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I had my dad's bass guitar lying around (I play with it, but don't play it, if you know what I mean - I'm a drummer myself). I believe that it is a Stagg B300-SB Standard J. It had been lying unused for a while and I saw that the strings were very rusty. I am not sure whether that is actually a sign that they need to be replaced, but I like to take things apart to learn how they work (bad habit, I know).

So I bought a new set of strings (Elixir 14052 Electric Bass NPS Nanoweb Light 45-100) and put them on following a tutorial online. The thing is that I took apart the bridge, to clean the parts, and then put it back together. But I think that I messed up the order or did something else wrong. The reason why I think that, is because the strings are not at the same height and the bridge looks... wrong. Please see the attached pictures.

height differences

frontal

I could not find a guide to re-string with this kind of brdige, so any advice on this is helpful. I guess I have to screw in the "legs" to make sure that they are all the same height? Or is there something else I should do? Should all these things be at the same distance from the butt of the guitar, or should they in fact be a bit apart?

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    Yes, just re-adjust the worm screws to get the riders horizontal again. – leftaroundabout Apr 6 at 19:41
  • @leftaroundabout Thanks for the reply! I guess that means removing the strings and then adjusting them? If I recall correctly, they did not have a head to use a screwdriver in. How exactly do I adjust them? And, as a side question, is it a problem that I remove these strings, and use them again after fixing the bridge? Or are they "stretched" and not usable anymore? – Bram Vanroy Apr 6 at 20:05
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    They'll need a tiny Allen key that goes in from the top. You won't need to remove the strings to adjust the screw height, but you might want to slacken them a bit. And there's no reason to think that the strings will be compromised - it's possible to remove and re-fit bass strings as many times as you wish, as long as you are careful not to get them twisted or get any sharp bends in. – topo Reinstate Monica Apr 6 at 21:05
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    As you admitted, "bad habit" to take things apart when you don't need to. As a former pinball repair guy, my advice is to take a careful picture at each stage of disassembly so you know what things should look like as you reassemble. (Doesn't work with watches, which generally spring a cloud of parts across the room when you loosen one screw :-( ) – Carl Witthoft Apr 7 at 14:27
  • @topoReinstateMonica Gosh, I just adjusted the sadles with the Allen key. That is the smallest Allen key that I own, I'm glad that it fit! – Bram Vanroy Apr 7 at 15:40
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Looks like you did ok putting it all back together but there a few things you should know. The individual string saddles should be level to the body. The height is determined by personal preference, what feels good to you. Some players like their strings super low others like to be able to “dig in” a little. Adjust the saddles to a height that feels good to you but if they are too low you might get some buzzing with fretted notes. You can use a ruler or spacer to measure the height at the highest fret. The lower strings can be gradually a touch higher than the upper strings because they need a little more room to vibrate. Experiment a bit till you find a height you like.

The next very important step is positioning each individual saddle the correct distance from the neck. This is called setting the intonation. You will need an electronic tuner for this. There are many how to guides online that explain this process but in a nutshell:

Tune an open string, say the G String with the tuner

Use the tuner to compare the sound of the G string 12th fret harmonic with the string fingered at the 12th fret

If the fretted note is higher pitched than the harmonic move the saddle away from the neck with the screw at the back of the bridge. If it is lower move it closer.

Every time you adjust the saddle the tuning will change so always re-tune the open string after moving the saddle.

When the harmonic and the fretted 12th fret are the same pitch move to the next string, etc. FYI usually the saddles for the lower pitched strings are further away from the neck than the higher ones.

Once you’ve set the string height and intonation the instrument should play comfortably and in tune with itself. If you like you can fine tune the saddle heights, they may have changed very slightly.

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  • Wow, thanks for a great answer! I am a bit confused about how to change anything without completely loosening the strings and starting over. Is that the way to go? As I said in a comment, I'm also not. Sure how to change the height since there do not seem to be screw holes for those "legs". Any ideas? – Bram Vanroy Apr 6 at 20:47
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    Actually each saddle has 2 very small Allen screws to adjust the height. You can see the shafts are threaded. No need to loosen the strings for height adjustment. When you adjust the intonation you might have to slightly loosen the string to move the saddle. Also when moving the saddle closer to the neck you might have to physically push the saddle because sometimes the saddle will stay in place and the screw head will separate from the bridge. Always re-tune after moving the saddles. Feel free to ask anything else. – John Belzaguy Apr 6 at 21:41
  • Check this out, John Carruthers explaining and showing how to adjust string height. John made my main 5 string bass in 2004 and has built or worked on instruments for just about everyone. youtu.be/c2DlwxSIPA0 – John Belzaguy Apr 7 at 17:46
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    Here’s another one on intonation: youtu.be/FC30nJgIAJM There are 4 videos in all, this is number 4. Check them all out and you will have done a $75-$100 setup on your bass for the cost of the strings. Good luck! – John Belzaguy Apr 7 at 17:50
  • ...one last thing, step 3, setting the nut height is very tricky and you need the right tools so I would advise skipping that one. – John Belzaguy Apr 7 at 18:02

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