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The Triumvirate of Doom: Neck Dive, Dead Spot and High Mass vs. Low Mass Bridge

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Gyver, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. So I tried out a Gotoh 201 bridge on my fretless Tony Franklin today. The bass has a bit of neck dive, a moderate dead spot on the G string 7th "fret," and I was also curious to see what the difference in sound and sustain would be between the Gotoh and the stock Fender bridge. I have read through many threads on all of the above topics and wondered if the Gotoh would have a positive affect on any of them. I really had no expectations, good or bad, I just wanted to try it for myself.

    First the Neck Dive. Even though the Gotoh is a heavier bridge I did not notice any difference at all in the balance of the bass after putting it on. Slightly surprised, but not a big deal because the dive is not too bad and only bothers me when playing for a long time.

    Next the Dead Spot. I recorded the dead spot "D" side by side on a multitrack with both bridges and there was no change in it whatsoever. No surprise there either and again not a big deal, I just chalk it up to the character of the bass and it is not so bad that it cannot be managed.

    Finally the overall sound/sustain. I recorded an identical run with both bridges side by side and again found no discernible difference in sound or sustain between the two.

    To sum up I found no reason to replace my stock Fender bridge with the Gotoh. The Gotoh is a nice looking bridge and I liked the way it looked and sounded, I just did not see it as an improvement. The Tony Franklin is a high quality bass as-is and I suppose a lower quality bass would benefit more by adding the Gotoh or any high mass bridge for that matter. The one thing I did not like was the necessity to shim the neck to make the Gotoh work. I set my action fairly low, but not nearly as low as some, and I think most people would have to use a shim to get their preferred action with the Gotoh.

    Hopefully this will help anyone looking to try the Gotoh 201. Even though I decided not to use it on the Tony Franklin I will likely use it if I ever get around to building the Warmoth Jazz Bass I have been thinking about the past 10 years!

    Cheers, Gyver.
  2. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    well there you go.

    the answer to neck dive (and maybe the dead spot, if it changes the headstock resonance a little) is lightweight keys;

    a little weight loss there makes way more difference then a lot of weight gain at the bridge, because of the leverage out at the end of the neck.

    (besides, IIRC the 201 is hollow under that back part, so it's not even all that "high mass" anyway.)
  3. acebase62


    Jun 29, 2010
    I've had 2 different versions of the Gotoh 201; the newer version has a thicker end piece (where strings go through). Both have the same size larger saddles.

    The Gotoh 203 is an option for those who don't like the larger saddles and mass of the 201. It does have grooves and 2 extra mounting holes on the plate.


    I'm getting ready to install the 203 on a couple Warmoth basses.
  4. Absolutely agree on both counts. I replaced the original drop d tuner with a vintage replacement peg not long after getting the bass and it made a big (positive) difference in the dead spot.

    The neck dive was not a big enough issue for me to add lightweight tuners (and consequently drill extra holes in the headstock), but I knew this would be the way to go if I really wanted to change the balance.

    The Gotoh was simply an experiment. Had no real expectations going in and no worries that it did nothing to enhance the bass.