1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Opinions on foot shims?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Jeff Bonny, Jul 31, 2007.


  1. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    I've been using a bridge for several years that has built in piezos for each string and amplified it sounds nice.

    decopiezobridge.

    Since starting to mess around with miking the bass live though I've started to become annoyed with the restricted acoustic sound that comes from the thickness of it and gone back to the original thinner bridge and there is a remarkable difference.

    deco1stbridge002.

    One of the reasons the thick multi-piezo came into being was that the thinner one was too low and to correct this now I've shimmed the feet with some maple veneer (currently 3 pieces). I like this bridge and would like to avoid cutting a new one if it can be made to work. Are there reasons I might not have thought of that shimming might not be as good as just cutting a new bridge? Worth the effort to trim the shims to an exact footprint of the foot? I have a Realist coming so it seems that in effect I'll be shimming anyway. Anyone foresee any problems with the shim/Realist combination?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    "I like this bridge and would like to avoid cutting a new one if it can be made to work."

    Why? does it not work now with the shims? You're not going to damage it by adding shims so I'd say, go for it. Nothing to lose. You can always cut them off again, or trim the crown, if you don't like it. And of course trim them to shape ... make it look nice.

    But wait for the Realist, because that will add about 1.5mm as you say. You might not even need to shim the bass foot. And if you decide the Realist isn't the pickup for you, you can always add more.

    the only caveat I can think of is that it is said that the Realist is a sh*t in *sh*t out pickup, so if your bass doesn't have a good acoustic sound the result might be disappointing. (others disagree) I've just put a Realist on my bass and it sounds great, except the E string is a bit duller unamplified, I guess because of the substance between the bass foot and the top.

    I guess you might be thinking of mixing the Realist with that Bassmax?
     
  3. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks. I'll take your advice and trim the shims after I get the Realist.

    I didn't do a lot of research on the Realist and a high "shyte in/shyte out" factor wasn't something had really considered. I do like the acoustic sound of my bass though (I've actually been working on getting a miked sound live) and am hopeful for good results with the Gage. To tell the truth I ordered the thing before I found the old Bassmax and after I did and installed it within the first few notes it sounded so much better than I remembered it I cringed a little at having just spent $200 to fix a problem that might not exist. Is it worth commenting on the difference between the two? My impression of the Basmax is that it's similar to the Underwoods I've used with good results on several basses. I guess I'll be able to draw my own conclusions soon enough.....

    I've got a two channel preamp, a mic preamp and a small mixer so I will A/B the two, blend them, try them blended with the mic and maybe even throw into the mix the Armstrong magnetic Steve Azola had made for me. If nothing else I'm surprisingly happy with just the Bassmax. Maybe over the years I've played this bass I've grown into it and learned a lot about finding what was already there?

    It has been interesting too to adjust the bridge and realize that while higher action does make for more volume I've found a sweet spot lower than what I'm used to where the sound is more relaxed and the bass sings more than it ever has.
     
  4. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    What kind of a bass is that? Does it have a soundpost? Looks like the bridge off a Baby Bass but your profile and avatar says a Deco bass which is more a guitar.
     
  5. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    You might want to check on some of the info regarding the damage to the top that some people have experienced with Realists. It imprinted on the top of my last bass, but they may have addressed that problem in later models.
     
  6. christ andronis

    christ andronis

    Nov 14, 2001
    Chicago
    Imprinted?? What exactly does that mean?
     
  7. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    My realist has left light stipple marks in my still-soft varnish under the bridge foot at the point where the two "studs" are inside the pickup, and two more clearly defined dimples in the foot of the bridge. I'm not particularly concerned, as these are areas that will always be hidden, and I don't think that the marks per se will significantly affect contact twixt foot and top if i remove the pickup. However i do feel that the hard contact twixt foot and top is lessened a bit since I added the Realist. But the amplified sound is nice, at least at low levels.
     
  8. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    It is a Deco and there's no soundpost. While it is technically a guitar it's voiced somewhere between a double bass and a cello. It plays more like a big bass and since the upright is where I'm coming from the last 30 years it sounds a lot like one too minus some girth. If you didn't play the "real" bass I doubt this thing would have much appeal once you got down to trying to get a sound and get around on it in tune.

    My understanding is that Gage has solved the damage problem by adding a protective layer of some sort. If not a I'll try a layer of shim between the pickup and top. If that doesn't work during my inquiries into whether or not this would work on my bass Gage said he'd take it back if it didn't.


    BTW Matthew that bass you built is very beautiful and I like the choice of western red cedar for a top. What inspired you to use that over spruce?
     
  9. FWIW Gerard Samija's been fitting thin strips of maple veneer under the bottom surface of the Realists, out of frustration with all those little dents. He did that for mine a while ago and it hasn't appreciably affected the sound, so, that should work.
     
  10. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    That's a good idea of Gerards. Has anyone taken a Realist apart to see what the little studs are for? I guess they must be the two main parts of the transducer. They must be important or they would have been removed by now. From what i can see, the foil on the lower edge of the realist is thicker than earlier models and has a stippled finish presumably to spread the load a bit and stop slipping. Its not really pretty what it does, but i'm not overly concerned about it, at least on my bass.

    Jeff I used cedar because I can get it locally. Spruce and maple does not grow in Australia in any quantity and importing it is uber expensive. Cedar is imported for building purposes. It is expensive, but not nearly so dear as imported spruce. Also, I like the stability and ring of WRC. It does not seem to warp or shrink significantly and always has a nice straight grain. And it smells nice.
     
  11. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    I'll second (third?) the motion on putting a shim under the Realist. A thin piece of spruce cut with the grain might be even better than the maple in that it's softer and will allow the Realist to 'relax' into it and make better all-round contact.

    I'd love to hear your cedar bass matthew. I have a customer's cedar-topped Weber mandolin on the bench right now and it has made a partial believer out of me. It has a real quickness of sound coupled with a lively overtone series; it's more like European spruce than Sitka.

    Having made a good few squares of shakes in my time, I'm slightly concerned with how easily cedar splits along the grain lines.
     
  12. Uncletoad

    Uncletoad

    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I'd glue some wood on the bottom of that bridge to the height you want file and sand it to whatever is required on that top. Use hot hide glue and I would bet the effect would be transparent.
     
  13. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Cool. I need to call him this week about a neck project anyway and I'll see what he says about the Realist too. Spruce shims might work better but I have around 10 feet of 1" wide maple veneer so I'll try that first.

    I was gonna lazy out and tack 'em on with a spot of crazy glue but now that you've said it Phil I guess I should (and will) do the nice job with hide glue even if it stinks the studio up for a little while. Having yer bench a few feet away from yer bed isn't always convenient.
     
  14. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    There are a lot worse stinks than hide glue ...
     
  15. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    The Realist was in the mailbox this evening and it's on the bass now. There weren't any nubs I could feel and the hight is very close to the shims I'd installed so I put it on without them on the E side. I sure hear what you mean about crap in/crap out though and after a few gigs with the Bassmax which clearly brings out a slightly undefined bottom this bass doesn't have acoustically it took a little adjustment of my ears. It's the truest pickup I have yet to try though and on this bass I like it. I think I'm one step closer to giving up trying to use a mic live without a soundman....this weekend's gig in a room I know well will certainly tell a lot.

    Am going to glue the three shims onto the G side foot now, trim them up and I think this little project is done.
    Thanks All.
    jb
     
  16. Uncletoad

    Uncletoad

    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    My feet on a good day.
     
  17. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    You obviously need foot shims.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.