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Floating bridge string height...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by unclebass, Dec 23, 2017.


  1. unclebass

    unclebass

    Dec 17, 2012
    Just acquired a bass that has a floating bridge, same style that the beatle basses have. It came to me with tapewounds on it, which have relatively low tension. The action is a little higher than I am used to, but the bridge is turned down as low as it will go. I tried to put on an old set of flats that I had laying around, which were a smaller gauge than the tapes, but it made the action even higher. Tightened truss rod just a little, neck is dead flat now but still no help. Is there anything that can be done with the bridge to get the action lower? I really need it to go down at least 1/8 inch, maybe even a little more than that. Thought about running it through a saw to cut it down, but I'm afraid to ruin it. What are my options?
     
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    1. Remove bridge
    2. Tape big piece of sandpaper where the bridge was
    3. Put bridge in position on sandpaper and sand until happy
    Has the added advantage of accurately fitting the bridge base to the curve of the body. And if you overshoot a bit, you can make it up using the height adjustment screws.
     
    96tbird likes this.
  3. If you need to take some wood off the 'legs' of a bridge like that, I'd recommend taping the appropriate sandpaper to a flat surface, so you can work each side equally, and unless you're very, very good with a band saw, DON'T. Use the sandpaper and slowly work down to where it needs to be, after you're certain your other setup values (relief, nut slot depths, etc.) are correct. Unlike a conventional electric bass bridge in metal with adjustments, doing this is a one-way trip, so go slowly, check, and get it right.

    I'm guessing this from a general standpoint, pics would help !
     
  4. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    beholder has the time tested and correct answer on how to fit a bridge to a curved top bass. If your bass is flat, do it on a table.
     
    bholder likes this.
  5. unclebass

    unclebass

    Dec 17, 2012
    I looked at the way the bridge fit the surface of the body, and it fit really well. I was worried about making the bottom piece too thin with as much as I needed to remove to get the action low enough. As I stared at the pieces of the bridge, it hit me. The top piece that holds the string saddles was very thick, so I separated the two pieces and headed off to the router table. I removed just enough material over the adjusters so that when they’re turned all the way down, the top piece sits flat on the bottom piece. It only needed a very small adjustment up to make the action perfect. Worst case, I’ll have to buy a new top piece if it gives me any problems.
     

    Attached Files:

    wvbass likes this.
  6. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    The easy way out, but that'll do. ;)
     
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    If you don't want to mess with the curved bridge foot, you can cut the top piece instead. Like this:

    BridgeCut.
     
    maturanesa, bholder and sissy kathy like this.
  8. unclebass

    unclebass

    Dec 17, 2012
    That’s exactly what I did. If you look at it, you can see the notches I cut. The top piece was completely flat before I made the cuts. Plays beautifully now, well worth the repair.
     
    bholder likes this.
  9. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Jun 11, 2011
    NYC
    If it is a bolt neck you could consider a shim.
     
  10. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Nice. Now you can finesse the job by cutting down the posts that the thumbwheels screw on so that they don't stick out of the top of the bridge and irritate your hand when palm muting at the bridge.
     
  11. unclebass

    unclebass

    Dec 17, 2012
    Set neck, no shimming possible.

    Next time I change strings, I will definitely do that!
     
    RSBBass likes this.

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