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The DEFINITIVE Palatino EUB Modification Thread

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by jamiefoxer, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    Thanks for that link. I'll look over it in detail a little later.
    The good thing with the Palatino/Harley Benton EUB is that the bridge sits in a box, so it can't stray too much in either direction :)
    I've definitely got it centered inside of the box.

    I played with the string height some more. I set the G to 7mm, which put the E at 13mm which makes sense, given the standard
    6mm variation of the bridge.
    I then lowered the E a bit to see what would happen. If I lower it more than 1/2 of a turn, the E will lower a little bit, but it also raises
    the G some, given the angle that is created. So, for the moment I will leave it at 7mm G and 13mm E.

    Given that I'm new to the UB, I'm using the desired measurement of 6mm G/10mm E from information suggested here on the forum.
    I'll play with as is for a while and see how I like it. I do get the impression from all being said here, however, that the 6mm
    height deviation of this bridge is somewhat excessive. Am I correct in my thinking?

    I do like the feel of the 7mm G. The 13mm E feels a bit excessive, but is playable thanks to the makeup of the strings. If I was using
    steel strings I believe it would be way too high.

    The G string is still very tight compared to the other strings. I am attributing this to the 6mm height difference, too. .

    I'll give it some time, then likely play with the height of the grooves in the bridge as mentioned above.

    Thanks to everyone for your help! I do appreciate it.
  2. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    So, a quick question to those "in the know". What is a common height variance between the bass and treble side of an UB bridge, if there is such a thing?

    Does the 6mm this bridge supplies seem excessive? The tips I've gotten regarding string spacing between E and G strings tends to be in the 3mm-4mm range.

    I'm not going to touch the bridge till I get some answers to this question and do a bunch more research. The bass is playable as is, so why fix it if it ain't broke,
  3. Most players like a differente of 1 mm from string to neighbor string, but I think a bit more works better for synthetic or gut core strings. I think you should try 1.5 mm difference first (that's 4.5 mm from G to E) and check that out for a while. If it's too much for the E you can go lower, but first try that for a while. The E can rattle if the action is too low.
    It also can happen that some notes on the lower string will buzz after you lowered the action. If that happens the fingerboard needs to be planed. The lower the action the higher the probability that and how much this happens, so that is one reason why I recommend going half the way first.
    GKon likes this.
  4. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY

    I plan on playing it as is for now, 7mm at the G and 13mm at the E. Just wondering if that's a bit excessive which, from what you're telling me, that's what it seems like.
    Sounds like it should be about 7mm at the G (I like that height right now) and 10mm at the E, exactly what has been recommended in the past.

    If/when I do decide to alter it, I will definitely take it a little bit at a time to see how it affects things.

    I understand that the bridge curvature follows the fingerboard curvature, but I wonder why they made the difference in heights so excessive?

    I just emailed a seller on ebay that reshapes Eminence bridges for Palatino EUB's and asked him what the heights are at the slots of the E and the G,
    so I can see how he's set up a replacement bridge for this EUB.
  5. It depends on the type of strings if this is excessive. With higher tension steel core it is, for medium to lower tension synthetic core it might be a bit excessive, but for lower tension gut it's not excessive.
    For my synthetic core strings 1 mm difference from string to string is a bit too less, the E is too close and might rattle sometimes.
    GKon likes this.
  6. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    Gotcha. Makes sense. Thanks for taking the time to explain things. I'm enjoying the learning process.

    Tonight I reset my bridge just a little by setting the adjusters at the same position. The E is still at 13mm and the G at 7mm but they're set at the same exact position on the adjusters (I had the E set 1/2 turn lower before). Now, the G is quite a bit looser, much closer to the tension of the other strings.

    After that I sat down and played it for 45 minutes. What a pleasure!!! I didn't at all notice or feel that the E is so much higher than the G. It actually is set in such a way that I can comfortably pluck the strings with no rattling, no buzzing, the strings are a pleasure to play. They sound quite good and feel great.

    It seems they've stretched and set up as they are staying in tune.

    Also, whether it's from resetting the string heights at the nut, or from adjusting the bridge, the 7th "fret" position on the G string is now within 1mm of the E string 7th "fret" position as opposed to the 1cm difference before the setup and string swap.

    This thing is now even more of a blast to play.

    The sound coming out of the piezo is a little boomy with a bit of finger noise but I'm playing through a crappy amp,at the moment.
  7. Ortsom

    Ortsom Banned

    Mar 23, 2016
    In addition to differences caused by string types & playing style, the scoop, or relief you have in your fingerboard also plays a role. Heights are normally quoted as the distance between the string and the fingerboard, measured at the end of the board. But if you have much scoop along the path of a particular string, that string height number can be lower. You can see / measure the scoop by pressing down that string onto the FB at both the end of the FB, and near the nut, or of course by putting a long (straight) ruler against it. The fingerboard is a smooth straight-ish curve, with the deepest section normally around where on a normal DB the heel is (but there too choices are possible). More scoop --> less string height, more arco focus, more thumb position focus, and v/v, broadly speaking. But max scoop ranges from, say, 0.5mm to 3mm, so can explain only a bit of the height difference you have (so if your E-path is much straighter than the G-path)

    An alternative explanation of the high difference in your instrument is that the previous owner had steel upper strings, in combination with synthetic on the lower strings?

    Anyway, with whackers 13mm for the E seems plausible, while 7mm for the G seems a bit low, and the combination is, to my taste, a bit odd, and likely the cause for your intonation issue.
    GKon likes this.
  8. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    Thank you for your detailed response. I'm enjoying learning more and more about the details of UB's. I will check the scoop on my fingerboard out of

    I purchased this EUB brand new from Thomann, so there was no previous owner. The bridge is stock, exactly as it comes out of the box. So the 6mm difference in heights
    is, I assume, standard for this bridge.

    I contacted a seller on ebay that modifies Eminence adjustable bridges to fit the Palatino/Harley Benton EUB's. I asked him what the unadjusted heights were from the foot of the
    bass foot side to the bottom of the groove for the E string, and from the bottom of the treble foot side to the bottom of the groove for the G string. His response was
    3 11/16" - 3 5/8". This is only a difference of 1/8" ~ 2mm. That's a lot less than the 6mm of the stock Palatino bridge.
  9. Ortsom

    Ortsom Banned

    Mar 23, 2016
    OK, if you're interested go like this: using a feeler gauge, measure the height of the strings at the nut. Say it's 0.6mm (0.4-0.6mm are common numbers). Then with your left hand push-down the string onto the far end of the FB, and while doing so measure the distance between string & FB. You can do that again w/ a feeler gauge, but you'll have to put a few on top of each other, for instance 0.7+0.75+0.8mm (because those are right next to each other, in a metric set at least). Look closely, it should just be touching both the string & FB, but not push the string up. So that's 2.3mm in the middle. If you would have pushed the nut side down too (which you can't, with the nut in place & lacking a third hand), the middle would have come down another 0.6/2=0.3mm, so the relief in that string is 2.3-0.3=2.0mm. We're not after the 7th decimal here.

    Indeed, 3 11/16" - 3 5/8" = 1/16", is quite a bit less than 6mm = 1/4", and I have no clue why your new bridge was shaped like that. Might be a fluke? What does Thomann say? But please note: I have never actually seen a Palatino / HB EUB, or played one. Maybe someone else can comment on that. For DB's in general 6mm difference E-G seems a bit much.
    GKon likes this.
  10. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    Thank you @Ortsom.

    I am curious to find out from other Palatino/HB EUB owners what height their bridges are.
    I do wonder if mine is an odd one in the bunch.
  11. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    So, I removed the bridge today and added a piece of inner tube rubber under the bass foot, to match the one I've had under the
    treble foot for the last couple of years. BIG difference!! Whereas before the E and A strings were very boomy with finger noise,
    and string noise, now I get a clear not out of each string, with much less finger and string noise. Much less meaning a normal amount
    as with the D and G strings.

    I also noticed that the bridge slot I had opened up for the G strings was perhaps a bit shallow on the tail piece side of the bridge.
    It was not allowing for a good break angle for the string coming off of the bridge and down into the tail piece. We're only talking
    a tiny bit, .5mm, but it made a difference. Now, when the G string is tuned to pitch, it is not as tight as it was before.

    I also raised just the treble side of the bridge by only 1/2 a turn, but although it raised the G string a bit, it also raised the E string,
    made the G string tighter, and made the bridge unstable. How do I know this? Because I was stretching the G a bit, and the bridge came
    flying out from under the strings. It left a nice ding in the body of the bass. It's ok, I'll consider it a battle scar.

    So I lowered the bridge back to were it was before. Seems to be a happy medium.

    I'm still considering reshaping the bridge a bit to lower the G string some. We shall see.
  12. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    Today I had the time to work on my bridge and lower the string heights. With all of the information you all provided, and with the research I have done, I felt that I was well prepared to tackle this, being that it's the first time I've done any work like this.

    I used drill bits wrapped in sandpaper to get the right size for each string. I started with 220, then 320, then finished with 400 grit.

    I took my time with each string, sanding some, then restringing to pitch to check the height. I did this MANY times till I got the height
    I felt was best. After some experimentation, I lowered the heights so that instead of a 2mm difference between the neighboring string,
    there is now a 1.0mm - 1.25mm difference between them. This has made a huge improvement in the feel and ease of fingering each note, as well as
    with playing quick pizz between strings.

    As well, I have retained the curve of the strings to follow the fingerboard, so playing with a bow
    is still easily possible. I actually tweaked the heights a tiny bit (that's why I say 1.0mm - 1.25mm above) so that the bowing space for the D, and for the A string are improved over what it was
    before, so I can bow those two strings much more easily than before.

    After setting the depths of the notches on the bridge to achieve the string height I wanted, I then filed down the top of the bridge, to allow for 1/3 of the
    D and A string to be sitting in the notch and the remaining 2/3 above, and just about 1/2 of the E string in the notch and 1/2 exposed above.

    Thank you to everyone for their input, advice and information. You helped me to accomplish this successfully.

    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
  13. bassicsax


    Jul 29, 2007
    Memphis, TN
    Well I've officially joined the palantino club, got a pretty good deal on one... so far the only mod I have done is the rubber under the pickup and the bridge feet... unless you consider stuffing a rag under the tailpiece a mod...
    GKon likes this.
  14. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    It depends on the rag.

    Congratulations! Let us know if you have any questions.

    Is it black or sunburst?
    Do you already play UB, or is this your first?
  15. bassicsax


    Jul 29, 2007
    Memphis, TN
    It is a sunburst... I already play upright but it is still very much secondary to bass guitar for me. The main hope for me is that will provide me a much lower feedback option when playing in large loud venues. I will probably order a set of heliocore hybrids after Christmas (not only did I get a bass but my wife got a mandolin so it had been an expensive one), also at some point I am interested in putting one of the guitar fuel preamps in it like I saw someone else on here do. I do have one question though, has anyone here tried using a realist pickup on one of these?
    GKon likes this.
  16. bassicsax


    Jul 29, 2007
    Memphis, TN

    Used the paly for a couple of Christmas Eve services tonight, ran it through my MXR Bass DI (which I don't normally use with upright) and got a really nice sound out of it. Makes me really anxious to hear it with some new strings. Was also able to switch between it and my Jazz bass without much trouble.
    GKon likes this.
  17. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    That's great.

    Out of curiosity, at what heights do you have your strings set?
  18. bassicsax


    Jul 29, 2007
    Memphis, TN
    At whatever height they came, I will try to measure and see...
    GKon likes this.
  19. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    I ask because when my bridge was set at whatever height, if the adjustment to each leg was equal, there was a 6mm difference in height between the G and E strings,
    with a 2mm height difference between each string. This was a bit too much for my tastes, so a couple of days ago I sanded down the notches on the bridge to
    lower the heights.

    I've been curious to find out how other people's stock string heights compare to mine.
  20. oldprussians


    Jan 7, 2008
    United Republic of Europe
    IT Professional!
    Mate IMHO you have completely like other missed the point of the Palatino / HarleyBenton (mine) EUB

    The reason the Eminence and Alter Ego for example are so much better are because they have real soundboards and sound chambers. the fact they are thin doesn't matter as the electronics mimic the big body of a real DB.

    Now I have a HB EUB which I did add a a inner tube under the bridge although recently halved the amount so not to muddy it too much and I will replace the tail piece with a cheapish wooden won. plus yes I did add a jig to the bar so it fits to my body... and yes the scale length is a Little shorter than 3/4. especially since my real 5-Sting DB is 7/8.

    So OK where do I see the real value?

    well for a start it sounds much much better that some of those Cricket bat type EUB even the expensive one. But that is not the point!

    The point and the value is this:

    I bought it because I love my real 5 string DB which I play also in classical music.

    Now in a very noisy club whether Jazz or Folk, non one with those acoustics will here the difference between the EUB in question and my lovely DB.

    But should an accident happen I will be very sorry if my DB was the victim. A the HarleyBenton is more robust and I don't have fear if it having accident.
    Now in real secure gig with real grand piano and acoustics I will always play the real DB.

    Now if I bought an Alter Ego for this purpose I be worrying the same as if I took my DB to the gig.

    So what would be the point?

    The only reason for buying a Eminence or Alter Ego would be if you are a properly paid pro with good venue gigs, insurance but need a portable EUB.

    Now the HB will never be as good as my DB with shadow nano flex pick up, but that is not why I have it!

    Now if I become rich enough where money is no object that would be different story.

    The only think I would complain about is that actually to produce the same bass with a proper chamber and even laminate soundboard like a ABG would probably not be much more expensive in China so I am very surprised no one has done it.
    carl h. and agfrag like this.