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Steinberger-style headless bridge...


Gruuve

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Hey folks:

 

There's light at the end of the tunnel for my re-vamped Hohner Jack V bass. There was an event Sunday at church that motivated me to get my butt in gear and finish this bad boy up. (There's a previous thread where I talked about ripping out the electronics, stripping the original black finish off, etc.)

 

While I've got the bridge off, I'm considering replacing it if I can find a suitable substitute. This is a headless bass with the Steinberger-licensed bridge with tuners. The thing I absolutely do not like about it is this: The saddles have no adjustment screws. There are allen screws on the sides of the bridge that lock the saddles in place. But, once you unlock them, they all slide freely. So, needless to say, setting the intonation is quite challenging. You move one saddle by hand (actually, I kind of pry it with a screwdriver) and get the intonation on that string perfect. Then when you move the saddle beside it, you almost always end up moving the one you just got set to perfection. What a PITA. What were they thinking?

 

Anyway, I know ABM makes replacement bridges like this one, pretty pricey though: ABM 5-string Steinberger-style bridge

 

But, I can't tell from all the pics I've looked at if this guy has adjustment screws for the saddles. Some of the Steinberger bridges for 4-string basses were made with saddle adjustment screws, but as far as I can tell, the 5-string bridges were all made without saddle adjustment screws.

 

So, does anyone know if the ABM bridges have saddle adjustment screws? Any other candidates that come to mind? The only other possibility that I've run across would be the single-string bridge units from Status Graphite, and I think it might be a little messy to retrofit those to this bass. I'm actually pretty handy with metal, so I've had some fleeting thoughts about drilling and tapping the bridge and saddles so I could add adjustment screws. But, looking at the bridge, I can't see where I could actually put any adjustment screws.

 

Any advice or suggestions appreciated!

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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AFAIK all the Steinberger bridges are like that. They're a fiddle to set up but once they're set they're very reliable and don't compromise the attack or sustain as less solid bridges can. Also, they hold their tuning really really well. I'd leave it be, I doubt you'll find a replacement for much less than the value of the whole bass, and it'll need routing to fit.

 

When I change the intonation (the last time was whenever the strings were changed, around the turn of the century...) I slacken the string whose saddle I'm moving whilst keeping the other strings tight to stop their saddles moving. Works pretty well.

 

How often do you adjust your intonation anyway?

 

Alex

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Hey Alex:

 

Adjusting the intonation is a seldom thing in actuality. It was way out when I first got it (now I see why). I'll have to adjust it when I put it all back together, and I may decide to change strings which will require another adjustment...the taper wound strings on it just feel a little too loose to me, so I may change to non-taper wound. However, I don't want to change strings initially since I don't want to change too many things at once (then you can't tell what the difference actually came from!).

 

So, two more times at least. I guess I can live with the PITA-ness considering there isn't an inexpensive replacement.

 

Good idea on loosening the string you're adjusting the saddle for...thanks!

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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I tried looking at some of these bridges on-line, and have no direct experience with them. The only thing I thought to add to what Alex said is to duct-tape the entire saddle assembly, and then loosen the screws. For each saddle, you could then cut out the tape and make your adjustment, re-tighten, re-tape, and move on. It sounds tedious as I describe it, and I don't know if it's even possible, but I thought I'd offer it.

 

The only other thought was to put a piece of white paper underneath the saddle section. As you get the intonation set, mark the paper at the end of the bridge. You don't care if "finished" saddles move, because you know where they belong. After the last one is set, you can position all saddles and tighten. This assumes you can slip paper underneath and see it.

 

What do you expect from a guy with the nickname "Madball"??

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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I think you guys are probably right...muck through it the few times I have to do it, then forget it. I got this guy cheap, but adding the EMG-BQS electronics has raised it's cost (not to mention the 20+ of sanding that has gone into it!). I'm after the value point where I break-even if/when I decide to sell it (and changing the bridge doesn't appear to fit that), while still ending up with a cool-looking bass that sounds great and plays well.

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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