Saddles in a vintage bridge tense and angled

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by _Obra_, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. _Obra_


    Feb 22, 2011
    EU Wannabe
    Hi to all,
    Recently I bought a 1968 Fender Precision, and I have one question:
    Is it normal for saddles in vintage bridge to be so tight and pushing each other (like they are longer than they should be) and that the screws that go through them are not parallel ?
    It causes me small problems with string spacing and simply just not looks good.
    Thanks for Your answers :)

    Attached Files:

    Vinny_G likes this.
  2. Vinny_G


    Dec 1, 2011
    Yes, it was an excellent design 70 years ago, but we've done a lot better since. Get ready to read that Leo was right from the beginning, that if it ain't broke don't fix it, and that you're a criminal if you simply think about putting another bridge on that bass. ;)
    Clark Dark and Obrad Lacarac like this.
  3. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    Quite normal. But, it looks like your saddles are tilted - i.e. not parallel to the base plate of the bridge. It might just be the angle of the photo though. But if they are tilted you should level them while maintaining the string height.
    digmeout and mc900ftj like this.
  4. dramatwist


    Sep 27, 2019
    ...typical... no worries...
  5. _Obra_


    Feb 22, 2011
    EU Wannabe
    Thank You all,
    My saddles are not tilted. I make them all parallel to the bridge, it's just the angle of the picture, and I am not thinking of replacing the bridge at all :) Like everything to be as original as it can.
    Turnaround likes this.
  6. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    that looks weird to me.

    the saddles should press against each other for better tone and no shifting around but they should be just the right width so that the screws end up parallel.

    more like this:

    the idea is that the string spacing is a little wider than those saddles, so as to push the outer saddles in towards the center, holding everything together.

    it makes me suspect either the bridge plate or the saddles have been changed
  7. _Obra_


    Feb 22, 2011
    EU Wannabe
    Hi Walter,
    That's exactly what I thought, but lots of people said it was normal back in the days :)
  8. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    That's not normal. Also, if it's a mid 68 or newer, those are the wrong saddles. I have a January 68 precision bass, and the saddles are not threaded. They should have one slot per saddle. To me, your whole bridge looks replaced. Too shiny for one that old.
  9. _Obra_


    Feb 22, 2011
    EU Wannabe
    To my knowledge Fender introduced a non threaded bridge with a singular string slot on each saddle and began phasing out the threaded saddle bridge during 1968. Non threaded bridge is typical for late 1968. Mine is August 68, so I assume both can be original, non threaded and threaded. I saw a basses from mid 68 with both.
    For shiness, it's really depends of general conditions of the instrument, and this one is 8.5/10
  10. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Either way. The bridge in question definitely has an issue which tells me it isn't original.
  11. DeepFriedBass


    Nov 21, 2019
    Wasn't alive in the 70s but my USA Jazzmaster has that style bridge and it is the worst
  12. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    Those screws 'should' be perpendicular to the base of the bridge as in the image by walterw.

    It appears the saddles are too wide for that bridge plate.
  13. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    the jazzmaster guitar bridge is nothing like the bass bridge of that period.

    (to be fair, the JM bridge works just fine with the huge period-correct 12s on it, it's with modern skinny guitar strings that they have all the problems)
  14. DeepFriedBass


    Nov 21, 2019
    They're the same exact 'saddles', and they suck.

    Pardon my wording.

    And it came with 10s on it which break on it easily and 12s pop out of the grooves easily. They've since changed the design
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
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