3 pt bridge.

Trib

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Gentlemen/ladies,
Am having trouble with the intonation on my 2014 SG Special bass. I've changed strings from 45-105 roundwounds to 50-115 tapewounds and now It appears that I don't have enough adjustment on the "E" string to get the intonation right.
If I have to replace the bridge (I've been reading that it's a design flaw) Can someone steer me to a quality, aftermarket brand?
Thank you in advance for any input.
Trib
 

Trib

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Thank you PZ, for the input.
Trib
 

withershins

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Thunderbird w/ 3-point owner here. The problem with the 3-point bridge design is that the point on the "claw" portion (where the ball ends get a grab) positions the end wrapping of the string (where it's irregularly shaped, whether they have silk wraps or not) over the saddles, making intonation difficult to achieve, and unstable once you've actually gotten there.

Hipshot makes really high quality products, and I use them on my other non-Gibson-style basses and guitars, but the Supertone 3-point replacement is...cosmetically not great. It's huge and gaudy. Also, it's tall, which makes palm mutes when using a pick uncomfortable. Looks are important to me, and probably to you, too. Another replacement option is the Badbird (specifically Badbird II) bridge which the popular bass forums rave about. The guy who makes them is a frequently contributing user on those, too. Alternatively, you could get a claw stop tail to bring the wrappings farther back (Philadelphia luthier supply or eBay), but this would require body drilling, which is a permanent decision.

The easiest approach is the spacer method. Go to a hardware store and get 4 pivot nuts. They look like this
opentip.com/product.php?products_id=4179874
and they're likely to be in a drawer labeled "hobbies" or "hard-to-find." Or, any kind of appropriately sized nut, washer, etc. If your bridge is a color other than your spacer pieces and you want to colormatch, you can do that with some spray paint and spray polyurethane lacquer, or just some nail polish in a pinch.

Thread your strings through them, and they'll position the "business" part of the strings over the saddles, making intonation a breeze. Check it: youtube.com/watch?v=2qj7t_K_sUk

Additionally, setting up the 3-point correctly (one of its mysteries) will also change where the intonation point lies—to the benefit of heavier strings, which generally need to be farther back, but usually can't get there. It will fractionally move the whole bridge unit back. To do this, make sure that on your final action setup, the single small, front adjustment bolt is higher than the two larger rear ones. Some say "slightly," or just eyeball it. Personally, I screw all three all the way down as far as they can go, measure the angle, then replicate that relationship when I bring the action back up to where I want it. It will take tweaking and trial/error. This practice will also ensure that the string tension doesn't slowly pull the press-fitted bridge mounting bushings out of the body.

One more measure to take is to make sure your saddles are in the right tracks—if you take them out, they are engraved with numbers 1–4, 1 being G and 4 being E. If the bass had a previous owner and you've never inspected them, they might have gotten switched up. I inadvertently switched mine around once because I didn't know they were numbered, and didn't know that the saddles are actually radiused to the fingerboard (2 and 3 are a few thou-inch taller). This will further contribute to good intonation.
 


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