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how much to shave off on a bridge

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by bjornbass, Jun 3, 2005.


  1. bjornbass

    bjornbass

    May 27, 2005
    Butt(e), MT
    I just got done measuring the string heighth of my bass and it's about 15 mm high. What is the standard heighth of a bass being used for walking jazz lines? I know this is way too high and I need some advice on how to lower it cuz my fingers are dyin! The strings are metal and there is a bevel or ridge on the fingerboard and I dont really know how big it is because i have nothing really to compare it to. Any feedback would be great!
     
  2. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Generally this is not a do it yourself project but judging from your location mebbe it is. Average measurments under each string at the end of the board would be as follows: E-9mm,A-8mm, D-7mm, G-6mm. Be careful you don't drop the soundpost in this endeavor. Taking the bridge down 5mm doesn't equate to the same measurment at the string. Take it slow, measure twice.
     
  3. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Also be careful in bringing the A string down. It is easy to take too much off in this area, and then you get an A string too close to the fingerboard. By the way, could you take this to a shop and get adjusters put in?
     
  4. bjornbass

    bjornbass

    May 27, 2005
    Butt(e), MT
    Yea the funny thing about the location is there is alot of orchestra oriented stores in the surrounding area they just refuse to do have anything with the bass because it's too big for them to deal with. Who would have thought?
    anyway could I just use some kind of jigsaw. Oh heres an idea, would it be smart to cut off the majority of it then sand it till it looks about right leaving less chance for a screw up?
     
  5. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    A stationary disc sander with 80 or 120 grit paper is the ideal tool for this job. Measure from the top of the existing crown of the bridge (not the bottom of the existing string groove). You should end up with four points (e, a, d, g). Now imitate the existing bridge crown curvature and connect these four dots. Also, at each dot, draw a straight line down from the crown of the bridge towards the feet. You will end up with four parallel and vertical lines. These lines will act as a reference for your string spacing.

    Disc sand to this new bridge curvature line. GO SLOW. You can always remove wood, but it is damn hard to add wood. ;) You will also need a small triangle file and small needle file to start/widen the string grooves to the required diameter. The crown of the bridge shouldn't be a square edge; more of a gentle curve. You will need to put a chamfer on the front and back of the new bridge crown. Use a bastard file and some sandpaper to establish this gentle profile.

    Make sense?