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Hipshot A style bridge - brass or aluminum?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by phyton, Apr 30, 2009.


  1. phyton

    phyton

    Oct 29, 2008
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Hi guys,

    I have a Cort 5-str. bass and I would like to replace the bridge. I have already swapped the EQ and pick-ups for high-end Bartolini's which give me a very full and balanced sound but I would like to add a bit more brilliance (top-end sparkle).

    I'll be buying a Hipshot A style bridge but I don't know what to choose - aluminum or brass. I've e-mailed Brian from BestBassGear (these guys are great!) and he suggested that aluminum might be just what I need. However, a local luthier tells me that aluminum is not a good material for such hardware. He's convinced that brass is the way to go and aluminum does not, in fact, boost the high frequencies but it cuts the lows and middle due to its low solidity and weight.

    I'm a bit confused on that matter so I'd appreciate your thoughts. :)
     
  2. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    I have the Hipshot aluminium on my Carvin Bolt 4 string. I love it. It probably does contribute a bit more brilliance to the sound, but I haven't compared it to the brass Hipshot on the same bass. I'm not into the real bright top end, so I dial a lot of that out with my amp's eq. The bottom end is still solid and as good as any other bridge I've played on. I don't find it's lacking anything sound wise. It's easy to intonate and set up and more comfortable than the Badass bridges I've used. I have no urge to swap it for the brass model.
     
  3. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    this is basically the old "low-mass vs. high-mass" debate, isn't it?

    if there's a difference at all, we might expect the brass to be "colder" sounding, more even string-to-string, and sustainier, and the aluminum to be "warmer", and to let more of the body wood into the tone. if that cort doesn't have the greatest body wood in the world, the heavier bridge might compensate for it.
     
  4. Underworld

    Underworld

    Apr 25, 2009
    Santa Cruz
    Strictly from a engineering standpoint, the brass "should" be the better choice for a bridge simply because it is a denser material. However, the bridge is just one piece of the recipe, and how it interacts with the rest of the instrument is far more important, so if the instrument is lacking top end, one should choose the appropriate material that will enhance the top end. The aluminum is the choice that is going to give you exactly what you are looking for, namely more top-end brightness and "sparkle". Don't think of it as sacrificing bottom and midrange to gain top end. In reality, the bottom and midrange are currently being over-accentuated and you are merely bringing the sound into balance.
     
    Dave Neal likes this.
  5. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    I switched the bridge on my bass from a Leo Quan Badass I to an Aluminum Hipshot A style. The aluminum Hipshot was easily only 1/3rd the mass of the Leo Quan. (This pics in my sig post are from before that transplant)

    The sound (both unplugged and amplified) didn't change dramatically from the Leo Quan to the aluminum Hipshot A. While the tone change wasn't dramatic, it was there. (Standard confirmation bias disclaimer goes here. However, I've got more than 8 years with this bass being my only real player, so my ears are used to the sound and I think I can objectively say that the tone did change a bit. Same strings before and after swap btw)

    The Aluminum Hipshot A did give the bass a touch more top end. You could view this as either emphasizing the highs, or deemphasizing the lows and mids. The ultimate take-away of it though is that it did NOT make the tone thin, lifeless, etc. My bass still sounds essentially like my bass. Like Underworld said, this is only one piece of the recipe/instrument.

    I'd bet good money that the Hipshot A-style is more solidly engineered than the stock bridge on your Cort, regardless of materials.

    My shoulder's happy with my bass's slightly lighter weight too. ;)

    Take care,
    -4ST
     

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