where do you leave your saddles?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by nonsqtr, Aug 7, 2004.

  1. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    For those of you using adjustable bridge saddles, where do you leave them? Here's what I mean by that: as you adjust the saddle angle (and height), the sound of the string changes. Usually there's a fairly well defined point where the string sounds "deep" and "flat", and as you change the angle around that point, you get varying degrees of brightness. So, do you leave your saddles in the "deep spot", or do you adjust them up into the bright range?
  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    well, usually on the horse...

    When I had my spector, I tilted them back about 15 degrees. Seemed to be a good sound for me.
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I keep them as low as possible, I like a low action. I'm not sure what you are referring to, I don't think I've ever experienced the phenomenon you describe. My bass bridge is set as low as it gets and still sounds as brilliant as ever.
    I have a Schaller roller bridge.
  4. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yeah, I didn't mean the "height", I meant the "angle". Let me be more specific. Let's say you did an experiment where you always kept the string at the same "height", but you changed the "angle" of the saddle so that it was tilted either inwards or outwards. As you do that, you'll definitely hear some changes in the way the string sounds. Usually there's one and only one point where the string sounds "deep" and "flat" (ie no buzzing, and no nasty brilliance when you pluck it). However, this position may also have some other properties and behaviors, which may be desirable or undesirable, depending on the bass (and the person using it).

    So the question is, when you do a setup, a) do you listen for this, and b) if so, what's your preferred angle (in terms of the sound that results)?
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Well, with the Schaller it stays the same regardless of the setting.
  6. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Sometime i need to spend time adjusting my Spector bridge. The way the saddles are now, the B string is a lot flatter sounding, less bright, and just doesnt sound like the rest of the strings. ANy idea how to make it sound brighter? :confused:
  7. By "angle" do you mean adjusting one of the height screws lower to create different heights between the two? I could use some clarification and it sounds like others might as well.
  8. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Exactly. So one side of the saddle is higher than the other.
  9. Do you use a steel rule when making these adjustments? My guess is you're probably changing the height without realizing it. Even tilting the saddle to match the fingerboard radius as you describe would have an effect on the saddle height overall. ;)
  10. the last time i had my bass setup professionally, the guy tilted the saddles back on the opposite angle to the headstock. like / .....\ if that makes sense. he said it will always give better tone. he was pretty adamant about getting the exact angle as well, if i remember correctly...

    good luck.
    andy :)
  11. Do you mean... looking down the neck from either end? I thought the saddle angle should go with the radius of the neck if it has a radius..
    So your illustraion is right if you were looking down the neck from the bridge up to the headstock or vise/versa. What throws me off is you said the "oppisite."
  12. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    If I get ahold of a bass with the saddles tilted, I always adjust them to be a close to parallel with the bridge plate as possible. For couple of reasons:

    1. If they are angled, the feet (adjustment screws) are not receiving the same amount of downforce. I have seen them so steeply tilted that you could back the high-side screw out without even really moving the saddle.

    2. The adjustment screws run straight through the saddles, so if the saddle is tilted, the adjustment screws aren't resting flat on the bridge baseplate, but rather on their edge, alikened to a poorly-fit soundpost on a viol family instrument. This, IMO, is not a good thing.

    The purpose of the saddle/bridge is transfer the string energy to the body to make it reasonate, the more solid the contact is, the better this works.

    The idea is very much exaggerated with a DB. A fell-fitted bridge that properly matches the top can make a HUGE impact on the tone and volume of the bass.
  13. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden

    So if you have an angle, i.e. one screw further down than the other, you have less tone than the bass is able to give, which is a very bad=not good thing.

    Ya'see, the rest of the tone is in your hands (a.k.a. technique).