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recommend me a bridge for downtuning

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Metal Mitch, Feb 23, 2008.

  1. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    I've been through all the usual suspects. The problem they all share is insufficient saddle travel.

    Let's say you want to tune down 3 half steps. The E (or B) string saddle won't move back far enough to get proper intonation. Tuning down 1 whole step seems to be the limit of saddle travel on most bridges, and even then you can't always get it far enough back for proper intonation.

    Is my only option to move the entire bridge back? Or is there some well-designed bridge I've overlooked that allows proper intonation when downtuned?
  2. I have a BEAD tuned bass. I put a Badass bridge on it, intonates perfectly.
  3. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    That's not downtuning. Take your BEAD bass and tune it down to A flat. Tell me what happens when you try to set the intonation.
  4. Eh? How isn't it? He took a 4 stringer of which 99.999% are designed for E standard and put it in B standard.

    The Badass has ALOT of room to travel backwards so I'll vouch for it aswell. They sound awesome too and do wonders for crappy standard Fender bridges, unless your don't like masses of attack and sustain and prefer a more muted (couldn't think of a better way of putting it, you get what I mean though) sound. Also improves the resonance of the guitar loads too, my Fender Bullets almost twice as loud with the Badass II that I put on it.
  5. russianspy


    Oct 20, 2000
    Nashville, TN
    Well, it's technically not downtuning if he's using a BEAD set of strings.
  6. Yeah I guess, so when you see bands doing songs in drop D and stuff their intonations actually going slightly out? Whenever I mess about in drop B it sounds really badly out of tune.
  7. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003

    If they always play in drop D I would assume they just set their intonation for D rather than E. I don't know how the Hipshot D-tuner resolves the intonation issue, but I don't have to worry about that problem. ;)

    Right now I only have 1 bass set up for standard D tuning. It's a string-thru-body and the saddle is almost right on top of the ferrule. I definitely couldn't go any lower and get it intonated.

    OK, I have a Badass 2 in my parts drawer. Just measured it. Most bridges only have about 3/16" clearance from the mounting hole to the tailpiece. The BA2 has about 5/8" clearance. Guess it's time to give that one another try.
  8. yep the badass is the longest bridge you can find out there: it covers the empty space that a normal bridge would leave at the tailpiece end of the body :) although at those low frequencies, I wonder how important intonation is at that point
  9. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    I got a recommendation from Mike Lull - use aluminum. Rumor has it they transmit a more defined note.

    The Hipshot B bridge has hella-travel, and is available in aluminum and brass.
  10. I meant in comparison to an average stock Fender bridge, the bridge I took off my Bullet (which seems almost identical to most Fender bridges to me) doesn't have anywhere near as much travel as the Badass II on it now. Just mentioned it cos obviously Badasses are mainly made as Fender replacements. I'm guessing you don't have a Fender though...

    I meant bands that play in E AND tune down for that out of tune question by the way, but I take it they are actually a little out of tune by the answers you gave :p

    By the way, why the hell isn't that Badass been put to good use somewhere?!
  11. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    It came in on a ebay bass, and there's 2 reasons -

    a) it's chrome
    b) the shop that installed it (and I know which one) cut the saddles wrong.

    Want it? :p
  12. Exactly. If people can't hear it, does it matter?
  13. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003

    with 1800 watts into a Schro 412, YES THEY CAN HEAR IT :D

  14. Not to be rude, as I get your point, but: yes, they can audibly discern the bass line, but can they perceive the difference in pitch?

    I'm wondering whether there is a reasonable expectation that members of the audience would perceive any difference in intonation at pitches in the range you're dealing with. Seems like a fair question.

    One thing you didn't mention - is this a 5-string that you will manually de-tune, or is it a 4-string that you'll use a hipshot on? It would seem difficult to accommodate both tunings in the latter case.

  15. :bassist:
  16. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    5 string, 4 string, and 4 string BEAD.

    Sure it's a fair question. And yes it's a reasonable expectation - but not necessarily because a listener will actually hear a pitch, in the bass, in a given region.

    You use more than 5 frets on your low B don't you? Sorry to be so obvious, but intonation affects the entire string, not just the region below E.

    Notes don't sound right when the string is out of tune with itself. Smash says "volume reveals all", but I take it a step further with "distortion reveals all". Wolf tones, strange oscillations, and magnetic effects on the string become much more apparent with distortion. If the note doesn't "speak" properly, it just sounds bad. Intonation goes a long way toward resolving these problems.

    Next, when the intonation is out, you'll be out of tune on some notes. When you're out of tune with the guitars, your guitarist might know it's the bass. But a listener will probably just hear something that sounds off, weird, or just not as powerful as it should be.

    It affects the overall ensemble sound to a great degree. Whether the listener can identify the source of the problem is irrelevant. And whether a guitarist can stay in tune is beyond my control. ;)

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