Mystery Bridge on old Fender P-bass. What is it?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bobehill, Dec 16, 2020.

  1. bobehill


    Dec 7, 2020
    I inherited a 70's P-bass from a friend who was a real performing NYC jazz bass player (though he didn't really like the electric bass, but I do. What the heck is it? bass bridge 2.jpg bass bridge 3.jpg bass bridge 1.jpg ...). He thought it had a badass bridge, but it sure doesn't look like it to me. If anybody recognizes it, I'd love to know what it is. BTW, it plays great, though it could use a new setup. the bridge is about 3.5" wide, 2.4 " between the outside screws (and also between the E and G strings), and about 3" high, though it was routed into the bass, and the bottom is curved to match the curve of the bass. those measurements are plus or minus .05". It appears to be gold plated brass.
    I've attached 3 photos.
    Thanks for your help!
    Willicious likes this.
  2. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    My first thought is that it's "home made" by someone with pretty good skills.
    There's some unevenness and mismatched hardware that suggests it may be a DIY thing, but it looks well enough done imo.

    Other than that, I got nuthin'.
    96tbird and Picton like this.
  3. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    All four bridge saddles look at least slightly different. It very well could be a DIY.
    96tbird likes this.
  4. Goatrope


    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
  5. Picton


    Aug 16, 2017
    Reading, MA

    Looks DIY, but then a lot of Alembic things look DIY to me.

    I think it actually looks pretty nifty.
  6. Neat!
  7. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeastern PA
    Yep, Alembic came to mind.
  8. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    was there a local vocational school with a metal shop class?

    also it looks like the capture nuts have fallen off the intonation screws for the G and E strings
  9. Dynacord likes this.
  10. bobehill


    Dec 7, 2020
    Thanks for your observations, everyone. I checked with a magnet, and it appears to be gold plated brass.I think the Alembic from the 2013 Ebay picture is the ticket - looks identical but in chrome, and with all the original pieces.

    Also has a very nice routing job, and my bass came from San Francisco in the seventies, so that's another clue, as that's the home of Alembic/Stars. The only issue will be when my heirs sell it, as it's no longer a correct original Fender, but I don't mind.

    Some parts may have been lost over the years. It plays well as it is, but there is no adjustment for the action, and as noted, is missing a couple of lock nuts. Anyway, thanks for your help. I think I'll pull it off and look to see if there's a stamp on the bottom. Not that it really matters, except as a matter of academic and historical interest...
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  11. bobehill


    Dec 7, 2020
  12. bobehill


    Dec 7, 2020
    I think you have the winning entry. Did Alembic modify Fenders, or was that likely done by a custom luthier? The routing looks identical to my bass, which also dates to the seventies in San Francisco. Anyway, thanks for your help!
  13. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    The screws on either side of the saddle assembly should do something...or did at one time. The A saddle looks original...the other 3 are wannabe's.

  14. bobehill


    Dec 7, 2020
    Precisely - they may have originally done something originally, but the screws aren't origninal and the ones in there hold it down, but don't adjust the action. I'd try to figure something out, but the action is pretty good as is, so since it ain't broke... Good observation about the assortment of saddles, but I can't imagine parts are available for it, short of custom machining. Anyhow, food for thought, thanks for your input.
  15. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX