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variable action bridge

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by nonsqtr, Apr 18, 2004.

  1. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Does anyone know of a commercial bass bridge that has "variable action"? I was thinking of some sort of a lever that moves the saddles up and down. Is that feasible?
  2. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I think they're all variable. ;)

    No, I know what you're getting at- a little lever like on a Hipshot D-Tuner that will raise/lower the action on all the strings, right?

    The only problem I see in that is that a good setup is through a combination of truss rod and saddle adjustments. I think that if you were to raise/lower the saddles without adjusting the neck relief, you might not get the results that you're looking for.
  3. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Then you have to re-work the intonation, re-tune it so its definetly not a mid gig thing.

  4. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Well, let's see, here's what I was thinking. You wouldn't need "much" of a change in height, maybe a few millimeters at most. You'd start out by intonating it at the lowest action. Then when you raise it, the neck relief will still be fine ('cause you're raising, not lowering), and the intonation shouldn't change "much" (even though it might change "a little", but for temporary purposes it should be okay). I was thinking not only mid-gig, but even mid-song. The Hipshot-lever concept should allow for a very rapid adjustment, and you'd just need a clever locking mechanism to keep the lever in place. Am I oversimplifying this equation, or is there a chance this could work?
  5. LouisB

    LouisB Guest

    Aug 23, 2003
    Guernsey, UK
    i'm probably wrong but would it be possible to counteract the effect on intonation with the positioning of the pivot? that is if you had some sort of rocking mechanism.
  6. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Alright, let me pose the question we're all thinking-

    Why would you need to adjust your string height "on the fly"? And if you're only moving it a few millimeters, why bother?

    This is an interesting topic. I'm not trying to be argumentative. But ignoring the logistical difficulties it poses, what's the importance of such a device?
  7. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Theoretically, say you're doing some aggressive, digging-in fingerstyle, and then want to do a single passage that is tapped or that's jack-rabbit slapped. A change in action could help that.

    Because digging in hard sounds a lot different than just playing lighter with low action, and high action can make tapping all but infeasible, and make slapping rather difficult.
  8. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Exactly. High action seems to have a different sound to it. There's kind of a compromise between sound and playability in many cases. If the action's very low, you get fantastic playability, but the notes start sounding thin and the strings generate some very bizarre frequencies when they're slapped. If the action's very high you get a lot of consistency and a nice fat sound, but the playability suffers. So I'm saying to myself, "self, why can't I have the best of both worlds, and be able to switch between them as needed"? It's not a really big or important thing, it's mainly that this type of thing should be possible in today's world of advanced technology. Sometimes that thin sound is desirable, and sometimes one has material that requires fast slapping. Most of the time, a nice fat sound is most useful. It would be great if I could get both of those in a single instrument without having to do a setup every time before changing things around.

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