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Ebony bridge adjusters

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by BassGreaser, Aug 31, 2003.


  1. BassGreaser

    BassGreaser

    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    does anyone know where I could buy ebony adjusters
     
  2. IMO the best ebony adjusters are the ones made by Stenholm for Robertson & Sons Violin Shop in Albuqurque, NM. I use them on all of my basses and I've been installing them on customer's instruments since 1995. I believe Lemur Music handles the end user sales. The Robertson adjusters posts are larger in diameter (5/16" x 18tpi) than the usual (1/4" x 20tpi) aluminum adjusters and require much greater skill and accuracy for successful installation. The legs on some bridges are too narrow for safe installation of these adjusters. Robertsons recommends using paraffin and talc for lubrication.
     
  3. BassGreaser

    BassGreaser

    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Thank you Bob!!
     
  4. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Two minor corrections, Bob: The Stenholms have a 7/16 thread, not a 5/16. And Don Robertson informed me that the shafts are no longer made of ebony, and the adjusters are completely composite now. He feels this makes them more consistent, with sharper threads. I installed a set yesterday, with excellent results. BTW, I like candle wax (paraffin) and graphite powder for lube.
     
  5. BassGreaser

    BassGreaser

    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    forgive me for my dumdness, but the adjusters are made out of composite?
     
  6. You're absolutely right. It is 7/16". I'm sorry to hear that the shafts are no longer made of ebony (and rosewood). I still have a few sets of the real ebony adjusters left from a large order of several years ago. For the life of me, I don't know how anyone could make any sharper threads than the ones Bob Stenholm made in ebony. They are absolutely perfect! I used to use graphite and paraffin, but I now prefer the talc as recommended by Don Robertson for wood adjusters (I still use graphite for metal adjusters).

    Getting back to the original question - I guess that means that the Kolstein adjusters are the only one with real ebony adjusters (or have they been changed too?)
     
  7. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Those use a lignum vitae shaft and usually an ebony disk.
     
  8. Do you have any idea how long they've been using lignum vitae for the posts? I've got a Kolstein bridge on one of my basses that I put on 10-15 years ago, and I would swear that the threads are on ebony. This sticks in my mind because I remember thinking at the time that the threads were kind of crude (with tearouts all over the place).
     
  9. Gufenov

    Gufenov

    Jun 8, 2003
    I'll probably regret asking this, but what the heck is lignum vitae? It could be an actual substance, but I suspect those are code words that are used to confuse those of us who play lue-bay ass-gray.
     
  10. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    lignum vitae is an extremely hard and dense tropical hardwood. Kolstien may have sent out some with ebony shafts but rarely if at all. The lignum v. is very oily and it was a selling point that it was self-lubricating. The machining of these never compared to the Stenholms. Sam Kolstien used to make them and they were machined ok then. In recent years they were farmed out to India and the quality went south.
     
  11. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    how long have they been composite? What is in my bridge? Robertsons circa 2000. has anyone compared the two? I was getting a little paranoid about those little things stopping some vibrations. Is the composite stuff less dense than the ebony?
     
  12. BassGreaser

    BassGreaser

    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    does anyone know where I can buy a set of ebony adjusters:D
     
  13. No, but if you find some let me know. ;)
     
  14. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    I'm certain yours have an ebony shaft and composite wheel. The composite seems to have a similar SG to the ebony ( and probably about the same tonal character). As I mentioned. I used a set this week with excellent results. FYI, Robbie MacIntosh makes excellent all-maple adjusters (as per Lou DiLeone), but I can't seem to snatch any from his clutches...
     
  15. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I am pretty happy, I guess they sound fine, or at least they are a smaller concern than even the right strings, In my experience related to my perception.
     
  16. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    I wouldn't even install those - they call for a 10MM hole in the foot, which doesn't leave very much wood at all...
     
  17. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    With this design you're carrying the entire bridge downforce on 6 wood threads (3 x 2).
     
  18. Yes...that seems to be the case...the threaded end would have to slide through the foot wouldn't it?
     
  19. vejesse

    vejesse

    Apr 8, 2006
    Madison, Wi
    Double Bass Workshop
    The adjusters in the link above are made by Teller and they're the most well made wooden adjusters I've come across by a mile. Perfectly machined and polished wood and dimensionally consistent from one to another. The newest style has a knurled disk. That $75 price is three times the typical wholesale price by the way! Several violin supply catalogs carry these for way less.

    I find that the right way to handle these is to epoxy the disk to the spindle, then cut down either end until it looks like any other solid adjuster. The piece then has as much strength as any wooden adjuster and once glued with slow cure epoxy two helix shaped threads will never come apart. I go a step further and chuck the adjuster's threaded spindle into a collet chuck on a lathe and then face either side of the disk. This makes the disk faces perfectly square to the spindle and I can bring the disk thickness down a bit to 0.250" on the nose to match the Boehm adjusters. The thread is M10 which is a bit non standard but if you want to move to some other thread it's possible to save the bridge by gluing in boxwood bushings, then retapping.

    Another thing: Our shop has installed literally hundreds of larger bridge adjuster sets with 3/8 -16 threads since the early 2000's and NOT ONCE has the 5/16 size of the tap or clearance hole caused a failure of the bridge. The tap drill size for M10 X 1.5 is similarly sized. No need for scare tactics please, especially when there's absolutely no basis for the statement.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015