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A few ounces feels like a few pounds on a gig

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by JimmyM, Apr 10, 2015.


  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Been using a Hipshot A brass bridge for a few months, but I had to bag it because it adds noticeable weight to my 09 AmStd Precision and started getting to my bum shoulder. Not entirely happy about dumping it...I really like how adjustable it is, and how you don't have to thread the strings through a hole to load them. I also briefly met the owner of Hipshot at a gig recently, and he was a nice guy who seemed genuinely pleased I was happy with his bridge. But it bums me out even more to go home with a headache and a sore left shoulder and forearm, so it had to go.

    I replaced it with a Fender bent-plate bridge that used to come standard on MIA's until 2008 when they switched over to the higher mass bridge that came on my 2009. I don't care what anyone says...those bent plate bridges are fine bridges. The only thing wrong with them is you can't top load without threading the string through the hole. I will miss that, but I'll get over it.

    But man, do I hate what comes now...fine tuning the action and pickup height. Fine tuning string height isn't so bad. I'm almost there. But it bugs me to no end when a pickup is even a little off kilter with string volume. The next two weeks of gigs will go like this...play a couple songs, turn my back while someone talks and try to get it adjusted before the next song starts, play 4 more songs then lather, rinse, repeat for two weeks. So this bridge is now on there permanently and it'll take an act of God to make me change anything else after this. Thought about putting the stocker back on, but I've never been big on high mass bridges, even the "not really high mass" high mass Fender bridges, and opted to go with as little weight as possible.

    But while the Hipshot doesn't weigh much more than the stocker, and my shoulder problems never got worse using the stocker, I was surprised that even that slight little weight gain ended up taking its toll on my shoulder as much as it did. First month was fine, second month I started feeling a little extra pull, and now I seriously feel it, and even switching to the wider strap didn't fix it. I got the Hipshot to "cure" what I thought was a defect in the stock Fender bridge that ultimately turned out to be I got a couple sets of strings with D strings that falsely intonated. It's a very long story that I've already chronicled in another thread, and it ends with me looking like a yutz, so no need to rehash it ;) But that problem is over with, and this is a much more important problem.

    Now I will thank you all in advance for all the different bridge suggestions I'm certain to get now, but the deed is done and I'm not going to replace this bent metal bridge unless it breaks in the future. I just mainly wanted to talk about how just a little bit of weight gain made all the difference as to whether I could continue using this bass. The Hipshot does feel heavier than the stocker but I wouldn't think it would develop into a problem for me because it can't be all that much difference. I don't have a postal scale but it can't be more than 4 or 5 ounces, no? Anyone know what they weigh exactly?

    Also, I wanted to vent about how much it sucks to replace a bass part you really like except for one fatal flaw, and I really wanted to vent about how irritating it is to finally get a bass nicely settled in then have to change a bridge and do a complete new setup and obsess on how it's not perfect for two weeks. I think my shrink and I will have a lot to talk about next visit (j/k...I don't see a shrink...I should, but I don't!).
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2015
  2. Why not get the hipshot in aluminum?
     
  3. friendlybass

    friendlybass

    Jul 19, 2012
    Colorado
    I'm surprised hipshot doesn't make some ultra-light bridge. It does sound like you get your setup just right for you! I feel you though. I get that way about strings, pedals, cables, amps, cabs, basses... Okay I get that way about everything...
     
  4. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    wow, i am surprised that the weight difference was really felt like that; i could see it on the headstock where a little weight could cause a big difference in how it hung on a strap, but on an already heavy body?

    that said, the first-gen american standard bridges are my favorite, a neat way to get low-mass and still be rock-solid, with adjustable spacing and minimal part count.

    i like 'em even over the vintage threaded-rod, because the string-through means that the saddles can keep the tight, narrow grooves for perfect spacing with no risk of the string jumping over a notch. note how fender went to wider grooves on the bass side saddles at the same time they added the top-load option, with the slightly annoying result that you can't space the strings perfectly equidistant.

    the string-through also lets the body take the string pull rather than the back of the bridge, so the plate can be kept thin without bending up in the back.
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Before I got the brass Hipshot, I got the aluminum. Did one gig with it and ripped it off immediately afterward. Never really noticed tonal differences with bridges but there was noticeably less heft in the notes using aluminum. Respect to those who have found tonal bliss with them, but I will never even consider using aluminum again.

    That's what I thought too, Walter. I could feel a little extra when I picked the bass up but not much. But while it took its time acting on me, act on me it did.

    I remember you telling me about those bridges when I was on the hunt in the "thread that shall be unmentioned," so I snagged one during that time for pretty cheap. Same place I got the Hipshot off Amazon. I have a feeling this guy sells off B-stock because they come with little or no packaging, but he's got good deals and all three of the bridges I got from him were fine. But you recommend sticking with thru-body and not top loading, eh? Can't say I ever had a bent plate bridge pull forward like that, though. Do the thru-body holes make the back plate weaker?
     
  6. hdracer

    hdracer

    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    The Hipshot Vintage is full top load and weighs about the same as the Fender bent plate.
     
    noeinstein and blindrabbit like this.
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    They do make lighter bridges. They have one called the B that would have probably worked. Plus they use aluminum for some of their bridges, and that makes them even lighter. Did not like the sound, though.
     
    friendlybass likes this.
  8. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club

    Apr 22, 2006
    PDX / SFO / HNL
    I feelya Jimmy... that new "toy" I just got weighs in at 11.8lbs! Even with my good/wide Moody strap it feels like an elephant after an hour or two..
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ouch, Sam! I would have to retire! Too bad...that Alembic is stunning, it really is. 8 1/2 is about my absolute limit. Not sure what mine weighs, but it used to be fine till the Hipshot.
     
    MR PC and SamJ like this.
  10. What hdracer said. Slot load, ultra light.
     
    blindrabbit likes this.
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Does not fit AmStds without drilling, unfortunately, and you'd have to lose the thru-body option. I could live without thru-body, but I won't do an irreversible mod to this bass.
     
    noeinstein likes this.
  12. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club

    Apr 22, 2006
    PDX / SFO / HNL
    well, lucky for me (or really unlucky as I'd rather be a working musician), I don't have to wear it for hours at a time! My Jazz Bass is 8.1 and seriously feels "light" when I switch over to it. Sorta reminds me of laptops... you got your 3.8lb Macbook Pro, then you got your 6lb PC laptop... doesn't sound like much till you put it in your backpack and run around with it for a few hours.
     
  13. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco/HELIX user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    Rough lesson.
     
  14. Photobassist

    Photobassist

    Dec 18, 2010
    Japan
    I feel ya JimmyM, I've got permenant nerve damage in my left shoulder and sometimes the only remedy for the pain when playing is to sit down. The guys I play with know this, but it still sucks having to sit down when everyone else is bouncing to the beat.
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Dang, was going to ask you about your 8.1 Jazz but now I see it's a CS...no wonder you could get the weight that low! Haven't been able to bring myself to pay more than a grand for a Fender, but it's darn tempting when you can get a Jazz that only weighs slightly over 8 lbs. Think how light you could get a Precision...probably as light as my P Lyte.
     
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sorry to hear, man. That's cool that they'll work with you like that, though. Doubt my band is that tolerant. They'd just tell me to play my Longhorn and get the hell up ;)
     
    Photobassist likes this.
  17. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club

    Apr 22, 2006
    PDX / SFO / HNL
    I'm selling my "Team Built" CS "Classic Jazz" Sunburst Jazz right now in classifieds, It's a pre-amp version which I would honestly swap out to a Sadowsky preamp, but the Pickups on it are sweet 60's Custom Shop J pickups..

    I'd let you steal it for $1800 (just cause it's you).. I can weigh it if you're serious ;)

    BTW, they charged me an extra $700 to get the weight down that low... bastards.
     
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Oh, I'm already in the doghouse around here enough without adding fuel to the fire :bag: but I do thank you kindly for the offer. Honestly, between you, me, and the outhouse, I think I'm pretty much done buying basses unless my shoulder problem gets worse. I know...wrong thing to say on here. But I have pretty much everything I need...a couple Fenders, a couple more modern basses and one's a 5, a couple retro oddballs...

    BTW, That IS a bastard move...$700...sheesh!
     
    friendlybass and SamJ like this.
  19. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    not wading into any tone difference arguments, but the steeper break angle does allow for the narrower grooves in the saddle without any issues; on a vintage threaded-rod bridge with lower saddle height, the E can sometimes want to "jump the groove" if it's pushed too hard.
    it's not a big issue, but i have seen the back part kinda leaning forward a bit on some of the old vintage ones.

    i don't see the string-through holes affecting anything, they're not that near the bend in the plate.
     
  20. Awesome Sauce

    Awesome Sauce Already tired tomorrow

    Dec 21, 2011
    NW Chicago 'burbs
    Jimmy- I'd email or call Hipshot and ask them if they would make a Vintage bridge for you with the hole pattern you need. It's my understanding that they are typically willing to do one-offs or modify an existing product. Worst they can say is "no."
     
    MattZilla, Double E and blindrabbit like this.

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