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High Mass / string thru body Bridge benefits?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ::::BASSIST::::, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I am debating whether to put a high mass / string thru body bridge on my SX shortscale p-bass... such as the Gotoh 206

    My primary goal is to achieve more clarity.

    Will such a bridge achieve my objective?

    One reason I do not want to go this route, and I may be wrong on this, is b/c the bottom part of these higher mass bridges tend to be thicker which means I cant get my action as low.
  2. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    What brand bridge?

    I think the primary benefit is supposed to be increased sustain...

    I've had no direct experience with high mass bridges so I can't say.
  3. Audiophage


    Jan 9, 2005
    I've heard that the brand doesn't matter a whole lot. It's just a matter of having a good high mass bridge that will help with sustain, and it should be constructed well.

    I put a Badass II bridge on my Jazz Bass, and while its not a string-through it definetly is clearer sounding with more sustain. Oh, and the harmonics sound amazing.
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
  5. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    More of the fundamental note will be retained, all other things being equal. The way to think of it is that less of the string's vibration will be transferred through the bridge to the body, so there's less harmonic complexity. This also increases sustain.

    I wrote a long series of posts about the physics of this a year or two ago on the FDP, but the above is all you really need to know.

    Other factors may influence your results, but if nothing else is changed and all other things being equal that will be (and must be) the effect of adding a high-mass bridge.
  6. debbandruss


    Jun 10, 2004
    I have been over this string through or bridge mount thing myself and have finally come to the conclusion that the string through can actually make a difference. Where and how is dependant on how low your action is set, reason being that normally when the action is set low the break angle lessons quite a bit (resulting in less tension) and this will result in a less clear defined note, it's not a night and day difference, but it is obvious. So when strung though the body the brake angle is increased (tension regained) and the notes will sound nice and pronounced, like a bass with higher action would sound. Hope this helps!
  7. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    There can be no change in the string tension between the witness points given the same the same distance, string and tuned frequency.

    It's a physical impossibility.

    I wrote a very long article about that one as well, and had my point verified by a couple of working physicists...though it's really middle-school science and obvious if you think about it.
  8. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    hmmm... okay, so what I am hearing is that a high mass bridge will add attack and sustain, but you lose quality of tone b/c the harmonics are diminished with a high mass bridge.

    So does attack & sustain equal clarity?

    There is some debate as to whether a string thru body design will add tension to the strings. If there is no added tension, what is the benefit of the string thru body design?
  9. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Broadly speaking, yes. You will lose tonal complexity, which is measureable, as a high-mass bridge typically results in a more more pronounced fundamental and more sustain, as less of the string's vibrational energy goes through the bridge into the body. "Tone" is just a mush word for a subjective impression. If you like a hyped fundamental with lots of sustain, then that's "better tone."

    There's no debate whatsoever. The played string will have the identical tension, given the same string, pitch and length between witness points. Think about it. This is simple physics.

    You're confusing two different things.

    The tension of the played string does not - nor can it - change, given the constants above. The geometry of the string path behind the saddle can, however, change the tension on the saddle and the PSI loading of the saddle adjustment screws relative to the bridgeplate (think "better leverage").

    At least in theory, increasing this could have some effect on tone through more positive mechanical contact in the bridge. In practice, though, I don't know anyone whom I regard as adequately objective and experienced who believes there's much if any audible difference between properly set up through-body and modern toploading bridges of similar mass and design.

    The through-body scheme was originally a necessity for anchoring strings as the bridge was extremely flimsy. Look at a 1951 Fender sometime and you'll see what I mean. The bridge was there merely to secure the saddles, not the strings. The more robust Fender toploader was later introduced to simplify production.