Making Matters: The height of perfection

Figure 3

Double bass repairers know the value of raising the saddle to help the instrument’s sound open up – but how much do you raise it by? Felix Habel reveals the formula that can give an exact measurement every time

Raised saddles are a very common sight on double basses and are sometimes recommended as a miracle cure for any kind of issue. ‘Problems with your bass? Put on a raised saddle!’ Consequently there are a lot of strange theories surrounding it, but raising the saddle can be very effective in cases where the instrument’s bridge is creating excessive downward force. If your bass feels stiff, ‘choked’, or not free-sounding when playing, or if the E string seems unbalanced, it might indicate excessive load on the belly. One reason for this may be that the double bass strings have an excessively steep break angle at the bridge. Anything steeper than 148 degrees might need adjustment (although there may be many other factors as well).

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