Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

bridge difference

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by abriemzh, Apr 17, 2005.


  1. do different bridge give any difference to the tone???
    im planning to build a custom project, but still confused about the bridge. i have three options :
    -schaller bridge
    -hipshot A series
    -standard fender bridge
    do they have different character to the tone ???
     
  2. glwanabe

    glwanabe Guest

    Apr 21, 2002
    Depends who you ask. I can hear slight difference between my BAII equipped bass and my Fender bridge. I actually prefer the Fender bridge, Especially with flats. There is a reason why Fender keeps using this design. It provides a specific sound, To my ears, the bottom is fuller and allows for a more open sound. With a high mass bridge the attack is quicker and snappier with more mids present. Since I switch between rounds and flats at various times, and I do not like the way flats sound with a BAII bridge, I've put the Fender bridge back on, and I'am very happy with it. I also like the vintage full threaded saddles that allow for different string placement.

    You will get people with the opinion that Fender bridges are cheap, and should be replaced right away. While it may not be very expensive to produce, it is exactly the low mass aspect that allows it to sound the way it does. It is actually a very stong piece of metal. Players have strung very high tension flats through them for DECADES without that bridge bending.

    think about what sound your after, and what type of string you'll be using. You'll find the answer.

    BTW, If I did have two basses. One would be BAII equipped, and the other stock. I do like the sound, but only with rounds.
     
  3. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    There are two reasons:
    1.) It is cheaper, as it uses less metal. And easier to make, also. That's why Leo Fender started using it in the first place - the same reason as behind alder.
    2.) It provides a specific sound, as you say, the sound of a Fender with a low-mass, bent metal plate Fender bridge. It's the sound you grew up with (if you are over 25...) or the sound you've heard a lot of times from those traditionalists who grew up with that sound.

    The difference in this case is not realiability and strength - the body and neck are wood, so they are more critical parts. The difference is rather how the bridge handles and absorbs vibration, and how it adds it on to the body. There are differences in tone, and in sustain.

    But it all depends on you, as glwanabe said, it depends on "what sound your after".
     
  4. glwanabe

    glwanabe Guest

    Apr 21, 2002
    Well Frank I am over 25.

    Fender has made changes to the original bridge design. It has evolved over the years along with them trying various woods for their instruments. They are not frozen in time.

    I do not agree with the opinion that the low mass design is merely a price point for them. IMO, the low mass bridge allows for more string energy transfer to the body. A high mass bridge will isolate the string energy transfer.

    I agree that Mr. Fender used what was available, as to woods and other materials. It has been more than a few years since the bass was invented, and Fender has made several changes to the line. They now use various woods and other materials. They have improved and made changes as needed. Just look to the prototype, and then compare to the current line, it is quite different, but retains key items for that sound. I must also mention his other company's and those basses. He came up with different designs for a different type of sound. To me, we go from Precision to Jazz and then the Stingray. I think we would have seen the Stingray as the next step from the Jazz, even if he had continued to retain ownership. Pure speculation on my part. Added: Musicman instead of Ray.

    We all like different tones from our basses, and what works for one will not for another. Thats cool with me. You do have to take into account, how many pro musicians play Fenders as a matter of choice, and not because they can afford it. I do not have to play a Fender. I make a good living and could play most anything that I want. Fender basses sound good to me. I've played several other makes of basses that were quite nice. If I needed several basses I would have them.

    After all is said and done. I still hold the opinion that the low mass bridge is a valid design, as well as the high mass design. Choose the one you like best for a valid reason, not because someone else said it was cheap and sucked.
     
  5. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    I didn't say it was not a valid design; neither did I say it sucks.
    I said there are differences in tone between them: how they handle string vibration, how they transfer it to the body, how long is the sustain, etc. Choose the one that fits your playing style and tone desires.
     
  6. spidersbass

    spidersbass

    Nov 29, 2004
    Downtown L.A.
    in that case, which bridge has a long sustain with only one screw to adjust height? i plan on swapping out the one on my Ibanez SR.

    my style is pretty heavy. i'm a hard and heavy hitter. play a lot of metal and hard rock. i do play funk and jazz at times too though. but i prefer a really aggressive attack.
     

  7. In all honesty, I didn't notice a bit of difference replacing the bent piece of metal Fender bridge for a solid mass inertia block Badass II. The only time I noticed an appreciable difference is when I replaced the nylon saddled bridge on my EB-0 with a G&L bridge.

    If'n I were you- I might look into the String Saver Saddles. I break guitar strings like candy, especialy D and A strings. I replaced the saddles on all my guitars and I've probably halved my string breakage, and tuning is a lot easier. I can't say that there was any real change in tone or sustain, but they do what they do well.
     
  8. bazzanderson

    bazzanderson

    Oct 7, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I had a high mass foreign (Gotoh like) bridge laying around that I was considering using for a project. Well I decided to see if it would "drop in" on my Fender MIA Jazz Deluxe V. The foreign bridge has 6 attachment screw holes but the 4 interior attachment holes did match up perfectly with the 4 holes for the fender bridge. I did the swap then used a drill...using the ferrules as a guide to drill through the baseplate of the bridge so that I could string through like I did with the Fender bridge. I then re-strung it, intonated it and set the action (very low...yay) to me liking.

    Differences I notice right after the bridge replacement
    - Was easier to intonate and tune
    - No difference in sustain...seeing that I was going string through with the old Fender bridge.
    - Definite tone difference...subtle but it's there. No loss in lows at all...maybe a gain. Definite gain in highs and high-mids. Clarity improved alot. The strings have a very "piano" like ring to them now.
    - Still have the same dead spot on the 6th fret of the G string...although it doesn't seem quite as bad.
    - The strings (right hand playability) don't feel any different at all.

    So far I'm digging the tone difference alot. I might change back to the original Fender bridge if I get bored...but right now I'm pretty happy with the tone (I was happy before btw...this was just an experiment to see if I could discern a difference in tone.) Actually...I think I'll leave it on until the Leo Quan badass V drop in for MIA Jazz V comes out. Mr. Quan stated they were working on a direct replacement with holes for string through. Should be out in Aug05 or Sept05.
    -Bazz-
     
  9. bazzanderson

    bazzanderson

    Oct 7, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I went ahead and swapped out the high mass foreign bridge for a Badass V (which is a direct replacement for an MIA Fender 5 string). I've not plugged it in yet but acoustically it sounds even better...much louder. The dead spot on the 6th fret of the G string is gone now. I'm not stringing through the body because I didn't want to drill through the Badass V. Action is low. Hopefully when I rehearse tonight I'll love it as much as I do acoustically.
     
  10. In your opinion, how does this characteristic contribute to or enhance the tone of a solidbody design?
     
  11. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I have a geddy jazz with a moses graphite neck. the geddy comes stock with a bassass II. Trouble is it bottoms out before I can get the action low enough. I was thinking of putting a standard Fender bridge on so that i could get lower action. Plus if it gives more bottom I would welcome that as well.

    Opinions?
     
  12. GregP203

    GregP203

    Jul 1, 2005
    I have always felt that the bent sheet metal of the fender bridge absorbed transents and higher frequncies, as if the string was held in place with a spring, which is ok if you like that sort of thing. I don't.