How to adjust bridges using adjusters?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by OmniPaul, Jan 27, 2005.

  1. OmniPaul


    Jan 5, 2004
    San Jose, Ca
    Sorry if this is covered somewhere obvious; it's possible I'm internet-blind. I tried the newbie links and search function, but didn't find anything particularly helpful.

    Anyways, my bass came with bridge adjusters, but I have no idea how to use them properly. I'm assuming they' should be turned in some direction, but they would not budge when I tried turning them a little. Is there something I'm missing like a tool I'm supposed to be using?

    I'm probably going to end up going to the shop and have them do it for me, but I'd like to know how to do it myself just for the sake of knowing.

    -Paul Cherng
  2. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    You don't need tools, sometimes you just have to let the string tension down somewhat to get them to budge, particularly if raising the height. Turn each adjuster wheel the same amount.

    Ed -- I know -- this was a prime opportunity for the left-handed jerry rig bridge adjuster tool... :smug:
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Or adjuster oil or bridge level (to make sure yer not cranking one side higher than the other) or adjuster instruction manual or special adjuster thumb-and-forefinger grips or kevlar adjuster gloves or Dremel tool adjuster attachment or...
  4. mcbosler


    May 12, 2000
    Plano, TX
    The very first time I tried to raise my bridge I had a similar problem; those aluminum adjusters can be quite stubborn. Took the problem to my teacher, and he gave them a few tugs after lowering the string tension to no avail. I was kind of worried when he whipped out a set of heavy duty pliars...but it's been my method ever since.

    It worried me more when he said "you're bridge is also way off center" and whacked it from the side with the pliars! This moved it over more to the treble side and allowed me to really get my fingers next to the strings. That resulting "thud" I was able to get out of them after that was definitely worth the few seconds of anxiety.

    I think my point, if there is one, is that it's probably best to have someone show you how to make adjustments if you're not sure. After that, you can make them on your own with confidence.
  5. Ben Joella

    Ben Joella

    May 31, 2004
    Boca Raton, FL
    Lowering the tension a bit is very good advice. Not only will it make it eaiser to turn the adjusters, but you then run less of a risk of putting more tension on the top and the strings than they are designed to take.
  6. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    a puff of graphite powder on the threads will stop the adjusters sticking.
  7. Sometimes a quick visit to your favorite Luthier will fix the problem.I have used Parferin[sp?] which is Candle wax,Graphite powder,Bees wax. I like a very light coating of Bees wax the best,but you have to take the adjusters out of the bridge to do it correctly.So thats why you should see your Luthier.
    Also sometimes you have to re-tap the threads.....
    [By the way,they should turn real easy by hand,don't even think of a pliers!!! That will ruin the soft metal in your adjusters and get you a first place in line for the Luthier's Spanking Machine.]
  8. OmniPaul


    Jan 5, 2004
    San Jose, Ca
    Thanks for the replies, all.

    I tried loosening up the strings and then turning the adjusters, but I freaked out when the feet(?) of the bridge moved as well, so I ceased touching the bridge.

    Today I took my bass to the shop and they showed me how to do it. It was quite an exciting experience watching the man loosen the strings, bang on the bridge, adjust the bridge, and then tuning the strings all in a short amount of time!

    -Paul Cherng