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'Fixed' Bridge on an Epiphone Viola (Violin bass)?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Dingo, Mar 17, 2019.

  1. Dingo


    Mar 16, 2018
    Hi folks, as the title suggests, I really want to add a fixed bridge to an Epiphone Viola, however, I'm unsure whether the screws have anything to screw into?

    I know the Viola have a block of some kind, but I'm not exactly sure where it's placed and if I can screw into it?

    Have anyone tried this?

    Btw, I don't have the Viola, so I can't search for the block placement, and the Internet havn't given me the answer I was looking for. I'm only buying it if I know I can toss off the floater and add a fixed one instead.
  2. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Why? Floaters work perfectly well for what they are: vintage tech.

    Anyhow, if it’s movement you fear, you can simply use double sided tape (carpet tape) to adhere it to the top. You can shape it perfectly by placing adhesive sandpaper on the top and sanding the contours into the bottom of the bridge, then apply the tape. No holes.

    Of the viol bases I have tried, the Epi was not a front runner. I preferred a friends Rogue and Hofner Ignitions over it. The Epi only had the look, not the sound I craved. Ended up with a Jack Casady... lol.

    I’m sure someone here will take their control panel off and confirm for you what you ask though.
    Dingo likes this.
  3. Dingo


    Mar 16, 2018
    @96tbird Yeah, they are surely cool for most purposes; just not mine. I'm in love with the body so I want to try and mod it to become a bit more versatile. First step would be the bridge if possible.

    My problem with the floater is the intonation issues and the impact it has on sustain. I've choosen the Epiphone due to its block which I hope can work for my purpose :)
  4. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    What bridge are you considering? Interested to hear your plan and eventually results if you do it. It would make an interesting thread if you go ahead.
    Dingo likes this.
  5. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    You have been misinformed. There is no 'block' in that bass. There IS a brace glued to the back of the top right about where the bridge sits. It is about an inch wide to act as a top brace kind of like a bass board on a DB except that it runs from treble to bass side to support the bridge. It isn't thick enough for the inch + bridge screws to utilize. You may be able to mount a 2 point bridge there IF you keep the present trapeze. I think the inserts would go clean through that brace as well and don't have a clue what impact that would have on the brace's ability to do its job.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
    pcake, Dingo and 96tbird like this.
  6. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Depends on the size of the brace. That brace isn't very big. Boring a couple of holes coupled with increased stress of a heavier bridge will lead to failure.

    If there was a block it would make sense to install a tune-o-matic with a stop tailpiece and be done with it.
    Dingo likes this.
  7. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    I don't think there's a bridge made that would be tall enough.
    Dingo likes this.
  8. Dingo


    Mar 16, 2018
    @sissy kathy , @202dy Damn, I've been misinformed then. I've seen some people saying there was a sustain block of a kind - source were random forum posts though. Thanks for the information anyway: now a I know it cant be done.

    @Paulabass Very good point :D Totally forgot to think about that.

    @96tbird Guess its not gonna happen. Maybe I'll try it with the more expensive hofners with the center block in the future. For now, I'll go with the Cassidy instead :)
  9. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    there's a sustain block in the contemporary series hofner violin and club basses, but whether it's deep enough and placed right for your purposes, i don't know.
  10. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I'm surprised nobody makes an aftermarket replacement bridge with individual height and intonation screws, for Hofner style bases, no shortage of them around, and you'd think they would sell like hot cakes. My son has a Jay Turser Beatle bass, nice little unit, but the intonation beyond the 12th fret will never be better than "close enough" with that floating bridge. I'd eventually like to build one of the Hofner style kit basses, I suppose you could install a solid block and use a Tune-O-Matic in that case.
  11. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    Or you could put a tun-o-matic two point on top of a floating bridge lower. get it close with the floating lower and zero it in with the intonation screws. Any DIYer could do that in a few hours. I've mentioned this possibility in a couple threads, it didn't get any traction.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
    Dingo, 96tbird and Gilmourisgod like this.
  12. The string spacing on the tune-o-matic might be somewhat wider then the Hofner. I do have a floating bridge that came off of a generic 70's Japanese bass where the bridge part is chromed steel U channel with holes drilled for TOM type saddles and screws. I think Alembic does or did something similar in brass. That type of thing would be doable in brass or aluminum and mate it up to an archtop bridge base.
  13. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY


    I’ve had the same thoughts and I’m with you. Great mod idea. Particularly with this if the string spacing would work: 4 String D Style Bass Bridge
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
  14. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
  15. Dingo


    Mar 16, 2018
    @sissy kathy Cool idea. That would actually fit my needs pretty well.

    Funny thing: I asked my local dealer (danguitar.dk) about the Epiphone Viola prior to this thread if there was a sustain block that would allow a fixed bridge to be installed. They just answered that the block goes all the way through and they could install a fixed bridge for me for an extra price.... :D Almost want to take them up on that offer
  16. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    I trust my source of information more than I trust your dealer's source (since I have no idea what that source is.) 1) what is this installation going to look like? 2) Are they willing to install the bridge on their instrument, or at least commit to allowing you to return yours if the install doesn't work?
  17. Dingo


    Mar 16, 2018
    @sissy kathy From what I can see from people in this thread, I don't think it's possible and that they are misinformed and/or blinded by making some money.
    If they accept the terms as you say and we can agree on a definition of a 'fixed' bridge so I don't run any risks, I could give it a try. I'll try and ask them tomorrow
  18. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    South Bend, Indiana
    DSCN0330.JPG '94  Gretsch    G6119B.JPG Couple of things...
    1. I'm almost certain that sissy Kathy is right. Basses with floating bridges/trapeze tailpieces almost never have any kind of block under the spot where the bridge sits. That a Hofner CT does, is an anomaly - and a very modern one, at that. Even a very small brace there is an exception, as far as I know - and I have several basses of this type. As for an intonatable floating bridge? This old Epiphone EA-260 has one; a Japanese version of a floating Tune-o-matic bridge. I have a much "nicer" one on my Gretsch Broadkaster - a "Nashville" Tune-o-matic. And, there's no block under either of those bridges, either....
    2. It's pretty easy to keep a floating bridge from moving around. If the feet of the bridge base match the top of the bass - and a lot of the less expensive ones don't - you can use tape if you want. Or you can do what lots of Gretsch guitar players (and I) do, and use some chalk - or bow rosin - on the base's feet. And don't thrash the bass when you play - that isn't what they were meant for...
    3 Floating bridges - even the Hofner style ones - will intonate; but it can be frustrating, and time consuming. And, yes, the bridges on my Gretsch and that old Epi make the job quite a bit easier - most times. But, IME, these basses are pretty fussy about the strings they will intonate with. With strings the bass likes? Easy-peasy.. With strings it will.. tolerate? Yeah, maybe - after a lot of fuss; and maybe you'll have to settle for an intonated E and G string, with the others "close enough". With strings it hates? Sorry; you're wasting your time...
    4. If you find the strings that the bass likes, and it intonates just the way you want? Well, you can do what a lot of Gretsch guitar players do - just pin the bridge in the correct spot, and don't worry about it any more. Just don't EVER try to change to different strings...:cool:
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
    96tbird likes this.
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