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One of the bridge height adjustment screws keeps coming loose on my Precision Bass (leftmost screw in the picture). The screw doesn’t feel loose when the height is properly adjusted, but the E saddle works its way down to the deck on that side after just a few hours of play. The first time I noticed the problem, the screw had almost worked its way entirely out of the saddle.

My playing style doesn’t bring my hand in contact with the bridge much, so I presume that vibrations are working the screw loose. This of course affects the action and tuning of my E string, and I’m concerned that it might fall out completely. Is there something I can do to fix this? Do I need a new screw or some kind of (anti) lubricant?

bridge saddle screws

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2 Answers 2

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First thing I'd do is swap round - takeout the offending screw , and any other one, and see what happens. If the screw is worn, it will behave the same in its new home. Replace it ! If the problem is still in the same place on the saddle, it will be the female at that point.Full solution - new bridge, Temporary solution - which may become permanent - use Loctite, or PTFE tape (Plumbers' Tape For Everything), a white tape used on threads, which will tighten the screw by bulking the thread.

Another solution would be to re-tap the female with the next size up. Just poss., I guess, or buy a re-threading system that makes a bigger thread and then puts a Helicoil in, bringing it back to original.There looks like just enough meat to do that.

Or - this might be the time to change it for a 5 string, as discussed previously...

I'd be surprised if one of these didn't do the job for you. Good luck.

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Thanks for the excellent diagnostic tips! None of the other screws have this problem, so it's probably the screw or the saddle. I'll check it out. –  Bradd Szonye Jul 24 at 6:27
    
I'd second the loctite solution. If you have the guitar set up as you like it, a dot of glue will keep that saddle screw exactly where it is...forever. –  Dr Mayhem Jul 24 at 8:43
    
Forever's a long time when you want to tweak the action ! But it will come free with persuasion. –  Tim Jul 24 at 8:48
    
An unusual solution that has worked for me. Imagine screwing a damaged thread. Difficult ! Damage it gently, and it'll tighten up enough - if you know what you're doing. Don't try this at home... –  Tim Jul 24 at 8:51
    
Finally got a chance to try this and it worked like a charm. Turned out that the saddle is good and the screw is loose. Wrapped it very lightly with thread tape and (after a little trial and error) it's snug now. –  Bradd Szonye Jul 29 at 8:17

Loctite might help. You pour a little bit on the thread (having undone it a bit 1st so that when you do the screw up again, the loctite is pulled into the thread) and is prevents things vibrating loose. People use it on cars and models a lot.

Loctite Homepage

Thread locking section

It allows you to undo the thread if you need to though. You can feel that it's locked up, then as you undo the nut/screw etc you feel it ping as it lets go (normally quite easily)

I'd advise trying a snmall amount at first - just enough to get the thread a bit wet. You don't what it locked to thight that you can't adjust anything !

You can buy it in most DIY shops or motor spares shops.

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