Narrow saddle slots

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Anarchy Dave, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. Anarchy Dave

    Anarchy Dave

    Feb 16, 2016
    Hi, I'm new to this forum, so forgive me if this is already a topic elsewhere.

    I recently purchased a Douglas WOB 826 Fretless from Rondo music. Upon arrival everything seemed ship shape. Then I plugged it in to play it and noticed the E and B strings sounded muted. I checked the bridge, and sure enough the stock strings (according to website .98 and .122) weren't seated in the saddle slots, instead just strung sort of over. When I loosened the strings to see what the deal was I noticed the saddles were too narrow for even the super light gauge poor quality stock strings. They didn't pop out of the saddles during play, they literally didn't fit in the saddle slots. Has anyone else encountered this problem? This is especially disconcerting since I usually prefer the D'Addario Chromes which are way heavier gauged than the stock strings. Should I just suck it up and put super light round wounds on this bass? Has anyone else swapped the strings out on these basses for a medium/standard gauge set and had issues?

    I took it to my local luthier and he said he could file the slots, is this a somewhat typical/normal/acceptable thing to do? (While he's at it the plastic nut is going too). I've never encountered this problem on my other bass (Fender 5-string MIM Jazz) because of the way the string sits on the simple grooved barrel saddle. The Douglas bridge seems to be a cheap Hipshot Style A knockoff. Should I have the saddle slots filed or just bite the bullet and get a new bridge? Has anyone else replaced the bridge on a Douglas six string? If so, with what? I already figure there's nothing else out there that's going to match the mounting pattern, but maybe I'm wrong.

    I know, a lot of questions, after reading the reviews on here though I really didn't think this bass was going to be this much of hassle. It's turning out to be almost the cost of the bass just to get it in playing order.
  2. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    Welcome to Talkbass.
    While filing the saddle grooves isn't typical, neither is it unusual. Having the saddles filed by a luthier, is probably cheaper than replacing the bridge, and since he is replacing the nut anyway, the strings have to be at least loosened and the nut work will require a new setup. So, all in all I expect that having the saddles filed will incur minimum expense to you if you have it all done at once.
    subsonicbassist likes this.
  3. ^^^100% agree, I had to have my bridge saddle for my B string and my nut filed to fit an extra large B string, and did nothing to tone, playability, or tuning stability :)
    Anarchy Dave likes this.
  4. Anarchy Dave

    Anarchy Dave

    Feb 16, 2016
    Cool, thanks Sissy Kathy! That seemed to be the luthiers logic. I've just never encountered the need or an instance of filing a zinc saddle before. Didn't know if it would eventually impact the life of the bridge, or wear of strings, etc. If it's not that unusual I can breathe a little easier!