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Bridge Upgrade Question

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by CS88, Jul 4, 2014.

  1. CS88


    Jun 29, 2014
    Hey folks,

    First time poster. Been observing for a bit, but you all seem like an awesome community and I figured I'd join in! I have a question about a bridge upgrade.

    The back story: I'm an intermediate bass player who is not a virtuoso by any means but can hold his own carrying the rhythm of a hard rockin band up on the stage. I've recently taken up an interest in customizing/modding/upgrading basses, so I bought an Epiphone Tobias Toby used and on the cheap with the intent on putting int some effort into upgrading it a little bit.... the idea being that if I mess up, I'm not out too much cash for what I paid for the bass itself. For the money, this bass was a great purchase... the neck plays fast, smooth and with a little adjusting the bass feels very good. I've already upgraded the pickups and the bass is now VERY enjoyable to play.

    This brings me to the bridge. The bridge seems, to me at least, to be of cheap quality and worthy of an upgrade. I'd like to upgrade the bridge but I'm having a hard time finding the right replacement online. The bridge is mounted by four screws on the corners that appear to be aligned evenly and are evenly spaced. Some internet searches, so far, have yielded few results. This is perhaps due to my inexperience on bass modding/upgraded.

    Nonetheless, I have decided to seek consult from you awesome folks here at talkbass. I've included a screenshot of the bass's current bridge and I am open to suggestions on some worthwhile upgrades.

    Thanks guys!!

    Attached Files:

  2. It looks like you have some sort of Fender bass or something?
  3. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    ANY upgrade has to start with an assesment of the SPECIFIC limitations or problems with existing hardware and precise understanding of what will change. Otherwise you're only making changes and in no way upgrading anything. So, what exactly fo your expect. An operational definition. If you can't do that, don't bother making changes.

    Now if you just want to see for yourself what differences changing the bridge does or does not make, then just get anything different and see if it makes any difference.
  4. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013
    Hipshot. I wouldn't upgrade if nothing is wrong with though. I got a piece of trash that Came on my p when I got it. I bought a hipshot. Don't regret it.
  5. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    Only one photo, but I don't see anything wrong with the one you have-
    in fact, it would be an upgrade over lots of other stock bridges:
    it looks thick enough to not bend under tension,
    has saddle slots to keep them from wandering around,
    the finish looks good,
    looks like a good break angle over the saddles...
    maestrovert likes this.
  6. Grissle


    May 17, 2009
    That's already a nice bridge you have there. Unless you need something with adjustable string spacing changing bridges won't have much of an impact. I have Hipshot and Badass II bridges which tighten up the lows a little but are less open sounding than my threaded Fender bridges which are my favorite.
  7. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I see nothing wrong with that bridge, it's a variation on the basic Fender style bridge. Is there a specific issue with the bridge you are trying to address?
    hdracer, newyorkiddo and maestrovert like this.
  8. Personally, I hate bridges that have hole that you have to thread the strings through instead of a slot, but other than that it does look like a decent bridge. If it was me, I'd change it for that reason alone. If you're going to change, don't worry too much about the screw pattern as long as the new bridge will cover the old screws. It is important to measure the string spacing from the center of one string to the center of the next. Also, it's probably a good idea to mark the scale length (measuring from the front of the nut) so that you have a good guide for where the saddles should be placed. White chalk should work on that finish and come off easily when you're done.

    As to what bridge would be a good upgrade, not knowing what your budget is makes it more difficult but I've always liked ABM bridges, though Hipshot is a pretty close second.
  9. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Have to agree with my learned brethren above. Unless you're having a functionality issue (...and we could probably fix that), leave it be. Looks to be of decent quality for a bent-plate bridge.

  10. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    ^Total BS^
    So "I want to" is not reason enough to upgrade? And trust me, a full assessment of SPECIFIC limitations is an entirely subjective thing. If there was a standardized process by which limitations or problems could be uniformly detected and compared to a known and widely accepted standard, then your contention would be somewhat valid, but any judgment of a limitation or problem in an electric bass is strictly a personal opinion and as such requires no further justification than "I want to".

    Some people consider string buzz to be a problem and work hard to totally eliminate it by changing every component on their bass until they discover the culprit.

    Others have s small amount of buzz and accept it as part of that particular instruments "character"

    Still others will take a buzz free bass and adjust it until it produces a certain amount of buzz.

    Who's right about the buzz? The correct answer is all three players are right. It's their bass and their money and their satisfaction. Just because you don't agree does not make them wrong, it simply makes the two of you different.

    The guy is not asking why his bass has a problem, nor did he ask for an explanation of why he's messing up or if what he's doing is the "right" thing to do.

    All he's asking is if anyone can point him in the direction of an aftermarket bridge that will fit his bass.
  11. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    He got his answer: Hipshot, ABM, Badass...and I'm sure more will follow. This is TalkBass and we're known for dissecting topics of discussion whether warranted or not. On a more constructive note: the OP may have difficulty finding something desirable in the same screw pattern. In this case, I would focus on string spacing, baseplate dimensions, and saddle travel back 'n forth / up & down. In all likelihood, an upgrade may require plugging of existing holes and the drilling of new. I've seen several threads as of late that provide tips re: centering, etc.

    Pilgrim likes this.
  12. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    But that's NOT an "upgrade", simply a change.
  13. So...OP....do whatever you want since I don't think we're much help..XD.
  14. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    ++ ^^
    'What' is an 'upgrade'? That's subject to a lot of differing opinions for a lot of varying reasons. Just a change, 'cause I wanna' may very well NOT BE an upgrade.
    Looking for lighter weight? Heavier?
    For lower/ higher action?
    Diff string spacing?
    Another color?
    The 'Name'?
    Don't like saddles sliding all over?
    Ease of string change would be a good reason,
    as would allowing thru-body stringing if that was desired.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014
  15. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Semantics? Really...Really??? That's all you've got???

    OK Mr. wizard, please explain the method used to determine when a simple change becomes an upgrade.

    IMO if an individual wants to make changes to their instrument using their money, and said individual considers any of those changes an upgrade, then it's an upgrade.

    I've put babicz bridges on 2 of my basses and it improved the playability of both basses. I can't tell if there is any difference in tone, but the bridge saddles don't slip and slide and my string height and intonation stays where I set it. For me, swapping out those bridges was a definite upgrade, yet there are plenty of people who will still say I screwed up by swapping out the bridges, because they don't have the same problems with the bridge style that was driving me crazy, or even more outrageous, I used the "wrong" bridge.

    I personally believe spending a crap ton on an old Fender just because it's old is silly, but I don't go into those discussion threads and tell people how badly they are messing up by spending so much on something so easy to fake. It's not my money or satisfaction that's at stake when someone else spends north of 5K for an old bass that could well be a fake, so why should I try to dampen their enthusiasm for no other reason that I don't agree with what they are doing.

    Don't feel too bad though, I race toy cars and we have to suffer frustrated hall monitors there also.
  16. We academics love a "discussion". IMO there are two kinds of "upgrades", one being simply visual: the owner likes the look better. The second is functional: the owner either (a) has a problem to corect or (b) imagines there is a problem that can be corrected.

    IMO most of the "upgrades" inquired about here are in the first category - the owner wants something that looks nicer to them. A lot of the other questions relate to 2 (b), in which the owner imagines a bridge will solve some perceived problem.
  17. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    "If it aint broke don't fix it"
    Looks like a fine bridge to me.
    hdracer likes this.
  18. CS88


    Jun 29, 2014
    Thanks for the input guys. Appreciated. Nothing particularly wrong with it... This is just my "experimental" bass that I'd just like to play around with. To me, it plays very well for lower level/entry. I'm just getting more and more into customizing and learning what's what in the world of hardware upgrades. My intention is to see if I can progressively keep on making it sound/play better through upgrades... Even though I'm not necessarily dissatisfied with it's current feel/sound.

    With that said, I'd prefer not to drill any extra holes into the body if possible.
  19. elBandito


    Dec 3, 2008
    Rotten Apple
    IBrige looks solid. 'd put the money towards new pickups or maybe a preamp.
  20. CS88


    Jun 29, 2014
    Pickups have been done. Any suggestions on pre amps? This particular bass is a j style
  21. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    I say stop wasting your money. Sell it and buy a nicer axe. But for bridges the Babicz is great. Hipshot is nice too.

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