Gotoh 201B4 v. Fender HMV bridge

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by mightypants, Jan 2, 2013.


  1. mightypants

    mightypants

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    Hi all,

    I'm looking to replace the stock bridge on my MIM Fender J, and I'm trying to decide between the Gotoh 201B4 and Fender HMV. I'm looking to add as much mass as possible primarily to address a balance issue, but if there are improvements to be had in sustain, that's cool too. I haven't been able to find exact weights of these two bridges, but the shipping weight listed on Amazon has the Fender about 50% heavier. But of course I don't know how much of that is packing materials. Does anyone know where I can find actual weights for these two? Or, does anyone have any other opinions on which is a better bridge? It appears that the Fender has threaded saddles, which seem pretty useful. On the other hand, the Fender is a good bit more expensive. Thoughts?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Turnaround

    Turnaround

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    If you are fussy about the strings lining up over the pole pieces of the pickups, you should be aware that the Gotoh won't do it for you. The Fender with threaded saddles will allow you to line them up.
     
  3. mightypants

    mightypants

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    I'm a bit of a bass newbie, and a lot of a bass hardware/repair newbie, so I've not developed any level of fussiness over this issue. It sounds like a good idea to get that alignment correct, but can you tell me a little bit about what the benefits are? Thanks.
     
  4. Turnaround

    Turnaround

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    The best position for the strings is right between the pairs of magnets on the pickups. Deviating from that puts the string in the less-than-optimum field of magnetic flux. Very unlikely that you will hear a difference though, so it's mostly about how it looks.

    I have a Gotoh 201 on my MIM Jazz. I am making new brass saddles with the string grooves properly spaced. It's just cosmetics, but I've prettied this bass up quite a bit and the misalignment is visually annoying. Sounds fine though as is. And I'm far beyond being able to recover the costs of the work and parts I have put into this bass, so what the hey.... a couple more bucks and a couple of more hours.
     
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  6. Mickey Mao

    Mickey Mao

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    If the problem you're trying to address is balance---neck dive---then you may get better results with lightweight tuners. Since the tuners are way out at the end of the neck, even a modest reduction in weight can yield significant improvements in balance.
     
  7. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

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    this!

    light tuners have way more leverage than a heavy bridge, and so will make way more difference. (plus making the bass lighter instead of heavier has to be a good thing.)

    +1 also to the string spacing thing; it's a subtle difference, but if you run the pickups closer and hit harder like i do there's a tiny bit of nice natural compression when the strings are right between the magnet pairs where they belong.
     
  8. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

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    here's what a jazz bass should look like! (you need wider than 3/4"-19mm bridge spacing to get there.)

    [​IMG]
     
  9. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

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    I might be missing something here, but the MIM Jazz you have more than likely uses a 5 hole conventional Fender screw hole pattern for mounting the stock bridge ... the Gotoh should be a direct replacement, but that Fender High Mass Vintage (now there's an oxymoron) bridge is designed for a STB with a 3 hole mounting pattern ??
     
  10. JoeWPgh

    JoeWPgh

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    My understanding is that the Fender HMV uses 3 of the 5 holes of the old fashioned bridge. This is to accomodate string through. The same is true of the Hipshot A bridges with the Fender screw pattern. Personally, I prefer the Hipshot. And speaking of Hipshot, their ultra light tuners would help as well.
     
  11. mightypants

    mightypants

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    Thanks, everyone, for the info. I'm planning to replace the tuners as well--most likely with Hipshot Ultralites.

    So what's the consensus on the HMV? Will it work with my MIM or no?
     
  12. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

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    I compared the hole aligment, and it does look like the 3 hole screw pattern used the middle 3 existing holes ...

    But, FWIW, based on the concerns in the original inquiry, as mentioned the machine replacement will do more for the primary concern (neck dive), and a threaded saddle bridge would also cover the string/pole aligment issue ...

    ... how about just adding a vintage threaded saddle bridge, or even just replacing the saddles ... cheaper, lighter, better string alignment ... sounds like win/win/win ...

    but then, I am just an old coot that slips foam in strings, and focuses on muting and open sonic space who never quite understood the whole '"bolt a chunk of steel on it to get more 'sustain' thing" ... JMHO
     
  13. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

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    sounds like the "old coot" is on to something!

    the HMV doesn't really fit (i don't think the 3 screws do line up that well), and anyway there isn't much point in it.

    the vintage-style threaded saddles will indeed fit on the stock plate and accomplish the same thing.

    that and some lightweight keys and we're there.
     
  14. mightypants

    mightypants

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    I think what I'll do is replace the tuners first and see how well that addresses the balance issue. If it does the job then I'll probably leave the bridge alone for now. I can mess with the saddles later if I feel the need. Regarding the tuners, I'm looking at the Hipshot HB6C, which one of these would I need?

    HB6C - 3/8'' Clover Key Ultralite
    HB6C - 1/2'' Clover Key Ultralite
    (from this page)

    I don't know what the 3/8" and 1/2" refer to or which will fit my bass.

    Thanks.
     
  15. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

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    that's the size of the actual post that strings wrap around; it needs to be right or the tuners won't come close to fitting.
     
  16. mightypants

    mightypants

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    Do you know which size is needed for an MIM Jazz? Thanks.
     
  17. davedblyoo

    davedblyoo "All the mayhem and none of the sticky mess." Supporting Member

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    You need the set of HB7s that are listed on that page. Another thing to consider between the Fender HMV (which will NOT go on your bass without some artful maneuvering on your part) and the Gotoh is that on the HMV bridge the back of the bridge and the part that the strings go through are two separate pieces of metal held together by screws, unlike the Gotoh (which I have used and loved better than any replacement bridge) is one piece of metal, if you happen to be a tone purist.
     
  18. Turnaround

    Turnaround

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    HB7's are not lightweight tuners. Won't help with balancing the instrument if it's neck-heavy.
     
  19. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

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    right; you'd want something like the HB-6C, which i think will fit the mexis.

    (annoying how they don't tell us the post size for the HB-7s which are specifically made for mexis.)
     
  20. 96tbird

    96tbird This Indian movie is really boring man.

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    +1 on Threaded saddles and lightweight tuners. Hey, for the millionth time, what's the deal with hm bridge swaps on Fenders and Squiers? People always calling them crap. Don't they notice a three grand Lakland has a bent metal bridge? Nobody swaps them out. What's so different on an ebmm? Basically nothing besides the big lugs.

    The only problem Fender needs to address on their bridges is go back to the threaded saddles on all basses they put their name on.
     
  21. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

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    if it's like the 201s i've seen, it's one piece of mostly hollow cast pot metal. :spit:
     

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