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Changed to fatter strings- HELP please!

Discussion in 'Rockabilly [DB]' started by viking power, Oct 14, 2013.


  1. viking power

    viking power

    Jul 5, 2012
    In the words of Seinfeld, "I think I may have made a big mistake."

    Decided to mod my bass myself to accommodate thicker strings. Went from steel strings to weedwackers. Used a pocket knife to add a little room to the notches on the bridge and used my DeWalt cordless and small drill bits to open up the tailpiece slots. Left the nut alone. Didn't have rasp files to do any of this work.

    As you might guess, this work did not come out pretty. Strings are installed and seem okay although E is a little buzzy. Are the slots in the tailpiece required to follow the curvature of the fingerboard? I think when i bored them out i may not have stayed true to their original angles. Is it a big deal if the notches in the bridge are not smooth and rounded(some are kind of a v shape now? Also, some may be more than half the diameter of their respective string.

    Should I take it into a luthier and get things tweaked to a higher level of quality? Does it really matter? I'm new to the upright bass so any advice is appreciated.

    This is not a troll post. I really was that impatient/frugal the other night.

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. Photos, please. You MAY be able to clean up your work with a round chainsaw file.

    With a very few exceptions, power tools are good for one thing in the world of bass repair: they allow you to totally f*** your bass up a lot faster than you will with a hand tool.
     
  3. viking power

    viking power

    Jul 5, 2012
    Great username!

    Here's some pics of my abortion:
     

    Attached Files:

  4. viking power

    viking power

    Jul 5, 2012
    Sidenote: Thought green strings would be cool and "psycho". Put them on and realized that, yes, that is in fact the same color string in my actual weed wacker. Sigh...

    More pics:
     

    Attached Files:

  5. I'd prefer red whackers on a Swingmaster, myself.

    The tailpiece isn't as bad as I expected. You could replace it fairly easily.

    You want to round off the bridge slots on the bridge. Don't forget to put a smooth taper on the top and bottom edges where the string crosses the bridge so the string travels on a smooth path and doesn't bind.

    Whackers aren't picky about things like string slot width and rarely break, but it's worth doing the job right in case you continue on to gut.
     
  6. viking power

    viking power

    Jul 5, 2012
    Cool. Thanks for the advice! I like the idea of red strings. Might need to place an order.

    So, if I replace the tailpiece, what should I use to increase the slot width? Think I could just take a file to the current tailpiece and clean it up?

    Thanks again!
     
  7. I'd avoid removing wood from the tailpiece if at all possible. Last thing you want is the knot popping out of the tailpiece mid-gig. If they're loose and threatening to pop out, take the strings off and bolster the knot with a rubber or felt washer.
     
  8. viking power

    viking power

    Jul 5, 2012
    Luckily they already have felt washers plus I didn't need to make the holes bigger just the slots. Holes are pretty much original size so I don't think any strings will pop out. Thanks again for all the advice!

    Gonna pickup a set of small files tomorrow and cleanup the bridge work.
     
  9. Doug R

    Doug R

    Jan 27, 2011
    Spokane, WA USA
    Similar experience with blue Wackers. Looked cool but too fat. After widening the slots in the bridge to get them to sit down in there a bit, the slots were too big and deep for more "normal" strings. Careful filling and shaping with epoxy can help restore those "whoops" cuts on the bridge.
     

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