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Bridge snapped mid-song, during a gig!

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by bherman, Aug 1, 2020.


  1. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    I had quite an event last night. Playing an outdoor gig, mid-song and BANG. My initial reaction was that a string had broken, but quickly realized that the bridge had snapped. No warning, I had checked the bridge for vertical alignment and placement before playing and all looked well. Quite a surprise! Quickly realized that there was nothing to be done at the moment. Fortunately one of the band members lived 2 blocks away and had a cheap electric bass hanging on his wall, so the evening was salvaged.

    I was playing an Eminence Electric Upright bass, but the bridge is similar to a DB bridge - just smaller. Hopeful that its a once in a lifetime event. New bridge ordered from Golihur. I considered just glueing this one as the break is clean, but not willing to trust a repaired bridge.

    Anyone else ever have this happen mid-gig?? IMG-2422.jpg
     
    Jason Hollar likes this.
  2. Slaphound

    Slaphound Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    Staten Island, NY
    I have not! Thats awful that it happened to you and fortunately you were able to salvage the night but, damn. Thats terrible.
     
  3. That G & arrow on the right foot doesn't agree with the slots. Something funny here.
     
    16fuss, M0ses and AGCurry like this.
  4. I have seen bridges knocked hard and no issues even if the force was hard enough to dent the bridge top but they were not EUB so the table or top would flex to absorb the blow. But just snap like that?
     
  5. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    Yeah. Bridge installed backwards?
     
  6. misterbadger

    misterbadger Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2012
    Northern California
    One vote for glue and some clever clamping. With a clean break, good gluing surface area and a properly glued joint (I know this is gonna open a can of worms, but I'd head toward woodworking epoxy or Titebond) it's unlikely that it would break again at that spot. My guess is that there was a small crack that was unnoticed in production or developed later as a result of un-seasoned material or a big humidity change.
     
  7. This happened to me several years ago. Gaff tape got me through the gig. This was a low quality bridge that came on a CCB and the guitar player accidentally banged his knee into it. I'm surprised it happened to an eminence.

    20200715_114523.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  8. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    No if you look closely those pencil marks had been erased - I marked it wrong once, correct markings are on the bottom of feet with a sharpie.
     
    equill and Slaphound like this.
  9. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    I’m thinking the same. I do a lot of woodworking and know that a good repair is stronger than the wood. Fine Woodworking did a test some years ago and when a tight joint was made with Titebond and subjected to a shear test, the wood near the break broke in a different location rather than the glued-up area. Nonetheless a new bridge is in order, not a chance that i want to take again! I’ll probably repair it and stick it in my bag as “just in case” insurance.
     
    misterbadger and marcox like this.
  10. HearNoStevil

    HearNoStevil

    Jul 17, 2020
    Man, you must have really being throwing down some serious low end tasty licks to snap a bridge in half!!!

    5dd423f57eece57a5f120239?width=900&format=jpeg&auto=webp.jpg
     
  11. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Ha! Funny thing was it was only our 3rd song of the set. First two were hard-hitting, this happened during a fairly mellow song.
     
    marcox and HearNoStevil like this.
  12. Ouch that had to feel horrible when it happened.

    Wood is always wood, and forever will be, you guessed it wood.
    And due to carving, it of course weakens it.

    Every piece is different, congrats you found a defective piece.
    Now I guess you can carry a spare because you've proved it can happen.

    Good luck,
    Dirk

    p.s. I should have changed it to BETTER luck!
     
  13. HearNoStevil

    HearNoStevil

    Jul 17, 2020
    Although not really related, I can relate.

    Back in the early 2000's, I had a super powerful stereo system in my car with two Bazooka 10" subs in the trunk. It was set up for accuracy, not pounding arrogant hip hop bass shaking. Anyway, that stereo always performed flawlessly. I was listening to a mellow Jewel song of all things, a song called "What's Simple Is True" at not a very loud volume when I started smelling that familiar smell. Both subs cooked and welded the voicecoils to the magnets in a matter of seconds! I couldn't believe it. I had slammed Slayer on this system for a few years at full volume before, never a peep of trouble. But a few seconds of that mellow Jewel song blew both subs immediately. Apparently that song has some super low sub-bass synth tones that aren't readily audible and my amp was passing low frequencies the subs weren't producing-although they were obviously trying; I even had the HPF on the sub amp engaged! Did everything correctly and the subs just couldn't handle it. Again, it wasn't even loud. Stuff happens I guess.

    Sometimes it's the mellow stuff that surprises us and bites us in the butt!
     
    equill, bherman and marcox like this.
  14. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    thx, I'll carry the glued-up one as a spare, that will ensure it never happens again...
     
    Fat bob likes this.
  15. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Augusta GA
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Not that, but I did have a big band gig years back - had changed strings a few days before, rather hurriedly, and wasn't having any issues, but during the first couple of tunes was having to retune because the new strings kept going flat. so I thought. The windings had caught on the bridge and was pulling the top towards the fingerboard; I have to hope I would have checked that first with old strings, but because they were new, I just figured they were stretching. By the middle the third tune everything goes limp, I figure I broke a string, but I look down and the bridge (which had adjusters) had pulled over and flown off, pieces everywhere (disassembled, nothing broke), soundpost dropped, the whole 9 yards. Wavey McStickerson (bandleader didn't play an instrument, just "conducted") staring daggers at me the whole time, I'm desperately trying to use a coathanger and piece of twine to reset the soundpost in a way that hopefully won't send it through the top or back, reset the bridge in close to the correct spot, tune up without recreating havoc and get back to business before the BL has a coronary...
     
    equill, misterbadger, AGCurry and 4 others like this.
  16. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Yikes. Probably an amusing memory now, but I'm sure not at the time. Funny thing is, I looked closely at the bridge when I was setting up - the Eminence bridge is a bit less stable than my DB and occasionally needs tweaking to keep it in vertical alignment, but all was in order.
     
  17. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 12, 2004
    Toronto
    Owner, Stand Up Guy Basses (Repair/Sell/Buy upright basses)
    Yikes, not a fun situation!

    You mention having ordered a new bridge. Hopefully it's not an exact replacement.

    From your pics of your broken bridge the wood is not ideal. That variety of maple is quite soft, and the widely spaced growth rings don't offer much strength.

    I realize an Eminence bridge is on the small side but it's easy enough to get high quality, hard maple, properly dried bridges in a variety of sizes (1/2, 1/4, whatever works). You could have something fitted that will be much stronger than what you had.

    Here's the type of bridge that will outlast two or three of your broken bridge:

    despiau-bass-bridge-french-model-11.jpg
     
    s0707 likes this.
  18. misterbadger

    misterbadger Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2012
    Northern California
    That's bass playing. Hours of tedium punctuated by moments of stark terror.
     
    MrSidecar, Martin Spure, Ewo and 6 others like this.
  19. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    I've seen this same description used for trench warfare in WWI.
     
  20. Also for the life of a fighter pilot, from WWII onward.

    I may have swiped it to describe life as a sysadmin and/or network engineer, too :)
     

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