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Posted by Rich Laird on September 25, 2001 at 22:20:32:
In Reply to: Re: How well received are adjustable bridges? posted by olivier on September 25, 2001 at 07:09:48:
: In fact, adjustable bridges work very well when properly installed. They are very usefull even when you don't live in an area subjet to important seasonal changes of relative humidity because you can easilly adjust your bridge height for a specific type of playing (pizz/arco, jazz/classical), and when you're a beginner you do not know which string height is confortable. A well fitted adjustable bridge works better than an ill fitted non-adjustable one...
: I know that some luthiers in France who were rather reluctant to adjustable bridges some times ago are now selling basses with this kind of setup. Somewhere on the net (check Bob Gollihur's page, AH) you can find a report on a controled study on the effect of adjusters (w or w/o, type of material) on the sound. The experiment did not appear to be very conclusive IMHO. Aluminum adjusters are most common.
Yeah, there are some "purists" who assert that some sound degradation comes from adjustable bridges. There's probably something to that, because the bridge, of course, transmits vibration from the strings to the body of the instrument. A traditional bridge is one piece, so you might assume that it transmits more efficiently.
And I can remember hearing one or two basses that had a new bridge put on with metal adjusters that seemed to give the instrument a metallic sound. But I would think that could be corrected by using warmer sounding strings, maybe a low-tension saddle or tailpiece, etc.
The best bet might be ebony adjusters...check www.kolstein.com or www.lemurmusic.com. Warning: you might be getting into spending some dollars on a bridge with ebony adjusters. But I have one - it's the ultimate!
Personally, once I first got an adjustable bridge, I would never consider being without one. The advantages totally outweigh any drawbacks. Make sure whoever fits it knows what they're doing. Also, always remember to adjust both wheels the same. If you move one up a quarter-turn, do the same with the other one. If you let them get uneven, it can screw up the top on your bass.
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