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MIM Jazz Bridge Fix/Mod

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by BassR72, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. BassR72


    Aug 3, 2012
    I bought a used 2010 MIM jazz bass from GC. I am satisfied with everything about it except the placement of bridge. The previous owner dropped in a BA II that is not centered.... I can't relay blame the him/her for the work since the BA II is a drop in piece.

    The E-string is directly over the inside pu poles (closest to the A-string). And the G-string is slightly off center. There was an attempt to file the grooves in the bridges, but no attempt to center the strings between the pu poles. However, if they would have tried, there would had to have been a very large shift in the routing of the E-string that just looks like it would be sketchy.

    I have been looking at maybe scraping the BA and putting in a Hipshot A since I can order it with the spacing that matches typical jazz pu's width. Has anyone else here used this bridge? If so, what are your thoughts on it?

    Anyway, I am considering having Mike Lull's shop install the bridge and do a very thorough initial set-up and shim. Parts and labor will run $200... seems reasonable.
  2. You say the previous owner mounted the bridge off-center. Then you say he filed the string slots in the wrong places. The strings are not aligned with the pups. How are the strings aligned with the edge of the neck? I would put a Hipshot A on the bass and mount it in the original factory holes. The original bridge was most likely in alignment. It's almost impossible that the factory drilled the mounting holes off-center. The Hipshot A has good string alignment adjustments and there is no reason you can't get everything adjusted including the neck alignment if is off.
  3. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    It is highly unlikely the bridge is in the wrong place. Since the advent of CNC machining hardware mounting holes are where they are supposed to be.

    It is more likely that the pickups are mis-located or that the pickup is shifted in the cover. Or the neck is not properly aligned.

    It is very likely that the person who slotted the saddles did that incorrectly because of one of the items above. Or was simply inexperienced with repair and installation in general.
  4. Phendyr_Loon


    Sep 4, 2010
    How can you make the assumption that the original bridge holes are NOT mis drilled due to the modern CNC process, but you say the pickup routes, (which are also CNC'd) might be off?
    Also, how can Jazz pickups "shift" in their covers? Have you even seen a Jazz pu apart?
    If the neck is extremely out of alignment, and the bridge is where it should be, the strings should still sit straight over the pole pieces.
    I've fitted 2 MIM jazz basses with BA bridges and in both cases the only factory bridge hole that lined up perfect was the center hole. Even then I just filled the mis aligned holes and redrilled to mount the bridge.
    I've seen bridges on these basses come misaligned from the factory, particularly the later MIM models and some Squiers.
    The OP won't know who hacked the bridge position until the BA comes off.
  5. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    FWIW, I would pull the BAII and install a vintage threaded saddle bridge ... minor string alignment issues are easily corrected with this bridge ...If, when you pull the there are more than five holes, hopefully there is only one in the center position ... and then you may need to fill and drill if there are other holes that dont line up if it has been redrilled...

    ... is there any way you can post clear pics of what you have there?? ... with BA on and off, full length to show neck/string aligment, etc .. the more pics and the clearer the better ...
  6. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Assumption? Pretty simple. With modern machining mistakes happen so rarely.

    A second assumption that can be drawn from the data is that if someone has swapped out a factory bridge with a Bad Ass II and took the time to slot it, it highly likely that they have stuck a screwdriver in every screw on the instrument. If the saddles are incorrectly slotted, another conclusion that can be drawn is that whomever did the work was not very experienced in either guitar repair or handwork. However, there is no data to give definite support to these conclusions. It is possible that a highly skilled operator was just having a bad day. Not likely, but possible.

    Never said that the pickup routs were incorrect. Just like the bridge, it is almost impossible that the routs are mislocated. However, it is possible that someone removed and replaced the pickups an messed up the mounting hole enough to cause misalignment.

    Pickup shifting in cover: Yes, it happens. Especially when aftermarket covers are used to replace factory covers. It is not much of a shift. The OP has not indicated how large the misalignment is.
  7. I say there is a 99.9% chance that all original holes and routing are correct. Most likely the neck has shifted to the side and thrown everything off. Once the neck is straightened, the saddles will need to be re-groved or the bridge replaced to have strings centered over the pickup poles.
  8. Stilettoprefer


    Nov 26, 2010
    Working in a modem machine shop, I can say that mistakes happen a lot. Just the other day we had to scrap about 20 bezels because the machines mounting clamp wasn't clamping hard enough.

    I work in the de-burr section, and I see miss drilled holes, wrong sized chamfers and bowed parts all the time. I usually catch 2 or 3 per order of 60-100 depending on how complex the part is and if a tool happened to go out. Inspection catches a few more after deburr is done with the order.

    Basically, machining isn't totally perfect and incorrect working does happen. With poor QC, those imperfections can get shipped out. We happen to have great QC at the shop, so stuff is rarely sent out "wrong".
  9. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005


    - georgestrings
  10. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006

    Certainly mistakes get made. It is probably less common when machining wood as opposed to metals. But I do not know. Perhaps I should have said that it is unusual for Fender to send things out wrong.

    But that will be refuted in short order. There are enough folks here to post up every mistake Fender has ever made in each one of their factories.

    The point here is that Fender does a great job of manufacturing a lot of guitars every year with a fit and finish appropriate to the pricing. Mistakes are occasionally made. They employ humans as well as machines. Those mistakes are few and far between. Those few mistakes are magnified by the act of reading and posting in forums like this one. They appear to multiply because we are the folks who fix these mistakes. If you ask any of the pros on this board for an opinion, most will tell you that their work is repairing problems due to environment, wear and tear, and user error. Factory mistakes that make it through QA are few and far between.
  11. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    There have been lots of questions about replacing the stock bridge on Fenders. There are a few facts I would like to add to the conversation.

    First, let me qualify what I am about to say. I am taking my measurements from two MIM Fenders - a Jazz from 2007 and a Precision from 2004. Both are 4-string models. Things may be different on models from other years.

    The bridges on these two basses are identical. The spacing string-to-string (centres) is .25" for an overall G-to-E spacing of 2.25" Some manufacturers refer to this as 19mm spacing - not exactly the same but the difference is insignificant. On both basses the strings are not aligned between the polepieces of the pickups The outer strings (G and E) sit inward of the centre line between the poles. This is most evident on the Jazz at the bridge pickup. On the Precision, the misalignment is only slight. In both cases the string spacing would need to be increased to really centre the strings between the poles.

    Most fixed width replacement bridges have .25" string spacing, which means that replacing the stock bridge for better alignment will only disappoint. Here's a short rundown of some popular bridges indicating their string spacing:

    Gotoh: all bridges 19mm spacing
    Hipshot: A-type - available in .787" spacing
    B-Type - available in .812" spacing
    Babicz: .75" spacing
    Schaller and Wilkinson Roller bridges: adjustable spacing
    ABM: - adjustable spacing

    So if string-to-pole alignment is a concern, be sure to check what string spacing you need before purchasing an aftermarket bridge.
  12. Good point. I don't think the OP needs to do anything about string alignment if the sound is even.

    I like the idea of the Hipshot, as I'm not a fan of the BA bridges.
  13. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Not a fan of BA bridges either. I put a Gotoh 201 on the MIM Jazz. Sounds fine. I have to admit, I did it for the looks, not the sound. But I have no complaints in either department.
  14. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Now I'm not talking MIM, I'm talking Squier vmj. My neck pup poles are out of alignment but its because the pup is closer to the G side of the rout. I suspect that pups are hand installed in a rapid assembly line environment. Some day I may remount them, but it will make no sonic difference, it's so minimal. My neck also needs a nudge toward the G side to further align with the poles. This may be the case with yours, or not, have a look.
  15. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    First things first: are the strings centered on the neck? Do you have even amounts of space between the E string to the edge of the fingerboard and the G string and the other edge of the fingerboard? If these measurements are correct then the bridge is positioned correctly and the neck is centered in the neck pocket. At that point listen to the bass to determine if the strings sound even (you may need to try adjusting the pickup height/angle) and if it's still an issue the last step is to change the placement of the grooves in the bridge saddles.
  16. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    as often as not, misaligned strings are the result of a shifted-over neck; loosening the bolts a hair and pulling the neck over until they center up again is a routine setup step.

    i tend to agree that bridge holes are seldom in the wrong place on modern fenders, but the pickups very often are a little off; it's not that they've shifted inside the covers (impossible with stock pickups in stock covers) but that the whole thing was mounted a little off in the body. there usually is a little gap around the pickup in either the pickguard or the body, leaving room for a little slop in the placement.

    +1 to the spacing thing, which is another reason i prefer the threaded-rod bridges; all-too many bridges have the .75" (19mm) spacing, which doesn't line up with jazz bass magnets, being too narrow.
  17. BassR72


    Aug 3, 2012
    Thanks everyone. This was my first post here and I got a lot of usable advice. An update: the neck was a bit low. After raising it, the strings are centered on the neck. This doesn't help with the placement of the pu's, but it doesn't seem to affect the sound, so I'll live with the set-up for now.

    Attached Files:

  18. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Looks almost exactly like the alignment on my MIM Jazz. I'm living with it - it's sounds great.

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