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Bridge - what to look for, how to select

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by 83_Silberpfeil, May 31, 2017.

  1. 83_Silberpfeil


    Aug 15, 2011
    Hope I am posting on the appropriate section/forum.

    Wondering how to select a bridge for a new build --- what to look for. Currently play a vintage Yamaha BB1200S and also a Shergold Marathon 6 --- both using the stock bridge. They work fine.

    For the new build, it will likely be a flat top, chambered 4-string, full scale, with an ES 335 shape. Seems that Gotoh and Hipshot are the most mentioned around here. What makes a great bridge and what are the features to look for?

    If there's already an FAQ addressing my inquire, would appreciate a redirect.

  2. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    Well what does a bridge do? a) anchors the string; b) sets the spacing; c) provides for intonation; d) adjusts for action. So any bridge that provides for those four functions will be sufficient.

    Now, the factors to be considered next is, in no particular order, color, stringing method, aesthetics, cost, weight, and dependability. If you know the color you want, you can weed out those that aren't available in that color. If you already know what string spacing you want you can also eliminate those that won't provide for that spacing. Eliminate those which aren't aesthetically pleasing to you. Most bridges are, or at least can be made, dependable, I'd only be concerned about those that have a reputation for failure and eliminate them. Cost is the next factor I would be concerned about, but I wouldn't let that influence me too much, it's a one time cost. You'll also want to consider whether you want or care about, through body, or top loading, rather than threading through the bridge. That brings into play what type strings you want to use, if you are going to be using exclusively flats you probably don't want through body, simply because most flats aren't compatible with through body stringing. Top loading bridges are inherently weaker because of the slot required for top stringing; many manufacturers make the bridge stronger in that area but at the cost of a heavier bridge. So for light weight, the through bridge stringing is normally the way to go.

    Next, you are having a chambered body, that indicates you are concerned about weight, so I'd eliminate heavy bridges. Personally I'd first investigate MusicMan bent plate bridges (they have a lip that hides the ball end of the string), Fender bent plates, very dependable and economic, or the Hipshot Vintage bridge, they are very expensive for what they are, but hide the ball end like the MusicMan does.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
    Marihino, JRA and 83_Silberpfeil like this.
  3. 83_Silberpfeil


    Aug 15, 2011
    @sissy kathy --- thanks so much for providing the detailed items to look for. I will look into the bridges you suggested.

  4. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    The E335 body shape screams for a two piece bridge. Look at the Hipshot two piece.
    83_Silberpfeil and sissy kathy like this.
  5. 83_Silberpfeil


    Aug 15, 2011
    Thanks for the suggestion @96tbird --- Hipshots look really nice. One piece might be a bit less complicated to install for a new build. Total noobie here.
  6. 83_Silberpfeil


    Aug 15, 2011
    For the red bass pictured --- what sort of bridge is that? Recognize it is not easy to see, but what could be close version of that? Hooky Bass - Close Up.jpg Hooky Bass - Close Up2.jpg
  7. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    OP: regarding b), above: a few bridges allow for string spacing to be changed 'on the go' if you like that sort of thing. schaller 3D bridges allow for adjustable string spacing, but there are others. good luck! :thumbsup:
    83_Silberpfeil likes this.
  8. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    It looks like the Schaller 3D bridge that @JRA just mentioned.


    FYI that bridge is heavy, about 9 ounces. This bridge is one that could use some help, those adjustable rollers are on threaded rod that just sit in the saddles. When doing string changes it's pretty easy to lose the roller/bolt assembly. Applying a bit of blue or red loctite in the saddle notches where the bolts sit would go a long way to making that a worry free bridge. Personally, I'd take it further.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
  9. jamro217

    jamro217 Supporting Member

    Schaller roller bridge.
    83_Silberpfeil likes this.
  10. 83_Silberpfeil


    Aug 15, 2011
    @sissy kathy --- wow, amazed at the knowledge you have about bridges in general, and the Schaller 3D in particular. That helpful hint will go a long way. Very grateful. I will go with this one!
    Thanks to @jamro217 and @JRA for chiming in as well! It's a great FRI!!!

    JRA likes this.
  11. jamro217

    jamro217 Supporting Member

    Not 100% sure of this, but I think the overall size and placement of the three mounting screws on the Schaller is very close to that of the Badass I bridge. The Badass II is the direct replacement for a P bass.
    83_Silberpfeil likes this.
  12. hypercarrots


    Jan 28, 2009
    los angeles
    Peter hook’s first eccleshalls (hot and hot 1) used a Kahler tremolo bridge.

    His later eccleshall (hot too) uses a chrome version of this one
    Black Bass Bridge | Allparts.com

    And you’ve already found that the Viking 1 uses a Schaller bridge. Those saddles have a unique shape.

    You’ll want a lot of weight in the bridge to counter the weight of a 34” scale neck on a hollow body. I think all his eccleshalls use Grover titan tuners and those are not too light either. You don’t want the neck dive that the hagstrom Viking has.

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