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Installing a Badass II on a American Standard P-Bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Panek, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. Panek


    Mar 20, 2009
    Warsaw, Poland
    Hey guys,

    I play a 2008 Fender Precision Bass (American Standard) and I've also got a Badass II bridge that has been lying around for a while. I've used it previously on an early '90's Mexican Fender Jazz Bass with great results, and I've always been very fond of Badass bridges.

    The problem is that the American Standard basses all seem to be string-through-body (unfortunately), which to me is a totally useless feature that I hate, and the new style bridge that allows for mounting strings either way is mounted so that it doesn't allow the Badass to be a direct replacement. But hey, I paid $400 (Canadian) for the bass brand new with tags, hard case and equipment, so I can't complain much!

    I spoke to a guitar tech about mounting the new bridge and setting it (and the neck, too) up for my favorite strings - Rotosound RS66LF's. He told me that he would have to hammer in some wooden pegs to fill the old mounting holes, in order to drill new ones for the Badass.

    I'm unfamiliar with this technique. Also, honestly, I kind of shivered at the thought of someone hammering pieces of wood into holes in my beloved bass's body. I decided to see what TalkBass has to say about this. Anybody familiar with this technique, or maybe there's another way that I might suggest to my tech? I'm also concerned as to whether this would affect the resonance of the body.

  2. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    whenever a bridge is stringthru and another is not, you can eventually find a difference in screw placements, partially due to holes thru platforms

    In these cases, to keep stability of the installing process, you may need to fill original screwholes up, before you even start to dig other ones

    It's the same with portrait frames up a wall... pay attention when you hammer a nail too close to a former hole

    Now, think about string tension on a bridge if you leave open holes aside bridge screws
    It's always wood after all

    Look for a BadAssIII bridge instead or leave as it is: HiMass Vintage bridges (and stringthru systems) are cool.

  3. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    I've owned a few BAII bridges, currently own an '08 American Standard Jazz, and an '09 Highway One P that I installed the same bridge on - to be honest, swapping out the Fender bridge for a BAII is a step backwards, IMO...

    IME/IMO, Fender's current "vintage hi-mass" bridge is a better bridge than a BAII - I wouldn't even consider doing such a thing, if I were you...

    - georgestrings
  4. Panek


    Mar 20, 2009
    Warsaw, Poland
    "A step backwards" - in what sense?
  5. aruperu


    Jan 3, 2013
    To my taste just doesn't fit into fender overall design. Way too straight and cube-like, odd and awkward.

    Especially when comparing to new VHM fender bridge, very nice.
  6. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    The BAII is a perfectly fine bridge, but in this case, I doubt you'd see much in the way of a tangible improvement for the effort. The stock, Fender bridge is good. If I were you I'd just save the BAII for a future project and not "fix" something that isn't really broken.
  7. alembicguy

    alembicguy I operate the worlds largest heavey equipment Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007

    Oh goodness..... Here we go.
  8. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    IMO, the Fender is a much better bridge: every bit as stable, if not more so, better saddles, saddle height and intonation screws, MUCH better plating, takes up less surface space, and just plain looks and works better, IMO... I actually took a BAII bridge off my Highway One and replaced it with the current MIA Fender bridge, and am happy with the move...

    When they came out, the BA bridges were the best available option - not so much anymore...

    - georgestrings
  9. Panek


    Mar 20, 2009
    Warsaw, Poland
    Sorry, didn't want to start anything, just asking the guy's personal opinion.

    Thanks Wallace, it all totally makes sense, but still I was worried a little bit. I knew that I had to have the holes plugged somehow, but not by hammering in a wooden plug... I'll chalk that up to inexperience on my part.

    I started thinking about plugging not only the mounting holes, but the string-through-body holes too. It's a system that's totally useless for me, I've never cared about it and I'm wondering what effect do 4 holes for the strings have on the tone and resonant qualities of the body. Is it possible to plug them? Is this going to make a difference?

    The Badass II feels heavier in my hand and has a bigger footprint on the body than the standard high mass bridge. Not sure about it, but I always though that the more contact with the body, the better. That's what made me think about installing it. If I tell my tech to plug both the mounting and string-through-body holes, then the Badass will be a perfect fit, as I won't need the original bridge anymore.

    Also, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with the Fender bridge - I just personally like Badass bridges and have a good experience with using one.
  10. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    No doubt - what looks better, this:


    ...or this:


    - georgestrings
  11. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    Agreed 100%... not too mention, it would devalue his bass by quite a bit - without any real world benefit...

    No prob - I didn't take it any other way, bud...

    - georgestrings
  12. Panek


    Mar 20, 2009
    Warsaw, Poland
    Devaluating the bass isn't my concern, as this is a keeper and I know it - best instrument I've ever played and now I'm looking for various ways to improve on that, putting new pickups in and replacing the tuners was the beginning ;)

    So, like I mentioned above - what if I plug not only the old mounting holes, but also the ones drilled for the stringthru option?
  13. I did an experiment on-line with a '76 P and the stock Fender bridge and the Badass II. The experiment was done blind so to speak so no-one knew which sound sample was which. Curiously the majority favoured the Fender bridge with quite a few saying the difference was negligible.

    I would keep the Fender bridge, ebay the Badass II, and move on.

  14. pbassnut

    pbassnut Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    Falls Church, VA
    Agreed. I have a 2011 60th Anniversary Precision with a Fender vintage hi-mass bridge as well as a 2002 American Series Jazz that I retrofitted with a vintage hi-mass bridge that I got off of TalkBass and it is the best bass bridge Fender has made, IMHO.

    Stick with it.
  15. Jason Brown

    Jason Brown

    May 1, 2000
    SLC, UT
    I think plugging all the holes would suit your needs for having a stable platform to mount the badass, but I would personally hang on to it for a bass that could benefit more from it.
  16. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    Again, it isn't an improvement in ANY way, and would be a bad move, IMO... If you're really hellbent on using that BAII bridge, another approach would be to buy another body, then sell the MIA one you have now - rather than screw it up the way you're proposing...

    In short - *I* think it's a dumb idea...

    - georgestrings
  17. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I agree with George.

    I would also say that the stock Fender tuners are quite good and there was no reason to swap those. They're lightweight, hold tune very well, and are made by Schaller.
  18. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    Agreed on the tuners - but IIRC, they were made by Hipshot...

    - georgestrings
  19. Panek


    Mar 20, 2009
    Warsaw, Poland
    I'm really not hellbent on the BAII, just trying to explore options that are available before I do anything.

    Like I've said, the string-through-body thing is useless for me and I've never used it. I've always played and favored toploaded bass guitars. That's why I also asked if plugging the string holes with wood would have any benefit at all, tonally and in terms of resonance, BAII or no BAII.

    Right now I guess I'm becoming inclined to stick with the Fender bridge...
  20. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Just top load it then, no worries.

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