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Fitting a bridge

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by ripper911, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. A while back I cracked my bridge close to one of the wings, I glued it and all seems well. I have received a new bridge in the mail, I was planning on having a luthier fit it, but my recent unemployment has changed that. I'll be doing this myself, I'd appreciate some tips.

    When I fit violin bridges I use a dremel tool to sand the top into the right shape then place a bit of sandpaper on the top of the violin and use that to sand the feet to the right shape. Thinking about the DB bridge I think it would be harder to get the width even on the upper section with a dremel. I'm thinking about wrapping sandpaper around a wooden block to give a good flat edge to keep things straight. But what about the feet? I know it would take much longer to sand the thick feet of the DB bridge than on a violin, should I just do it the same way as on a violin?
    Any tips will be appreciated.
  2. It can be done that way. I got impatient (and a little drunk) and used a belt sander to trim the feet. Don't do that. I violated my #1 rule, which is that power tools just help you screw up faster, and the bridge feet show it.

    If your original bridge is in decent shape other than the crack, I'd use it as a template. Mark the new bridge with a pencil on all sides, showing you where it will have to be cut.

    Mind the bridge angle when fitting the feet. When the crown is cut down where you want it and you have the string notches cut, it's OK to use a belt sander to thin the crown to 1/8" or a little thicker.

    Hopefully, while you're sharpening your tools a few of the professionals will chime in.
  3. Schoolhouse

    Schoolhouse Thomas Andres- Bass Makers

    Dec 7, 2006
    Northern Virginia
    Fitting a bridge well can easily be a half day project or more. We first cut it on the bandsaw after determining left/right/centering positions. Fit the feet first using edge tools, only then use paper if you prefer. Install adjusters, if used, at this point. Cut the top and position the strings. Thin the bridge as needed, edge tools are fast allow more subtleties than a belt sander. Refine as desired.
  4. Of course I had to get a cheap chinese bridge for the CCB!
  5. A cello bridge? Gonna be a bit small...
  6. The package says cello bridge. I'm not sure about having that high of action on the cello though, I'll use it on the bass. :)
  7. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay

    When fitting a new bridge on my DB a while back, this was the method i used to form the feet (120-grit sandpaper on top). Took over an hour! But If you're not in a hurry, i would suugest you stick to this method since you're familiar with it (violins). It will just take longer with a bass bridge. imo.
  8. bssist


    Jun 23, 2007
    St. Louis, MO USA
    I tried the sandpaper on my first attempt. It was nowhere close. Make a spreader and scrapers (or use a large razor knife as a scraper). You'll get FAR better results.
  9. dj5


    Sep 17, 2009
    Being pretty handy with the tools, I thought it wouldn't be too tricky a job.
    I think it took me over ten hours, what with all the putting back on, taking it off again, etc!
    And getting those feet just right was ridiculous. Managed it in the end though, and perhaps I learned something - I'm not as handy with the tools as I thought I was!