how much can be filed down on a bridge?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by trocadero, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. trocadero


    Jun 12, 2005
    Gamleby, Sweden
    I got back my bass from my luthier today, he had fixed some cracks inside so the top has been off. The strings where a bit high set for me before, with 8 mm on the E and 6 on the G(I'm a beginner). When I got it back the string height was 11 mm on E and 8 mm on G.
    I want a bit lower than it was before. Is it ok to file down the "stringpits" 3-4 mm or should the bridge be recut?

    And whats up with the strings being higher than before?
    He might have moved the bridge a little because there was a line in pencil next to the bridge. But a 3 mm change in string height seems like to much of a change for that. What do you think have happened?

    EDIT: maybe I should add that this is my first bass. It had been laying around for 20 years without almost any use and I got hold of it. I got it set up by this guy but had to bring it back in because of something inside that had loosened and it started to make buzzing noises when I played
  2. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    3-4mm is a lot to take it down by filing. The bridge really should be recut a bit by someone with experience. Your guy should have done it when you picked it up.
    When a top is taken off and put back sometimes a change in neck elevation can occur resulting in your symptoms.
  3. jstiel

    jstiel Jim Stiel

    Jun 5, 2004
    Lake Orion, MI
    You might also want to double check the bridge angle if you have adjusters since they allow a little back and forth movement. A slight change in placement or angle can make a big difference.
  4. trocadero


    Jun 12, 2005
    Gamleby, Sweden
    So this repair can cause the neck angle to be different. Is that ok or did my luthier screw up? Or is it just for me to file the bridge, have it recut or change it?

    B.t.w. my father came up with the idea of removing the bridge(a temporary bridge in its place to hold the strings tension and make the soundpost remain in place) and file down the other end of the brigde, the "feet" if you will, in order to get the 3-4 mm. Is this a good idea?

    I don't have an adjustable bridge but if the bridge have to be recut I'll guess I might as well replace my brigde with an adjustable.
  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    The feet of the bridge are more delicately fitted than it may appear. They are shaped so that there are no voids at all, and the bridge rest perfectly in place on the table.

    Your suggestion is possible (if there is enough material left on the feet) but, if the feet are fitted poorly, it can cause, at a minimum, tone suck, and even worse, compromise the stability of the bridge, making it easier to lean or even collapse if you don't give it regular attention.

    Although 3-4 mm is is quite a bit to take off a bridge's feet.

    If the bridge is otherwise in good condition and made of quality maple, there is no point in replacing it. You should have adjusters fitted in the existing bridge. It is a common service that luthiers offer.
  6. trocadero


    Jun 12, 2005
    Gamleby, Sweden
    ok thanks. I think I'll bring it to a luthier that can set my bass up properly for jazz playing. The bridge is not lined up with the cuts in the f-holes, its to far down. And yesterday when I took a look at the bridge I saw that the bridge are starting to tilt just a little bit. There is perheps a 0.5 mm gap at the tailpiecefacing end of the bridgefeet.

    EDIT: being a pianoplayer I'm defenitly not used to fiddling around so much with the instrument, its taking up so much time! But when I play piano I just have to accept whatever crap-piano I sit down to play so I guess that isn't any better.