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Fender American Deluxe V - File the Saddles?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by esxmac, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. esxmac


    Aug 17, 2003
    I have a 2007 Fender American Deluxe Jazz V. I am using DR Nickel Low-Riders on it. The B string is making an odd noise when I pluck it fretted or open--kind of a warble overtone mixed with a rain drop kind of sound.

    I was looking at the bridge and noticed that both the B and E strings are floating in the saddle, meaning they are touching either side of the slot but they aren't actually touching the saddle on the underside of the string, if that makes sense. Both the B and E strings also seem to have less character than A,D, and G.

    Should I, or a qualified tech, file them down so the strings aren't floating, ie, touching the saddle on the bottom and possibly the sides, or is this normal?
  2. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    If I'm reading it right, it sounds like the B and E aren't getting a proper break angle over the saddles, as a result of lowering them to get a desired low action.

    If this is the case, don't file the bridge - the usual fix is to shim the neck. This can be done by removing the neck, placing a few trimmed and well-placed business cards in the neck pocket of the body, and screwing the neck back on. This is the quick and dirty method that will work, but more professional and attractive results can be had by using a properly shaped piece of wood veneer that is fit to the neck pocket.

    This raises the height of the neck in the pocket, which requires that the saddles will have to be raised in order to clear the new height of the neck. The by-product of all this is that the saddles being raised will seat on the bridge plate properly and they will also provide the correct break angles that seat the string firmly in the saddles and allow them to have a good, solid sound.
  3. BillytheBassist


    Aug 18, 2005
    You might also check your pup heigth, if you havent yet. Sometimes, if the pup is too close to the string the magnetic pull from the pup will cause the string to "warble"..... i would at least check it out before altering your bass.
  4. esxmac


    Aug 17, 2003
    I did check the pickup height against Fenders specs and they are slightly lower.

    I may not have explained this very well. What I mean is that the B and E strings are thicker than the slots in their respective saddles and as a result don't fit in the saddle so that they are resting in it. Instead, they are sitting sitting on the sides of the slot. The saddles are sitting the bridge properly, but the strings don't seem to be sitting in the saddle properly. Sorry for any confusion.
  5. esxmac


    Aug 17, 2003
    One other thing about the warble--it only makes the warble/rain drop sound when I first strike the string. After that, it sounds normal.
  6. You could try a lighter gauge perhaps? I have issues with not being able to feed beefy B strings through the tail of my bridge. Either that or I'd say raise the saddles one way or the other (sacrifice low action or use business cards) because that will pull the string tighter at the bridge and give your bass a tighter and cleaner acoustic tone. IMO.
  7. thirtypoint87


    Feb 9, 2004
    Manager/Repairman: Music-Go-Round
    It's hard to know *exactly* what to suggest without actually seeing your bass. (For what it's worth, I'm a cat who makes part of his living by repairing both basses and sissy, shorter scale brethren.)

    So, for the record, I'm not sure why your B and E strings are behaving strangely, but YES, I'd suggest having a qualified repairman (can't stand the word "tech"; don't know why) file the saddles to achieve better contact with the strings. Contact is a good thing.

    If that doesn't work then it's time for a proper setup, with a note to the repair-person about your specific issues.

    Good luck, I hope your bass is "back on the good foot" soon!
  8. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    check that the strings in question are dead straight from the nut to the saddles, i.e., that they're not curving up from their contact points and only straightening out a little ways in from each end. you'll likely need to push on them at each end to insure a perfectly straight vibrating length of string.

    also make sure that the pickups aren't so close that they're pulling on the strings.
  9. Either go to a lighter gauge set of strings, or have a PRO. widen the slot in the saddle to accomodate the higher gauge strings, you may need to modify the nut as well.

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