Bridge materials die cast vs brass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by gimmeagig, May 7, 2018.

  1. gimmeagig

    gimmeagig Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2004
    Coeur D'Alene,Idaho
    I just bought a Brice HXB 6 string bass. I'm going to do some upgrades to it.
    The bass has a nice quick release bridge on it already. According to the website it is die cast.
    I kind of like to keep it but I relly like the sound of Hipshot Brass bridges.Aluminum not so much.
    I don't know what die cast is? I think Badass bridges are from die cast. How is it different from Aluminum or brass in the way it resonates?
  2. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    Die cast can be any metal. It is usually zinc. You have now tapped out my knowledge on metallurgy.
    Christine and zortation like this.
  3. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    I prefer lumps of machined metal which die cast aren’t.

    Die cast is molded metal. Most are powdered metal packed into a mold and baked. Your Brice, being Asian, makes me think of all the problems I’ve seen here with cast Asian bridges. Ibanez quick release Ball lugs bending. Base plates bending if its Fender type screw patterns, etc. I don’t trust Asian casting over the long term.

    You can’t go wrong with Hipshot. If it fails they’ll fix you up.

    Resonate? Schmesonate. Any heavy metal bridge is going to sound so similar, you can't put any stock in marketing hype.
    Badwater likes this.
  4. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    I prefer machined metal from a block of dense metal over brass or cast. But sometimes, I'll accept what the instrument has. MusicMan uses a heavy gauge thick stamped metal plate that does a great job on the Ray34.

    Brass is soft, cast is brittle in most cases. That's why I prefer the machined or stamped heavy gauge metal.

    Others will have different preferences for what they like. Nobody is right or wrong in preferring one over the other. There are pros and cons to each, as long as you know what pros you want, and what cons you can accept, you're good to go.
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
    96tbird likes this.
  5. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Suspended Supporting Member

    David Winter - The Bothy.jpg As others have said "die-cast" is a method of making something, and not what the something is made of. It's possible to make a die-cast part out of just about anything that you can pour, that will turn into a solid. This David Winter cottage, for example, is die-cast using a type of liquid stone. Sturm, Ruger Firearms uses die-cast steel parts a lot. But, they're very good - and careful - when they do it. Die-casting results in parts that require minimal finishing; as opposed to machining something out of billet. Much less expensive and time consuming, too. And, if it's cast correctly, then properly heat-treated, it will be every bit as strong as the billet part. But, it won't have the cachet that "Billet" carries... But, yes, the weakness of zinc alloy itself, combined with the fact that it's highly popular for die-casting things (like the cap pistols some of us had as kids) is probably what's given die-casting a bad name...
    The procedure that 96tbird is referring to is called sintering. It's a useful process if you want something that's somewhat porous, and not particularly strong, structurally. "Oilite" bearings, for instance, are sintered bronze; bronze wears well, and, being sintered, has lots of pores to hold oil. It's possible to make structural parts out of sintered metal, but it's complicated - and expensive. Die-casting is better for that...:whistle:
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
    mech likes this.
  6. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    True enough, powdered metal casting isn’t truly die casting. It is a common misnomer used in marketing powdered metal castings though.
  7. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I think the old Badass bridges were “sintered”, which is compressing metal powder in a mold under high heat and pressure. Zinc is fine in compression, but not great in tension, which is why the old Ric bridges “lifted”, the new ones are thicker castings with ribs. I don’t think it makes any difference in tone, but Hipshot seems to be doing amazing things with aluminum castings, or maybe they are matchining them from billet stock? The Hipshot Ric brass bridge is very nice, but a lot heavier than aluminum. If the goal is to counteract a neck diver, machined brass might be better for balance.
  8. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Hipshot's stuff is usually milled. The vintage bridge is stamped.

    Cast usually means zinc. I had a Badass bridge decades ago. In those years, we sweated a lot on stage. The zinc pitted pretty badly after a while.
    96tbird likes this.
  9. gimmeagig

    gimmeagig Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2004
    Coeur D'Alene,Idaho
    I took the bridge off the Brice bass a few days ago. It is pretty heavy. I wanted to get some heavier screws, the original ones were short and didn't really grab the soft alder wood that the bass body is made of. So for the bigger screws I had do drill out the holes in the bridge a little. The metal is bright silver but it is not aluminum. The bridge is very heavy. I thought I might replace it with a Hipshot brass, but seeing how heavy it is, I will keep it. I will replace the existing nut with a Graph Tech black tusq. I did that to one of my other basses and it was an astonishing difference in sound.
  10. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    There are only a few colored metals, most are 'silver' colored. Check to see if it is magnetic; that will tell you if it contains a significant amount of iron. There are also only three or four metals that display magnetic properties.
  11. gimmeagig

    gimmeagig Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2004
    Coeur D'Alene,Idaho
    I mainly don't like aluminum for bridges.I think that heavy bridges sound best, I don't think I would be able to tell the difference between this heavy die cast on my Brice and a Hipshot Brass bridge.(and I have several on other basses).
  12. Christine

    Christine Guest

    Aug 3, 2016
    I'm not quite sure just how much difference it makes. I know a solid bridge sounds very different to a bent tin bridge, I know brass saddles in my Hipshot sound different to stainless ones too but I cant tell much of a difference if any between an all brass bridge and the Hipshot Kickass (die cast) with a brass saddle. My own thinking is as long as it's rigid enough to not vibrate and in intimate contact with the body then it will be to my liking.

    That said I play Thunderbirds with the 3 point bridge and love those too :) I think anything is better than bent tin personally