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What's so Bad Ass about the BadAss?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by ChaosGwar, Jun 30, 2002.

  1. I'm getting a cheap Jazz this month for the sole purpose of upgrading it. I want to get a BadAss II bridge for it, but I want to know what all the hype is about before I drop $75 on it.

    I've played basses with BA bridges installed on them (Harris sig P bass for one) but really haven't been able to pinpoint any major difference in tone. The Harris P sounds fat, but I attribute that to the 1/4 pound pickups. I got the same tone with a Hoppus sig, same pups, no BA bridge.

    So, the question is, are they really worth it, or should I save some money and get a Gotoh 201?
  2. old_skool


    Aug 17, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    I just got one put on, I havent had time to actually play it on my 5 string but Ill let you know. However, I payed 60 for mine and its a five, you should pay no more than 40.
  3. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    The BA is supposed to offer more sustain due to its increased mass. Ive got a BA on a 78 MIA P, and I dont get as much sustain from that as I do from my string thru 98 MIA P. Both Basses have the same pickups and strings.

    The Gotoh 201 should be half the price of the BA, and Ive heard good things about that bridge.
  4. AllParts is the only place I know of that sells them, and for $75.

    I see them on ebay all the time and they usually go above the $40 mark. The only times they don't is when I don't have the money.

    I don't know about adding sustain. It really didn't feel or sound any different.

    The one thing I've done to my bass that made me noticed increased sustain was adding a bridge cover. I guess spreading the mass out over a wider area is what effected the sustain.

    But it's cool, cuz I just picked this up from ebay.


    It doesn't have a brand name, but it is a direct Fender replacement, and only cost me $19 after shipping.
  5. old_skool


    Aug 17, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    Allparts is the place I got mine and the store charged me 60.
  6. old_skool


    Aug 17, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
  7. The Gotoh 201 is a direct replacement bridge for Mexican made Fenders. The screw holes are different between MIM and MIA basses.

    I have the 201, and found it put my strings far too high on my MIM P. Even with the saddles all the way down, the action was still too high, so I put the stock bridge back on. No noticeable change in tone, either.

    I measured both the stock and Gotoh bridges and found the 201 saddles cannot be set as low as stock. The stock saddles are smaller diameter, and the stock base plate is thinner. This combination allows the saddles to come closer (lower) to the wood of the bass.

    The good news is, this same 201 bridge is landing on my MIM J fretless. It will work very well, even with the very low action required by fretless. I attribute this to the variation in production MIM basses.

    It is my understanding the user has to hand-file the string grooves in the BadAss saddles. Check into this.
  8. old_skool


    Aug 17, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    Bah, you dont need to file no stinking saddles.
  9. I got this information from someone who works at Leo Quan,
    you need to cut the saddle grooves init to get the best "connection" between string and saddle. but it is best to have a luthier do this. the grooves need to be cut to the exact depth/width of the strings used.
  10. old_skool


    Aug 17, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    And what happens when you change string gauges?

    You take a poll here out of all the BA owners and see how many have actually filed there slots.
  11. Zirc

    Zirc Supporting Member

    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I love my badass!

    So much sustain and clarity, ah I love it! It's so much better than the stock MIM bridge.

    Filed slots? Screw that, I just let the strings do that for me.
  12. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Time for a history lesson.

    When Leo Quan came out with the Bad Ass in the late 70s, it was the first high mass bridge available for Fender users. At the time, the prevailing wisdom (hype?) said high mass aided in sustain and helped reduce dead spots on the neck. The bridge also allowed more precise intonation than the stock stamped bridge. Most BA bridges are actually the BA-II which is a direct retrofit for Fenders, the original BA required body routing (it had a "foot" which supposedly provided stronger coupling to the body).

    Since the BadAss was introduced, many other makers started selling bridges for Fenders. Fender even started offering high mass bridges on some models (original P Special, P Elite, P Plus, etc.). The BA fell out of favor until Fender issued the Marcus Miller and Geddy Lee basses, both of which used the BA because the basses they were modelled after had been modified many years ago with one.

    Suddenly everybody was into the BadAss again.

    Can you say "crowd mentality"? :rolleyes:
  13. Upgrading is funner than playing the damn thing :D

    But honestly, I wouldn't get a new bridge/tuners unless it was just for looks. Buying new hardware for tone is for people that think paint alters your tone. Not that I am saying that they won't alter tone, what I'm saying is that you could get all your damn "High Mass" hardware and your damn "Natural" finishes you want...i'm just gonna got get some new pick ups :D
  14. I agree!

    I bought the bridge off of ebay because

    1) it was cheap

    2) I've heard from reliable sources that the stock bridges aren't all that great.

    3) The Ray clone I'm getting also has a less than stellar stock bridge, and it might go on that.

    I don't think it'll do much, if anything for the tone, but I just don't like the look of the thin stock bridges. That and I'll be stringing it with D'addario strings, which I didn't know til I got them, have color coded string balls :rolleyes: for those who can't tell the difference in guages. I think it's rather ooogly, so I want the balls hidden from sight. This bridge will do the trick. Or i'll pop on a bridge cover, and put the new bridge on the Ray copy.
  15. The BA was much better then my stock Fender reissue P-bass made in Japan.
  16. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    My MIM Jazz has a BadAss II bridge (as well as DiMarzio Ultra Jazz p/u's), and I love it! The grooves were filed by a local repair shop who had to do it over a couple of times until they got the string spacing even. That part didn't make me happy.

    But, the bass does have more treble response than it did with the stock bridge...that's for sure! I think there's a little more sustain, but I wouldn't make an issue out of that.

    All-in-all, though, you'll still have a Mexican bass that's worth a couple hundred bucks. Is it worth it? Only if you're not planning on trading it.
  17. Jontom


    Mar 11, 2002
    New York
    Mongo says "Heavy is Good"! Badass' tend to be heavier than stock bridges.
  18. JimM


    Jan 13, 2000
    Northern California
    Hope that ain't true,I used a three cornered file to do mine,that was about fifteen years ago on my '76 J.The strings seem to stay put just fine.On the other hand,I didn't notice much increase in sustain with the BAII.I now have a '98 P strung thru the body with noticeably more sustain.
  19. LA


    Oct 17, 2001
    The reports are basically more sustain and a richer tone, though I don't know how a bridge alone can do that to a bass.

    I just ordered a 5-string BA V, so we'll see how it goes. Consider dguitarparts if you're going to order online.

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