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Completely removing the spring on the low B saddle?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TLBass, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. TLBass


    Nov 27, 2016
    Hello. I have a 34" 5 string RockBass I recently fitted with D'Addario chrome flatwounds, and the low B intonates too sharp. I don't remember how was it like with the previous set of Elixirs I've used, but it's possibly been even worse as this low B is .132 while the Elixir was .135.

    Anyway, there are springs that are supposed to keep screw holding the saddle sitting onto the bridge, and with as much scale extension as was allowed with the spring the low B was still ~25 cent sharp at the 12th fret. I cut a little over half of it and now while the saddle is 1.5-2mm away from furthest back, the 12th fret is sharp at about 10-15 cents (it's a bit hard to tell as the tuner somewhat wobbles at these frequencies).

    Anyway, is there any reason not to remove the spring completely and take the saddle all the way to the end of the bridge? I doubt even then it would be enough but I guess it would be slightly closer.
  2. Well, you might try taking the spring out and putting it on the other side, between the saddle screw and the bridge. I’ve seen that as a remedy for the low E on the newer Bass VI with the narrow bridge. Just a thought.
    staccatogrowl likes this.
  3. TLBass


    Nov 27, 2016
    It won't really matter if I'll screw the saddle all the way back. Putting the spring on the other side would only try to push the saddle back regardless of how deep is it on the screw (basically pushing the screw away from the bridge), which wouldn't be stable I believe and won't be needed if you plan on maxing the saddle position. Anyway, I already cut the spring so it's half as short now.
  4. On my Fender G string, the spring is too soft, having not enough strength to keep the saddle in its place. I have to push the screw in the back to move the saddle to its proper position. Needs to be done like once a year, I guess only when the saddle gets caught by some thread in the gigbag and then moves. On itself, it holds alright.

    Try it, keep the string angle on the saddle reasonable, you can't do nothing wrong.
  5. TLBass


    Nov 27, 2016
    I'm not sure you've followed what I have on my guitar. This is the low B saddle:
    As you can see, the spring is supposed to pull the screw onto the bridge so the saddle stays in the intonation position you meant for it and doesn't accidently move further back. Now, this is after I cut part of the spring as it didn't allow me to move back enough, and it seems I need to get it all the way back if I want the intonation on the low B to be at least partly reasonable. That's why it seems I need to remove the spring completely, though I don't know if it's not recommended for some reason. Maybe putting the saddle that close to the tailpiece makes for a too sharp break angle?
  6. I have run both my four string and my five string with the spring removed on the lowest string for years with no noticeable adverse impact. I did it do the same intonation reasons described by the OP.

    IMG_0322.JPG IMG_9720.jpg
    stigbeve likes this.
  7. TLBass


    Nov 27, 2016
    Well, I'll throw it out then. Were you able to achieve accurate intonation, though? At least on this 34" it doesn't seem physically attainable even if I'll max the length, the .132 is probably still too heavy but I won't get a thinner string as the tension would be too low in my opinion.
  8. Floppystrings


    Apr 5, 2019
    If you need to remove the spring you should, you can use some plastic tubing over the screw to have less than 1mm resistance it's not a big problem.

    If I needed to I could solve just about any saddle/spring/clearance issue with a file within reason. Even if you issue was 3x as bad, a file could solve the problem. I know people hate filing saddles, but it such an easy fix, saddles are usually threaded all the way through, when I see problems like this it kills me that I can't stop people from selling basses due to this easily solvable issue.

    You shouldn't stress about this at all, everything will be fine.
  9. TLBass


    Nov 27, 2016
    Care to clarify? I'm not sure what plastic tube and resistance are you speaking of, and in regards to filing — where is it possibly needed and why?
    bassstrangler likes this.
  10. jeff62

    jeff62 Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Central FL
    This is getting way more complicated than need be. Remove the spring and back your saddle to the limit of the bridge (to remove as much of the sharpness as possible) and play. Once the screw is tight as far as it will go, the spring is useless.

    You could also try a different brand of strings that compare in tension to what you are using as different strings often intonate differently.
  11. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    If you set the witness point on that string the saddle wouldn't have to be so far back.
    Passinwind, gebass6, Mili and 7 others like this.
  12. TLBass


    Nov 27, 2016
    I thought about that, but two points:
    If you set a witness point and then see the intonation is still off, you'll have to move the saddle and the bend in the string would be in the wrong place. You could try bending it down again to make a new witness point but I think that might deteriorate the string if you do it several times aiming for perfection.

    Second, doesn't setting a witness point actually help a string be less flat? It seems the point is making a sharper angle at the nut and bridge is so the extra string length beyond those points is effectively canceled. If. It actually comes into play at any level currently due to not setting the witness point, doesn't it make the string less sharp than it could have been?

    Well, I like the sound of these D'Addarios and their tension is pretty heavy, actually. I'm not sure what lighter B string would have at least as much tension (or stiffness, to be precise).
  13. Floppystrings


    Apr 5, 2019
    Ok, so you have removed the spring entirely. The string tension will usually keep the saddle in place, but if there is some play in the spacing left, a small rubber ring, or tube can act as a spring to push the saddle where it belongs so there is no play.

    It's very very picky but easy way to solve a springless saddle setup. The spring keeps the saddle in place, a small tubing that fits over the saddle screw does the same thing. In telecaster guitars a silicone tube often used in the place of a spring for the pickup height.

    If I had intonation issues due to the saddle not being able to go back more, I would file extra, and use a the plastic tubing method so there is even more space for adjustment, you don't have to do it this way but it will be the best solution.

    Basically the idea is this, you can move the saddle back as far as you want, no spring, but what if you need to move even farther back? The easy solution is to file the saddle so it can move back even more, and saddles are often threaded deeply, why not file more and add a cheap piece of rubber so there is more room and solve the play issue?
  14. What I wanted to say is that the saddle doesn't move back on itself unless you carelessly make it, and the spring is just a safeguard, IMO not really important. Your picture shows that there will be no trouble with breaking angle. Remove the spring, it will work alright.
  15. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    There is a procedure for setting the witness point. First you move the saddle back of the expected final location and set the witness point. That way any further adjustments you make will be moving the saddle toward the headstock, placing any kink in the string back of the saddle where it will not interfere with the string vibration.

    Setting the witness point creates a well-defined vibrating length to the string. Without it, because of the stiffness of the string the vibrating end point is ahead of the saddle. The stiffer the string the more that vibration end point will be ahead of the saddle, thus causing the need to move the saddle further back. Set the witness point and the effective vibrating length of the string gets longer so the saddle doesn't have to be so far back.
  16. Setting the witness point as stated above is the right answer.
  17. Sid the Kid

    Sid the Kid Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2013
    I see you are using flats so this probably won’t be a solution for you. I believe a tapewound B string would be easier to intonate on your bass.

    Other solution is to have fun with the drill and wood plugs and move that bridge back a little.
  18. TLBass


    Nov 27, 2016
    By "ahead of the saddle" you mean closer to the neck?

    Why? If you're talking about setting the witness points, I don't think anyone said it matters if it's rounds or flats.
  19. Floppystrings


    Apr 5, 2019
    A Warwick bridge is counter sunk about %50 meaning he would have to do insane mods like filling a giant hole with wood.

    You should file the saddle back 3mm and use a small piece of tubing you could solve this problem in 10 minutes. Silicone tubing, home depot, or an aquarium store. $1.49 a foot at most, you only need 6mm.
    Sid the Kid likes this.
  20. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
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