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Cant move bridge saddle back far enough!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by theshadow2001, Feb 28, 2006.


  1. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001

    Jun 17, 2004
    Ireland
    So what do you do when you can't move the bridge saddle back far enough? I mean Ive moved this thing as far back as it possibly can go. Ive taken out the spring and placed two nuts on the bolt just underneath its head so that the saddle can be moved more or less flush with the lip at the rear of the bridge. The intonation is still off. where do I go from here? Moving the bridge itself is the last thing I want to do. Is there any alternative?
     
  2. Diego

    Diego

    Dec 9, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    There is really no alternative that I can think of but miving the bridge back. Also, you might want to measure the escale on your bass to make sure the position of the bridge is correct.
     
  3. Groover

    Groover

    Jun 28, 2005
    Ohio, USA
    I've had a similar problem, and here is what I did to fix it. Note, I can't explain why it worked, but it did:

    1) I loosened the neck truss rod a little to give the neck a little more relief.

    2) Once that was done, I was able to lower my bridge saddles because I had them set really high to prevent buzzing.

    3) Once steps 1 & 2 were done, then adjusting the intonation ended up with a more "normal" saddle location instead of being almost all the way back for my E and (a little less for the A).

    This was on happening an MIA Jazz with string through setup.

    I think my problem were the saddles too high because of no neck relief, which I guess, in my case, was messing with the intonation.
     
  4. mariner

    mariner

    Feb 18, 2005
    Front Royal, VA
    My MIJ Jazz was almost in the same boat.

    I added 3 washers to the truss rod and lowered the saddles to get to factory spec on string height and then intonation could be set proper.
     
  5. whitedk57

    whitedk57

    May 5, 2005
    Franklin, NC
    What kind of bridge do you have? I had the same issue on the bass that I built and found that using a more simple standard Fender style bridge worked. The Schaller bridge had more girth to it and I consequently couldn't move it back far enough to get proper intonation.
     
  6. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001

    Jun 17, 2004
    Ireland
    I bought a different brdige I dont know where the old one is now but it was a direct swap on the bridges no new holes had to be drilled. So I imagine that its a standard enough jazz bridge.

    Right now I have the saddles as low as they possibly can go and my action is still to high so Im going to file down the nut. But this was an issue before I did this. Could taking some pressure applied by the truss rod off be a solution? Sort of lengthening the scale a little bit. Its funny the rest of my strings are 34" scale but I think my E would be happier as a 35" scale
     
  7. Groover

    Groover

    Jun 28, 2005
    Ohio, USA
    You may need to shim your neck a... putting a little spacer at the heel of the neck to tilt the headstock-side down a little.
     
  8. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
    STOP RIGHT THERE!!! Before you make things WAY worse for yourself ... take your bass to a competent set-up person. From what I'm reading here, you need the aid of someone who knows what they are doing.

    You NEED to go to an experienced tech with your bass. Period. Unless, of course, you're just jerking us around to see what kind of reaction you'll get.

    Seek professional help before you amke the minor adjustment problems into a major $$$ rework of parts that are most likely correct currently.

    If you choose not to seek help, at least spend the $20 or so to get a good reference book on proper set-up techniques.

    All the best,

    R
     
  9. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    NJ
    Try using exposed core strings, if the ones you're using now are full wounds. I had the same problem on my thumb bolt on, I must use taper wound or exposed core strings with that bass
     
  10. Raising the saddle tends to make it slightly sharp and lowering makes it slightly flat.
    I experienced this with several guitars and basses.
    So being able to lower the saddle should help with this problem. Maybe able to put the spring back in place on the saddle screw.
     
  11. whitedk57

    whitedk57

    May 5, 2005
    Franklin, NC
    When building my bass, I encountered the same issue. So, I had to add a shim as mentioned here. At this point, if you are not capable mechanically or with woodworking, I would do as Rodent suggested.

    Me - I was building a bass. So, I couldn't see the point of giving up control to a luthier or techie. My experiences taught me much. I am starting to get an itch to make another one, but I don't think my wife would like that idea.
     
  12. whitedk57

    whitedk57

    May 5, 2005
    Franklin, NC
    Here's an interesting thought...

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=233016&page=2

    I know that when I built my bass, putting the strings on and off continuously caused the strings to go dead. I guess it might have been the constant tightening and loosening of them that killed them.

    Possibly, you need to try new strings before making any major adjustments. Then again, if the action is too high, you need to address that as well.
     
  13. Diego

    Diego

    Dec 9, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    Fixing the problem yourself is relatively easy, it is not rocket science!. Don't be afraid to set up your instrument, but DON'T over-do-it. Do it as you fell comfortable doing it. If you feel you can't or don't understand what you are doing then don't even try. Seems to me that your problem is an easy fix however. I would suggest the following:

    1. Tune up your bass (don't mess with the saddles right now).
    2. Adjust the truss rod until there is no relief on the neck (that's right, set it dead flat).
    3. Adjust the string height to desirable (DO NOT MESS WITH THE NUT WHATSOEVER up to this point!)
    4. If the strings sit to high on the bridge and the saddles DO NOT GO LOWER you need to shim the neck (take off the neck and put little thin pieces of copper foil or plastic or even business card cut outs inside the neck pocket, adjacent to where it ends...towards the bridge that is). After a fair amount of trial and error YOU WILL KNOW the amount of shimming you need on your neck. This shouuld solve the string height issue. When shimming, you want an aprox. back angle of the neck of about 10 degress with respect to the body when you see your bass from the side.
    5. Now the the string height issue is solved give the neck a little relief (loosen the truss rod by no more than 1/4 of a turn). You want to get about 0.05mm clearance between the top of the 8th fret and the bottom of your strings.
    6. Re-set the string height (you may need to lower the saddles again)
    7. Set the intonation. Remember that when you move the saddle towards the bridge you WILL INCREASE the tension on the string and will sound sharp, then you need to retune and reset the intonation. Obviously, moving the string towards the neck will result in a tad less tension and a flat(er) pitch. Again retune and re set the intonation.
    8. You'll need to check everything again in a day or two (the forces on the neck are great and the wood needs to "stabilize" or accomodate to the setup, so most probably your bass will be out of tune again. Don't despair..just redo your setup. It will taka a couple of setups to get your instrument in perfect shape. The same applies to new strings.
    9. ENJOY

    Hope this helps a bit with your problem
     
  14. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
    whenever you shim the neck, do not place the shims on the body side of the two neck screws closest to the body/bridge. long term, this can cause the heel end of your neck to bow upward ever so slightly, resulting in the final few frets to be raised above the others ... resulting in your strings fretting out when you play in the upper register. it is instead better to place the shim just to the nut side of the screws closest to the bridge/body, resulting in the downward pull being more evenly distributed across the neck heel.

    this can be seen in the numerous old Fenders that have a slight uprise at the end of their fretoards - a direct result of improper neck shimming

    all the best,

    R
     
  15. Diego

    Diego

    Dec 9, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    Absolutely agree with Rodent!, My apologies, I meant to say exactly as he referred to as in his post with regards to shimming!
     
  16. joegeezer

    joegeezer

    Mar 9, 2005
    Northern Wisconsin
    Avatar Club#12 Eden Club Lucky# 13--USA Peavey Club#37 Carvin Club#5
    I think the question that I have for you, is what gauge strings are you trying to intonate in? That can be part of the problem too. If you are using too heavy a gauge it can change the length needed to get it right.
     
  17. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001

    Jun 17, 2004
    Ireland
    Thanks to all for replying

    Yes its true I don't know a whole lot about setting up a bass. Which I'm sure is obvious from my previous posts. But this is something that I want to learn how to do and do myself. While a neck shimming(which I will do) will solve the problem of the strings being too high along most of the fretboard. I do feel that they are too high at the nut as well. But removing the nut(which can be done easily on my bass) and filing the bottom of it down is probably the last thing i'll do, but if it needs to be done I'll have to do it.

    The bass that Im working on is one that I turned into a fretless. Its not my primary bass and sees very little playing so it has turned into my experimental bass. However I doubt that shimming the neck and lowering the action this way will do anything for the fact the E string wont intonate since I had this problem long before I made any modifications to the bass or string/saddle height.

    Im using roto sound flats with a gauge of 90 75 50 and 40. I think that a tapered core string might sort me out but I don't know where to get them who makes them or even if they are made in flat wound E strings.
     
  18. ehque

    ehque

    Jan 8, 2006
    Singapore
    uh, right. your intonation is off on a *fretless*. why didnt you say earlier? i think people could help you a lot better if they knew that.

    and yes... when you defret a bass, usually you'll have to file the nut down about the height of the fret... then without your ridiculously high action (which must be because of the missing frets) you can try and intonate again...

    im with rodent in taking it to a repair person, watch him and learn.
     
  19. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001

    Jun 17, 2004
    Ireland
    I apologise for not making things clearer earlier in the thread. All the problems Im having: high action, the nut being too high for my liking and the the E string not intonating properly existed before I defretted the bass. Its only now that I am going to do anything about these problems.

    I can't justify the money spent on getting it set up by a pro since I would probably pay what the bass is worth which seems pointless and I have more important and necessary things to spend money on like cables cabinets and road cases that I do need....and a pair of trainers that don't stink like hell:p.

    Im determined to do this as well as I can myself. If I screw it up and make it unplayable then its no biggie since I never played it anyway.

    Will shimming the neck and filing the nut and generally lowering the action actually do anything to help correct my E string intonation? I'm sorry if these all seem like idiot questions but I have to learn someway.