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BAss bridges

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by lilvampboyx, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. lilvampboyx


    Sep 1, 2005
    Hello, I always wanted to know whats the differnce in bass bridges its obviously they look differnt and the work different but which bridges are better? and whats he differnce in sound...i have a 2 and a 4 saddle fender style bridge and i would like to use something else..what would it change other looks and would it make my bass sound better

  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't hear any difference whatsoever in basses where I've changed out bridges. To me, all they do is add weight. However, I'm not crazy about the two-saddle bridges and I probably would change one of them out to a Fender 4-saddle bridge. I much prefer low mass bridges like Fenders, but only because of the extra weight.
  3. What Jimmy has neglected to mention about many of the other bridges available is the additional features available in their design. To be a bridge on a bass, a piece of metal (or assembly of parts) simply has to hold the end of the string firmly and present a witness point for the string to have a place to stop vibrating. Once that task is accomplished it's a "bridge" by definition. Jimmy's favorite bridge surely does that but it adds two more adjustments that are helpful to the player - the capability to adjust the string height and intonate the individual string or adjust it's length to match the scale of the fretboard. For some that's all they want or need. For others, perhaps yourself, their skills and ear have advanced to the point that just having 2 adjustments isn't enough so they look at the aftermarket bridges seriously. Some are pretty advanced - if not in their concept, at least in their execution and assembly. You'll find that you can get bridges with adjustable string spacing, variable break angles across the saddles, top loading or string thru bridges, Tuning bridges that are the saddle and tuning mechanism all in one, bridges that offer a switchable "fretless" sound, bridges with pickups, and several other features. Sometimes it's not the fact that a bridge can do something but how it does it. Bill Machrone, editor of PC Magazine, built himself a bridge that uses a vertical screw in a split tapped hole to elevate the saddle. That's pretty clever in that it allowed more saddle contact with the rest of the bridge the way he did it. Changing the way things are done sometimes changes the way it's done to something better and the potential to discover that gets lost when closed minds think there's nothing to be gained in alternative ideas. There's also the subject of materials. Not all aftermarket bridges are "high mass" and no matter where you take sides on the high mass/low mass argument, you can have a bridge that fits your needs. The BadAss I bridges are steel with brass saddles - very high mass while the high end Wilkinson bridges have an aluminum chassis without the mass of the BA's at all. But no matter if it's high mass or low mass, bent tin or machined titanium, each has a different sound and each will sound different on every instrument it's installed on. That's why blanket statements about one bridge or one type of bridge can't be factual in every case because there are so many combinations and variables for anyone to know for certain. The ONLY way to know how one single bridge sounds on a single bass is to install it and listen - simple as that. Subjective judgements in audible things should be made objectively by ear.
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Duh...uh...yeah, bekoz i r vry dum nd i gotz no skillz.


    GFY, dude. I got plenty of skills and ear. Do you get flown around the country to play arenas like I do? I stated my opinion. You don't like it, tough.

  5. Geezerman


    Nov 28, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Not many people can say they know more about basses then hambone, please be respectful.
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sorry G-man, I didn't mean to be mean. I guess I should just let him insult me like that and say absolutely nothing because of his greatness.

    In the words of William Shatner, please don't tell me what to do. I respect those who respect me. Those who don't respect me get what they deserve. If they or you don't like it, then I suggest they and you ignore my posts.
  7. strummer


    Jul 27, 2005
    Not about sound, but the 2-saddle fender is not ideal becuse you will almost certainly need to compromise the intonation since you have to adjust the G/D and A/E strings together. So if I were you I'd replace that one anyway.

    About sound and bridges:
    Sure there are differences clearly audible when compared side by side, in my opinion mostly due to differences in mass (or weight), break angle and metal used. However, in my humble opinion the bridge isn't a real big sound divider, more like a choice of subtle spices.
    For instance the Hipshot type B can be aluminum or brass, and depending on specific sound qualities wanted one is better than the other.
    Another example is the Badass II, which has reduced break angle and different metals compared to an ordinary Fender bridge. Better? Different!
  8. My only wish would be that you were more instructive than dictatorial when it comes to your closely held opinions. You state them flatly, with a certainty that is admirable. But here, where the questions most often come from folks without much of a clue about anything, they need more than a brusque opinion offered by a faceless first name on the web. Your posts show no understanding of any view other than your own and without the discourse between people with opposing views there isn't any development of a new understanding of the principles involved. The idea is not just to know a fact, it's to give the question a little more background so that the answers are understood.
  9. Sorry JimmyM but there is a tone diffrence between diffrent bridges... I question your ears as well.
  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    "I don't hear any difference whatsoever in basses where I've changed out bridges. To me, all they do is add weight."

    You tell me what the hell is dictatorial about that and I will change it. I am not going to write in big bold letters: "WARNING---THIS IS JUST AN OPINION" when I answer questions. If you can't figure that out on your own, then sorry. Yeah, I've got closely held opinions on things...they are the result of over 30 years of experience and too much modding in the past. It's not like I'm some newbie who's played for a year and thinks he knows everything. And I sure didn't appreciate your insinuation that my ear isn't sophisticated enough to tell the difference.

    As for what MG said, yes, there are differences. And the vast majority of these differences are miniscule at best. And they usually involve adding sustain, which as you can see in the tagline quote in Strummer's post here, I have absolutely no use for. Sorry I don't see the value in changing out bridges. But that's the way it is.

    Oh, BTW...


  11. And so the story goes on. You make me the subject instead of the poster's question. Would you care to comment on the OTHER aspect of his question about the differences in bridges?...

    Though inexperienced, even lilvampboyx recognizes that there just might be more than one reason to want to change a bridge. You are loud about the tone thing - we know, we've heard it over and over. But what about the list of other features I mentioned in my post. Is it your opinion that there is no other reason to have any other bridge than a Fender style? THAT's what lilvampboyx was asking! It looks to me like you intentionally avoid all other issues when it comes to bridges so that you can continue arguing your opinion about tonal differences.

    Were you beaten with a BA when you were a kid? :D
  12. 4x4Given


    Jul 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Hmm... I was following this thread in hope of learning more about bridges.

    I am curious about the statement of...
    ""I don't hear any difference whatsoever in basses where I've changed out bridges."

    Followed by one that read...
    "...yes, there are differences..."

    Then this...
    "...they usually involve adding sustain."

    Now, personally, I consider myself somewhere between beginner and novice (5 years of playing in front of audiences in churches and a couple "party events") but I must comment that (to me) I can "hear any difference" if the sustain is altered.

    Additionally, I have seen bridges which offer altered tuning (usually dropped) which I'm certain I would "hear any difference" in. Some offer selectable muting, and I'm pretty confident that I would be able to "hear any difference" with one of these too.

    I'm wondering this... while it seems as if his statements might be somewhat contradictory, it *may* just be that the gentleman with years of experience and few words may not have used a bridge that altered the tonal qualities of his bass(es).

    I must say, in closing, that I do learn a LOT here at TB. And I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to those with experience and who are willing to share it, as well as to those who are in search of it and bold enough to step up and ask the questions.

    Peace and grace!
  13. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I like how you took those quotes of mine and manipulated them to say what you wanted without adding the part where I said the changes were minuscule at best. Creative.

    Dude, anyone can tell the difference between bridges with mutes and altered tunings. I mistakenly thought the original poster wanted to know the difference between bridges like Badass, Schaller, Fender, Gotoh, etc, and didn't need the differences with altered tunings and mutes spelled out.
  14. Unfortunately, you've used leaders into and out of your quotes and the text before and after the portions of the statements shown is very important to the subject too. But for the sake of the discussion and to satisfy your curiosity over these three seemingly contradictory statements:

    The first is a statement of fact formed from personal experience and isn't open to argument. Your mileage may vary.

    The second quip is a true statement because it simply isn't possible for all bridges to sound the same on all basses. It may even be true of the bridges referred to in the first statement BUT it doesn't negate the factual nature of the first statement.

    The third statement, in my opinion, is pretty much true because most aftermarket bridges are high mass models and those do increase sustain by isolating the string vibration and keeping it from passing into the body thereby losing energy and eventually dying. There are only a few additional features offered on bridges that have an audible effect and, even if the best ear were to hear that difference on the finest instrument, it would still only rate as a "nuance". I'm not talking about intonation adjustments which are pretty common.

    As I mentioned, there are models that aren't high mass. Like the Fender bent tin bridge, these differ by passing more and varied resonant frequencies into the body than a high mass bridge. What comes out of the amp is still going to be worked on by the body wood (a little) and the pickups and electronic chain (a lot more) so an accurate prediction of the tonal difference isn't possible but there will be some change. Audible to you or not, it's there.

    So there are more than tone reasons to change a bridge. When I do builds or customizations for clients, one of the most commonly asked for changes is to put a bridge on that has top loading capability to be able to quickly pop a string on. There's not desire for additional sustain or a tone change - it's just a popular feature.
  15. lilvampboyx


    Sep 1, 2005
    Thankyou for all the info.....i didnt mean to start a war....but i got some useful information...this is what I got out of..changing bridges can add\loose weight to the bass change the tone slightly? and it makes it easier to adjust the action and inntonation... im not trying to start another fight but does anyone have any experience with other bridge types and the tones they put out ie. badass II, hipshot. also will it help my bass have better tuning capabity
  16. lilvampboyx


    Sep 1, 2005

    Yes you completly understood what i was asking ..thankyou...
  17. What do you mean when you write "better tuning capability"? If your bass can't be tuned to pitch or it doesn't hold the pitch satisfactorily, a bridge change isn't going to help. Bridges are pretty much inert once they've been put into use. To help with tuning issues, you should look at your tuners. If it's the intonation you are talking about, that IS the bridge's function but the principle is to simply move the saddle forward or backward the get it adjusted and then keep it there. I'm not sure there's a clear choice in which bridge would do this better because it's such a simple action. Some seem to hold their place better but all of the quality bridges do it so well it would be splitting hairs to call one best.

    Something else that you've mentioned could be confusing. Bridges don't put out tones. They don't produce anything on their own - or shouldn't if they are working properly. In the perfect situation, all one would have is a string vibrating in air to make the note. A note from that string would be the clearest most unadulterated possible. Since we can't float a string and make it vibrate, we've got to anchor it and attach it to stuff to make the whole thing work. Everything we attach to the string (to make a bass) alters the way the string sounds. The bridge is no different. The bridge can absorb vibrations, or allow vibrations to pass through it into the body but they usually do a combination of both. Which ones getting passed or stuck are the key to how the bridges would alter the sound of a particular bass. So when we say that bridge X sounds like this ____ it means that's what it does with the tone of the bass we have it on. Take it off and put it on another bass and things could change dramatically. There's just no way of knowing with any real certainty. Experience might tell us that a BAII sounds like _____ on an ash body Jazz but even that could be different on a Precision (just an example - I don't know for sure). Likewise, experience could lead me to think that bridge X sucks on my bass but then, when you put it on yours, it sounds fantastic! It's just so difficult to make blanket calls when there are so many combinations out there.