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Problems when I changed from steel to gut

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by wvchuck, Jun 19, 2007.

  1. wvchuck


    Jun 19, 2007
    I changed the string on my plywood from steel to Cleft gut strings. Man the problems started. When I tried to tune to pitch, the strings pulled the bridge over. I never had that problem with steel. I thought the gut strings were a less tension string than the steel.

    I checked the bridge foot print on the bass and filed the string positions on the bridge a little wider and deeper to accomodate the thicker strings.

    I use it for bluegrass!

    Any suggestion
  2. Make sure the nut and bridge string slots are lubed with graphite (a pencil). This will help the strings slide smoothly when you bring them up to pitch.

    Change strings one by one- NOT all together! - the soundpost is held upright by the pressure of the strings pushing on the bridge.

    It's probably a good idea to make sure your soundpost is still there!
  3. wvchuck


    Jun 19, 2007
    Thanks Peck Time for the advice. I did try both suggestion but it didn't seem to help. Sound post did fall over but it was reset.
  4. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    You reset the soundpost or you had someone reset the soundpost?

    A small positional difference can make a tremendous difference. Also, if the guts are indeed lower tension (which they likely are) there could be other adjustments needed to accomodate. Depends on a lot of things, including how precisely your bass was set up to begin with. The length of the soundpost, for example. There's a range of acceptable at a luthier's descretion based on what they know about you and your bass. If whoever set your bass up erred on the short side of O.K. and you were using Spirocores, it may be too short for low tension gut strings (maybe not).

    Lots of things. If you feel like you're going to stick with gut strings, it's worthwhile to have a luthier dial the set up in.

  5. I remember... I changed strings once long ago and was tuning it up to pitch (with the bass standing upright) and my bridge fell over and I'll never forget that "thunk" when the sound post fell. Oh, that is the worst.

    How did it happen? Now I put the bass flat on a table to change strings, never move it until the strings are up to tension, and constantly watch out to push the bridge back again and again because the tightening of the strings makes the bridge lean forward. It's not just a matter of putting graphite on the bridge and nut...

  6. wvchuck


    Jun 19, 2007
    Good points from all. I had the sound post re-set by another bassist. Not a luither. We did lay the bass down. The strings are low tension but I really believe the real issue is the bridge and the string grooves in the bridge. Of course I announce that i know nothing about set up ( I'm a bluegrass banjo player in our band). I since have checked the feet and their relationship to the bass body. I marked and sanded the feet to a more even contour of the bass body. Originally they feet were cut with a forward pitch that put the bridge naturally leaning forward before string tension.

    So far the bridge is staying up but as the strings strech and we tune it the bridge does appear to favor a northerly pitch.

    I'm going to watch it and and make adjustments as needed.

    Thanks to all.
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