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Replacement bridges

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Flatwound, Oct 8, 2000.


  1. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    I have a MIJ P-bass. It's pretty good, but I'm always trying to make improvements here and there, replacing the pickup was a BIG improvement, but I'm thinking about a different bridge. I have the stocker on there now, and it's not bad, but I'm still looking.

    I tried a B@d@$$ II and it was awful. I like an even response across the fretboard, and I'm looking for a little help with the dead spot, and this bridge made all that stuff worse. That was with Fender Flatwounds, I'm using TI's right now. I realize the BA bridge works for some people and on some basses, but I hated it.

    I've looked at Hipshot's web site, and while their bridges aren't cheap, they look pretty nice. Of course, you have the option of brass or aluminum, or a "bent-plate" bridge similar to the Fender, but made of brass, and with grooves to keep the saddles aligned. I like the quick-change feature of the cast bridges, as I try different strings from time to time, and I also take my strings off to polish the bass and fretboard sometimes. The silk on my TI's is looking pretty ratty from being slid through the stock bridge holes several times.

    Any suggestions? I'm looking for a deep, punchy sound, and a little help with the dead spot wouldn't hurt either.
     
  2. Tsal

    Tsal

    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU

    I'm quite happy with my Schaller bridge that I installed
    to my Soundgear. Very solid and has good adjustments, stringspacing can even be adjusted without any tools. You can find these for 35-50 bucks for brand new at eBay.
     
  3. Tsal's selection of the Schaller is a VERY good one. These are probably the best value in a totally adjustable bridge. You can get them through Allparts or Stewart McDonald.

    I should caution you that you will likely be disappointed in any bridges results in helping with a dead spot on your neck. That just isn't the function of the bridge. There is a product called the "Fathead" that is essentially a weight that is put on the headstock. I have heard that this does wonders for deadspots though I haven't done it myself. You can experiment with the concept by using a "C" clamp on your headstock in differing locations and see if that helps.

    I have an MIJ Fretless Jazz that I got at a pawnshop. The previous owner had swapped out the bridge and I couldn't ID it nor could anybody locally. Our illustrious John Turner finally solved the mystery by helping my ID it as an ABM bridge. I looked it up on the Allparts site and lo and behold, that sucker was $120!!! Whew, a bit rich if I had to buy it on my own but what a deal when I didn't. It is a VERY high quality bridge with all of the adjustments, a locking feature and superb machining and in BLACK!! I love it.

    [Edited by Hambone on 10-09-2000 at 08:10 PM]
     
  4. UCWhatUdid

    UCWhatUdid

    Oct 2, 2000
    I'm curious about your experience with the BadassII bridge. I recently bought a MIM J-bass, which I really like with the exception of the POS bridge that allow the saddles to "walk" sideways if you really dig into the strings.

    I bought a BadassII, which I haven't installed yet. However, I called Quan and actually talked to whichever brother it is that designed these bridges, to ask about installation procedure. He went through a very detailed process concerning cutting (notching) the saddles specifically to match the gauge of strings used, cutting a slight angle that varies depending on the string height you want to use, setting spacing, etc. If it wasn't for the fact that I have a machinist friend to help me out, I don't think I would even try.

    What I'd like to know is, was the bridge set up as described above, or was it substituted without a notch being cut? I've read posts elsewhere where it was suggested to not notch them and according to Quan, that WON'T work. The BA II was affordable, but for me the real issue is getting a bridge that works. Besides, the black ABM bridge that Hambone described has me thinking, 'cause my bass is black with a charcoal "moto" pickguard and black bridge might be pretty cool.
     
  5. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    The one I got was used. The saddles were already cut, but they were cut with a round file of approximately the same size as the strings I was using, which were Fender medium flatwounds.

    Hambone - I tried a Fatfinger and did not have good results. I took it back and have since experimented with a regular C-clamp, which has been interesting. In fact, I'm going to try a Fathead soon. The C-clamp moved the dead spot around quite noticeably, so having a piece of brass clamped tightly to the headstock in several places, i.e. a Fathead, might work.

    With Thomastik Jazz flats, the dead spot is not as pronounced, leading me to believe that A: this neck likes low tension, and B: the TI's are really good strings.
     
  6. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    getting warmer
    I read in a Fender catalog that the more mass a bridge has the less bass response it will have. Part of the reason that P basses have the tone they do is because of the relatively low mass bridge that they ship with.
     
  7. Yeah, the bass I'm currently building is designed around the the Gotoh 206 specifically so that I can string through the body. I think it acoustically "couples" the strings with the wood. My Kawai is like this and it's got awesome sustain. That Gotoh is an excellent buy also.

    I might take just a little different view of the high mass bridge debate. I think that if the bridge vibrates with the string, then string energy is lost to the body. A high mass bridge resists vibration (Newton - a body at rest...) and all of the vibration is left for the pickup to sense. I put an original BadAss on my 1976 Precision and couldn't have been happier with the tone.
     
  8. A new bridge might help with your dead spot but in all probability it won't, or it'll move the dead spot elsewhere. You might want to consider a new neck but that's a kind of pricey option.
     
  9. JohnL

    JohnL

    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    This may be more than you want to pay, but the 2TEK bridge claims to, among other things, eliminate dead spots. It isolates each string on its own and it's some sort of frequency of vibrations cancelling each other out kind of thing. I do know BP magazine gave it major props when it first came out. Downside, you have to get someone to install it by routing a hole in the body. (Of the bass, that is)
     
  10. gweimer

    gweimer

    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I'll add something to that 2Tek thought - - there are only a very few people authorized to install one of these. One of them can be found where they now sell these (just do a search on 2Tek - I've forgotten the link), and they will tell you that the bridge costs about $200, and that they all but insist that you send them a bass for installation. I know one of the others by acquaintance, and he's told me that this is NOT a project for amateurs. It requires expert routing, and would likely be screwed up by someone not familiar with the 2Tek design.
    On the other hand, they are supposed to be THE absolute BEST bridge on the market. The guy I know swears that it can bring a dead bass to life.
     
  11. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    I e-mailed the 2-Tek guys and got no response :mad: . I guess if I wanted to spend $245 on a bridge, I'd try harder to get in touch with them. I think I'll probably try a Fathead, but I'm still not sure about the stock Fender bridge.
     
  12. It's too bad you can't buy a G&L bridge - at least I don't think so. I'm pretty sure they sell individual saddles but not the whole thing. The G&L bridges are probably the most solid out there.

    Failing that, the Schaller bridges are quite good. I had one on an old P-bass and I really liked it.
     
  13. gweimer

    gweimer

    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Actually, you can buy a G&L bridge. I just got one this year direct from G&L to restore my L-1000. I also have a link to a dealer that sells them for about $35, but I'll have to post it later. You should know, though, that there is a rout underneath the bridge, so this is a bit more than just screwing it on.

    Here's the link to Atomic Music:
    http://www.atomic-music.com/guitar.htm

    [Edited by gweimer on 10-14-2000 at 09:09 AM]
     
  14. Funny I've read quite the opposite. Doesn't seem right if you ask me. I have a 1990 Warwick Streamer Stage I with separate bridge & tail piece. Under the bridge there's a very large chunk of massive brass. My Warwick produces a meaty bass if you ask me.

    My choice for a Fender replacement bridge is the Gotoh 201 bridge. Massive construction and still looks a bit like a bent plate bridge. It's a direct replacement so no drilling required. Not expensive either.

    Bert
     
  15. Bent metal bridges are used by custom bass builders sometimes. A light weight bridge will shorten the sustain and have a more acustic sound, a heavy weight bridge will increase the sustain and give you a more compressed sound. the only bridge that I haven't liked is the Wilkenson because the saddles move side to side. I haven't had this problem with any fender bridge.