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Bridge Wings

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by David Kaczorowski, Sep 3, 2002.

  1. What function does bridge wings serve? How would altering them (specifically, making them about a 1/4" shorter) affect the sound?
  2. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    Bridge wings are decorative, and may in fact rob a little sound from the instrument. There are some bassists who actually cut them off--John Feeney comes to mind. He's an AMAZING classical soloist.
  3. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Agreed. If you look at bridges of antiquity you'll see incredibly ornate bridges with carvings, inlays, drawings etc. All done no doubt to impress inbred tone-deaf royalty. IMO the wings are vestigial.

    Why do you wish to shorten the wings?

    How much do you think we should charge for a wingectomy?
  4. Jeff,

    I don't currently use a pick-up, I've been using a mic for a few years now. The mic is great for gigs where I need amplification. I want to be able to mount a p-u on my bass for the sole purpose of using my own bass at some jam sessions I frequent or want to frequent. I'm about 6'4" and am use to playing my bass with much of the pin out. I rarely feel comfortable on the "house bass" because even with the pin out, it's not out far enough and finding the notes can be a challenge. Other sessions have either an organ or a bass guitar. All of the sessions are really loud and can't be played acoustically (I tried). So I only want the p-u on when I'm going out to sit in w/ my bass. There's only 3/16" space between the wing and the leg so I'll either have to file a little wood off or find a different solution.
  5. I totally agree with Jeff and Arnold on this one. The cutouts and wings etc are mostly for show, but they do serve a function by reducing the total mass of the bridge.

    I can remember years ago when it was all the rage to drill holes in the legs of the bridge through the bottom. I've always thought that if there was any improvement, it was probably because they reduced the mass slightly.
  6. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    DK, it's common to have to file a bit off to make the Underwood fit. I've done it on several bridges. Bear in mind Clapton's Rule: "Don't forget this fact, you can't get it back."

    The more important question is whether your wings have flat bottoms or curly-cues. If flat, you can make the pickup work by removing a bit from the wing and/or leg. If curly-cue, I've always just gotten another bridge.

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