New bridge with wider intonation range

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by DC in ATX, Jun 10, 2021.


  1. DC in ATX

    DC in ATX Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Partsmaster bass question. I refinished a loaded Warmoth body, acquired via the TB classifieds, and added an Allparts neck. Bass plays and sounds great. But the A-type Hipshot bridge doesn’t quite give me enough intonation adjustment range for the G string.

    • One solution, would be to move the bridge 3/16” close to the nut.
      • Looking at the picture and recollecting the setup, it's entirely possible that if I move the bridge forward, the E string no longer intonates. :bored:
    • Alternatively, I could drop in a different bridge.
      • Title edited to reflect the fact that this is likely the best path forward.

    Visually, I like the current bridge. The drop in stringing is rad. But it does have a sharp corner that I feel when palm muting.

    Anyone with a keen eye and experience with multiple bridges have a recommendation?

    Alternatively, are there any other adjustments that I should look at?

    Here’s the bass: 4EDF25F4-A82F-430A-8CDA-1C7E036C01E2.jpeg 763B5331-C879-4D6A-9D16-CA5F1EC270B5.jpeg 56D87115-6E3E-4A8F-B7A3-9A383B72EBDF.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
  2. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    The A Style bridge is a fantastic (as the Brits like to say) piece of kit. Move it forward to the proper location, as it was not installed where it is supposed to be. Did you install the bridge? If Warmoth had, perhaps the Allparts neck is not to spec?
     
    DC in ATX likes this.
  3. DC in ATX

    DC in ATX Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Right. The bridge is installed at the factory location, so to speak, as drilled by Warmoth.

    But the parts are from two different aftermarket manufacturers. Different manufacturing tolerances could account for the fact that I can't quite get the G-string to intonate. It's close enough that I tried increasing string diameter as a fix. That didn't quite close the gap.
     
  4. DC in ATX

    DC in ATX Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Looking at the picture and recollecting the setup, it's entirely possible that if I move the bridge forward, the E string no longer intonates. :bored:
     
  5. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    If you’re considering a new bridge, the Hipshot Kickass seems to allow for more saddle travel to achieve proper intonation.

    upload_2021-6-10_14-57-9.jpeg
     
    One Way and DC in ATX like this.
  6. DC in ATX

    DC in ATX Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Thank you for the visual. I had a Kickass on a different bass, but traded that bass away. That's a lot more runway.
     
    Slater likes this.
  7. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I'll assume the G 12th fretted is flat when compared to the 12th harmonic. Can you advance the G saddle so it's even with the D saddle?

    Riis
     
  8. DC in ATX

    DC in ATX Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2020
    Austin, TX
    If I advance the G saddle any further, it falls off the screw.

    The D string intonates, but it's at the bleeding edge of the bridge. The G string is advanced as far as I can adjust it.

    If it appears otherwise in the photos, that may reflect the difference in saddle height rather than the adjustment distance, so to speak. I've also made adjustments since I tool these assembly photos.
     
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  9. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Standard line of questioning:

    *Set your witness points?

    *What strings are you using?

    *How flat are we talking?

    Riis
     
  10. DC in ATX

    DC in ATX Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2020
    Austin, TX

    Yes, good idea to start with the basics. Thank you for talking me through it.

    WITNESS POINTS. The nut is shaped properly. I shaped that from a bone blank. So, I know it is good. The saddle insert is as shipped from the OEM. I should double check that it's not turned around backwards or something silly. Maybe sharpening that witness point, so to speak, would fix the problem. These are roller saddles. So nothing to adjust here.

    STRINGS. Pyramid Gold Flatwound. These strings were properly crimped prior to installation and are properly wound. I had a fair amount of anxiety about that. So, I did my homework and adhered to the best practices.

    HOW FLAT? By about a gnat's ass. Maybe not more than 1/16". Definitely not more than 1/8". To my ear, the intonation falls off around the 12th fret. The bass sounds great as long as I am playing on frets 0 through 12; it starts to sound flat above 12.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
  11. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    *Set your witness points by firmly mashing down the string on the fretboard side of the nut and saddle.

    *Nice strings!

    *Are you using a tuner?

    *Grab your tape measure. The distance from the front of the nut to the 12th fret should be 17" (...if 34" scale)...17" from 12th fret to top-center of G saddle.

    Riis
     
    DC in ATX likes this.
  12. DC in ATX

    DC in ATX Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Thanks, Riis. This is news you can use.

    • Witness points are fully seated (I’ll double check the angle at the nut in the morning for good measure)
    • Tuner is a Sonic Research ST300 strobe tuner (I can double check the settings, but the cure settings work on all of my other basses.)
    • The 17” measurements off of the 12th fret check out per my wife’s aluminum yardstick, which is probably a better reference here than one of my tape measures (since tapes sag in the middle)
      • My guesstimate that the saddle wants to move 1/16” closer to the nut, also checks out per the ruler.

    Double checking the saddle locations on the E and A strings, there’s room to move the bridge 1/8” close to the nut. That’s starting to seem like the best path forward.

    Before doing so, it’s very helpful to rule out anything else. Thanks for walking me through those steps.
     
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  13. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I mentioned the tuner as you referenced "...to my ear". Does the tuner corroborate this up 'n down the fretboard?

    Riis
     
  14. DC in ATX

    DC in ATX Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2020
    Austin, TX
    The tuner corroborates the fact that the G string doesn’t intonate properly. But that’s looking specifically at the open string vs. the fretted 12th. I should verify that it does indeed start off true on frets 1-5, for example.

    To my mind, if it’s not intonating properly anywhere on the fretboard, that’s a nut slot problem or a string problem. If it increasingly loses intonation as I play up the fretboard, that’s an saddle location problem.

    I’ve had bad strings before and I’ve cut nut slots that weren’t angle properly, which resulted in a wandering witness point. So, I know what those problems are all about. It’s bad everywhere.

    in this case, everything sounds sweet—except high up the fretboard on the G string. The tuner, my ear and warbling overtones all tell the same story.
     
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  15. DC in ATX

    DC in ATX Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Thinking this through:

    • if Warmoth drilled the bridge screw holes, I am confident they are properly located
      • I’d rather not move these holes and goon someone who might be using this body with a Warmoth neck in the future (that person could be me)
    • The other place I can pick up 1/16” is in the neck pocket
      • On an unfinished bass, that is not too hard
      • The nitro finish is susceptible to chips if I do this now
    Since there’s a downside to both of these options, I am going to find a different bridge. I just need a a tiny bit more adjustment in the intonation range. A new bridge doesn’t require any modification to the body or neck.
     
  16. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    The warbling overtones may be a hint that the pickups are too close to the strings. That can cause intonation issues. May not be the problem in your case, but wouldn't hurt to lower the pickups and see if the situation improves.
     
    Lobster11 likes this.
  17. DC in ATX

    DC in ATX Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Good point. I’ll check this. I typically set the pup height per a ruler based on conventional wisdom. But these are oversized pole pieces.
     
  18. DC in ATX

    DC in ATX Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2020
    Austin, TX
    The pickup mounting provides a very generous distance off of the poles for all of the strings. This is especially true for the G string, as the pups are lowest on that edge (which is backassward). I should revisit the pole height adjustments for string-to-string balance and optimal tone. But that distance isn't likely impacting the apparent intonation on the G string or elsewhere.

    For good measure, I checked the neck position. It looks pretty good. But there's likely room to adjust the neck in the direction of the E string. I'll tweak that this weekend and see if that doesn't pull my G string sharp by an appropriate amount. It would be cool if that did the trick.

    Thanks for chiming in, BTW. I was literally searching your posts for relevant advice when you posted to this thread.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
    Joshua likes this.
  19. claudel

    claudel Supporting Member

    Would a longer screw for the "G" string saddle fix it?
     
  20. DC in ATX

    DC in ATX Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2020
    Austin, TX
    The screw length matches the length of the bridge deck. I have simply run out of runway:

    EB53598F-D9BE-447E-8DD0-225CBDF3EBF7.jpeg
     
    claudel likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 22, 2021

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