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Bridge recommendations for a fretless bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by stretchcat, Apr 26, 2006.

  1. I am preparing to assemble a 4 string J style fretless bass from a USACG body and neck. I have not purchased a bridge yet. The bridges I was considering are as follows:

    Gotoh 201: I have read that the plate is thicker and the saddles are large which may require a neck shim.

    Hipshot A or B: These sound like good candidates, but I am wondering how thick they are on the bottom. I like the idea of them being made of alluminum for lighter weight. (My fretted Warmoth with a Gotoh 206 is pretty heavy.)

    Fender stock style

    The body is used by the way and has already been drilled for both stock Fender and Hipshot.

    Does anybody have any insight as to which bridge would most likely NOT require a neck shim and be lightweight at the same time?

  2. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    I'm actually actually building a fretless too and I have elected to use just a stock fender style bridge. i came to this decision as I recently spent some time with a very well established bass player who almost exclusively plays basses that he builds (he has built 13). He swears by the classical fender style bridges cause to him they are all you need and are every bit as adjustable as other bridges. I played his basses and I was convinced.

    However, if you are more inclined to trick things out and go for some fancy aftermarket hardware, I would highly recommend a Schaller Roller Bridge. It has a very high density, low-profile construction for great action and sustain and it is very adjustable. The saddles are rollers that the strings sit on. This has a few advantes:

    1) It is easier on strings as there is no friction when tuning and detuning

    2) Tuning is more accurate given the reduced drag from the rollers

    3) The rollers sit on threaded axles so you can also use them to adjust the action laterally, i.e. you can alter the string spacing.

    I had 2 basses (a peavey foundation and an Ibanez Musician) that were modded with a roller bridge. I did an A/B comoparison and both were dramatically better than the all-stock version of the basses and I am more than positive it was entirely because of the bridge (it was the only mod!).

    Hope this helps. Good luck to you.
  3. Thanks Roger!

    Actually a friend of mine has a spare bridge from a Fender '75 Reissue that I can try out before buying a bridge. I would just buy his if it does the trick, but I need a black one to match my other hardware. Where will you be getting your stock-style Fender bridge? Stewart MacDonald?
  4. jeffhigh


    May 16, 2005
    There is a good chance you will need to shim anyhow just to make up for the lack of fret height so I would chose the bridge you want regardless of plate thickness and just shim as needed
  5. ejm customs

    ejm customs

    Apr 27, 2006
    I've used the hipshot B style and been satisfied with the results. The plate is machined alum. and the barrels are solid brass (I think?) What's nice is there is not a lot of wiggle room between saddles, and the plate has walls on the outside to keep things in place, if nothing else its more comfy when you rest your hand on it while picking. As for the height of the plate, it's not much (if any) thicker that the stamped steel fender style. Mounting it requires only two holes and it is very easy to get it centered as the mounting holes on the bridge are elongated for lateral adjustment. It costs about $46 and comes in black. Check the string spacing though, because it is fixed. A style bridges are adjustable that way.

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