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Put non-adjustable bridge back on

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by nicechuck, Aug 21, 2012.


  1. nicechuck

    nicechuck

    Jul 9, 2007
    I'd been thinking of this, and I did it. The adjustable bridge needed a shim under the treble side and the bass side was just a bit low which made bowing the E string more difficult. Had to move my body out of the way. the action is just a bit higher, but it's louder and I like it without the shim. Could cut it down a bit, but it looks really nice now, professional, and it wouldn't if I cut it down, so I'll leave it. Somehow, probably just a mental thing, but it seems a more direct connection with the top without the adjusters. I also live in Florida, so it won't usually face bitter cold, and I've never adjusted the other bridge since I put it on, so should be good. Now just more practice to get as fast and comfortable with it as I was with the strings a bit lower. Oh, this is the first time I've changed the bridge and didn't have to re-set the soundpost!
     
  2. mirwa

    mirwa

    Aug 4, 2012
    Australia - Perth
    Whilst I fit bridges with adjusters, I dont personally like them, to me it negates the whole purpose of a well shaped bridge
     
  3. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I think both general experience and the science don't really support any negation, if we are referring to acoustic consequences.
     
  4. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    Assuming the purpose of a well shaped bridge is to make for a good playing experience, the adjusters add one more level of flexibility in dealing with changes in musical style, weather, physical needs, strings, etc. Wouldn't be without them in Chicago climate.
     
  5. playbass0410

    playbass0410

    Feb 8, 2008
    Well, I have both - adjustable bridge and a much better fit bridge without adjusters.
    To be honest - I do prefer the bridge with adjusters when it comes to amplified sound, whereas the bridge without adjusters has more fundamentals played unamplified.

    But amplified the adjustable bridge is just easier to handle to get an even EQ.

    So I think its no easy to generalize this topic...
     
  6. mirwa

    mirwa

    Aug 4, 2012
    Australia - Perth
    Yes, as I said to start with I cut and fit them as well.

    However why dont I like them, please note this is a personal opinion, I am not against anyone that chooses to use them as yes I agree they add more flexibility to the player.

    When I cut a bridge, I do my standard foot profile / top arch thinning etc, I clean the dags from the heart eyes and belly of the bridge, I then get the player to play the instrument, from this we discuss any notes that he or she may or may not like, I will trim specific eyes or points of the heart / belly etc to improve the sound for this player.

    Having done all this fine tuning and thinning to suit the player and his her instrument, it defies logic to me then to cut the feet off, shove a big steel rod inside and install a thumbwheel. It kills all the sound and work Ive just done, it stiffens the whole foot section back up and reduces the flexibility Ive been fine tuning and shaping to achieve.

    As I said I install them etc for the customer but I for one feel that they defy the whole purpose of cutting and shaping and tuning the bridge to fit.

    For those that feel there is no difference I ask, have you had a bridge simply cut and fitted (that is simply feet profiled top profiled and dags cleaned up) or has your luthier actually ""tuned"" that bridge to you and your instrument. A tuned bridge IMO is a beautiful thing.
     
  7. mirwa

    mirwa

    Aug 4, 2012
    Australia - Perth
    May I ask what type of pickup system your running. Good points / bad points / mounting style.

    Ive been asked and am seriously considering making my own line of pickups. I have a coil winder which we use to make our own guitar pickups already.
     
  8. JoeyNaeger

    JoeyNaeger Guest Commercial User

    Jun 24, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Bass Specialist, Lisle Violin Shop
    Have you really noticed a big change in tonality after the adjusters are installed? Do the players notice it as well? I'm genuinely curious as I fit a non adjustable bridge to my bass several months ago with the intension of installing adjustors later as an experiment. Several people whose opinion I trust think that adjustors make little difference to the tone, but I want to find out for myself.

    Edited to add: On my old bridge, I noticed a pretty big difference in tone between delrin and aluminum adjusters, so there must be some effect.
     
  9. nicechuck

    nicechuck

    Jul 9, 2007
    In my case, I believe the biggest reason for a difference in sound it that the non-adjustable bridge is a bit higher, thus, more tension and a bit more volume. It did record well with that bridge, havent recorded yet with this one
     
  10. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I think the question is how acoustically transparent the material is. There's a considerable amount of information to suggest that aluminum adjusters don't degrade the sound. I don't know if that's true for Delrin. So, perhaps the big difference you heard stemmed from aluminum being a more desirable material for the job. Check out this thread.
     
  11. JoeyNaeger

    JoeyNaeger Guest Commercial User

    Jun 24, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Bass Specialist, Lisle Violin Shop
    Hah, you'll notice I've already posted my views in that thread. I definitely prefer aluminum over delrin, but I haven't had a chance to try solid bridge versus the same bridge with aluminum adjustors. I have a good feel for what delrin does to sound, and there is definitely an effect. Any way, one of these days I'll have to do a proper experiment. There was some talk of doing this at Oberlin, but it never really got going. I think I'm hijacking the thread a bit.

    To the OP, it sounds like your adjustor bridge has some issues if you have to shim it. It's possible your other bridge is just a nicer bridge with nicer wood and better craftsmanship. You could have adjustors installed in it and get the best of both I bet.
     
  12. mirwa

    mirwa

    Aug 4, 2012
    Australia - Perth
    I recommend you try for yourself.

    I believe if you simply have a bridge cut and fitted then you will not hear the difference, but I believe if you have a luthier who will then ""tune"" that fitted bridge in by shaping thinning it out to optimise the sound, then cutting the feet of and putting a lump of anything other than what it is made out of will alter the sound IMO, and yes I do believe I can hear the difference.

    Sound travels at different speeds through materials be they wood / air / ferrous metals / non-ferrous metals / plastics / lacquers and so forth, and is also absorbed / amplified / nullified dependant on what medium it is travelling through, so common sense saids the differences can be measured, the question is, are those differences great enough that we, mere humans can distinguish the difference.

    Food for thought..... There is no simple answer
     
  13. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    More than common sense, it's physics. Yes, a difference can be measured. I have little doubt that the differences can be distinguished under laboratory conditions. It may be the case that they could be distinguished under conditions that provide for less control (e.g., open-ended listening without direct comparison). Beyond that, the questions of greater importance are: 1) Are the differences meaningful? 2) Is there a clear preference? Here, it's not about what the humans can do, it's what they do do. As for as "mere humans," you may be very surprised at the vanishingly small differences that can be reliably discerned by humans when one measures what we can do.
     
  14. mirwa

    mirwa

    Aug 4, 2012
    Australia - Perth
    I dont know if your being passive aggresive or actually talking a valid point, the internet makes it difficult to interpret sometimes.

    Your response leads me? lost. I dont think I dis-agree with any of your findings but I dont understand the highlighted sections re-affirming your view which does not appear to be different from mine.
     
  15. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    This is what I think has happened to the OP.

    I cut, fit and set up all DB bridges *completely* before taking them off and installing the adjusters. This means I hear each bass with the solid maple bridge in place and then the same bridge with very light aluminium adjusters installed.

    In every case, the sound of the bass improves with the addition of adjusters. Its a subtle thing but there's an openness afterwards, a little more air in the tone, that makes the bass nicer to play and to listen to.
     
  16. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    +1 It makes sense to me!
    There are many things we "mere humans" can't perceive: Elephant communications and whale songs, not to mention most of the light spectrum.
     
  17. nicechuck

    nicechuck

    Jul 9, 2007
    Joey, you very well could be right, and again this bridge is just a bit taller which has to make a difference
     
  18. playbass0410

    playbass0410

    Feb 8, 2008
    currently I do use a single piezo bridge wing piezo pickup on the E-string wing.

    Good points - even EQ (I run flat), easy to assemble
    Bad points - amplifies picking noise too much

    My next try is a shadow pickup under both bridge feets.

    My information most probably is worth nothing as amplifying and DB is an art depending on the bass, music style, strings, bridge, tailpiece, setup, house, PA, playing technique and style, personal preferences, preamp, amp, not to forget athomsperic pressure and voodoo...
    Amplifying my EB was a breeze compared to the actual struggles :crying:
     
  19. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Relax, we agree. The highlighting was to emphasize the words in the sentence. My view is not different from yours. I was, however, making a point that you did not and which is often not appreciated when speaking of discernible differences. Many differences are discernible but are not, in practical situations, meaningful. That is, it's not so much whether we can discern the differences but, when we can, whether they are substantial and, whether, once discerned, there is any preference for one over another. This turns out to be an important consideration in all sorts of comparisons.

    This is about as good as the evidence is likely to get in the practical world! That is, a discerning pro who has made multiple "before and after" comparisons.

    Actually, our eyes, by definition, perceive all of the "light spectrum," which is that portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that's visible. The auditory apparatus transduces none of the electromagnetic spectrum and that's the sense we were discussing. :) Furthermore, I wasn't speaking of absolute detection. We were talking about potential differences in the sound that could be the result of the addition of adjusters and how the physical materials employed could alter the sound. Basically, the changes are spectral in nature. That is, the "frequency response" is altered. I was pointing out that the spectral changes that "mere humans" can discern are likely far smaller than you might imagine. The ear and brain form one heck of a sensitive instrument.
     
  20. mirwa

    mirwa

    Aug 4, 2012
    Australia - Perth
    Cool,sometimes its hard to interpret a response.

    I would concur in this instance that yes the sound is brighter,

    Wood is actually a good dampner, by removing a section of wood after the shaping you are in essence removing some of the wood dampening that was occuring, aluminium is very good at transmitting sound and in the situation of an adjuster its in whats called a compressional transmission mode for the sound to travel through, so not much loss is occuring, to this end the aluminium will also be causing reflection and refraction of the inputted signal, so this means some of the transmitted sound is also being bounced back up into the top section again.

    Again food for thought........No simple answer.
     

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