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There's metal in that thar bridge!

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Chris Fitzgerald, Jun 9, 2001.


  1. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I was checking out the "Mike Pecanic" website, and was kind of fascinated in a perverse kind of way by the bridge with the individual height adjustment. It's an interesting idea, although it looks bizarre. I'm guesing that the sound would be affected, but I have no idea in what WAY it might be affected. Anybody have any thoughts?

    Also, I'm getting annoyed with my bridge adjusters. They're aluminum and on the small side, and incredibly hard to turn. Can someone point me toward some adjusters that are better and easier to work with?
     
  2. mpm

    mpm

    May 10, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Chris, what diameter are your current bridge adjusment wheels? Also, how long is the threaded portion?
     
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I'm not sure exactly what the diameter of the wheels, but they seem to be the "standard" size. They stick out a tiny bit further than the feet of the bridge, but not by much. Likewise, I've only seen a tiny portion of the screws themselves, since I wasn't there when they were installed, and I have a kind of phobia about taking the bridge off the bass....it's finally gotten settled in and sounds great (Ed and Don may feel free to contradict me on this, but it sounds great to me compared to when I bought it), and I'd hate to have the soundpost move with the nearest luthier about 100 miles away.

    Sorry, guess that wasn't much help. DOH!!
     
  4. Individual string height adjustment strikes me as absurd. Change one string height and you alter the bow angles for the adjacent strings, increasing the likelihood of accidental double stops. From the outset, the bridge arc is created in recognition of the height relationships. It's right or wrong from day one and stays that way.
     
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    After a couple of nights where my strings felt like bridge cables, and after many unsuccessful attempts to make my G string have more volume and punch, I'm oh-so-tempted to try one of those bridges. Even if I end up not caring for it, it seems like it would be a worthwhile experiment...Hell, people spend way more than that on strings all the time. Anybody else tried one in person? Also, how would I go about choosing the right width for my bass?
     
  6. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    I don't make accidental double stops - or notes for that matter - just UGLY ones.
     
  7. My luthier put a ton of graphite on the threads when he installed my adjusters and I've never had a problem. I also know another luthier that uses little plastic discs on top of the aluminum.
     
  8. A bit of wax on the threads and the bearing surface of the disc helps. Rub the adjuster with a block of beeswax or a hard candle. But obviously this requires disassembly.

    I dunno, some may disapprove. What else do the pro's use?
     
  9. uh, didn't I just say Graphite?
     
  10. IMO you can trace most adjuster problems back to how the threads were cut into the bridge wood. Most installers use the same threading tap on wood as they do on metal. If the taps are not super sharp, they tend to compress the wood rather than cut the wood. The adjuster will work fine for a while, and then as the compressed wood expands, they bind. The best process I've seen for fitting adjusters is to cut the treads with the die and then coat the newly cut threads with super glue. Let it sit for a few hours and then tap the threads again. You will be amazed at how easily the adjust turn and stay that way. You don't need a ton of graphite or any other lubricants if the treads are cut properly.
     
  11. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    Dang, I think I've just been given a trick of the trade without having to pay for it - in cash or experience.

    Thanks!
     
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    All of the above advice is great, but the reason I keep looking at that individually adjustable bridge is that I'd like to be able to adjust (usually) the G string by itself without jacking up the tension on the rest of the strings. It works on plank...why shouldn't it work on a REALBASS?
     
  13. kip

    kip

    Sep 11, 2002
    Sausalito, Ca
    It just looks like there are too many parts. Hasn't any one tried these? Does energy transfer well? Oh heck, Chris go ahead and let us know what you think.

    Otherwise, I've seen ebony adjusters (traditional adjustable bridge) that are larger in diameter both the thread and turning knob.