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Strings cutting into bridge saddles? Is this Normal?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by DeadbeatLine, Jan 31, 2019.


  1. DeadbeatLine

    DeadbeatLine

    Nov 13, 2013
    Hey all,

    On my Fender Blacktop Jazz I've noticed that my strings at the bridge all seem to be cutting little string winding grooves into my saddles, is this normal? It was happening on the original stock Blacktop high-mass bridge that came on this bass and after four or so years of use started to cause string snappings at the bridge. However, within the last two months I have replaced the stock bridge with a babicz full contact bridge and played roughly 11-13 shows since and when restringing I am already noticing the grooves appearing again. I haven't had any string breakages so far with this bridge, but I am restringing more frequently than before (every three shows or so - I like fresh strings) out of paranoia of a breakage. I'm definitely a reasonably heavy handed player but nothing totally ridiculous, and for the record, I use roundwound nickel strings.

    Any help? Is this normal and I shouldn't worry about this? I'll try and attach some pics to show what I mean but apologies if these aren't very clear.

    IMG_20181109_211611.jpg

    IMG_20181109_211611.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    What kind of strings? I wouldn't think nickel would be any harder than the bridge material. But steel sure would.

    Maybe try some strings with the thread wrap on both ends?
     
  3. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    It happens on guitar often. When a burr develops, strings will break.
    Occasionally you need to lightly file the saddles to remove the burr
     
  4. DeadbeatLine

    DeadbeatLine

    Nov 13, 2013
    Currently using Dunlop Nickel SuperBright's 45-105, absolutely love the strings! Not sure if it makes any difference but should mention that I'm a pick player about 80% of the time usually.
     
  5. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    It happens, but the Babicz saddles should be higher so the string doesn’t touch that big of a patch IMO. Looks like there’s a lot of string vibration on the saddle surface cutting into it. I mean look at how far your saddle adj screw is out! Yuck.

    We all know Babicz have thick baseplates. IMO, a small shim would be in order to allow you to raise the saddles so the string is only contacting a narrow point.
     
    squish and mech like this.
  6. DeadbeatLine

    DeadbeatLine

    Nov 13, 2013
    Sorry, not quite seeing your point about the saddle adjustment screw sticking out, the only thing I can see sticking out on the pictures is the intonation adjustment screw!

    Also, should I really be worried about these grooves causing breakages despite the bridge only being about two months old, or is this something that would only occur after a few years of playing?
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  7. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    K, I was mistaken about the screw.

    Still, those saddles shouldn’t be set so low. The strings are clearly vibrating in them, that kind of wear should take years, not a couple months. Yes burrs can cause premature string failures.

    You needs a clean break over the saddles and by way of, clean witness points.

    You need to shim that neck and get the clean edge of the saddles rotated up. Or put a vintage threaded saddle bridge in it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
    giacomobass likes this.
  8. DeadbeatLine

    DeadbeatLine

    Nov 13, 2013
    Totally get what you're saying, but the saddles (or eCAM saddles as they call it) rotate to adjust the action, as shown here:



    Therefore the 'clean' part (I'm assuming this means the rest of the saddle that hasn't been grooved) will get lower and lower as you raise the action - I tend to go for slightly higher than average action to keep the bass mostly buzz free from pick playing (this has been professionally set up).
     
  9. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    THere appears to be a flat spot on the saddle where the string rests - that's the part that has become grooved. It's one of the things I dislike about the cams on this make of bridge - the string can end up resting on that flat spot as 96tbird suggests, and it should be resting on a single point on the speaking side of the saddle. But even given that, it seems that the saddle are a bit soft if they groove like that inside of a couple of months.

    I don't really have a solution for you. If you reshape the saddles to eliminate the flat spot, the string will even more easily gouge the saddle since its tension will be focussed on a smaller area. Perhaps Babicz has some replacement saddles that are harder and that don't have that flat spot.
     
    giacomobass and 96tbird like this.
  10. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    I know how the cams work despite mistaking the saddle screw which i do realize is on the other side of the saddle.

    I reiterate. Rotate the cams up and get the string sitting on the saddle points.

    To do so you’ll need to shim the neck.

    Prety straight forward

    Babicz have thick base plates so they throw the stock geometry off.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  11. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    May 13, 2021

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