Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

I screwed up by bridges.

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Smith373, Sep 28, 2000.


  1. I goofed. I have two Englehardts, an ES1 and a Swingmaster. Tried to lower the bridge on each of them myself to get better action. Took it to my Uncle (now deceased, RIP) and he sanded the things to the bottom of the pencil line not to the top which is where I intended it. Love my uncle but not my new string heighth. On the Swingmaster, the E string is waaaay too low and rattles at anything more than a fondle. I use this one for jazz and folk. The ES1 is just screwed up, period. Its my Bluegrass bass and I need higher action but not as high as it was. Should I surrender and get a new bridge then see a luthier for both? Any ideas? I promise I won't try this again. Live and learn, eh?
     
  2. Oh no! Not another one!!! :eek: I made the same unfortunate mistake in my younger days. It sounded so easy, jut a little off the top...Anyway you now have two choices. If the only problem is that the action is too low, you can have a luthier put bridge adjusters on it, and this should be the least expensive way to fix your problem.The other choice is to get a new bridge put on by a real luthier.
    Chalk it up to experience, I've seen worse things done to basses. Here's one I saw when I was working part time at a repair shop: This guy was moving and the movers had damaged his bass. The moving company was under contract to have it repaired, but the guy did'nt tell them to take it to a luthier, so they took it to a furniture repair shop. It was originally a simple repair, a seam had opened up, so they decided to fix it by SCREWING the top table down. It ended up costing about $600 to repair it correctly! So a screwed up bridge doesn't seem so bad now, does it? :)
     
  3. Ahhh yes, ignorance is bliss - unless you're paying for it. Furniture folks are not known for their delicate and sensitive nature, now are they? Thanks for the bridge advice. I didn't know I could get bridge adjusters until I read the TB threads. Makes great sense to me. I'm new to TB so this is helping me find lots of answers - and sympathy!! Thanks, folks.
     
  4. I've seen many bridges with pieces of wood glued to the bottom, It takes some skill to fit the wood but it is possible. You might find a pickup that fits under the bridge this could be the best of both worlds. Keep the action high on the Bluegrass bass.
    ....Play another cabin song....
     
  5. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Yeah, Ed, I thought it was interesting, too, but didn't really get any conclusions that I could wrap my arms around.

    Actually, I concluded that since I haven't adjusted either of my adjustable bridges in the last three years that I'd replace them with solid ones as soon as I get around to it.
     
  6. I never thought I'd make a significant change on my adjustable bridges, but this summer, I found that the humidity had caused the top to twist enough to lift the bridge height by 3 milimeters on the G string. Normally, the clearance is 4 mm, so 3mm is a big change.
     
  7. That was the main reason I got a room dehumidifier,Don.
    One of the best investments I ever made! :D
     
  8. Actually, I have both a dehumidifier and a humidifier, depending on the season
     
  9. erik II

    erik II

    Jul 11, 2000
    Oslo, Norway
    I am just in the process of mounting aluminium bridge adjusters. Before I got the adjusters I put shims (pieces of thin sheet wood) under the bridge to get the action higher. This method appears to me to be the most "natural", wood-on-wood instead of metal. It is of course not as convenient as turning two wheels, and my bridge was still too low even with quite a lot of shims.

    Are shims better sound-vise than adjusters, or would the difference be minimal? Does anyone use shimming as a permanent method of adjustment?

    I have also noticed comments based on bad experiences with adjusters, so:
    How big is the risk of feet splitting and adjusters going into the top? Are there any safety measures to take to reduce the risk? I was thinking of glueing plugs in the holes left in the bottom of the feet, and maybe glueing pieces of sheet wood on top of the cut feet, under the adjuster wheels, to strengthen the feet. Is there any point in doing this?

    Erik

    [Edited by erik II on 11-30-2000 at 06:32 PM]
     

  10. Wood Shims are, IMO, a sloppy "quick fix", and If not matched flush with the feet of the bridge and the top table of the instrument, result in either a loss of sound and/or tone due to the inhibited vibration of the bridge.As for adjusters, there are also wood adjusters available, But I have Aluminum Adjusters on one of My Basses and Ebony Adjusters on the other, and the difference is minimal.I can understand your concern with the Bridge splitting, but if the Adjusters are properly installed, the chances are miniscule.Chances are, if you have to force the adjuster into the Bridge, It's too tight. As for gluing in plugs, don't bother, it won't make a difference. I'll tell you what ( NY Bass Luthier)Bill Merchant does though, he places a plastic washer under the adjuster to allow for easy adjustment and then puts graphite lube in the slots.Are you installing them yourself, or having someone do it for you? If so Just be sure whoever is doing it knows what the're doing. Ask Bob
    Gollihur about Bridge adjuster hatchet jobs, right Bob?
     
  11. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.

    Erik; The shim thing isn't a real good idea. The feet of the bridge should be fitted to the belly of the bass which is a compound curve. A flat foot would tend to concentrate the pressure into a small footprint under the feet. Considering where the sound post sets under the foot I would be afraid of deforming the top on a plywood or actually creating a stress crack on a carved bass.

    Just my .02 worth.

    Pkr2
     
  12. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Yeah, my local guy did a real ugly job installing adjusters in the bridge on my Kay. He's a nice old guy and his relative ignorance to the world outside of mid-South Jersey was responsible for my scoring a Juzek at a price I could afford. So, I paid the $$ since he undercharged me on the rest of the work he did, but that bridge is scheduled for replacement. You can get a decent bridge with adjusters installed for a reasonable price, making it hardly worth the aggravation, and it's nice to have a spare bridge around anyway.

    A guy who bought a K&K Rockabilly system from me called the other week to chat and told me a dancer careened off the dance floor into his bass a few weeks ago; he pulled back but she split the bridge in half, which of course (amplified at that) made quite a loud sound. Never know what you'll encounter out in the trenches <g>.
     
  13. erik II

    erik II

    Jul 11, 2000
    Oslo, Norway
    Thanks for advices. I am installing the adjusters myself and so far it looks good, despite the title of this thread... The adjuster wheels rest evenly on the cut surfaces of the feet, and the shafts have an accurate slide fit. Now I only have to get hold of some inch threading tools (patiently awaiting world-wide embrace of the metric system... :) ).

    Question: Can the two legs be adjusted to different heights? Where would that difference be absorbed - should the threads be made "wide" (and consequently weaker) to allow for some movement of the threaded shafts? Or should height difference just be avoided?


    Erik
     


  14. Question: Can the two legs be adjusted to different heights? Where would that difference be absorbed - should the threads be made "wide" (and consequently weaker) to allow for some movement of the threaded shafts? Or should height difference just be avoided?


    Erik [/B][/QUOTE]
    The legs must be at equal heights, or else this will cause the tension to "pull" unevenly to one side. As for the threads, they should be just snug enough so that you can screw it in easily without breaking your fingers. Also a good Idea to use that graphite lube I mentioned before.
     
  15. erik II

    erik II

    Jul 11, 2000
    Oslo, Norway
    I agree - if the string heights are correctly set to begin with there should be no need for different leg heights, just straight up- or downward movement. It is just that I have seen some basses with legs adjusted (apparently) to quite different heights.

    Erik