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Spacing on the American Standard P-Bass Bridge

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by SolarMan, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. Hi all,

    I'm trying to figure out the string spacing "feature" on the Fender body thru bridge. (2012 American Standard P-Bass).

    E and A saddles have 3 positions for the string spaced 2mm apart. D and G saddles have 4 positions spaced 1mm apart. Right now I have them all 'Inboard' (E and A are on the 'lowest' slot - down toward the volume control, and D and G are on the 'highest' slot - towards your face when looking down).

    At this setting the spacing is 18.5mm center to center.

    Now, lets say I want 19 or 19.5 or whatever.

    There is no way that I can figure out to make the spacing wider and consistent from string to string.

    Honestly, I think the threaded rod is the most simple and best solution.

    This spacing gimmick is useless, IMHO.

    Or, I am missing something or misunderstand the use of these slots?

  2. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Just start with the E so it is centered over the pickup pole and place the others the same. That would be the correct spacing. Agreed on the threaded rod don't know why they thought the new way would be better.
  3. The saddle groves are primarily for aligning the strings over the pup poles and neck, not for exact spacing string to string.
  4. FunkRenegade


    Jul 7, 2012
    I feel the same way. I don't understand why they only put grooves on one side of the saddle. Only way to get wider but equal string spacing is to make them all 20mm. I tried it, but way too wide.
    I tried moving the e string one notch over to line up with the pole pieces, but difference in tone was negligible, so all my strings are centered for even string spacing.
  5. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    yeah, i've even swapped around the saddles in an attempt to get symmetrical spacing that still lined up with the pickup magnets; it's not always perfectly successful. i prefer the grey steel saddles from the first-gen american standards for just this reason. you can get even spacing on all 4 strings.

    (edit: like so, on my '96 P):

    on the new ones, get the strings mostly between the pickup magnets and mostly evenly spaced and you're good.
  6. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Or drop fifteen bucks on a set of threaded saddles.
  7. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    they are "threaded", just with way coarser threads over the low strings.

    plus, i don't know if any replacements will exactly fit into the tracks in the plate that receive the screws on the stock saddles.
  8. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Someone needs to start a wiki database for Fender measurements.
  9. FunkRenegade


    Jul 7, 2012
    I swapped out HMV bridge on my 08 am std with low mass style am std bridge, so I can topload flats. Grooves in the saddles are identical, but the saddles are smaller, so you can get the action lower than the HMV bridge. I haven't tried the older AM std string thru only bridge. Saddle grooves on those look a bit different.

    I also tried threaded saddles and they do fit the tracks on the am std bridge without any problems. I didn't like the sharp threads, so I went back to normal am std saddles. I don't notice much difference with the strings sligthly off center over the poles anyway.
  10. Fenders are presumed to have 3/4" string spacing at the bridge. If you're a total fanatic about doing your own spacing, you can get a Schaller bridge. The actual saddles, the parts that the strings rest on, are little threaded rollers that you can spin along screw rods embedded in the saddle bodies. But if you only want 3/4" then any bridge that maintains spacing in a positive way, like a Babicz, Gotoh 201, or Badass ought to do it.
  11. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    trouble is, 3/4" spacing is usually too narrow to line up with the pickup magnets, especially on jazz basses.

    the whole design trick with the original vintage bridges and the first-gen american standards like mine was that spacing the strings wider than the saddles caused the outer saddles to get pushed in towards the inner ones, holding everything tight.
  12. Old Fart

    Old Fart

    Mar 11, 2011
    So.....Fender basses cannot be configured properly? That sounds unlikely.

    I originally had mine set so the strings are all as close together as possible. Then, I adjusted them so they were the most even, which is wider. The difference in feel was a quantum leap forward.
  13. Rich McCoy

    Rich McCoy

    Apr 8, 2013
    On those saddles I go a little wider than 3/4" or a little less than 13/16th" between strings.
  14. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I second this for sure!
  15. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    I'm able to obtain 19mm spacing with the current MIA Fender bridges - if I get a chance, I'll take a pic of it and post it...

    - georgestrings

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