Anybody remember this trend in bass building?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bigcatJC, Jun 8, 2020.

  1. bigcatJC


    Jul 9, 2004
    Strangest peg head layout I've ever seen - Fodera

    From around 13 years ago...This idea of moving the tuning machine of the B string to make the B "feel" tighter or fuller or whatever. The idea flared up with a few boutique builders for a couple of years and seems to have vanished. I certainly haven't seen any recent basses with this configuration.

    Always seemed odd to me,
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  2. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    Interesting. I've never seen that one.

    Fascinating how design trends appear and disappear like that – especially with regard to B string tension/intonation. I sometimes look at the bridge on my Yamaha BB415 and find myself uttering: "Whuh?"

  3. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    The Fodera headstock thing is extra dumb. They should know better.

    That Yamaha bridge has technical merit - keeps the B string silk off of the saddle.
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  4. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    That's a horrible solution, visually.

    I will say this. My low B strings are less floppy when I either have a stealth string retainer installed or go way out of my way to force the string downward toward the face of the headstock when stringing it up.
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  5. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Ha! I used to run the B string up to the A string tuner on my TRB 6, clearly inspired by this trend .. I don't know that it had any effect.
  6. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Central Ohio
    This particular design actually makes good and practical sense. The bend at the saddle damages the hardened core of the string. Anything that reduces that bend angle increases string life. B strings are particularly prone to going dead, due to the proximity of the saddle to the tailpiece required for intonation.
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  7. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    This makes sense to me too.
    Keeping the string angle to a minimum both at the nut and bridge seems like good engineering.
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  8. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    I don't deny that there's a sound design rationale behind it. Yamaha employs some pretty savvy engineers, whether they're designing electric basses or outboard boat motors. It's just the history of the BBs that I find a tad baffling. For the current iteration of "most affordable" BB 5-string – the BB235 – Yamaha ditched the "extended B" bridge design and went back to a more traditional design. They kept it for the BB435, which offers "diagonal body thru stringing." Admittedly, there's a modest retail price difference between the BB235 and the BB435, and manufacturing costs are probably a bit higher for string-thru, but I can't imaging stamped-metal bridges accounting for much of the cost.

    BB235 bridge:
    BB435 bridge:

    Anyway, sorry to hijack the thread – I realize it was originally about headstock designs.
  9. A dear friend has a Fodera Mike Pope 6 with that B-string setup. I personally feel it's a gimmick, but man that's a great sounding and playing bass. I suppose keeping the large B windings relatively undisturbed for that extra length might do some good.

  10. There were some odd and interesting experiments to get tighter, in tune and punchier sounding and feeling low B strings the results are certainly shown today. Among those were head stock design, hardware, string length, string construction, bass construction, wood types, finish types, string core/winding, pickup design and magnet placement and the list goes on. As always a look back may seem silly or even ludicrous but those efforts, triumphs and failures led to the wonderful instruments we enjoy today.

    The additional string length, added down force and proper break angle at string witness points of bridge and nut are all indeed significant factors in tone and tonality.

    Mike Pope has serious ideas behind all of his design ideas and a seriously bad mofo I tend to have much respect for.
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  11. skyline_01

    skyline_01 Endorsing artist: Nordstrand Audio, Tsunami Cables

    Nov 14, 2006
    Lebanon, OH
    I always thought this design was pretty thoughtful, though I can't vouch for how effective it actually is.

    I came *this* close to buying an orange BB415 like that a few months ago from GC. Still kicking myself bc it was like $300. Great basses.
  12. BAG


    May 5, 2014
    New Zealand
    That Fodera machine head placement really does my head in. I thought it was accepted by most that the straighter the string from the machine head to the nut the more stable tuning would be. Less friction when tuning up means less chance of the string catching at the nut and moving after said tuning. The fact that Fodera puts so much thought into so many aspects of a bass build but does that really makes no sense.
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  13. I honestly can’t say if it helps or not never owned a Fodera like that. Have seen a few on YouTube videos over the years. But I agree that it looks odd. Kind of like the person who strung up the bass screwed up and put the strings on the wrong tuners
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  14. factory presets

    factory presets

    Mar 3, 2020
    I would've thought if you want more B string you'd just do a T. bird type of headstock. I guess there could be issues with the standard length of strings. Which could be fixed by moving the B peg anywhere along the other side of the head. And still look almost conventional.

    The fact the Fodera layout went out of fashion suggests it didn't make enough difference in sound or feel to move up from novelty status.
  15. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    One reason is because the builder won't use 2+3, where the B string tuner and the E string tuner are up on the headstock a little bit more so that there is no issue with only the silk (or taper for strings with no silk) winds around the tuner.

    I have no idea why otherwise respectable builders insist on the unmitigated crap of 3+2, which causes manifold issues with the speaking portion of the B string wrapping around the tuning post, or causes the headstock to be so large that neck dive is so bad even Hipshot ultralites won't fix it, instead of 2+3, where the B and E string tuners are far enough up from the nut that there is no binding of the speaking length, by default the A and D are alright, and it doesn't matter how much winds around the G string tuner. Think about it: the average G string is 40 to 50, and the average E string on an acoustic guitar is 54, winding around the smaller guitar tuning post.
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  16. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    It looks like the way a $50 bass in a pawn shop would be strung.
  17. JW56789

    JW56789 Guest

    Feb 18, 2017
    This was a rather inelegant fix by Yamaha to get a little longer string length without using a more complex (expensive) bridge. They simply put an extension on the base plate, and used the same saddle and height screws, but notching it like that allowed them to back the B a bit further away so it would intonate properly.
  18. Real Soon

    Real Soon

    Aug 15, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    One very small advantage on that Fodera headstock, one that is not actually relevant in real-world scenarios (esp if the headstock angle is already properly designed, nut cut properly, etc., also things that can be expected on their instruments)....

    On the low B string, the farther away the tuner is from the nut, the less of a change of string angle there is if the string is wound with barely enough wraps around the tuning peg vs as many wraps as it can hold.

    Chances are, someone with that bass is either a) good at changing strings or b) good at paying someone to change their strings, so it's very very unlikely to have been part of the design choice.

    Also, someone who is THAT bad at putting a string on is gonna get the pegs wrong anyway, rendering it all moot.

    Yeah it's weird as poopie. And completely unsupported by any real science.
  19. -Asdfgh-


    Apr 13, 2010
    Certainly odd given physics.
  20. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    My custom Stambaughs were designed with this in mind. The witness point (saddle) is as far from the ball end of the string as is possible without making the body larger. The result is that the end is pushed basically to the end of the body.
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