Since a few weeks ago, I have been noticing that the outer screws of my bass's bridge (the 1st and 8th one in the picture below) are completely "unscrewed". This means that the outer ends of the bridge are resting directly on the metal plate below it, instead of resting on the screws.

Is this normal?

My guess is that vibrations could gradually have made the screws come loose, but I don't know how plausible that is. For the record: I don't feel like there's anything wrong with the action of the strings, nor is there an issue with the pitch when playing high up the strings.

The bridge of my bass


They're not normal. Normal is each of the two screws is level, for each string, so the string sits happily centrally on its saddle. there's far more chance of the lower screw dropping, than the higher one screwing upwards.

Use of a small Allen wrench will solve the problem, and while you're at it, maybe the strings in question could end up lower than they were, thus improving the playing and the action. Take the saddles down until the strings buzz at one particular fret. then screw up by half a turn (on both screws!) until that fret is clear sounding.

I've never encountered this problem on any bass, or guitar, once it's been properly set up; and it looks like either it was always there, or hasn't been spotted for a very long time, while it gradually worsened. Not the end of the world - or the guitar, though...


Normally you want the saddles level so the string sits directly in the center of the groove. Adjusting the screws isn't difficult, although you need the Allen wrench/Hex key that fits it.

If you have lost or didn't receive one with the instrument you can purchase one on-line, or visit your local music store. Music stores will often have extras that they will give you for free.

The screw may indeed have backed out with the vibration of playing. Occasionally I use non-permanent Loc-Tight thread lock on the screws if one consistently works its way out.

  • The more I study the photo, the more it flummoxes me. The chances that the two outermost screws have loosened that way seem very slim. Similarly, the chances that someone has randomly set the saddles that way seem equally slim. What are we left with? Someone has set up the saddles that way on purpose. Why? Well, maybe someone saw a double bass bridge and decided to copy the look. The 'setter-upper' could have achieved the same saddle heights with the screws at identical heights. It's the look of the thing, Watson; the culprit was after the contour of a double bass bridge. May 15 '18 at 12:57
  • The treble saddle is level, or nearly so, merely lowered. It may be someone was trying to adjust the outside strings for the fingerboard radius and the Bass side saddle has a stuck screw so they only lowered the one they could? I have seen loose screws on bass bridges that do back out with vibration. May 15 '18 at 21:46
  • Yes, the first saddle is indeed level. Your eyesight is superior. I could try to rationalise by saying that double bass bridges can be carved in notoriously asymmetrical curves, but I think you are right. Interestingly, I have encountered more stuck saddle screws than loose ones and applied more oil than thread lock. We could yet discover that the OP bass spent many a year travelling by buckboard over corrugated back country roads... May 15 '18 at 22:32
  • @AlphonsoBalvenie: I think you may be onto something. The owner of the store where I bought this bass is a double bass player, so he may have done this for style.
    – Lee White
    May 16 '18 at 14:50

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