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Thread: Bass saddle grooves

  1. #1

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    Bass saddle grooves

    I've having a problem getting a great sounding low B and haven't found the answers I need in any of the EBMM forums, so I'm asking for some help here in strings.

    I play a Yamaha BX-5 five string headless bass for a metal band, using EB stainless Hybrid Slinkies with a .130 B string added. I can never seem to get the same clarity and "ring" from the B as from my other strings. My bridge saddles are steel, with a slightly rounded top surface and a groove for the string cut in at the factory. However, all of these grooves are the same size, unlike the grooves in the nut. So the G, D and A strings look like they fit well enough in their saddle grooves, but the E looks like it's sitting slightly on top of its groove (it does sound great though) and the big fat B string is so much larger than the groove that you can see daylight under it!

    I'm wondering if I should take a file and make the grooves bigger for the lower strings. Also, the EB stainless strings have a larger diameter with more windings near the ball end, so would I aim at making the larger groove fit this larger diameter near the end? Currently the B string sits on the saddle where these extra windings occur. There's not a lot I can do to put the ball end farther back so that the string hits the saddle in its regular .130 diameter area; this is due to it being a headless bridge. I'm going to try to do what I can with a spacer though.

    Any thoughts on this, or am I barking up the wrong tree? Ernie Ball's bass strings have always sounded great so that's why I've been thinking there might be a problem with the setup on my five string. I'm switching to Cobalts pretty soon to see if that helps, but I'd like to try to get a better sounding low B before the switch. Thanks everyone.

  2. #2

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    Just my 2 cents. Grab yourself some new saddles. Get brass and enjoy those. Saddles are pretty much interchageable on most instruments. You might even consider a new bridge altogether.


    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

  3. #3

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    I just looked at a pic of your bass....if you have the headless 5 string, definately get some new saddles. That's the cheapest route.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

  4. #4

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    Thanks brash47. I've looked at saddles, and they all look pretty much the same, with a same-size groove cut in them no matter which gauge string they are for. I've ordered a .135 saddle/nut file and I'm going to make the groove the correct size for the B string. BTW, my saddle might be brass with a black coating anyway; I know Gotoh makes those and there's a pretty good chance Yamaha sourced from them. We'll see if it's brass once I start filing.

  5. #5

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    I discovered that the saddles on my 80s ibanez were black coated brass. I completely uncoated mine and the look amazing.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

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