I've just acquired a Gibson Heritage SG bass that I have set up as best I can, but there is one problem; the string anchor points do not allow enough clearance from the bridge saddles, so that the string windings at the ball end actually lie on the saddles, contributing to both poor intonation and sound.
This design flaw is a much talked about topic and there are many recommendations to fit a "Hipshot" replacement 3 point bridge, but I would much prefer to stick with the original "Gibson" hardware.
Question is, would it be an option to modify the bass, so that the strings passed over the bridge saddles and anchored through the body (a la Fender Strat); as this would then take up enough string length for the windings to clear the bridge saddles, thus leaving the correct section of the strings to sit correctly.
Can anyone help or offer advice please, or better still, provide a link to instructions and hardware for this modification.
Found this on youtube. Looks like a easy fix.
Just a thought
Yes, thanks Michael, I did spot this some time ago, 10/10, top idea! There is also a "spacing" bar available online, but I honestly think that the amount gained would still not be sufficient, should you need to pull the bridge saddles right back to obtain precise intonation, (you will see this on the video).
The solution I've suggested would take up roughly 2 inches of string length but, that would then pull the narrower winding (at the tuner end) over the nut, so there would still be a problem, however I think this is easily overcome by using medium scale strings; am I right??
Thanks for taking the time Michael; much appreciated.
Any other advice?
Personally, I would go with the Hipshot bridge. The Gibson bass bridges are pretty horrible with very loose tolerances. Also, the 3-point bridge is "designed" to be pulled into place by the string pull (then locked by the forward stud). There would be a tremendous amount of down pressure after the string through conversion. I wouldn't be surprised if the bridge collapsed.
Not that you asked but, in my opinion, you would have difficulty selling this bass with the string through mod. should the romance sour.
If you make the conversion, You will need to use a longer string. You might even be able to use some long scale strings, which would give you greater choice. But I would still go with the Hipshot bridge.
I'd use some of that telescoping brass tubing to back off the string balls.
I'm still unsure which way to go, from images I've seen online, the Hipshot bridge doesn't seem to solve the problem unless used with the "through body" method, in which case I might as well stick with the original 3 point bridge.
I also agree that modification would detract from the re-sale value, (although I love this bass and could never see me selling it), so that is another issue to consider
I really don't know what to do, meanwhile I have found a temporary "fix" (see attached image), using the ball ends of old strings, ugly, but it works!!
Other than using surplus ball ends, you could have a machine shop mill a 1/4" thick steel spacer to use. It can be "blended" into the design of the existing bridge.Brass & aluminum are not recommended due to the extreme tension of the large gauge strings.
You could also try taper wound strings that have the naked core of the string seated in the saddles. The wraps start right after the core wire clears the bridge.
Also, having the wraps in the saddle groves should not affect the performance of the bass if the saddles are cut or adjusted to accommodate the extra wraps. I simply adjust the saddles to get a good radius on the string geometry and go with that.
I have this issue with various bass bridges. I don't think it's as much a bridge problem as a string manufacturing problem. The worst are the silk wrapped balls. E-mail this pic to D'Addario and ask them to consider addressing the issue on their end. Again, it's a universal issue nowadays. The hardware folks really need to start talking to the string makers and vice versa.
Finally, Gibson put that bridge 1/8" ahead of where it should be.
It's a gorgeous bass. Have fun with it(:
Best of luck
"but I would much prefer to stick with the original "Gibson" hardware."
The Hipshot is a very significant upgrade over the Gibson hardware. It's like comparing a Chevy Nova to a Mercedes CLS class car.
Just FYI (-:
Thanks all for the advice.
I was fortunate to find a local dealer who stocked the Hipshot Supertone bridge, so I was able to take a drive over and check it out before buying and I must agree, nice bit of kit. Its solves the issue and because its a direct replacement, I can re-fit the original should I choose ever to sell the bass (although I don't see that happening..I love it)!