Jack Cassady bridge adjustments

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by lermgalieu, Sep 7, 2001.

  1. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    So I wanted to raise the action on my E-string on my Jack, and I just looked at the bridge and realized its a lot different than my Fender!

    First off, there is no direct adjustment for the height of a single string, as far as I can see. There are three big screws that control the angle and height of the bridge as a whole, and then each string sits on its own saddle. The thing that I noticed that was interesting is that each saddle is sized slightly differently, and they are also each numbered 1-4. Now, logic tells me that they should either be like E(1) A(2) D(3) G(4) or E(4) A(3) D(2) G(1). However, mine is E(4) A(2) D(3) G(1) - I think - well anyway the point is they are out of order. The A string is the highest of the bunch for whatever reason, which I don't really mind, but I would like to make the E and D a bit higher too.

    Anyone that can offer the best methodology for adjusting this bridge, assuming my truss rod is adjusted correctly?

  2. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Ah...another Casady owner, eh? Great basses they are! Adjusting the bridge on those 3 point Gibson style bridges is a bit of a balancing act, though. Myself i like the action a little on the low side, as I play quite a bit of chordal stuff..and I use some pretty light TI strings to boot (uh, that's another balncing act: lowtension light strings and low action!)
    I have found the Casady likes to be "jacked" up (pun intended) just a bit on the bass side of the bridge, the treble side angled an bit lower allowing for the differences in vibrational arc of the strings. The middle screw, at the front of the bridge adjusts how the strings address the plane of the fingerboard. Setting it high gives a very clear and clean tone of the string on the fret, but angling that sucker down, just a tiny bit, adds a wonderful, quasi-fretless growl to the tone.
    You should adjust it in accordence to you taste and musical style. I believe most set it up so that bridge plane is flat across the surface of the body. This tends to give the strings wide berth, and lots o' room to vibrate . But you must remember the top of the Casady is arched, not flat.
    As for the bridge saddles....someone messed with your Jack! They should be set 4(E) 3(A) 2(D) 1(G)
    which will put the A string a bit higher....yet in proportion to the radius of the neck/fretboard.
    Since I got my Casady I have done a lot of research on setting up the animal for my tastes and style. Hope some of these insights help.
    By the way, the Jack Casady Bass is quite different from solid body basses, and the set-up goes with that. Just as settting up and/or repairing/working on a ES- (fill in the number) is VERY different from working on a strat or tele. These are semi-hollow basses, with arched backs and tops. The physics are a little different (as is the wiring ...in the case of the Casady it is very different!). If you take it to a shop or tech to have it worked on, make sure they know and have experience with semi-acoustics. Most guys who do set-ups in the local guitar shop don't. Don't be afraid to ask questions. The Casady bass is much more sensitive to changes in setup than the avg. solidbody.....and therin lies the beauty of its tone.
  3. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    By the way...is your neck set straight?
    Again this is a matter of taste. I like a zero relief neck, and so had the frets on my Casady leveled. The fretwork was OK, and only had a couple of (barely) high frets.
    Normally you need a bit of relief in the neck to allow the strings to vibrate without buzzing. A good rule of thumb (picked up from none other that Michael Tobias) is to capo the first fret (thus taking it out the picture) and fret the E string at the 15th fret. Holding that string down at the 15th fret you should be able to just slide a Fender Thin guitar pick between the string and the fret at the 8th fret without resistance. That is considered a standard amount of relief. Starting from there you can fine tune things at the bridge.
    Now if you really want that Michael Rhodes kind of insanely high action (I have heard he measures his action in fingers...how manyfingers stacked vertically slide between the string and the fretboard!), you will need to put a good deal of relief into neck, and to compensate for that curvature you will have to intonate your bass sharp, since you are no longer pressing onto a "flat" surface....and different registers of the bass will be more in tune, or less in tune. You need to find your "money zones" and intonate for those.
  4. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    thanks guys! I like the relief on my neck, I think all I need to do is re--arrange those saddles, raise the 'middle' bridge screw, and it will be great. It's a touch too growly right now, although I do want a little growl. I also noticed a bit of buzzing throughought the d string when I took off the crappy stock strings and put on rotosounds, but I will deal with that (if I still need to) after taking care of the above adjustments. Thanks again!