Bridge mass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by jumbosilverette, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. I've read many people's suggestion that a bigger bridge, ie. Quan, Gotoh, etc. translates to better/longer sustain. Is this an objective fact or speculation. So my questions are...

    Does greater bridge mass generally translate to better sustain? Or are the scrawny metal bridges found on most production basses sufficient?
  2. The Craw

    The Craw

    Jul 31, 2006
    I've never had a problem with lack of sustain on a stock bridge except for an old Guild with that sheet metal/rosewood saddle bridge contraption.

    Any good acoustic guitar builder will tell you that the heavier the bridge,the less string energy reaches the body. More energy is retained in the strings. In theory that ought to increase sustain, but I suspect it depends on the particular bridge design.
  3. poppamies


    Dec 15, 2002
    You are totally right "Craw". This is one reason I don't understand the need of "badass" type bridges at all. To benefit from all the different body woods used on different basses the string vibrations need to be transfered to the body. The heavier the bridge is, the less vibration is transfered. It's just as simple as that. Maby sustain is increased with a heavy bridge but you definitely loose sensitivity and color.
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I don't ever hear a difference between one type of bridge or another.
  5. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    I just spent an hour or so with two luthiers last week over this very question. Both are highly respected in my area and one has worked on many pro's guitars and owns a national string company. The shops will install anything you want Badass etc and for a good price. I own a new MIM fender Jazz and was questioning the bridge and wanting a Fender american repalcement before i found out the string spacing might be diffrent than the mexis. The luthiers agree too much bridge mass reduces color, and attack to the wood body and one said its more magic beans to sell to players to try to find the holy grail of sound. They said good wood , strings and tech and playing style contibute more to your tone and sound than a baddass ever could. Now these guys are in the biz to sell repairs and add-ons and both said i would be wasting money on bridge replacement of any kind unless it was faulty. I giged with this bass last weekend and i sustained notes at the end of songs and in a few times i can in a song or two and had to mute the note or choke it off everytime. I now know why would i need more and the bridge is fine...i'll save my money...which is how i felt really all along i just wanted expert advice.
  6. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    I hav a fren who swears by badass and claims that after changing his stock bridge to a badass his sound become punchier, articulates better and has more sustain....ive considering changing to a badass
    but not sure if my fren is right
  7. poppamies


    Dec 15, 2002
    Well, if you would have invested 100 - 150$ (depending on color) in a replacement bridge you sure would like to tell your friends some good news, wouldn't you?
    I have a friend who put back the original Fender bridge after playing several years with a badass. He was amazed that the bass sounded that much nicer with the original bridge.
  8. The Craw

    The Craw

    Jul 31, 2006
    There was an Alembic factory tour article in BP back in the mid 1990s. Mica Wickersham was explaining that they use a heavy brass bridge with a heavy sustain block underneath it so that the wood would affect the sound as little as possible and you could choose whichever exotic top you wanted without changing the tone of the bass. So obviously there are some people who like it that way, and that's okay too.

    But I never understood the claims about the Badass increasing sustain. It's heavier than a stock Fender bridge but it's diecast zinc. It's really not that heavy. And Quan claims it's better at transferring more energy to the body. If it's true, that would mean less sustain.

    Some bridges can waste energy because of vibration or some other bad design. I'm sure there are some that sound better than others. But I just don't buy that heavier is automatically better.
  9. xafofo


    Jul 1, 2005
    from a physics perspective, mass really isn't the main factor

    the rigidity of the bridge would probably be most important. ideally, a perfectly rigid bridge would not absorb any string vibrations (which would cause a non-rigid bridge to bend and warp and absorb energy) and 100% of the energy would be transferred to the body

    of course in the practical world, with the materials being used as bridges, there probably is some correlation between mass and rigidity

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