affect of bridge on tone and playability?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by spc, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. spc


    Apr 10, 2004
    South of Boston
    What are some opinions of how the bridge affects tone and playability? Is it true that a thin vintage style bridge will sound woodier? I have read that a heavier duty bridge isolates the strings more, giving more of a pianoish ring? Is that correct? Thanks!
  2. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    A heavier bridge provides more mass, so it helps to produce more sustain.

    I lighter, thinner bridge may produce less sustain, though my standard P-Bass bridge does just fine with that.

    I've had basses with heavier BADASS bridges and I never noticed much of a difference. YMMV though.
  3. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    That's the claim that everyone makes. I'm not sure it is true. It may be that it has nothing to do with mass, but rather how well does the bridge couple the strings to the body. A bridge that flexs in the least bit might reduce sustain. I certainly don't know for sure, but I will say that I haven't noticed any substantial differences in sound just from bridge changes.

    Personally, I like bridges that offer side to side adjustability. The more adjustable a bridge is, the better aligned the strings will be on the bass.
  4. PlayTheBass

    PlayTheBass aka Mac Daddy

    Dec 7, 2004
    Carmichael, CA
    When I first put a Badass in my J, I was underwhelmed... it sounded good, but then again, the bass sounded good with the old cheesy Fender one. I think they're hyped, but xyllion is probably onto something about the coupling with the body. And I definitely agree that simple, solid mechanical adjustability is a key to a good bridge.

    I had one with the saddle on a thread, so that you had to spin it to move it laterally (to adjust string-to-string spacing). The only problem was when I would put new strings on, if the string caught the saddle while I was pulling it through, it would turn the saddle and it would move out of adjustment -- kind of a pain.
  5. It can in certain situations. I changed the stock bridge on my standard Fender Precision to a Badass, but mainly because of problems. The saddles kept falling, the whole bridge itself would vibrate and make weird clanky noises, etc. The Badass changed the sound a little bit, but not TOO much.
  6. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    What is the general consensus on mono-rail type bridges (i.e. similar to the ones on the Ibanez BTB series)? Where you basiaclly have an individual "mini" bridge for each string. They claim to isolate the strings from each other, which apparently is a good thing... I'm not 100% convined though....
  7. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    I have no experience with those. So, maybe I'm just blowing alot of hot air, but I doubt that it would really isolate the strings. You have vibrations in the neck and the body of any bass. There is no way to eliminate sympathetic vibration of strings.