Schaller Roller bridge vs Gotoh (for jazz bass)

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Santi146, Aug 18, 2009.


  1. Santi146

    Santi146

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Hi people,

    I have a 1996 MIM jazz bass and I want to replace the bridge.

    I am from Argentina, I can't get a BADASS II here, what I could find was the Gotoh 404 and the Schaller 3d4 roller bridge.

    The measures seems more like the original on the schaller one, but I think this doesn't matter. The question is, has anyone REALLY tried the bridge on a jazz? I read a topic about this and found all kind of opinions, but I need to make a decision and really don't know what to do between GOTOH and SCHALLER...

    If someone has installed the schaller, it has 3 holes with 25.5mm of spacing each to fix it to the body, is there any problem with holes?

    Thanks very much in advance...

    Santiago
     
  2. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2000
    Location:
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Argentina, huh? Well, the good thing for you is that both of the bridges you've selected are IMO a good deal better than the "cutting edge in 1973" Badass II.

    I have no experience with the Gotoh 404, but I've had the Schaller roller on many basses over the years, including a very high quality Jazz copy. It looks like neither of these bridges is a drop-in replacement, both will require drilling (and perhaps filling the holes from the old bridge) which is unfortunate.

    The Gotoh 404 doesn't have the fine-tune string spacing adjustability that the Shaller does, but it does have on-top quick string release. I don't think you can go wrong with either bridge. I can tell you that as far as a high-mass bridge is concerned, I was extremely satisfied with the Schaller rollers I've had in basses over the years. I never had a problem with the holes. I think the Gotoh is a more elegant looking design. :)
     
  3. 62bass

    62bass

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2005
    I have the Schaller installed on my 78 P bass. Unlike Philbiker I'm not particularly fond of it. I don't like the way the rollers work. They just seem a bit cheesy and although they don't seem to degrade the sound I'd rather have a saddle where there is a sharper witness point. I think it sounds better. The ability to alter the string spacing isn't needed on my bass.

    It installed easily enough though I had to carefully measure beforehand, lay down masking tape and mark exactly where it was going to sit and calculate where the saddles would be when properly intonated. Easier to do than to describe. The 3 screws hold it plenty solid. I filled the old holes from the Fender original although I didn't need to. The Schaller covers them

    I bought it because there wasn't a Badass available and I wanted to upgrade from the stock Fender. Soundwise there wasn't much of a noticeable improvement. I'd say mostly inaudible. It added some weight to an already too heavy bass. Maybe a slightly cleaner top end.

    If I did it again I'd get a Hipshot. I had the aluminium one on a Carvin kit. It's a very nice bridge. Light, ability to string through the body, instals easily and adjusts precisely.

    But on this Fender I wouldn't do it again as it did nothing to improve the sound or playability and set me back about $125 Canadian. The original on my Fender was the old bent plate design. A newer Fender would usually have a higher mass bridge. The newer ones I've tried seemed fine to me. Back when I did it I was under the impression that modding a bass with things like bridges, tuners, different pickups and stripping off the thick factory finish for a thinner one improved the sound. That's what happens when you believe what you read in gear magazines. The only sonic improvement came from replacing the pickup. I improved the looks by stripping the paint off the body and refinishing it natural with an oil/varnish mixture. I lucked out and it has a nicely matched 3 piece ash body.

    But some guys do this modding routinely and it makes them happy and they swear they can hear the difference. That's fine for them.
     
  4. Santi146

    Santi146

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    62bass, i laughed out really loud with your post as I think the same as you... I am of timmy C school and think pickup is 95% of sound, wood helps with sustain, bridge does a little bit too.. but say no more

    The fact is I have 2 luthier basses and a W Streamer, which is my main bass... I bought this MIM jazz bass as an oportunity really cheap, but I have to replace original bridge as it is oxidated, ugly, and really looks bad, and if I am going to change... i'll take the chance and upgrade...

    In Argentinian money (3 to 1 with us dollar) the schaller is 270 (90 usd) and the gotoh 400 (133 usd, i know things are more expensive here) but i've been looking at ebay and the shipping cost to arg of a badass II is of only 10 us dollars, but the bridge only is about 100 usd... so I really don't know if it is worth asking for one, regarding the hipshot I will take a look... is this it? http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-Hipshot-A-s...ries?hash=item439993fad8&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

    So I guess both of you suggest buying the GOTOH then?

    With the Schaller you didn't need to fill holes as to drill them again? I don't know if I am explaining well (sorry about my pretty basic english), I mean, if I take original bridge, measure, and drill to install the schaller, I will not catch any original hole on its half?
    And another question, when changing strings, string space has to be adjusted again?

    Thanks and all the best

    Santiago
     
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  6. 62bass

    62bass

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2005
    Yes Santi-that's similar to the Hipshot I used but that's the newer heavy model, the Hipshot A. The one I liked was made from aluminium and lighter-the Hipshot B-however, mine was from Carvin, the guitar kit company. I think they still sell it and their price was pretty good. Carvin also sells the Hipshot A. I looked at a 2008 catalogue and their price was $89 US. You could get the current price if you go to carvin.com

    The problem with ordering from Carvin if you don't live in the USA is what they charge you extra to send it to you and get it through customs with all duties and taxes paid. In Canada they charge you 3 times the actual shipping cost to deliver it all duty and taxes paid to your door. So a Carvin kit bass that sells for $400 US might cost $40 US to ship to Canada so that's an extra $120 to get it sent to your door. That's all in US $. So that kit becomes something like $520 US or around just under $700 Canadian. Not a bargain for me any more. I don't know what their arrangement is to ship to your country.

    Maybe it would be a good idea to check the classifieds here on TB and see if there is a bridge for sale at a good price.

    Anyhow, if you can get a Schaller at a very good price then there is nothing wrong with it. It's just not my first choice for a replacement bridge. I like the Hipshot but one of the better quality Gotoh bridges would suit me fine too.

    Good luck.

    Edit to add--on my 1978 Fender P I did not have to fill any holes to instal the Schaller (I did anyhow but it wasn't needed) because the Schaller covered the old screw holes. I just had to drill new holes for the Schaller. If the Fender jazz you have is the same as my P the Schaller should cover the holes with it too. But, I don't have a Jazz bass to check. Regarding the string spacing-I adjusted it when I put on Thomastic strings and I haven't changed it since. I replaced the strings once only in the 10 years or so I've used this bass. Thomastic stings last a long time.
     
  7. Santi146

    Santi146

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    62, thanks a lot for your help again, seems you have a lot of patience.. lol.

    I found finally a Badass II, the owner asks for 130 USD, I offered him 100, if the answer is YES I'll go for it as a direct replacement and forget about holes, rollers, etc etc.

    If he can't move a little bit the price I'll go to the schaller, unfortunately this will not be my main bass and I don't want to spend a fortune over him.

    Even more convinced I am reading you don't have to make strange things with holes, and I'll take your advantage, no string change ever hehe.

    Thankx for everything, I'll post a picture as soon as I install the new bridge.

    Santi
     
  8. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2000
    Location:
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I'd love to see it. The Badass II is not my favorite high-mass design from a functional perspective, but it looks really cool.
     
  9. 62bass

    62bass

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2005
    Looking forward to seeing it Santi.
     
  10. Santi146

    Santi146

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Hi guys, this weekend I had fun making disasters with my jb.. I took off original bridge and finally mounted the Badass II wich its previous owner sold to me on 90 dollars in an excellent shape, seems new.

    So I had to make no strange holes, I am going to rectify the frets and make a good set up before mounting everything again...

    Let's see what happens, I'll post soma pictures as soon as I can..

    Meanwhile I'll investigate about some alnico mics for replacing originales, I heard pretty nasty comments about them!

    Thanks again to both of you!

    Santi
     
  11. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2000
    Location:
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I had a 1995 MIM Jazz bass and the pickups were just fine. I replaced them with Seymour Duncan pickups and the difference in sound was not an improvement. IMO the MIM pickups are very often under-rated and under-appreciated. They sound just fine.
     
  12. Santi146

    Santi146

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Finally I have my Badass II on the JB... I'll post a pic later but anyway there is no news on it, just the same bridge you've seen thousand of times...

    Regarding mics I could give hell of a test to the bass this weekend as I used live on saturday night and on rehearsal on Sunday and the pickups responded really fine, the only problem as always is the famouse noise... I'll see if it gets better with cobalt cover on cables and mics, but its not that terrible anyway..

    Thanks for everything pals!

    Santi
     

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