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Can I screw into my bass bridge?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by frank0stein2000, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. frank0stein2000


    Apr 8, 2011
    Hello all. I recently purchased a small strobe light and was thinking of attaching it to my double bass for a visual effect. I want the light to flash towards the audience through the strings. The light has a bar with holes and can be screwed into place.
    Would it be wise to drill holes into my wooden bridge so that I can hang and attach the light with screws? Would drilling and having screws in the bridge alter or destroy my sound? I have a Fishman BP100 on my bridge for amplification. I think it would look great (red strobe simulating fire), but don't want it to mess with the sound. Thanks.
  2. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I wouldn't do it. There have been lengthy debates in this forum about unorthodox modifications to basses, and you'll probably notice a pretty strong tendency towards traditionalism in this regard. I think there are a couple reasons for this:

    1. Those of us who aren't luthiers, don't really understand how basses work well enough to predict what might happen when one alters the structure or materials of the instrument. The bridge is supporting a huge amount of force.

    2. We tend to live with our basses for a long time, and sometimes they outlive us, or at least outlive our ownership of them. I drilled a couple of tiny holes in the bridge wings on my old Kay, decades ago, and then had to look at those ugly holes for the next 20+ years.

    There's got to be a way to mount the strobe using the existing features of the bridge, that doesn't alter the instrument. One caution: Make sure it can't fall off and damage the varnish on your bass.
  3. bssist


    Jun 23, 2007
    St. Louis, MO USA
    You could use 10-32 with washers and rubber grommets through the heart or wing holes, but it will surely effect the sound. I also don't think it would be advisable to add weight pulling vertically on the bridge.

    You could attach it to the bottom of the fingerboard like some pickups (I once built and mounted a small pre behind the fingerboard and it worked out nicely). It would likely have less of an effect on your sound there, but may still change it noticeably. All parts of the bass vibrate, any change you make will change the way it vibrates.
  4. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I would just fashion your own clamp that you can mount the light to - that way you're not altering the bridge permanently since it sounds like this is just for fun. I wouldn't hang anything off the bass that's more than a lb.

    If it's just a CCB, who cares - drill away.
  5. Also, strobes are known to cause seizures in people with Epilepsy. People may not be fond of having a light flashing them in the face, either.
  6. musicman666


    Sep 11, 2011
  7. DethByDoom


    Sep 23, 2012
    +1 Really? What the **** man?
  8. musicman666


    Sep 11, 2011
    Just don't play any Epileptic Support Group gigs.
  9. AntAir267


    Mar 4, 2011
    He's probably playing in some sort of cool indie band, give him a break. People with epilepsy don't usually go to concerts where the bassist has a strobe light. If he played in some sort of fancy orchestra he wouldn't have a strobe light in the first place.
  10. musicman666


    Sep 11, 2011
    Orchestras have been known to use strobes!
  11. uprightben


    Nov 3, 2006
    Boone, NC
    The light will act as a mute, especially if your attach it to the bridge, and putting screw holes in your bridge isn't the best thing to do. George's idea of using a clamp would be my advice, but clamps can fail when they are bumped around and vibrated. Maybe zip ties on the after-lengths could work.
  12. frank0stein2000


    Apr 8, 2011
    All the advise sounds great. Consensus says to mount it some other way, other than screwing it in. I will try ties and/or clamps to see if those work. I don't use the strobe during the whole show. When I'm coming up to a solo or building up, I quickly switch it on for that period...it has an Ace Frehley type effect where it looks like the instrument is flashing or on fire. But thanks again. Additional feedback would be appreciated.
  13. PB+J


    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    It's not something I would do, because I don't play those kind of gigs. But I can't see it doing much harm as long as the rig isn't heavy. An LED light bar weighs a lot less than, say, a Shure sm-57 attached to the afterlength. And people do that with mics all the time.

    As to the screws, the won't compromise the structural integrity because as long as they're in there there's no void. I'd be careful to drill first. As to the weight on the top, suppose the thing weighs two pounds--is that more than you'd get if you moved form low tension to higher tension strings? I don't think so.

    The worst that could happen would be, in my opinion, some damping of the tone. You'll probably get that. That and your bridge is all kludged up and has screw holes in it. But you can always get a new bridge if it turns out to be a disaster.
  14. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    3M makes a picture hanger that is double-sided adhesive with a pull tab.
    When you get tired of it, you pull the pull tab and the adhesive lets go, supposedly not leaving a mark.

    I have pictures on the wall hung with this stuff, never tried it on an instrument.
  15. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    If I were you, I would build a trap door into the ribs so that you could shovel some dry ice into that b***** right before the set. That way, some freaky-a** fog would be oozing out through the F-Holes whilst you were shredding on that mofo.
  16. skwerllnutz


    Dec 6, 2012
    **** yeah u can screw into ur bridge! just predrill first, i put an L bracket on my bridge so it wont get knocked off during a show, didnt change a thing with sound
  17. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc

    This thread REALLY sounds like someone is just trolling, but on the off chance that it is honest, 1000 thanks to the original poster for spicing up this forum a little; we could use a WHOLE LOT MORE posts like this rather than so many of the, "What shade of boring brown should I refinish my already boring brown bass?"

    Let me know if you ever need a sub, 'cuz I want some gigs where I can strap a strobe light to my bass!

    I would be more inclined to use a reversable mounting system, but one that will hold up to some abuse. Perhaps using an oversized washer and bolt system whereby you could go through the heart or "wing holes" of your bridge and then have the solid anchor point screwed into the strobe itself; you still may get some internal vibrations.

    Why not just superglue the entire thing to the bridge?

    If you have not seen them yet, do a bit of goolge searching and checkout a couple of Ira Dean's old Pfretschner aluminum basses that have been highly modified by adding high beam truck headlights to the the lower bouts.

    'Keep up the good fight and rock on....

  18. You should cut & paste this thread to the epilepsy wiki.
  19. bssist


    Jun 23, 2007
    St. Louis, MO USA
    I'm really diggin' the fog/strobe idea. If you need a sub and James can't do it give me a call.