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Replacement bridge for Mexican J Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by hstiles, Aug 19, 2003.

  1. I bought a cheap Mexican 4 string Jazz at the weekend to backup my main instrument. Sounds and looks great and is exactly what I needed - a totally simple approach to an instrument - no active electronics, no low B or high C to muddy the waters and a lovely old fashioned look.

    Thing is, that stock bridge is pretty ropey isn;t it? I'm thinking of a replacement and was wondering whether it is worth paying £50 for a Badass II when there are other OEM options available.

    So, my question is, does the Badass II really make that much of a difference?
  2. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    No. The Gotoh 201 will be as good or better at half the price. What exactly do you not like about the Mexi-J bridge? It seems fine to me.
  3. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    Badass II makes a night and day difference. I installed one on my MIM DLX jazz and it did sound much much better, the notes rang out much more and it did have more sustain.
  4. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    mine did

    all i have done is:

    feed it good strings
    add a badass II
    add a pair of barts (dual coil)

    the bass sounds like a million bucks.
  5. I have been playing Jazz Basses off and on since the mid-1970's. I have replaced pickups (to get rid of 60 cycle hum)and replaced tuners that self-destructed but I have never had reason to replace a stock bridge. As a matter of fact, I replaced a Shaller bridge (installed by a previous owner)on my beloved '72 with a stock bridge. To each his own, I suppose, but if you're looking for some major difference in tone, a Badass II won't make much of a difference.
  6. The stock bridge doesn't have grooves for the bridge saddles, so they move around a bit. I'd also like something a little bit more substantial.
  7. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    that drove me nuts!!!
  8. I'll disagree with that. On the MIM Jazz bass the bridge is a lesser bridge than the ones that come on the American Standard for example. The badass II has more mass, thus making more contact with the body, thus giving you more sustain. Just my two cents.
  9. Mass = Weight

    Area = Contact surface

    I appreciate what you're saying, I just don't think there's a substantial difference in sound/tone. That whole weight=lots of sustain=good tone is kind of a 1970's concept that doesn't seem to hold up too well these days.
  10. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    My sentiments exactly!
  11. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    makes much more sense to me as well

  12. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    As for the difference in tone there are also other things that will let you hear the sound difference, like a cleaner sounding amp and the style of music you play. The Marcus Miller bass, Geddy Lee, Roscoe Beck, Steve Harris basses would not sound the same without high mass bridges. You will hear it when you play with a pick or thump and pop. I own six jazz basses and a Roscoe Beck. the ones with high mass bridges do sustian longer and tend to have a better treble response. Some people complain about low end loss so there has got to be something to it.
  13. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    I have both the Badass II and the Gotoh replacements and i don't think you could wrong with either one, frankly.

    One thing you must remember is that you need to file the grooves in the saddles of the BadassII and, if you do it incorrectly, you can either inhibit the sustain or cause frequent string breakage.
  14. yea....I love how the badass works with a Fender....of all the ones I've tried with one on it(modded and sig series) they just work very well.

    Itd be really cool if Fender made more basses with an option of having one come on as stock...itd save time and some money!
  15. I probably should have been a bit clearer. Sure there's a difference between a stock MIM bridge and a Badass II, just not a radical difference. I think there could also be a debate about sustain vs. resonance. I think it is significant to note that the bridges on Jazz Basses, as they come from the factory, have stayed virtually unchanged over the years (except for the string-through-body bridge on MIA's implemented a few years back). I don't think this is a coincidence or a cost saving measure...I think the bridge is engineered as part of the whole instrument and it is designed with most of the playing population in mind. I haven't found the need to change; you might. All I was getting at is that changing to a Badass II isn't going to make an MIM sound like an Alembic. (...ducks hurled projectiles that are coming) This stuff reminds me of the old days when guys would put wide tires and alloy wheels and racing stripes on Ford Falcons...they might look cool, but they don't increase horsepower. :D
  16. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I have the BAII and also MIM bridges installed on a couple of J's. I actually like the MIM bridge on my fretless. I replaced on a fretted 4 which is loaded up with round wounds. The BAII is much brighter, sustains longer and is in general more aggressive sounding. Think 'piano bass' and you're there with a BAII. On the downside, I tried flat's (Fender Stainless) on that bass and took them off in a big hurry. Really a bad match! SO IMO - it is a string, bridge combo that is more important ...

    As for the physics involved ... I'm not a physicician, uhh, physicist, more of a 'fizzicist (pass the Bud Light Dear!) umm, had a cist removed once though ... :eek:
  17. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    The StewMac Fender Style replacement bridge is a beefier Fender style bridge, very similar to the Gotoh... Two additional screws in the front, which a guy could omit, though I don't see the need to on an MIM... I too found the stock MIM bridge to be a bit weak... The one above is much more substantial, and at a bargain price...

  18. I'm with Lonote on this. I too prefer the original Fender bridge, after having had basses with Badass, Gotoh, and Hipshot bridges, I am of the opinion that a Jazz bass sounds best with a good quality original style bridge. Why do Lakland, Pedulla Rapture, Lull, and many other high end builders of Jazz-styled basses use a simple piece of folded steel or brass for a bridge? Because they know that the vintage Jazz sound is not derived from making every component as high tech as you can, but rather sticking with Leo's original concept. It worked OK for Jaco....LOL.
  19. my original post made mention of other 'OEM' alternatives. One in particular that has caught my eye is this one


    which I assume is the same as mentioned a couple of posts back.

    I assume that even a bridge like this would make a difference?

    The post about the flatwounds/badass II combination was a helpful one as that's one idea I had for the backup bass.
  20. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    One other factor on that instrument is a very light and resonant Swamp Ash body from USACustoms. I had Geddy / Chris Squire in mind when I built that one - and I over did it. The flat's were an experiment to see if that basic setup was salvagable via string selection - it wasn't. I broke down and installed a pre-amp to bring that one under control.

    If I were going to flat's I'd try for a body in one of the darker sounding woods. Alder, Poplar, Basswood are the less expensive wood varieties that come to mind. (as opposed to Maple ar the Ash varieties) last I recall Poplar is one of the woods found in the MIM basses. For sure it isn't Swamp Ash or Maple ;)

    I'd use a slightly heavier version of the stock bridge; some of the flat's you can try have pretty high tension and the MIM bridge, while faithful to the original design - is flimsy, then I'd focus on the string choice. For a Memphis / Detroit thump mixed with a bit of McCartney, I like the Fender Stainless Flat's. I mute with my picking hand rather than using the foam mutes. For a woodier, jazzier tone, TI Jazz Flats or D'Addario Chromes.

    By the way - Seymore Duncan SJB-1's all the way around for me at the moment. Nice and Vintage sounding. I especially like them on the fretless.

    I know that's wandering from your original query but hope that it is helpful anyway.

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