Bridge: Materials/Metals Used Question? (Zinc vs. Brass)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Modern Growl, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. I have a question about bridge material used on todays popular bridges. The Badass II which uses I believe zinc, and say..... a Hipshot, higher mass Style A or Style B that uses brass.

    What is the tone diffrence between zinc and brass?

    Might as well throw Steel and Aluminum in the mix as well for reference, but my main curiosity is zic/brass. (BadassII vs. Hipshot)

  2. so i'm guessing nobody know the diff between zinc and brass huh?
  3. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    The Badass II is a CAST Bridge. Zinc is easier and cheaper for casting. Brass is a good Machining metal and sounds good as it is also stronger in thinner spots.

    I prefer our own Machined Bridges to the Cheaper cast Badass II. We have used both in the old days but those days are long gone.
  4. do you know of a tonal diffrence?
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    It sounds more 'focused'...
  6. so there you have it. Ken Smith says a brass bridge, like(hipshot) would sound more focused the the infamous BadassII. Hipshot said the same exact word in an email, brass is more "focused" sounding. So if your thinking about a replacement bridge on your Fender and want a more "focused" sound, brass bridges (hipshot) is better then (more focused then) the Badass II.

    Stinks because I have a Badass II and really dont wan't to go thru the trouble of doing up another bridge *sigh*

    Mods, Mods, Mods... when does it end.
  7. Ostinato

    Ostinato Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Toronto ON
    Very imformalative. This will go a long way in extenuatin the fromulativistical possibilities of my retro-activities.
  8. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk

    I know this for sure. I replaced the aluminum Hipshot bridge on one of my basses with an identical one made of brass, and it made a difference. Not a huge one, but it was there. Just a bit tighter and richer. More "focussed"....? Well, using words to describe sound is very tough, but it was definitely an improvement.

    Another incident. I replaced the brass bridge on my Blade bass with a chrome one of the same design (Gotoh) and it turns out it is made of zinc. I say "turns out" because ever since then, something has been "not quite right" about the sound but I couldn't put my finger on it. On a hunch, I checked it out, and sure enough, the newer bridge (again, same exact model) was zinc instead of brass.


    Dunno, but I am ordering another bridge from Hipshot for another 5 I got and it's gonna be brass; that much I know.
  9. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    I'd be cautious about calling focused better. The marketing opposite of focused would be full range and uncolored. ;) Brass has also been referred to as a tone sink by some. So saying a Smith or brass Hipshot is better than a Bad Ass because of the metal is opinion and will vary. Saying the Smith or Hipshot is better because of the quick release string seats is true :)

    The high stiffness of aluminum has been attributed with being more sonically inert leaving more "tone shaping" to the wood than the metal. I like it cause it weighs less.

    Brass is also a mixture of zinc and copper. Ya can't hide from da zinc!
  10. WarriorJoe7

    WarriorJoe7 Banned

    Mar 12, 2004
    Syracuse, NY
    i want a copper bridge!
  11. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I have a troll living under my bridge.

    It makes the bass sound more trolly.
  12. Figas


    Sep 8, 2008
    Are there any machined steel bridges? Would it represent an advantage? :eyebrow:
  13. spkrwill


    Apr 24, 2005
    How about a deviance into wood/bone etc? I have a Godin Acoustibass, with a "plastic" 'string rest' (?) in what looks like a nice ebony bridge! The piezio is under that plastic! I want to extend the growl factor of its fretlessness! So, more ebony, bone, graphite? I'm looking for enough info to keep from making repeated tries and never knowing if I've gone far enough! An aside about aluminium- I once took the guts of a music box (I forget what it played) and spent an entire day winding it and putting it on every surface I could find! An aluminium plate outperformed every piece of wood, box or plank, I could find! Just in increase of volume, as I didn't have a portable spectrum analizer! So, any ideas on best material for extended upright growl? thanks....spkrwill
  14. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    +1 - I agree with all of the above statements, which is my I have the aluminum version of the Hipshot A bridge on my Mike Lulls, and the aluminum (black plated) version of the Spector bridge on my ReBop. In general, brass bridges add "something", some type of overtone to the high-end that's displeasing to my ears, which is why even if I played neck-thru Spector Euro LXs or USA Neck-Thru basses I'd still have them sub out the gold-plated brass for the black-plated aluminum.

    The old "2-Tek" bridge found on the higher-end Hamer Cruisebass in the mid-'90s was machined out for "Half-Hard Brass" for the fingers and aluminum for the base plate. Everything I've heard and read about it describes it as a Monster of sustain, tone, and a ton of weight at the back of your bass. ;) The advantages of it was that each string was isolated from each other so the could ring independently from each other. I'd imagine the modern-day equivalent would be Mono-Rail bridges that Ibanez uses on higher-end basses and Hipshot makes for custom instruments: they also isolate each string but don't surround them in a block of metal and instead anchor the string in the body of the bass, giving a more "organic" tone while keeping string-to-string vibration to a minimum.
  15. Mr. Ray

    Mr. Ray

    Feb 20, 2009
    There are other factors that effect the sound other than just what it made of. The simple traditional Fender bridges vibrant more with the body IMHO. Also the badass covers more area than a Gotoh. The angle of the strings on the saddles also has an effect. It goes on and on...Trial and error to see what works for one design "better" perhaps or just different.