Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Bassline1414, Nov 26, 2000.

  1. I noticed a lot of people have replaced their stock bridges with Badass bridges or some other replacement? I have a Fender MIA P, and was wondering what the advantage of having a replacement bridge is. Thanks in advance...
  2. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Hey, I bought a chrome Badass II on Saturday, and dropped it on my '75 MIA reissue jazz. I could not believe the difference. It is louder, has more sustain, and the strings have more bounce to 'em. It only took about 30 minutes to change it out, and set it up. I had to file a string slot for the g-string, but that was it.

    BTW, I have an old one in black that I don't need, and I'll sell it cheap. It looks a little beat, but it plays fine. if you are interested, send me an email :

  3. I think you are supposed to file grooves for all the strings. That's what I did. You can get a needle file set at Radio Shack.

    I replaced the cheap Mexican Jazz bridge because the saddles drift from left to right. I'm gonna try out a Gotoh 201 on my Squier Jazz next, no filing involved, and cheaper ($20). Not as much mass as a BA2, but the saddles look stable due to the saddle "tracks" on the baseplate.

    Check in hardware here:

  4. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    posted by throbbinnut

    **I think you are supposed to file grooves for all the strings.**

    Yeah, that's what you are supposed to do, but I find that it works just fine if you don't. I know alot of people who didn't file theirs and it works just fine. The reason I filed the g-string was that I got a kooky buzz from it. Filed it down, and it went away. I didn't bother with the other three since they are intonated perfectly, and sound great. It survived a three and a half hour workout yesterday with the band, so I'm not gonna mess with it anymore. If I find that I start breaking strings, or something, i'll file the rest of them.
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The Badass II was the first widely available replacement bridge and it still does have the hassle of filing the saddle slots. Other drop ins (Schaller, All Parts, etc.) that have followed don't have this problem and have other advantages over the Badass II as well (adjustable string spacing, etc.). Don't overlook them.

    Also most replacment bridges do NOT allow through body stringing like the stock MIA bridges do (because the older MIA Fenders didn't either).
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I have a Badass II on my MIJ Fender Jazz(Geddy Lee model), I like it, it is definitely an improvement over the standard bent steel plate bridge that Fenders come with, better string stability, better sustain, better tone(IMHO), etc, the bass came with it stock and it does the job well.

    But if I were to replace the stock bridge on a Fender myself, I woudl go with either a less expensive one, such as a Scaller or a Gotoh, or a very nice, pricey one like a Kahler or ABM.
  7. Just a small correction - the BadAss was the first aftermarket bridge - essentially marketed to the Gibson owners to replace the floating bridge like those on the EB series. I bought one in 1976 for my Precision and was instantly wowed at the increase in sustain and clarity. The BadAss II is a more recent introduction (how old I don't know) but it's considered more suitable for Fender type instruments. For one thing, it's less thick but has a slightly larger area.

    Brianrost and embellisher are right with their recommendations. I have 2 Fender MIJITSO's, one fretless, one fretted. The fretless has an ABM, probably the finest piece of machinery available as a bridge. It's made from billet - that is, carved from a single piece of metal. It's finish and workmanship are unrivaled. It's also VERY expensive at over $100 for a 4 string model. The fretted has been fitted with a Schaller. These IMO are the best value in a high mass bridge you can get. They retail for $50 or less and have all of the adjustments you need. I am currently fitting one to the bass I'm building but I am modifying it for stringing through the body. This is a fairly easy process as the structure of the Schaller is well suited to this slight change. Another high mass bridge that is affordable and strings through the body is the Gotoh 206 ( This is a nice high mass bridge with adjustments but is slightly smaller in footprint than the Schaller.

    Probably more than you really wanted to know eh?
  8. Thanks guys...
    Are their any other bridges that allow for the string through body type? I like that better than when the bridge has slots, just a better feel. And also, what are the prices? I'm broker than all hell, btw :D
  9. If you aren't into modifying a Schaller, you should definitely look into the Gotoh 206 for stringing through the body. They aren't expensive ($40 at Warmoth) and are a well engineered piece. You can also get them in chrome and black.
  10. It's pretty easy to modify a Badass II for thru-body stringing- just drill holes in the string channels in line with the fixing screw holes. it works fine on the bass I'm building. getting the screws to line up on a new American Standard might be tricky (3 screw fixing?)
    is it the Schaller 3D bridge you're referring to, Hambone? the saddles on mine look as if you'd have to file away a lot of metal to allow a clear path for the string to the holes through the baseplate.
  11. MTR, it's the Schaller Roller bridge. I don't know what else to call it but it has "Made in Germany" "US Pat. DBP" cast in the underside.

    The modification is a bit different from the one you've described for the BadAss. Instead of having the strings pass over the saddle and down through the chassis, I've got the strings going their usual route and passing through the body AFTER the bridge. This doesn't allow for this type of setup on a Fender with thru body stringing because it would put the bridge too far forward of it's proper location. It works well for my purposes since the bass was designed for the bridge. All I've done is to file a series of round notches just under the string holes on the back of the chassis for clearance as they turn down through the body.

    If all goes well, construction should be completed in the next couple of weeks.
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Leo Quan's BadAss II's have probably been around for at least twenty years:D
  13. yeah, the Schaller 3D bridge I've got on my P-bass Plus has roller saddles.
    I see how your method of thru-stringing works- a bit like on the Gibson RD Artist, but with the string ends hidden by the bridge.
    But I assumed that the main difference in the tone (and feel of the string) from thru-stringing comes from the steeper break angle and greater pressure on the saddle, which you wouldn't get by passing the strings through after the bridge - what's the true story?

    I got annoyed with the saddles moving on the Schaller when changing strings, and I read that the roller saddle design affects tone and sustain (?), so I superglued them in position, and also opted for the badassII on the new bass I'm building to see the difference (not much, so far).

    I saw a 5string Kawai bass with the schaller 3D5 bridge with the B string strung through the body (going through the baseplate).

  14. I've sort of made the assumption that all of the strings vibration isn't quelled at the saddle. If we are to assume that things like body woods make a difference in tone then that would have to be true. I also believe that part of the tone imparted by thru body stringing is from increased sonic coupling of the strings and bridge to the body. I also think that the break angle has less and less to do with this coupling after proper string tension (for tuning) is accomplished. My reasoning is this - no matter the angle at which a string bends over the saddle, all downward pressure is a product of the radius of swing measured from the anchored end of the string to the saddle. As long as the string is anchored behind and below the saddle, I believe that the downward force is the same for most any angle used in a bass at a given string tension. Now, that is not to say that this angle also affects string tension, it does not. But it does produce a downward force on the bridge and it is that "compression" that creates the sonic coupling I have mentioned.

    My reason for constructing this type of bass was to get some of that tone that is characteristic of thru body stringing and as a luthiery excercise. I had never done this type of arrangement before and wanted to give it a try.
  15. I agree totally that string tension is not affected at all by the method of stringing- only by variations in pitch and string mass (and scale length).
    And also about the thru-body string tension acting downwards on the bridge into the body regardless of the break angle (as opposed to acting upwards when anchored from the back of the bridge) resulting in a change in tone.

    However, I have to disagree about the role of the break angle- if you take the other end of the bass, it's well-known that the A-string is a lot easier to lift out of the nut than the other strings (less downward force) on a traditional Fender, due to the shallower break angle between the A-string machinehead and the nut than the E-string machinehead/string tree on the D and G.
    The staggered machineheads on some guitars (or just an angled-back headstock) allow similar break angles for all the strings, more downforce on the otherwise problematic strings (without the need for string trees) and less buzzing at the nut, even though the string tension for each string remains the same.

    I think that having a steeper break angle at the bridge puts more force on the saddle contact point, reducing any vibration of the string between contact point and anchor point (a clearer tone?), and makes the string feel stiffer, presumably as the string cannot bend as easily (in the plucking plane of movement) between the saddle and the anchor point.

    I understand that this is a very controversial area, though....
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Replacement bridges do change the sound of the bass in most cases...whether it's an improvement or not is up to the listener. I like my two passive Jazzes with their original bridges much more than with the BadAss II. YMMV
  17. MTR, we aren't far off in our understanding and agreement of the downforce issue. My observation was only of the downforce created at the bridge end. That angle, even with different bridges, is all within a range that produces similiar downforce. I do, however, recognize an essential problem with bridges that create a near 90º break angle over the saddle. My Kawai, because of the intonation setting, does this and I don't like it at all. I think that this radical angle can shorten string life by opening up the outside windings and crushing the inside ones. It shortens the string so that all stretching during tuning is done from the point of this radical bend to the nut at the neck. It also requires the core the bend itself over the distorted case windings and that can't be good. YMMV!

    I think we both agree that the nearer to 90º and 0º (in relation to the face of the guitar) downforce is minimal. In the case of a string at 90º most of the tension produces a lateral force literally pushing the saddle towards the neck. And, like you pointed out happening at the headstock end, a near 0º angle over the saddle stops harmonics but doesn't hold the string in place. At some point these two forces counteract (or work with) each other and make for a well seated string and saddle.

    There is probably an entire college physics course dedicated to the study of these forces. :)
  18. yeah, on the American Standard and Deluxe Fenders the string path through the bridge looks pretty brutal, especially as it passes through the bridge baseplate. on the badassII I've filed the drilled holes to round off the edges and reduce wear - I'll just have to see how the strings stand up to heavy use.

  19. stewart8980


    Apr 11, 2008
    Rhode Island
    im prety much an amateur, but i want an upgrade from my mexi j-bass bridge. would a badass II be good for that? (i know nothing about this area of tecnicality)
  20. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Yes. The quick answer is that if it's not string-thru the body and has 5 mounting screws, it's a BA II. If it is strung-thru body (newer American models) and has 3 mounting screws, it's a BA III.