bridge contact importance?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Bazzy, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. Bazzy


    Oct 23, 2007
    Hi all --

    I seek superior knowledge to counter what I believe might be set-up voodoo. I dealer tried to sell me a replacement bridge (of his own design) for my p bass today. His theory is that since the saddle on a standard Fender bridge is resting on the ends of adjustment screws, that not enough vibration from the strings is transfered to the body. His design has more contact between the saddle and bridge.

    This makes sense in an acoustic instrument, but since the sound on an electric is actually produced by the vibration of the metal string over the pickup, what effect, if any, does the bridge have? I know that there are proponents of different bridges, but what I would like to know is 1) what is the real effect, rather than the perception, and 2) have there been any blind tests to back up claims of any bridges superiority?

    I am here to learn, teach me,

    A good bass line will get more butts on the dance floor than beer.
  2. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician - Retired
    Where does he think the vibrations go?

    Another way to look at it is that the screws focus the vibrations onto the body instead of being diffused through the mass of the bridge.

    Each type of bridge has different characteristics in terms of mass, energy dissipation, etc. You choose what you like - it may be different from a typical Fender but not necessarily better.
  3. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    got a picture/link to te bridge you are talking about?
  4. Bazzy


    Oct 23, 2007
    Hi --

    You can check out the bridge at
    Its a nice piece of engineering, I'm just not sure the theory behind it is sound. I'd love to hear recordings of the same bass before and after a replacement. I'll have to explore the site I just posted more. I only found it now in response to cntlb.

  5. PrivateHigh

    PrivateHigh Guest

    Jul 19, 2009
    Long Island
    All the modern "improvements" to fender design take away the charm IMO. Original bent plate bridge seems to work/sound best for classic fender vibe.
  6. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    it's certainly a clever way to have adjustability and solid part-to-part locking.

    as for whether it's better or not, the "high-mass vs. low-mass" bass bridge debate has apparently been raging here for years.

    the only drawback i see is that you can't palm-mute because the string's witness point is recessed; a minor problem on a bass, but a non-starter for a guitar bridge.
  7. T-Bird

    T-Bird Guest


    There was a thread about the design a while ago.

    That's a product designed by an engineer, not by an end user.

    While from the engineering viewpoint it may seem perfect, mass producing it will not be feasible and the product will eventually dissapear. IMHO of course.

    That's kinda shame, it's well engineered.

    The lack of palm muting was one of the reasons Les Paul wanted the trapeze bridge Ted McCarty had on the original prototype to be repalced with his "stop bar" type which had the strings on top instead of the bottom of the bar. (Gibson Electrics: A.R Duchossoir)

    That's the nail in the coffin for guitar use, like said above. IMHO of course.

    For the bass use it might work, but I think there's better alternatives available for less money.

  8. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    looking at the pics of the bridge, the string seems to have varying contact with the bridge, depending n hight...not ideal.
    The naimish bridge which also uses that pivot thing does not have that .
    Magnusguitars also have a bridge that works on this principle...
  9. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Personally, I think it's over-engineered.
  10. I like it. I know from past experience that the more contact you have between the bridge and the body, the more sustain you have. So why would that not also apply to the saddle/bridge contact? How much is that unit?
  11. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    That full contact bridge doesn't look good for palm-muting.
  12. Florox

    Florox Guest

    Feb 8, 2008
    Bayamon, Puerto Rico
    I love how Richard Naimish was the one to bring the "bridge contact" concept to the table, then critized because , apparently, high mass bridges it's where it's at, and then everyone tries to employ the concept on their newer bridges. I hope Naimish starts doing bridges again, because I definetly want one, and you can definetly see that the Naimish bridge is more efficient than all these horrible copies.
  13. It looks to me that as you raise the saddles, the intonation (string length) changes. Am I right?
  14. T-Bird

    T-Bird Guest


    Yes You are.

    It's not a big deal though, easy enough to compensate.
    That's a "feature" that bugs all the claimed full contact production bridges regardless of the manufacturer.

  15. RickBlacker

    RickBlacker Guest

    Jan 13, 2010
    Looks like a good design. Very solid looking.
  16. cobberbass10

    cobberbass10 Guest

    Mar 18, 2008
    Good Observation!
  17. Tusec

    Tusec Guest

    Jan 10, 2010
    Without even looking at that design you should suspect it's voodoo because:

    1) It seeks to solve a problem that doesn't exist. The stock Fender bridge does a perfectly fine job of conducting string energy into the body.

    2) The designer seems to be the same guy who developed that wacky acoustic guitar bridge with the string mounting points fanned out across the top, which I'm pretty sure is a bogus concept. So right off the bat he's got a credibility problem in my book.

    Actually looking at the design, the problem I see is that it relies on contact between two circular surfaces. Since their radii will never precisely match, the contact area will be more like a point than a broad surface. So his whole modus operandi is kind of shot down right there.

    But this really doesn't matter, since acoustical energy is perfectly happy to flow through a small area of contact, as long as the materials involved are rigid so there is no (or very little) local deformation. Being made of metal, his bridge meets this requirement and therefore should work just fine, just as a Fender bridge does.

    So basically he's managed to accomplish with a complex, close-tolerance machined piece what Leo Fender did with a piece of bent steel and some screws.

    ....Thus confirming Leo's genius yet again.
  18. Gab124

    Gab124 The path is greater than the destination

    Dec 30, 2006
    I really like the adjustment simplicity of it. I hate two screws per saddle for action. I also have never liked how traditional bridge saddles would move on me and this one should not. Though, currently I have a hipshot A bridge and am perfectly happy; I think ;)
    I like innovation, it keeps us from living in the old days.
  19. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    well, the real traditional saddles are the threaded rod versions, and they don't move around, because the string spread is usually set a little wider than the saddle spacing; this forces the outer saddles in against the inner ones, holding everything together nicely, and giving a bit more sustain and clarity as well.

    the later ones with the single groove per saddle actually force the saddles apart, a terrible design.

    it's this

    vs. this