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How can I get lower action to my THICK replacement bridge?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Ingemar, Jan 4, 2007.

  1. Ingemar


    Sep 12, 2000
    I've modded my Fender MIM Jazz with a Gotoh 201 (black) bridge


    but cause the bottom plate is much ticker (3mm) than the orginal bridge bottom plate (1,5mm) and the sadle cylinders has a wider diameter on the Gotoh, I can't get as low action as I want.The lowest I can get is about 3mm gap at 12't fret.


    As I understand, one way to go is to route down the bridge some 1-1,5mm in the body (seems like a job for a pro.), and another, to thin (mill) the bottomplate some 1-1,5mm (this I may manage myself)

    Is there some disadvantages if I remove the hight/lowering screws in the sadle cylinders and let the cylinders rest directly on the bridge bottom?Will this cause sound transfering loss?
    (I understand that this will affect the individual adjustement possibilities and that the sadles can "flex sidewise")

  2. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Shim the neck.
  3. Ingemar


    Sep 12, 2000

    but I'm not sure/convinsed about this shimming thing,(isn't there some "loss of sound transferring" risk with that?) just don't really feels like an "upgrade".
    (maybe I'll end up changing back to the orginal bridge, but otherwise this thin out/mill/grind down the bottomplate on the Gotoh, seems to be my choise)
  4. Scott in Dallas

    Scott in Dallas Commercial User

    Aug 16, 2005
    Dallas, north Texas
    Builder and Owner: DJ Ash Guitars
    I'd be surprised if the new bridge makes any difference in your sound.
  5. jeffhigh


    May 16, 2005
    If you really do not want to shim, the easiest way would be to grind 1 or 2 mm off the underside of the bridge saddles ( the cylindrical things the strings sit on)
  6. Shimming will only make you happier. Its the fastest and easiest way for sure.
  7. Ingemar


    Sep 12, 2000
    Thanks for Your advises.

    Now I have to do a lot of testing/thinking

    - Shim (se my reflections above)

    - Remove the hight adjustment screws so that the cylindrical sadles sits rigt on the bottomplate

    - Deepen the stringslots at the cylindrical sadles (ev. in a drill to get the slot deeper all way around)

    - Grind down the underside of the cylindrical sadles

    - Replace the Gotoh cylindrical sadles and intonation screws to the orginal (smaller but shorter ones)

    - Mill/grind down the underside of the whole bridge bottom plate

    - Route down the bridge in the bass body

    An issue that I came to think of is the string angle, wich maybe will be to stright if I have to lower the sadles to much compared to the "stringholes" in the back of the bridge.This effect wont occure if I can get the whole bridge closer to/in to the bass body (or with shimming ;-)

    And of course - Change back to the orginal bridge (allthough I have to order new black ones since I've changed to black tuners, picguard,controlplate and bridge
    on my Black MIM Jazz.orginaly purcased to host my Roland V-Bass GK2B pup)
  8. aquateen


    Apr 14, 2005

    I would start with the least invasive mod before you start grinding anything or routing the body so you can put things back to original if necessary. fwiw, the badassII bridge is a direct replacement and doesn't have any issues with the saddles being too high. good luck!
  9. Ingemar


    Sep 12, 2000

    Actually my first choise was a black BadAssII but they weren't avaliable here in Sweden, so... eager to get along with my "mod." I went for the Gotoh 201, wich I thought was a "ready to go" replacement to :-(

    Now, I think I'll begin with testing to file down the string slot on the upperside of the sadle cylinders.This seems (imo) like the least invasive mod. (in fact, some ruined sadles, or even bridge, wont ruin my budget ;-)
  10. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Yes. By a vast margin. Not only the easiest, but the most effective IME.
  11. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    I had that same issue a while back on a Jazz bass. I went to the Hobby Lobby and picked up a sheet of brass. Traced the neck profile on it, cut just inside the lines, and drilled for neck screws and BLAM! It worked great! Later on, I changed out the bridge for a BAII, and it bolted right on, action was too low, so I unbolted the neck, took out a couple of the brass plates I had in there (there were 3 of them, very thin gauge, I cut them with scissors!) and I was back in business.

    My Warmoth has a countersunk bridge, which I love. I can get down-on-the-deck low action, with little or no buzzing. That one is a keeper for sure!

    IMO, I'd shy away from modifying a bridge. If you grind off the bottom of the barrels, you will end up with less threads for the height adjustment screws to bite on. If you cut the saddles too deep, you'll need new barrels, and if you grind the bottom of the bridge plate, you may end up with a lopsided bridge, as well as less mass- which is probably why you got the Gotoh to begin with...
  12. I'd shim it, but you seem to really not like that, my second choice would be routing the body
  13. Ingemar


    Sep 12, 2000
    Now I'v tested the idea

    Originally posted by g.ghost (in an other thread at another site)

    Remove the saddle and lock the end into the chuck of an electric drill. (I attatched some Gaffa/silvertape at the cylinder end thats clamped into the chuck, to avoid dents)

    Turn the drill on and it will spin the saddle like a mini lathe.

    Use a rat tail file (round) and press it against the groove of the spinning saddle where the string sits.

    Gradually wear the groove deeper into the saddle so the string will sit lower when installed in the bridge. I measured the string gauge and then marked that position on the file so I could get the slot as wide as the string.

    I filed down the slot diameters to 6.8mm (the orginal slots were 7.9mm) on all sadles and then I installed them and then (to lower G str. a little extra) filed the G str. sadle upper 1/3 end down to 6.0mm (to save as much material as possible).
    But... I'd to be carefull... the slots tend to come to close to the intonation screw hole.

    Now I can get some pretty decent aktion: G str. 2.5mm - E str. 2.9mm gap at 12't fret

    But I'm not compleatly satisfied ( as I wont be with the shime idea either) so... I'll probably change that Gotoh 201 bridge
  14. Cutty


    Jun 25, 2006
    I don't think i have owned a jazz bass in which i didn't shim the neck,it's the only way to get enough string height adjustment and won't alter the tone so,+1 for that!!:D
  15. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    I'd be very surprised if your MIM Jazz wasn't already shimmed, right out from the factory. Most are.
    It's a part of a standard setup procedure.
  16. Ingemar


    Sep 12, 2000

    It's like my a ghost in my brain tells me something like- not enough contakt... contakt problems... head and neck's gonna lose contakt with body! (probably silly but... ;-)
  17. Ingemar


    Sep 12, 2000

    Ohhps... I'll check this out at ones (maybe I'll change the whole bass ;-)
  18. It is silly, lots and lots of people shim and I have not heard something bad from any of them, and it only takes 5 minutes to install, just give it a shot and if you don't like it you can take it out with no lasting problems
  19. Ingemar


    Sep 12, 2000
    Now I've checked my bass but there wasn't any shim in there.

    but... OK I'll give it a try. Is there any links to where I can learn how to do it correctly. (the only shims I've seen have been rather bad, a bit of plastic,a small piece of wood vener and even a bowed 2" nail.All for "tilting" purpouse)

    Is shimming just for "tilting" (seems worse in terms of contakt) or should it cover the whole neckpocket? (as I undersod from Bassic83 reply )
  20. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    It's a Fender for hell's sake, not a MTD.
    The notion of good contact between neck and pocket is non-existant for them.
    Just make sure the shim is between the 2 lines of screws, not behind and you will be fine.

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