Reseating bass bridge

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by KalElVinist, Oct 21, 2020.


  1. KalElVinist

    KalElVinist

    Jul 27, 2020
    Need some bass setup know-how.

    I have a G&L tribute jazz bass. It plays great and is really well balanced. The only problem I'm having is the bridge has been seated too low on the body to intonate properly so I have the tuning saddles all the way at the end of the bridge body. Are there any caveats to reseating the bridge a little closer to the bridge pickup to fix the intonation other than adjusted saddles for intonation?
     
    JRA likes this.
  2. dwizum

    dwizum

    Dec 21, 2018
    Not really, except that depending on how far you move it, you may be revealing the old screw holes and/or an imprint in the finish from the old position, or non-faded paint under the old position, etc. - cosmetics that may or may not bother you.

    Before committing to moving the bridge though - have you gone through the rest of the setup to make sure nothing strange is going on? How are you checking intonation? Is this the original bridge, in the original position - or has someone modified the bass in some way?
     
  3. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    So the saddles are as close to the bridge pickup as they will go and the intonation is still flat?
     
    96tbird, Zooberwerx and Lownote38 like this.
  4. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I've only ever had this happen on a cheaper Epiphone guitar. I've certainly never heard of this on a G&L. Have you tried multiple sets of strings just to make sure?
     
    rockinrayduke and JRA like this.
  5. Yep, I’d change strings first.
     
  6. ixlramp

    ixlramp Guest

    Jan 25, 2005
    Highly unlikely G&L would make such a sloppy mistake, far more likely to be bad strings and/or a bad intonation method.
    Do not move the bridge.

    Use new strings and use a precise intonation method, 'matching 12th fret to 2nd harmonic by ear' is NOT precise and is prone to error in several ways.
    Use a cable tuner (NOT a headstock clip-on tuner) and set intonation by checking open note and several frets along the neck up to the highest played fret.

    How you can check bridge placement: The saddles never need to go further forward than 'scale length' from the edge of the nut. So if the saddle centres can reach this point (they should be able to) the bridge is fine.

    If you are running out of screw length just use longer screws.
     
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    Care to elaborate on what errors would occur?
     
  8. KalElVinist

    KalElVinist

    Jul 27, 2020
    Thanks for the info. The intonation is definitely off. I tested with a cabled tuner. It's worth noting that I've found numerous posts from other players who have found this to be the case. However, I haven't contacted G&L which would probably make sense because, as you say, it's unlikely that they would make such a mistake. I'll check that before I do anything. But it doesn't make sense that I should have to replace the adjustment screws (all of which I have changed out) just to get it to intonate properly.

    Thanks again!
     
  9. KalElVinist

    KalElVinist

    Jul 27, 2020
    I'm just able to get it with the extended screws and springs I bought, but it's ugly. :) photo_2020-10-22_17-14-48.jpg
     
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  10. KalElVinist

    KalElVinist

    Jul 27, 2020
    Thanks, everyone. I will definitely swap out strings before I move the bridge.
     
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  11. dwizum

    dwizum

    Dec 21, 2018
    Can you get a long ruler and measure the exact distance from the fretboard-face of the nut to the middle of the furthest forward saddle, right along the string path? That would give us a pretty clear indication of if this is something weird with your strings and/or your intonation technique or setup, or the bridge is actually in the wrong place (which I also would not expect on an apparently unmolested instrument, but you never know).
     
  12. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Not a bad idea.

    *What's your procedure for checking intonation?

    *Do you / did you set your witness points?

    Riis
     
    96tbird likes this.
  13. KalElVinist

    KalElVinist

    Jul 27, 2020
    I don't know what witness points are, but I used a cabled tuner and measured intonation on the open string, at the 12th fret and at the 21st fret.
     
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  14. dwizum

    dwizum

    Dec 21, 2018
    The "witness point" is the spot at which your string contacts the bridge or nut.

    Bass strings are really thick and stiff. When you install a new string, you're bending it over that break point, and the string doesn't naturally want to bend cleanly - it wants to just develop a lazy curve.

    "Setting" the witness point is really just forcing the string into a clean bend at the point where it contacts the saddle and the nut. Doing so lets the string settle into a nice straight path, instead of having a gentle curve at each end. Those gentle curves can really mess with the string's mechanics otherwise.

    Doing so is really simple - get the string on, get it up close to being in tune, and press down hard with your fingers right in front of and behind the saddle. You're trying to introduce a kink right where the string touches the saddle.

    Strings will gradually settle over time if you don't do this, which can be problematic if you're trying to do a setup and adjust intonation - since both the action and intonation will change as the string settles. Setting the point as you install the string will give you good mechanics right from the start and will reduce the "drift" as the string settles.
     
  15. KalElVinist

    KalElVinist

    Jul 27, 2020
    Ah, yeah, I already do that, but I didn't know what it was called. You expanded my vocab today! :D
     
    dwizum likes this.
  16. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    @dwizum covered witness points so we're good. I would also check my 12th fret harmonic vs 12th fretted and set the intonation accordingly. It's not perfect but it's a good starting point. An alternative is to tune with the 12th harmonic then check the 7th and 17th fretted.

    Riis
     
  17. KalElVinist

    KalElVinist

    Jul 27, 2020
    Ah ok. I'll try that too.
     
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  18. Once in awhile you'll get a string that allows you to get the open string and fretted 12th to agree but the 12th fret harmonic will be off. It happens. This is why some will not use the harmonic.
    You will find that if that bridge is the same design as the USA version you won't be able to move it easily, because there's a big metal foot on the bottom which fits into a slot in the body.
     
  19. KalElVinist

    KalElVinist

    Jul 27, 2020
    Ok, I took you guy's advice and measured the length. This is with the tape on the bridge facing side of the nut. This isn't right, is it? I shouldn't have to have the saddle that far up to get 34 should I? photo_2020-10-23_10-41-58.jpg
     
  20. KalElVinist

    KalElVinist

    Jul 27, 2020
    Ok. I didn't know about the body insert. That certainly complicates it.
     
    David Jayne likes this.
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