New Bridge too thick ?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by steve chase, Mar 18, 2002.

  1. Maybe this is a question Bob can answer all on his own,but I would be interested to hear any other views.
    After fitting a new adjustable bridge(courtesy Bob) I notice that the volume of the bass has gone down slightly,this may be my imagination but I notice it more on gigs when amplified.
    Could it be that the new bridge,which is a good bit thicker than my old one is restricting the sound ?
    Would it be advisable to shave the bridge,will this make a difference,or should I just turn up ?
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Turn up? Well, of course.

    A thicker bridge can dampen the sound and will also knock down the upper partials.
  3. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    You should probably thin it out, and I'll have to look but I'm pretty sure that point is made in the instructions I included. Those adjustable bridges are pretty tall, not knowing the height requirement of the bass for which it was intended, so they are often pretty stout after you cut off an inch or two. The one on my Kay is about six inches tall, probably 1.5 inches less than as supplied. As mentioned in the instructions, you want to maintain the 90 degree angle of the bridge shape to the bass table on the side facing the tailpiece, and create the contour/thinning on the fingerboard side. That helps resist warp as the strings pull the bridge top towards the fingerboard as you tighten them.
  4. David Gage recommends that the thickness be 5mm at the top and 22 mm at the bottom, starting with 6-7 and 24-25, and working down according to how it sounds.
    Arnold Schnitzer goes to 4.5mm, but remember he and Bollbach and others are using the top quality available, and they absolutely know what they're looking at.
    So, you can see what the general range is.
  5. I checked today and the bridge seems to be on the fat side according to Don`s figures - 25mm at the bottom of the foot,6mm at the top.
    Although my local luthier made a super job of fitting the bridge I may ask him to shave a tad more off.
    Thanks for replies.
  6. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    The thickness is important. Other issues you should consider: How does the bridge's footprint compare to your old bridge? Have you modified the string length? Is there a lot of mass left in the bridge "toes"? But the most critical is: Does the bass foot of the bridge rest properly over the bass bar? And is the bridge centered? I've been experimenting a lot with bridge width on my New Standard plywoods and I've noticed a difference in tone when the bridge is only 5mm wider! In general, the bridge should have as little mass as possible, but just enough to do its job. The same goes for the entire bass! When I thickness a bridge I take into account the type of strings used (thinner for gut), the density of the bridge blank, and the intended use of the bass. Keep in mind that a properly cut bridge may eventually warp. The old timers from the gut era changed their bridge every year ot two...
  7. The new bridge is almost identical to the old one apart from the adjusters of course and being slightly thicker.The old bridge came with the bass so I have to assume it was the right size(width etc.)
    Over the last couple of days I have been experimenting with different strings,first I put on a set of Spirocores and the difference was amazing.I had been using a set of Supernyls for some rockabilly stuff and didn`t realise how dead they sound compared to steel strings.I think this maybe part of the problem.Today I fitted a Dominant E & A with Rotosound Superb D & G.On a gig tonight,apart from constant retuning,the sound was great,no volume problems at all.
    It speaks again !
    I will check all that you suggest Arnold,and thanks.
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    I've wondered about bridge is an Aubert, and seems thicker than many bridges I've seen. Do you know this manufacturer? Even if not, is it likely that I could be doing better with a thinner bridge? (I play pizz only, I've been told that I use a great deal of R.H. force, and my bass is strung with Spirocore Orchs)