Upright bass bridge adjuster knob stuck

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by leskjbass, May 3, 2022.

  1. leskjbass


    Nov 26, 2021
    hi, I recently lowered the action on my bass and now when I try to heighten it the knob it stuck, moving the bridge along with it. Im afraid to mess with it anymore as I don't want the bridge to fly off and wanted to ask for advice here. Thanks
  2. zootsaxes

    zootsaxes Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 6, 2015
    Memphis TN
    Lower the tension on the strings first, my man.
  3. That's a good idea, there's probably old sticky bass rosin in there causing friction too. Be careful to put the bass on it's back and lightly outline where the bridge feet are placed with light pencil in case the feet move. Don't loosen the strings too much or else the sound post will come loose and end up rolling around inside the bass. You might want to bring it to a bass luthier if you can.
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    If you ever remove the bridge, it’s a good idea to lubricate the adjuster threads with something; I use candle wax, but I’m sure there are other options.

    In the past, before I had done this, my solution was to grab a friend and use two pairs of lockjaw pliers to move the adjusters after lessening the tension; one person holds the bridge foot in place to keep it from turning, while the other turns the adjuster. To keep from scarring either surface, use a soft cloth or something between the teeth and the surface, and of course make sure you correctly understand which way the adjuster needs to turn!
    eh_train likes this.
  5. dperrott


    Oct 3, 2005
    The threads in the bridge (feet or top depending on the placement) need to be re-tapped. Its a very simple procedure. Just turn the appropriate tap in there a few times.
  6. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Yeah, actually removing the bridge is addressing the problem rather than the symptom.

    Mark the location with masking tape so you put it back in the right place.
    Lay the bass on the floor, on its back, to reduce the chance that your soundpost falls.

    Bar of soap works too.
    Please notice how I have purposely skipped the joke about, 'You do have soap, don't you?'
    (The appropriate response would have been, 'No, but I have plenty of candle wax.')

    The best solution to most problems!
    AGCurry and Chris Fitzgerald like this.
  7. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 12, 2004
    Owner, Stand Up Guy Basses (Repair/Sell/Buy upright basses)
    Simple if you know how to take your bridge off and put it back correctly, and can use the correct tap without messing up the threads. If not, you could easily ruin your bridge. A luthier could do the job quickly and inexpensively.

    It’s also possible, as others have mentioned, that the threads are fine and just need lubrication. My preference is graphite powder.
    Sam Reese and Chris Fitzgerald like this.
  8. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    May 26, 2005
    Forest Grove, OR
    Soap tends to draw moisture. Candle wax does not. Just a thought.
  9. One person can pull off the pliers trick. I’d cover the belly of the instrument with a heavy towel in case you slip. If you can get the adjuster to move it should be fine.
    misterbadger likes this.
  10. leskjbass


    Nov 26, 2021
    I did try WD40, don't know if that's good or not but it didn't work unfortunately
  11. Ethan Eriksen

    Ethan Eriksen Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2012
    My luthier lubricated the threads on my bass with graphite powder. This was at least seven years ago and they still turn easily.
    Sam Reese likes this.
  12. BassFalcon


    Nov 18, 2020
    Just for future reference, it’s best to keep WD-40 as far as possible from all of your instruments. It is a silicone spray and it has potential make repairs to your bass impossible because finish repairs will not stick to where WD-40 has been and glue will not stick to wood where WD-40 has been. If you need a lubricant for your tuning gears use machine oil or 3-in-1 oil and for your nut and bridge slots graphite powder or just rub a pencil in there. If you get goo or funk on your finish use naphtha.
    salcott likes this.
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