luthier has both. Admittedly, here I am spending your money for you, but it's the only way to be sure, especially since the bridge also has to be lined up.
    On the other hand, you can set it up well enough to get it playable, and you can live with it awhile to get a sense of its sound. Posts can be set to darken or brighten sound, emphasize different registers, etc. If you play it awhile, you'll learn what you want.
    Welcome aboard, and good luck to you.
  5. Well thanks again guys, guess I must be just getting to excited to see it never mind getting started to play it.

    I am guessing that the sound post helps to stop the bridge from pushing through the top.

    I’ll keep you up to date with my progress. :D
  6. That's not the only purpose it serves. The sound post is the crucial link that carries the vibration of the strings through the bridge, through the top table, to the back, making the instrument resonate.
    The difference of just 1/4 inch in sound post placement can make the bass sound brighter or darker, nasal or muffled.
  7. Well i went to my friends to pickup my DB, coat hanger and claw gripper tool in hand with hopes that trying to get the sound post into place wouldn't kill me. The sound post was still in place when i got there. I don't know if it is because of it being jammed in there or the great job they did shipping. The sound post sits a little below the bridge in line with the G string. The bridge had left marks from the original owner so that was a breeze. So this is the low down, got the bass, a pretty good bag for it and shipping for $440.
    The bass was set up by the seller before it was shipped and even with a inexperience view i must say it sounds great and feels nice, i have had BG's with higher action than this. I am going to sign up for lessons tomorrow, of course you all know the feeling and i can't wipe this smile off my face, very excited for my new endeavor.

    Thanks to all for you great and quick input
    Brian Gallagher
  8. All Right! Sounds like you're ready to go! Keep us posted! :D
  9. As Don said "post setting is a learned skill and requires the right tool. A luthier has both. Admittedly, here I am spending your money for you, but it's the only way to be sure, especially since the bridge also has to be lined up."

    Wise advice from some so young. I was at a local retailer last year when someone brought in a bass for repair. The post was so tight that when the top plate shrank/or the string tension was to tight, it cause a noticible bump in the plate.

    I would advise everyone to have their new bass looked over by a good luthier. It's just a good insurance policy and it doesn't cost that much. As for myself, I'm just chicken to go sticking anything in my bass.

    Mark Parsons
  10. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    My union card is 44.
  11. well its time to stir this one up again, thanks for the info in the past and lessons are going great.
    teacher is real nice but won't let me slack in the least bit which makes me happy.

    just wondering, i know the bridge is supposed to line up with the notches in the F-holes but, would it be a problem if i moved it down so that the top, not the center of the bridge lines up with the notches?

    if i do this the bottom of the bridge sits about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch above the sound post.

    being this is a pretty cheap bass this would help to get to get the action closer to the action on my teachers bass.
  12. i suspect that the more experienced/knowledgable out there will advise that the bridge placement is fairly critical,but having a similar bass to your own and not having an adjustable bridge,i have experimented with different positions(minor adjustments only) as you have obviously found this will alter the string height enough to make playing more comfortable as you are learning.having said that,and read other/previous threads about soundpost placement in regards to sound quality,bear in mind that it could alter the sound/tone adversely.i guess the real answer is to buy an adjustable bridge..........er Bob.
  13. mpm


    May 10, 2001
    Los Angeles
    And if you do buy an adjustable bridge, you still have to have the feet fit to the top table. But at least you'll be able to adjust the string height.
  14. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    Well, there's no rule that says you can't work on your own bass. I wouldn't move it, but if the action is too high you could cut it down. Before you do, look closely at how close the strings are to the fingerboard when you play; fingerboards need to be somewhat concave (have "relief") so the action can be low and yet undesired fingerboard buzz can be eliminated.

    You may want to ask your teacher about lowering the bridge before you do it.

    However, since you stated you have a budget bass and I assume need to save a few $$, I'll share what some guys I know (intimately) have done to lower action without going through a major process. If you have a luthier in whom you have confidence and can afford it, take it there. Or...

    Start by finding a set of needle files, thinner than your strings. You will need to be patient and gentle -- it is AMAZING how much a tiny little reduction in height at the bridge can affect action at the fingerboard, so be conservative. Do one string at a time -- choose a string and try to visualize how much to take off. Loosen it and move it out of the groove. File the groove to the desired depth (do NOT make the groove any wider than the string, it will buzz), replace the string and check the action. Don't make snap decisions, if you need to, walk away and come back with a more objective view. Once you have reached your desired string height, use a rasp, a Dremel with a sanding barrel works particularly well (hold on to that thing!), and medium and fine sandpaper to thin and bring the surrounding wood down closer to the slot -- the slot should be half the size and depth of the string.

    This is a "do at your own risk" procedure, but it works and should avoid any potential for dropping the sound post (don't loosen all the strings at once or that may happen).

    Bob the budget luthier
  15. Thanks again for the replies, I guess I am still a little confused. If I was to draw a level line from F-Hole notch to notch were would the bridge go?

    When I first set it up the bridge was placed right above the line, in the quest for the proper set up while breaking my G string, I have placed it centered on the line and also so it was right below the line. I am assuming that it should be centered, but i figured I would double check before I go and get new strings and will be setting it up again anyway.

    My teacher said it can go right below the line but I know he plays them and doesn't fix them.
    Thanks Again, see ya in the Strings Forum. :D
  16. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    The bridge should be centered on the notches, or at least that's what I've always been told. I suspect you could vary it slightly without harm, but I can't say for sure.
  17. The reason for this, and there is a reason, is that moving the bridge away from its "assigned" area re-directs the bridge pressure, sometimes to places where the wood is not braced to withstand that pressure,causing warpage or cracks, especially in cheaper instruments. I'm not trying to scare you, but Bob's idea of filing down the bridge slightly (if you don't want to get adjusters) is better than moving it altogether.
  18. mpm


    May 10, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I agree, center the bridge and file the notches. Way less chance of major problems.

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