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Babicz Full Contact Hardware Bridge review

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by SeayBass, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. I got this today. Paid $85. Thought I'd share with colleagues and community. On a whim I bought a bridge I'm not familiar with. For that kind of money, there are many bridges available. I just flipped a coin.

    I just put this on a 30 year old Fender Precision. No drilling required- that's the main reason I tried this out. It replaced the original bridge, which was getting chewed up under the saddles. 5 screws out, 5 screws in, and it's done. I then set up the bass and played it to check out the difference.
    It has mounting screw holes for different makes, and comes with 6 screws total. See the manual to find out how to install it into your bass.

    I expected it to be heavier. This is definitely NOT heavy brass. It's only a bit heavier than the bridge it replaced- in spite of its thickness. Remarking on the lightness, I expected minimal change in tone and was prepared to return it immediately. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the sound of the bridge. I did not notice more highs, but a fuller sound with much better Low Frequency projection.
    The saddles seem like they might be too sharp, and cause the windings (and then the string) to break early. I won't know until I have used it for a while.
    Setting the string height is very very easy, as it requires adjustment of only one screw, rather than two. I applaud that design.
    Intonation setting is the same as other bridges.
    The other interesting feature this bridge offers is the locking screws that secure the string length/intonation of the bridge and the screws that lock the string height feature. I have never had a saddle change height on me, but this will ensure that it never does happen. I have had saddles move side to side and affect the intonation along the fingerboard. I think these screws also help increase sonic transference, which is why this bridge sounds like a heavier brass bridge like Hipshot or Schaller.

    all in all this is a great way to upgrade your fender bridge. This is without question an improvement over the stock bridge. It makes a fuller sound, with a LOT more low frequency resonance. I did not notice an improvement in the high frequencies. I have OLD flatwounds on the bass, so I can't really comment on sizzle or sustain, but I am confident, given the remarkable change in overall volume and big-ness of tone, that this bridge offers improved sustain over the stock Fender stuff.

    In my opinion, its high price is based on the design and features rather than high-end material. It's made in china and is not heavy gauge anything. I find it pricey based on the feel of the thing in my hand. And a previous reviewer had a screw break during install. But it works fine for me on Day 1.

    I see 2 potential flaws:
    1. The screws that secure the intonation of each string are very losable.
    2. I worry about that and the perceived sharpness of the saddles.
  2. lots of info out there on the babicz, but I'm not going to tell you to search

    yeah, the sharpness of the saddles looks, well, sharp - but I have hammered away with chromes, fender nps rounds, and ghs tapewounds - with no ill effects on the strings

    The bridge is light - I think it is cast aluminum? don't know

    The advantage is you can lock everything down. I had a problem with bridge buzz on my Jaguar (squier) and it solved that problem, so I am happy

    the screws could be losable, but you need to tighten and re-tighten each screw according to the directions - then I don't see how they are losable (is that even a word? it is now!)

    Good luck and it is a nice bridge - nothing special about tone, sustain, etc...but neither is badazz, gotoh, etc...
  3. Loved how light it was and how adjustable it was. Hated that you had to remove the saddles completely to attach it to the bass.
  4. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    I'm very interested in this bridge. Which of the above comments is the truth?
  5. TMart99


    Sep 22, 2010
    Rockwell, NC
    It is cast aluminum.

    I'm patiently awaiting mine. Hopefully, it will arrive shortly.

    Just to note, I requested replacement washers, screws and springs. Just in case I lose something just before a gig.

    That way I have an immediate replacement right on hand. No waiting for them to be shipped.
  6. I did not find a big change in sound, but- on my bass- the color of sound didn't change much, but it got bigger, much stronger and fuller in lower register.
  7. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    You must have purchased the aluminum bridge (they also offer brass), which is pretty light. Either way, the change in tone is minimal, at best.
  8. auria-
    If you are looking for a huge difference, I'd recommend a Hipshot or Schaller bridge. Or the brass version of the babicz- I did not find any seller with more than just 1 kind...

    The hipshot and Schaller are much heavier and change the sound in a more dramatic way. I prefer brass, though aluminum is lighter. Brass tends to be a fatter sound, while aluminum is more sparky.
    jeffb28451 likes this.
  9. countbassiedad


    Apr 29, 2010
    No affiliations
    If any bridge can increase resonance and improve tone it seems like this would be the one. I'm not an engineer but it seems like the physics support the claims.

    I think the difference is most observable when unplugged.

    Apart from tone, I love the look, the ease of adjustment and the solidity (if that's a word) of it.

    It's a bit of a bummer to have to remove the saddles for mounting but not a huge big deal. More important for me would be a quick load feature to make it easier to pop the strings off (I use and resuse flats, some of which cost as much as a bridge). Maybe the new ones have that but mine does not.
    jeffb28451 likes this.
  10. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    I use a Hipshot for that very reason, among others. It sounds better, resonates more, is just as adjustable (but more easily), and is top-loading for quick string changes.
  11. TMart99


    Sep 22, 2010
    Rockwell, NC
    That's interesting because I've heard many people say that brass is brighter sounding.....accentuates the highs more and that Aluminum is warmer, fatter sounding.

    Funny how people hear different things with these materials.
    ImprecisionBass likes this.
  12. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Thanks to all for the replies!
  13. I guess every bass is different... I gotta quit trying to generalize.
  14. TMart99


    Sep 22, 2010
    Rockwell, NC
    Just for the record, I wasn't being smug or trying to take a shot at you.

    It's just interesting how so many people report different tone results from different materials.

    In the home audio/stereo equipment world, a lot of audio enthusiasts (or "Audiophiles" as they like to refer to themselves as) use brass footers under their gear and speakers, because they claim brass eliminates vibrations and resonance:D

    Yet, I've seen musicians who claim brass is more resonant and musicians who claim brass is much less resonant and that it actually mutes resonance and highlights the high/treble frequencies.

    Aluminum has often been claimed to sound harsh, shrill and bright when used in dome tweeter diaphragms and midrange driver cone diaphragms/dust covers, for home audio speaker.

    Yet, I've read and heard musicians who say aluminum is a warm, more resonant and smoother sounding material for bass bridges.

    Honestly, I have no idea which is which and what is what.

    My current Fender basses have steel bridges and steel saddles. So it should be interesting to see if any difference in tone and resonance occurs by adding this Babicz FCH aluminum bridge.

    Kind of makes me curious and kind of almost makes me want to buy a Babicz FCH in brass, just to see if there's any audible, palpable difference in the two metals.

    But that's a lot of money to spend on an experiment:D
    Steve York likes this.
  15. JMimbs


    Jan 5, 2012
    Central Florida
    I recently put a Babicz bridge on my MIM Precision, and I love it. I was having huge problems with the saddles dropping, especially the E string, and this bridge has been solid as a rock. I can't say I've heard much difference in tone, but it does resonate very well. I dial in a pretty warm/dark/muddy/whatever tone though, so any inherent brightness in the bridge would be getting lost anyway.

    All that to say, its a great piece of hardware. It dropped right in, no hassles, and setting it up was a breeze.
  16. t-mart
    I knew that. I just realized that others have different opinions and experiences.
    I can digit. And every bass is different. I was at GC the other day and played all the J&P basses on their wall. All very very diffrent. ain't it the truth!
  17. no worries, TMart

    Although I would point out that they make trumpets et. al out of brass, not aluminum.
  18. TMart99


    Sep 22, 2010
    Rockwell, NC
    My Babicz FCH 4 (in Gold) arrived yesterday.

    Sure looks impressive and feels quite solid. Love the look of it.

    Also, awaiting my Babicz FCH 4 (in Black).

    Now I just have to wait on my Hipshot HB2 tuners (one set in Black and one set in Gold) and I'll get the ball rolling on getting my basses modified. I already have the new strap buttons and string trees/string guides.

    I'd rather wait till I have all the parts and then do it all at once.
  19. ez-rhino


    Sep 8, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Bass and Drum Mercenary
    I have a Babicz FCH which I recently installed on a 98/99 MIM Jazz bass. The sound difference between the stock bridge and the Babicz completely blew me away. It took me a few live practices to tweak it the way I wanted, but have not experienced any negative issues whatsoever with the FCH. I'm a very aggressive player, and put my instruments thru alot of physical abuse - I've not had a single problem with the FCH, it's been solid so far.

    Not schilling for Babicz, and I have no financial stake in giving them props, but I think and believe they made a really great product. I always believed the weakest link in any bridge system was the small set screws in the saddle, even with the higher density aftermarket bridges out there, those still rely on those set screws as the first point of transfer of string resonance to wood, even though they might have a big fat cast iron plate for the base of the bridge. A similar effect can be made using a pair of vice grips on your headstock - try it sometime (learned that trick from reading a Billy Sheehan article back in the 80's).

    I'm sure someone will be along shortly to argue and tell me I'm wrong, but I don't believe so. I don't care if it's aluminum or not, the base is physically thicker than the stock Jazz bridge, and there is a significant sound improvement when playing with no amp. I meant to take some calipers and measure the thickness of the FCH versus the stock Jazz, but never got around to it. The point is, it's thicker, and there is a definite sound improvement. The definition and clarity of your sound/tone are much more accentuated when playing thru amplification.

    But with everything aftermarket, YMMV.

    Hope you enjoy your bass with the FCH!
  20. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    The only difference you'll hear is under one of two conditions:
    a) unplugged
    b) in your imagination.

    Sorry, but that's the truth. Bridges make little to no sonic difference in the sound.
    joebar likes this.