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Cracked Bridge

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by JJBluegrasser, Feb 19, 2006.


  1. JJBluegrasser

    JJBluegrasser Wannabe Snazzy Dresser

    Apr 17, 2003
    USA, Raleigh, NC
    Hi Everyone,
    Some of you may have read my previous thread (entitled 'Is my baby worth it') about the recent fingerboard replacement that I had done to my old German bass. I have a follow up question to that repair and I'm interested in some opinions from the luthiers on the board.

    I have a weak 'A' string on my bass, and it's always been that way. It's not horrible, it just responds a little differently than the other strings. When I called my luthier the other day to ask if I could use Spiro Starks instead of the Orchestras that are on it, they recommended that I try having them shorten the afterlength to increase tension and that maybe that would help. They also recommended a reshaping of the bridge since the new board is more curved than the relatively flat bridge I had on there. So I took it in, and let them try it. The effect wasn't quite what I was looking for, but that's okay. Playability is awesome, better than ever. I know that luthier work is more of an art than a science, so I don't regret paying them to try it.

    The problem is that when I picked up my bass, I noticed a very small crack (1/8 of an inch, max) in the G side bridge foot (bass side of the adjusters). With the new board, the bridge adjusters are jacked up pretty high and the volume is still less than what I'm used to. I think the string height is at about 7mm (G) to 10mm (E). I still want to try the Starks at least on my E and A strings, but I'm worried about the bridge. Right now, my bass doesn't play exactly like I want it to. It's not horrible, it just doesn't have the volume I'd like and I know if can produce.

    Has any one seen a bridge with a crack in it like I'm describing? Should it be able to support the Starks? I should probably get it replaced, but I've already put $1400 worth of work into this bass and my luthier charges $500 for the new bridge. He offered to build up the bridge with other wood to try to shore it up, but that's about $200 as well. And I'm afraid that will look ridiculous.

    Any input or opinions are appreciated. I can't damage this bass. I need it to work properly, so I can't take a lot of chances.

    Thanks,
    Jason
     
  2. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    You had a new fingerboard installed and the bridge was not shimmed or replaced?

    I'm reading and re-reading your post... this crack is on the G foot... on the inside of the foot? What size are your bridge adjusters? Were they installed before or after the fingerboard was put on?
     
  3. JJBluegrasser

    JJBluegrasser Wannabe Snazzy Dresser

    Apr 17, 2003
    USA, Raleigh, NC
    The adjusters have been in there for some time. As far as size, I'm not sure except to say that they are big. They are the large ebony adjusters that Lemur uses. No, there we're no adjustments made to the bridge at all (except for raising the adjusters). Yes, it's on the inside of the foot on the G side.

    This sounds like it worries you...

    Jason
     
  4. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Well, taking care of the bridge at the time of a new fingerboard job is important... imo. A fatter board=higher bridge, and this new height can be achieved by adding wood to the legs, or cutting a new bridge. Since your bridge feet are starting to split, you should consider getting a new bridge within the year.

    hth.
     
  5. JJBluegrasser

    JJBluegrasser Wannabe Snazzy Dresser

    Apr 17, 2003
    USA, Raleigh, NC
    Thanks for the input Nick. Do you think the starks will cause the crack to worsen faster, with the added tension?

    Jason
     
  6. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I don't think it much matters what strings you use, in this case.