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Bridge Saddles: Level or Radius

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Robman, Sep 23, 2004.

  1. Robman


    Mar 19, 2004
    Sherman, Texas
    I've been wondering, when setting the action on my bass, is it best to set the bridge saddles level in-line following the contour of the neck or to radius them along the contour of the neck? I've read that level is the way to go in many different setup guides - at least the ones that mention it. But lots of TB'ers and techs recommend the radius... My question, which is best??

    I don't have a way to illuistrate what I'm trying to get across -I hope someone understands what I'm getting at ;)

    BTW: I'm playing a MIA Fender Jazz-V.
  2. deftim69


    Jun 11, 2003
    I set mine to the radius of the fretboard. My hand feels more natural playing when its set that way. Try them both and do what feels best for you.
  3. Robman


    Mar 19, 2004
    Sherman, Texas
    Right now, I set mine with the radius of the fretboard - but each saddle is level.

    What I meant to ask the first time was whether or not to angle each saddle to follow the radius. (sorry about any confusion)

    I've seen some guys set them this way, but have read that you should set them level, following the radius.

    Does it really matter???
  4. I do it like that, too. If you don't follow the radius, the E and G strings would be further from the fingerboard than the A and D strings.
  5. Robman


    Mar 19, 2004
    Sherman, Texas
    That's exactly what I'm talking about.

    Here's a pic of PhilBikers green j-bass.

    The saddles seem to be slanted to follow the radius. Is this good or bad, or does it even matter? I've read more often than not, that the saddles should be level, yet folloing the radius if the fretboard.
  6. Robman


    Mar 19, 2004
    Sherman, Texas
    That's kind of what I've been thinking all along. I just wanted to try and get any doubts sorted out.

    Thanks for you help SMASH!

    I think I'm on my way to being, at least, a half way decent bass setter-upper :p

    ... carry on, carry on...
  7. Rob, I think that level saddles are important because of where the saddle comes in contact with the string. I don't have anything but my instincts and experience to back this up so take it as you will...

    I think it would be better to have the "witness point" directly under the strings center and not to the side because of the way we pluck the strings. Players essentially pull the strings sideways and then let go. The string then takes on it's own characteristic vibration patterns. If the witness point were more to the side, it would create the effect of pulling the string OFF the saddle for the E and A strings since the tops of those saddles would be facing more towards the player. The other side (D & G) would have the effect of plucking INTO the saddle. If anything, having all of the saddles at the same orientation would mean that each string would be plucked at essentially the same angle and start it's vibration the same as all the others. Whether this would have much of an effect is a question but keeping things the same between strings is a valid approach to consistency in tone and attack.