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Someone Please Explain Bass Bridge Design!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by srxplayer, Jun 7, 2004.

  1. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    I have noticed that a lot of high end basses, American Fender, Music Man, Warwick use these cheap looking stamped steel bridges and a lot of basses that get "ragged on" (Ibanez, Yamaha, etc.) use a bridge that looks like some thought was actually put into the manufacture.

    The only high end bass that uses what looks like a trick engineered bridge is the G&L. There are probably others but this one seems really popular with experienced bass players.

    Is the plain stamped steel better? Is the heavey looking two piece cast things that come on say an Ibanez SRX500 just a marketing gimmick? I am told they provide better sustain and provide superior intonation. Is that true? :eyebrow:

    I am ready to step up to a higher end bass from my SRX300 and I really like the Stingray but the cheap loooking bridge just bugs me. :meh:
  2. The Ric 4003/4001 has a nice bridge too :D.

    But yes, it bugs me to see a stamped out bridge on a $1,000+ bass. But you can't change the bridge design on reissues, the purists will rise up and revolt :eek:.
  3. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Dingwalls have the very cool individual bridges....
  4. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    The Spector bridge is great. That thing sustains for days.
  5. FaBu-


    Jan 16, 2004
    You think that Warwicks have cheap looking bridges!?
  6. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    I'm not syaing they are cheap... They just seem a little cheaply made. The key word is "seems" I don't know if they are or not.

    The Warwick two piece bridge may be the best thing in the world of bass playing. But does anyone actually know for sure.

    The idea behind this thread was to enlighten myself. I was hoping bass players with a lot of experience can share some of their experience with me. I am in no way trying to start arguments over who has the best bridge or that Warwicks or anything else is cheap.

    It just seems odd to me that a $1,500.00 Stingray or P-Bass has this stamped out cheap looking bridge and a $450.00 Ibanez has this really nice looking two piece cast(or forged?) bridge.

    The bridge on a Fender P-Bass looks exactly like that used on a cheap Squire. You would think that if you spend $1,200.00 more you would get a better bridge design too.

    Maybe the bridge isn't that important and I should just get over it. But I can't help it. It bugs me.
  7. I will recite my mantra, "When you buy reasonably high quality instruments, they are engineered as a complete unit." After all is said and done, you may or may not notice a minor change in your instrument's sound by "upgrading" the bridge with an aftermarket piece. You will notice that your bass is heavier and your wallet is lighter. I consider (aftermarket) bass bridge design to be a half voodoo, half pseudo-science proposition with the exception of the dear, departed 2-TEK bridge. Pseudo-science and voodoo abound in the world of electric basses and electric guitars.
  8. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Sounds like someone is just trying to boast about their Ibanez bass....

    Each bridge is basicaly different. They all serve a common purpose, just some go about it differently.Whatever is best, is up to you. If you dont like the Warwick, Stingray, or Fender bridges, dont buy one.
  9. There's alot of thought and intent from different manufaturers about how the mass of the bridge relates to the tone of the instrument. A bridge like a Badass is thought by some to kill lows in an instrument because the high mass absorbs the vibrations differently than a stamped piece, which people say lets the vibrations transfer thru the body better....

    then, like you mentionned, the G&L bridge which by their design intent, is to focus the vibrations thru a flange at the bottom of the bridgeplate. I like the G&L design, and the Fender design. I think the Gotoh 201 is a great all around bridge, a bit higher mass, heavier saddles, yet still a vintage-y vibe.

    Then you have great sounding basses like Alembics, and some of these use a huge metal block under the surface of the bass that the bridge anchors to.

    I can't imagine any of these designs only happenned by chance. I would imagine there were quite specific "aims" involved during their inception and revision...
  10. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    Thank you. This is the type of info I'm looking for.
  11. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    No. I'm not boasting. I know that my SRX300 really doesn't sound that good compared to a higher end Fender, Musicman, or any other superior insturment. I can hear the difference. I don't think anyone would argue that.
  12. The adjustable bridge is really only there for 2 reasons: 1.) to adjust the height (action), and 2.) to adjust the intonation. Does making one out of a pound of chrome plated brass make an instrument sound better? Sustain longer? Add "clarity" to the sound? Well, maybe but not necessarily, in my opinion. There are a lot of variables involved and results vary from one person to another...you'll see as soon as the responses build up. There will be a dozen people who will say the BadAss II changed their life profoundly and there will be a dozen who will say they took the BadAss II because it didn't change the tone and added usless weight. If an inexpensive bass sounds bad, the bridge is probably not the major culprit and if an expensive bass sounds great, the bridge is probably not the biggest reason why.
  13. I replaced the stock bridge on my vintage Jazz bass with a Badass II. I honestly didn't hear a bit of difference. If this cast thing is supposed to be that superior to a stamped, bent piece of metal...

    The G&L bridge is a great piece though. The flange on the bottom as well as the "saddle lock" make it a well thought out piece. I actually did replace a bridge with a G&L bridge and there was a marked difference in tone. Of course, I was replacing a nylon saddled Gibson EB-0 bridge, so anything was an improvement... :p
  14. BassFelt


    Mar 26, 2002

    I've done long ago too on one bass. There is actually an improvement that hasn't been mentioned: Fender bridge saddles tend to move around, the screws gets loose, the springs rattle. The Badass, and some other designs do take care of that.

    That said, I can live with Fender bridges, and I don't go for the voodoo factor.
  15. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    havent you ever thought that leo quan bass bridges can be developed by a company owned by fenders owners who made best bass bridges just to make you buy both, lakland also has cheap looking bridges but a close up can give you a good point of view I've seen some gold like saddles that can be made of some kind of brass, aside from rounded saddles fender bridges (for new americans) are ok they are string-trough so the function of the back part of the bridge is more decorative than anything else but the bridge would be better with flat saddles.
  16. The only gripe I have about my GB (a £1,800 or $3,000) is the bridge its a $100 Schnella 2000 bridgr and its the biggest load of pooh ive ever used...enderless adjustable yes..but the sadles are fixed so they move everywhher alterting string spacing and intonation...the fender esq bridge have set string spacing which is good....the intonation wont be out due to the spacing being out..just the truss rod and string height...to sort out :).... its pants it really is... :p....

    My new shuker is having a ABM Indiviaul bridge unit fitted..great quality and have fixed spacing...but..the BadAss II bridge is a great all round bridge..its easily setup and has all the adjustment us mear motals need :)....
  17. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    what he said.
  18. Hey, my Warwick came with a 2 Tek, brag brag :smug:

    One reason the old Fenders got away with cheap looking bridges: they had a bridge cover. So you never saw the bridge, until the owner started using the bridge cover for an ashtray.
  19. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA

    WHAT!!! :confused:
  20. Bridges also are paramount in determining the string spacing on an individual instrument. That's why 3 way bridges find so much popularity. Besides, a custom builder will want that feature so that he can match the spacing to his neck - no matter what deviation from the plan he's left in it.