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Do I really need a bridge?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Wademeister63, Jan 13, 2005.

  1. Wademeister63


    Aug 30, 2004
    Denton Tx
    I've sort of left the bridge as the last item to work out on my bass (the fish) as I can make my own to suit whatever ideas come up. I've pretty well settled on no bridge at all, but I'm not sure if that will hurt the tone or sustain. I'm considering embedding 5 small threaded inserts (3/16" dia x 1" long) where I can attach the string ball ends with screws, and 5 larger threaded inserts (3/8" dia x 1" long) where I can install bolts that will have the heads reshaped to form a saddle. Being fretless, I'm not too worried about intonation, although it should be fairly accurate since the saddles will be placed to make the string lengths match my existing basses. Height adjustment and string replacement will be a breeze since the screws will all run free when the strings are slack.

    Good idea or bad?
  2. Sounds like a great idea! I bet it helps greatly. Nothing between the string and the body but a small solid connection. Might be real fun to stand behind!
  3. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    hmmm.... sounds like a pretty cool idea.

    The only drawbacks will that you will have no side to side adjustment, and your up down adjustment will not ve very precise. You'll want to get inserts and bolts w/ very fine threads since you will have to go one complete turn either direction for height adjustment, or half a turn depending on how you make the saddles.

    I would however just make it a string through, I wouldn't worry about making inserts for anchors. I usually stick to the idea that the simplest plan is usually the best one . I would be leary trusting a screw small entough to go throught he ball end of a string to hold 40 some pounds of pressure from the side.
  4. rdhbass


    Jun 28, 2003
    Springfield, mo
    For those "ballends" i would simply make a tail to hold the strings like on a warwick or alembic. Get some aluminum or steel and start drilling.
  5. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Would work.
    I don't really get the picture of the anchorage, but the "saddles, no boots" idea is interesting. You need of course fine thread screws, and you need to file down some seating notch(es) to avoid the string slipping off the saddle...
  6. Wademeister63


    Aug 30, 2004
    Denton Tx
    Good feedback, thanks!

    I like the idea of the alembic style tailpiece, hadn't thought of that. String through would probably be ideal for the "bridgeless experiment", but I like to change strings back and forth and hate threading old curly string ends through the holes. I think I'll make a tailpiece that follows the line where the gill cover would be and embed it so it is flush with the body. I was planning on using 1/4-28 bolts for the string saddles and milling them to work at 180 degree intervals. A half turn on a 28 thread per inch pitch is only .018" which seems like a small enough increment. For reference, credit cards measure around .030" in the flat areas.
  7. I was thinking of the exact same thing the other day. Started molling about the hardware store looking for parts. This WILL work, dagnabbit.

    For about 5 bucks (if you feel spendy) you'll have a fantastic alternative.

    I'm trying my hand at a fretless bass too. I'll admit my design is kinda borrowing heavily from a Zeta bass, but it will have a 40" scale. A multi-lam neck and a headstock like a Wish bass. It will strap-hang, no stand (like Tony Levin plays his NS upright)

    The fingerboard is going to be a resin plank adhered with a glue suggested by Hambone. I may even go really cheap and get a Select EMG pup for that earthy Wish tone.

    We'll see...I'm not looking for a top dollar style thing, just something to bounce a few feasable ideas at, and who knows, it might sound good too. ;)
  8. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Here are a couple of cool string anchorages, which might give you some ideas:

    Kanneth Lawrence:

    Bone (Jamie White?):

  9. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    wow, i like that first pic, with the strings around the end. I'm doing something like this on the electric upright i'm working on. On mine the strings go all the way around the end and connet to a tailpiece on the back. You guys almost have me convinced to go with this bolt thing for the bridge too.

    Let me know if it works out, I really want to try this.
  10. Worshiper


    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
    that's a fantastic idea!
    I might do something like that on my current project.
  11. Wademeister63


    Aug 30, 2004
    Denton Tx
    Then again, I could follow the path of Dark Hollow and go right around the back! 4b_12_sb.
    Nah, don't think so