How to straighten an off center Starfire Bass bridge?

lungimsam

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I have just lived with my strings being slightly off in alignment from the pole pieces towards the lower bout side for the last 7 years but it would be aesthetically nice to get the strings spaced over the pole pieces correctly, and also have the strings pass evenly along either side of the fret dot inlays. Any ideas?
Perhaps the factory bridge was put on wrong or something.
I tried pushing my saddles over, but they just get instantly pulled back to the lower bout side by the string tension. Nut is straight and cut right. So it ain't the nut that is causing it.
Here are my three ideas (I think #2 will be best) how to fix this but let me know what yours are:

1. Making new bridge pieces and cutting the string slots in a way that aligns them perfectly over the pole pieces. Or filing new slots in existing pieces if poss.
2. Remove the saddles and intonation sliders from the bridge and put some fender Pbass long adjustment bolts and springs and pbass cylinder saddles onto the Guild bridge. Should work I guess if the length of the bolts isn't to long or short. I have some to try with. The Pbass saddles that look like giant threaded grub screws are meant for fine tuning string alignment anyway. So I could align the strings that way. Just pop 'em over into the adjacent thread.
3. Install new bridge. But I don't like the idea of new holes and I have no clue how I could get it aligned straight myself.
 

SFIV1967

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Here's a very early one with 2012 serial number, looks fine over the pole pieces.
Can't say about the low string going inwards on the bridge because I'm not sure if that is an issue of the angle of the picture.
So how does your one look like?

I would remove the saddle pieces, so the low and high strings are almost straight from tailpiece to nut and see how the string goes and measure at the 21th fret the distance from the strings to the edge of the fretboard to see if the bridge is indeed mounted of center.

1634854385505.png

Ralf
 

lungimsam

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Good idea. I will try that and report back.
Look at how the E string in your picture above is severely bent to the upper bout side to reach the saddle slot so that it can be straight in alignment with the pole piece. But the G string stays straight to reach its saddle slot. They had to bend that E string over and cut that saddle slot off center to get it aligned.
That is what has to be achieved to get these strings aligned. Bizarre. 55 years and noone at Guild bothered to redesign the bridge to correct this? I guess it would cost too much to retool and noone complains anyway. I wonder how that bend effects the behavior and tone of the E string, if at all.
 
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Dang, I wish you had said something earlier. I bought some rosewood powder from StewMac to repair the bridge on one of my guitars and I could have posted a baggie of it. You could have drop filled the factory slots with it and just cut new slots in the saddles.
I vote for slotting the factory bridge.
 

fronobulax

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200&_09_05_Guild 014.jpg

If the bend in the E string is a problem then there is a design flaw with the bridge.

Before I obsessed with the strings going right over the pickup polepieces I would measure the string holes in the bridge and the center of the pole pieces to verify that it is possible to have everything aligned with no bending between the saddle and the anchor. I'm pretty sure a dead center alignment with no bending was never a possibility so a measurement would clarify what could happen.

If the desired alignment is possible I would try and align the saddles left to right so they were stable (and the heck with intonation) and then make new slots.

It is not without precedent to replace the bridge because this design can't do some adjustments well.

It is also noteworthy that Guild didn't phase this bridge out until 1977 or thereabouts and it was the only bridge design on all of their basses so it must have been "good enough" for a lot of players.

So I rank your ideas 3, 1, 2.
 

lungimsam

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Here’s what mine looks like. Note the string distance to inlays and the low e and a to pole pieces.
Seeing as looks like everyone has same issue but just better slotted saddles to compensate:
I think safest is to make my own wooden saddles and notch accordingly. Or file down the brass ones on there now and notch accordingly. They are kinda tall. Or just stick a spacer between a and d saddles to push over the lopsided a and e.
My NS Starfire is nice and tons of fun to play, but I have found all sorts of odd construction bugs the more I use it and that is why I think they are not worth over 1kUS for a II and $750US for a Bisonic I.
(Cracked e saddle, cracked pickup surround, foggy fingerboard poly clear coat edge on three frets, v and t knobs that operated like on/off switches, too short of an e intonation slot, misaligned bridge design, etc.) early iterations had crooked skunk stripes. Now they want 1400-1600$?!?!?!
 

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fronobulax

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Here’s what mine looks like. Note the string distance to inlays and the low e and a to pole pieces.
Seeing as looks like everyone has same issue but just better slotted saddles to compensate:
I think safest is to make my own wooden saddles and notch accordingly. Or file down the brass ones on there now and notch accordingly. They are kinda tall. Or just stick a spacer between a and d saddles to push over the lopsided a and e.
My NS Starfire is nice and tons of fun to play, but I have found all sorts of odd construction bugs the more I use it and that is why I think they are not worth over 1kUS for a II and $750US for a Bisonic I.
(Cracked e saddle, cracked pickup surround, foggy fingerboard poly clear coat edge on three frets, v and t knobs that operated like on/off switches, too short of an e intonation slot, misaligned bridge design, etc.) early iterations had crooked skunk stripes. Now they want 1400-1600$?!?!?!

Sit down and take a deep breath because I am actually going to agree with you that something is a problem that needs to be addressed :)

For me the string angle between the saddle and the bridge anchor and the string and the pole piece are basically cosmetics. I've seen no evidence that those factors actually make an observable difference when playing or listening.

But the G string on the neck needs to be fixed.

I had that happen once. Something jarred the bass and all of the saddles shifted to the treble side. The E string was "straight" and everything else was shifted. The bass was unplayable because the G string kept coming off the fretboard. The fix was obvious - put the saddles back in the "correct" orientation and position.

In your case the saddles are the easiest variable to play with. The downside of a "saddle fix" is that you will probably have to redo it every time you adjust the action, intonation or change strings.

You have two problems - making the saddle stay where you put it (in terms of sliding between bass and treble) and guiding the string to the right place using the saddle. String tension is usually enough to stop the slide, except when it isn't, but trying to fix the saddle on the "slide" might be a lot of work. If intonation allows the saddles to touch then they can help keep each other in place but I have seen properly intonated basses where the E saddle is closer to the neck than the A saddle and there is either a twisting motion because they barely touch or the E string saddle is free to slide.

If the saddles stay where they are put then you either have to notch them for where you want the string or introduce spacers so that the existing notch is in the right place. I'd try spacers first because that is reversible. I don't have to undo the fix by getting new saddles or filling the notch and the cutting a new one.

I've lived with this style bridge since 1971 and I have definitely come across people who cannot adjust to it for whatever reason. Many of them have replaced the bridge and been happy (or happier). Others just throw up their hands in disbelief and move to another instrument.
 

lungimsam

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Spacers are a very good idea. Set ‘em n forget ‘em is the least intrusive thing. Since we know it’s a bridge issue then only other solution is bridge replacement but not sure I am willing to drill new bridge holes just yet. Hopefully Starfires become more popular and hipshot will put out a replacement bridge that corrects the misalignment. The main need in a replacement is curvature of the bass top.
 

thornev

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Maybe some glue in the bottom saddle slots where they sit on the metal strip. Of course that would make it a permanent solution. You'd have to make sure you have them glued so they're dead center over the pickup screws. And you'd want to apply the glue with the strings removed or loosened A LOT so they don't cause a shift while the glue dries.
 

fronobulax

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Maybe some glue in the bottom saddle slots where they sit on the metal strip. Of course that would make it a permanent solution. You'd have to make sure you have them glued so they're dead center over the pickup screws. And you'd want to apply the glue with the strings removed or loosened A LOT so they don't cause a shift while the glue dries.

There are occasionally reports of wooden saddles splitting. I'd be wary of a glue solution unless I was comfortable with whatever it would take to replace a saddle if that happened.
 

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CA glue or Tightbond. Either one works on wood, and the glue joint will be stronger than the wood. The railing to the first floor broke the other day, and I tightbonded it back together. Not enough supports for the railing, so when my mobility is better, I'm going to put a few more up because, I love the glue for woodworking but I also love certainty.
 

lungimsam

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I have a split rosewood e saddle piece that was stock on my bass. If I still have it, I will try the Titebond and hopefully I can put them back on the bass. They would be easier to renotch than the brass saddles I have now I think.
But again, it all comes down to will the string tension shift the saddles to the lower bout side when the E string is bent over. But looks like everyone elses' stays. So I guess mine would too. Right now, when I try to move my 4 saddles over at the same time they shift back under string tension.
 

lungimsam

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My brass saddles slide under tension.
The rosewoods do not. Wierd. So I titebonded the broken one and it is being held tight by the tuned up string. They woods can be flipped around and look filed from factory for correct spacing so they are back on now.
Guess I can file the brass ones if I need to put them back on. But I have an email in to Guild to sell me another rosewood set I can file to correct spacing.
 

Nuuska

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HelloScreen Shot 2021-10-23 at 10.41.49.png

I looked at this picture - do I figure it correct, when I assume that for each string there is a sliding part under the main plate. You slide it to proper intonation - lock it w that screw - and the saddle leans against it ?

If yes - then I see an easy solution fro those who can make they own saddles :
- Cut the saddles thicker in string length direction so that they must sit on the screw.
- Then use drill to make matchin hole underneath for the screw head .
- Ideally the hole shall alingn with top ridge of saddle in order to avoid twisting sideways.
- Finally add the notch
 

SFIV1967

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Nuuska

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I see !

This makes things even easier.

One could either glue the sddle on that metal piece potruding up.
Or one could glue small shims of wood into the saddle-slot - one short on each side to keep it from moving sideways.
 

fronobulax

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One could either glue the sddle on that metal piece potruding up.

That was what I was trying to suggest.

My brass saddles slide under tension.
The rosewoods do not. Wierd. So I titebonded the broken one and it is being held tight by the tuned up string. They woods can be flipped around and look filed from factory for correct spacing so they are back on now.
Guess I can file the brass ones if I need to put them back on. But I have an email in to Guild to sell me another rosewood set I can file to correct spacing.

I would not have expected the brass to be "slidier". Thanks.

Guild does not seem to sell the saddles separately to consumers, just a bridge assembly that includes them. If you find out otherwise, please share.
 

Nuuska

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I'm lookin again at the picture in post #6

When I enlarge it to point where I can see the frets and the pickup being parallel to my screen horizontal - it is quite easy to see that the bridge is tilted - the G-string side is shorter than E-string side - I mean from the bottom of the bridge to nut.

Also it for sure is misaligned sideways.

There is a block inside ? Remove the bridge - fill the two screw-holes - redrill new holes in correct position. All problems solved. If you do not trust your skills to do this - I'm sure a decent luthier will not rob you for the job.

Only slight problem that I can see is that if the colour has faded with age and is brighter under the bridge there will be narrow stripe to reveal what has been done.
 

fronobulax

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When I enlarge it to point where I can see the frets and the pickup being parallel to my screen horizontal - it is quite easy to see that the bridge is tilted - the G-string side is shorter than E-string side - I mean from the bottom of the bridge to nut.

Also it for sure is misaligned sideways.

Could you clarify? Every bass bridge I have examined has had the distance between the E string saddle and the nut longer than the distance between the G string saddle and the nut when properly intonated. The distance between the saddle and where the ball end is inserted in the bridge is irrelevant but usually longer on the G string side. What is proper and to be expected depends upon the headstock configuration 4x0, 3x1, 2x2 or 0x4. (Never seen s 1x3 and 0x4 is somewhat rare). I would expect the nut to be parallel to each of the saddles. There are basses where the strings are not expected to be perpendicular to the saddles if the string spacing at the nut and at the bridge, or over the polepieces is expected to be different. If the saddles are not parallel to the nut then the bridge was misinstalled.
 

Nuuska

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Hello

What I tried to say : I assume that because of the shape of the bridge - the only thing perpendicular to neck centerline would be the bent part where the holes for the strings are. Naturally distance between sadlle and nut varies according to used string.

I assume that on nut-end of neck all is OK - anyway it would have minimal effect on bridge end.

So the BASEPLATE of this particular bass bridge is both offset and tilted in my opinion.

Thus providing all problems discussed.
 
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