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Oversize Saddle

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Ty Wiggins, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. Ty Wiggins

    Ty Wiggins Supporting Member

    May 21, 2018
    If I put an oversize saddle on my bass, will the resultant lessening of the "angle of attack" (so to speak) of the strings from the tailpiece to the bridge lessen the tension of the strings? The action is about as low as it can go; I'm using d'Addario Helicore Hybrid Lights. I have a tremor in my left hand which has weakened my ability to properly finger notes. So the less tension, the better. I love these strings; they stay in tune, and can be fine tuned to a fine degree. Will the proposed idea work? Any help would be appreciated!
  2. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    May 26, 2005
    Forest Grove, OR
    If I understand the theory correctly, pitch is dependent upon length, mass and tension. Thus, none of those three will change, so, no, the feel will be the same...but it will not sound the same, because there will be less compression force downward against the bridge and front plate.

    I'm pretty sure you will not feel much difference just raising the saddle. But if the nut is lower (provided that is even a possibility) you would not have to deflect the strings quite so far, so it might help. Same if the height of the strings over the fingerboard (bridge height) is lowered.

    But if you want less tension on the strings, I think you have to simply buy lower-tension strings.

    I don't claim to be an expert, but I'm pretty sure the above is correct. I'd be happy to be corrected, though.
    Povl Carstensen likes this.
  3. Ty Wiggins

    Ty Wiggins Supporting Member

    May 21, 2018
    Thanks,1st Bass. Yeah, we took the nut down about as far as it will go, same with bridge height. The reason I thought that tension would be less, is that I have an NS Design CR-5 and the angle from the bridge to what would constitute the saddle is extremely low. The bridge is only about an 1 1/2" high, so the strings are at a very "flat" angle. I use the same strings as my upright, except they're Mediums. Oh well! Thanks again, 1st Bass!
  4. If you have problems with pressing down the strings, get strings with a more stretchy core like synthetic core strings or naked or wound gut.

    Pressing down the string makes the string longer, so a more stretchy string needs less force to get pressed down.
    A raised saddle does not change the tension of the string, but the pressure on the top. Since the bridge couples the string to the moving top, you might feel a difference in perceived tension, but you need the same force to press down the string than with a standard saddle.

    If your climate is compatible with gut strings, naked gut has a large surface in contact with the finger that reduces force per finger area and generally is more stretchy and lower tension.

    If gut won't work try synthetic core strings like Obligato, Evah Weich, Innovation Braided or Sensicore, maybe even the Solo versions tuned down to orchestra tuning.

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