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Vintage Bridge vs Hi Mass Bridge


ClassicVibes

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6 hours ago, peteb said:

It's more about the density rather than the weight of the bridge: 

"Brass is a dense and heavy metal as it is made of copper and zinc (and possibly a small amount of tin depending on brass type). As such, most of the string vibration stays within the bridge and is not transferred out to the body because of its high mass content" 

 

hmmm, if it *stays* within the bridge then it actually dampens the vibrations and would reduce sustain, so that's not the explanation.

I can see how a BBOT bridge can reduce the vibration because it's got relatively loose saddles that can vibrate a bit and absorb part of the energy. More solid bridges may improve the duration of the vibration. Solid being the key word, although one way to make something sturdy and rigid is making it more massive. 

Personally, I haven't noticed any more significant differences than the differences I think I've noticed after dismantling and reassembling bridges (I used to try different pickups by loosening the strings and removing the bridge, then reassembling). If there's a consistent difference, I haven't noticed it and as such it's not one that makes me lose any sleep. 

BBOT or high mass bridge? I don't know. I just want to make sure I have a bridge. Preferably in a finish consistent with the rest of the hardware ;)

 

Edited by mcnach
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1 hour ago, MrCrane said:

They probably also have a marketing department who understand nothing.

 

in a nutshell

a bit like quoting the blurb from an audiophile company about their superior power cables... 

Edited by mcnach
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1 hour ago, ClassicVibes said:

What difference would brass saddles make?

To my uneducated and questionable ear they tightened up the sound a little on my jazz. It could be Emporer's new clothes, I dunno. They look nicer. I did think there was a difference at the time I made the switch though. 

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Quite simply... high mass bridges look much better. I hate the look of the bbot bridge. I like Gotoh bridges, but never heard any discernible difference... still worth it just for the looks.

But.. recently put a Schaller 3D on my Mustang and I can actually hear an increase in focus and sustain... I was quite surprised. Not that bothered because it looks waaaay cool... and easy to adjust, getting intonation spot-on was a doddle.

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I'm not given to buying into snake oil, but I noticed a small improvement when I installed a Babicz - slightly better note definition/clarity, especially at the low end - on my J bass. It looks nice, too, which is a bonus. No hope for me. It'll be snazzy cables for the hi-fi next...

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10 hours ago, BigRedX said:

Why Oh Dear?

Because when an armchair expert starts to tell a world class company that they don't know their business as well as he does. . . . it's obviously an Oh, Dear moment.

Edited by chris_b
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Just wondering how many have fitted new strings when they fitted a new bridge, I'm guessing most. 

Could the new improved clarity and sustain be due to new strings but subconsciously you decide it's the bridge as that cost you money?

 

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3 minutes ago, Maude said:

Just wondering how many have fitted new strings when they fitted a new bridge, I'm guessing most. 

Could the new improved clarity and sustain be due to new strings but subconsciously you decide it's the bridge as that cost you money?

 

As I use flats and like them when they have bedded in, I didn't, so I think the change was due to the bridge.

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4 minutes ago, Maude said:

Just wondering how many have fitted new strings when they fitted a new bridge, I'm guessing most. 

Could the new improved clarity and sustain be due to new strings but subconsciously you decide it's the bridge as that cost you money?

 

No, have used the same strings. 

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The problem is, some will likely hear clear differences and some won’t. We all hear differently anyway, and as I’ve found over many years playing the same instruments with other musicians, and even more specifically in the recording studio, some are blessed with ears that others don’t have. 

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19 minutes ago, chris_b said:

Because when an armchair expert starts to tell a world class company that they don't know their business as well as he does. . . . it's obviously an Oh, Dear moment.

 

11 minutes ago, chris_b said:

Your marketing department is making that up.

I'm coming to the opinion that it’s pointless contributing to these threads - too many 'armchair experts' who haven't got a clue. 

You would expect a debate on what is supposed to be a forum for musicians to be concerned with the advantages and disadvantages of a such a product, if the marginal gain you get is worth the inevitable trade-offs and then compare it to the pros and cons of other types of bridges. But that was never going to happen… 

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8 hours ago, Maude said:

Just wondering how many have fitted new strings when they fitted a new bridge, I'm guessing most. 

Could the new improved clarity and sustain be due to new strings but subconsciously you decide it's the bridge as that cost you money?

 

I usually change my strings on 29 February.

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15 hours ago, drTStingray said:

I think the answer is resonation - the bridge transfers string resonation to the body (as does the neck joint, and other elements which make up the 'system' of the bass you're playing). However it's not one way traffic - the resonation of the body returns back via connections like the bridge back to the strings and pick ups. 

Now if the bass you use has 1950s style design elements (which might include flatwound strings) it will be great for thump along 50s/60s style sounds but not for late 70s punk or 80s funk for instance. 

The sturdiness of the bridge would have a bearing and how well it transfers the resonance (and helps create it).

I have a Stingray with strings through the bridge - it increases sustain a lot compared with a non strings through bridge, with roundwound strings (flatwounds tend to reduce this a little). 

The up to 2018 Musicman basses have a large bolt each side of the bridge which run deep into the body, and a thick steel casting for a bridge - the bolts not only transfer resonance to the busy they also help to keep the saddles precisely in place - the post 2018 Stingray Specials have the same type of bridge but in aluminium (thus lightweight - as are the tuners and other hardware) and without the two large bolts. Those basses still have good sustain but of course neodymium pick up poles instead of alnico and 18 volt instead of 9 volt pre amps. I suspect these partially compensate for the change in materials.

The sound of a bass results from its overall construction as well as electronics, as a system. The bridge clearly has an important role in securing the strings and acting as part of the body/strings two way resonance process.

If you're playing thump along stuff that might matter less than if you want brightness like Stanley Clark, Louis Johnson, Mark King and Marcus Miller - I'm always reminded Marcis Miller's original 77 Jazz has a Badass bridge - presumably for reasons of performance! 

Surely it would be the opposite way round. 
a high mass helps the string resonate more effectively and resonates less into the body?


A string resonating between two points which transfers less of its vibrations into the points it is resonating between will have more sustain. The heavier and more bolted in the bridge (and stiffer the neck)  the more isolated the resonating string is. 

the lighter the bridge (And more flexible the neck) the more transfers into the body/neck and the more cancellation Of bits of the frequencies there will be. (It’s only going to ever be subtractive, a bridge or body can’t add anything to the vibrations of the string) 

From a P bass with its flatsawn maple neck and BBOT bridge where the way it interacts with the body gives it the classic attack and decay to a P bass sound. I think I very much prefer the BBOT bridge on a P.

the opposite would be a high mass bridge on a neck made of laminates of wood. A peavy T40 is the best example I have tried. Absolutely massive bridge, and super stiff neck - there’s less transfer of resonance and the string resonates freely, the attack and decay is different to a P bass. 

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11 hours ago, Maude said:

Just wondering how many have fitted new strings when they fitted a new bridge, I'm guessing most. 

Could the new improved clarity and sustain be due to new strings but subconsciously you decide it's the bridge as that cost you money?

This - all day long. Even if you put the old strings back on it will sound different initially because they've relaxed while off and when refitted are 'new' for a very short time especially when re-pressing the witness points.

 

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6 hours ago, LukeFRC said:

Surely it would be the opposite way round. 
a high mass helps the string resonate more effectively and resonates less into the body?


A string resonating between two points which transfers less of its vibrations into the points it is resonating between will have more sustain. The heavier and more bolted in the bridge (and stiffer the neck)  the more isolated the resonating string is. 

the lighter the bridge (And more flexible the neck) the more transfers into the body/neck and the more cancellation Of bits of the frequencies there will be. (It’s only going to ever be subtractive, a bridge or body can’t add anything to the vibrations of the string) 

From a P bass with its flatsawn maple neck and BBOT bridge where the way it interacts with the body gives it the classic attack and decay to a P bass sound. I think I very much prefer the BBOT bridge on a P.

the opposite would be a high mass bridge on a neck made of laminates of wood. A peavy T40 is the best example I have tried. Absolutely massive bridge, and super stiff neck - there’s less transfer of resonance and the string resonates freely, the attack and decay is different to a P bass. 

And we have a winner - that's exactly right and explained very well...! 

What it comes down to is what you want to hear and how you want to express yourself on the instrument. You like the classic attack and decay of an old P bass, whereas I prefer something with a bit more sustain. There is no right or wrong and both can sound great, it is just down to personal preference. 

Edited by peteb
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6 hours ago, LukeFRC said:

Surely it would be the opposite way round. 
a high mass helps the string resonate more effectively and resonates less into the body?


A string resonating between two points which transfers less of its vibrations into the points it is resonating between will have more sustain. The heavier and more bolted in the bridge (and stiffer the neck)  the more isolated the resonating string is. 

the lighter the bridge (And more flexible the neck) the more transfers into the body/neck and the more cancellation Of bits of the frequencies there will be. (It’s only going to ever be subtractive, a bridge or body can’t add anything to the vibrations of the string) 

From a P bass with its flatsawn maple neck and BBOT bridge where the way it interacts with the body gives it the classic attack and decay to a P bass sound. I think I very much prefer the BBOT bridge on a P.

the opposite would be a high mass bridge on a neck made of laminates of wood. A peavy T40 is the best example I have tried. Absolutely massive bridge, and super stiff neck - there’s less transfer of resonance and the string resonates freely, the attack and decay is different to a P bass. 

There is an easy way to check this out - just pluck an open string (say an E or A) and place your hand on the back of the bass body behind the bridge - all of mine reverberate significantly (although the ones with flatwound strings do so less). That reverberation is more pronounced than at the upper horn (which I suspect comes from the neck). 

So the theory only basses with BBOT bridges reverberate the body is wrong (as science would suggest). 

Those reverberations must be two way as the materials aren't isolated at the body/bridge joint and once again, would defy science if they were one way (rather like saying light or heat only pass through a normal window in one direction). 

The attack/decay can be a factor of design but strings (especially flatwound) would have a big effect and the biggest is the player and type of muting in their playing they use. 

The sound of a Precision bass is clearly influenced by the pick up design and location and the remainder of the construction. 

There is a school of thought that body material makes no difference to the sound of a solid bodied electric bass (a theory which would also support the idea that bridges and bodies don't transfer reverberation/sound)  - however that view on body wood not making any difference is not shared by most if not all of the organisations and individuals that make bass guitars - we're back to armchair observers v professionals again.......😏

I too have no problem what type of bass people prefer but remember the biggest variable is the player - and another is the strings (especially round v flat) 👍

Edited by drTStingray
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1 hour ago, peteb said:

And we have a winner - that's exactly right and explained very well...! 

What it comes down to is what you want to hear and how you want to express yourself on the instrument. You like the classic attack and decay of an old P bass, whereas I prefer something with a bit more sustain. There is no right or wrong and both can sound great, it is just down to personal preference. 

Yep, I would agree.

As someone else said though, in 40 years I’ve never had a single bass where I needed more sustain.....

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9 minutes ago, 4000 said:

As someone else said though, in 40 years I’ve never had a single bass where I needed more sustain.....

A lot of people say this. I guess it depends on what you want to play.

In Boys Of Summer I wanted a strong sustain for 4 bars, to hold on and not die in the middle of bar 3 and leave me looking like I've fallen asleep or forgotten to play. I've had basses that could do that and basses that couldn't. Most basses can hold a note for a bar and many for 2 bars. 4 bars sorts the men from the boys.

My old US Lakland was the best. You could go shopping and when you came back the note would still be ringing. If you don't need that facility, fine, but if you do you'll be thankful for the guys who make basses that can do that.

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1 hour ago, drTStingray said:

There is an easy way to check this out - just pluck an open string (say an E or A) and place your hand on the back of the bass body behind the bridge - all of mine reverberate significantly (although the ones with flatwound strings do so less). That reverberation is more pronounced than at the upper horn (which I suspect comes from the neck). 

So the theory only basses with BBOT bridges reverberate the body is wrong (as science would suggest). 

Those reverberations must be two way as the materials aren't isolated at the body/bridge joint and once again, would defy science if they were one way (rather like saying light or heat only pass through a normal window in one direction). 

The attack/decay can be a factor of design but strings (especially flatwound) would have a big effect and the biggest is the player and type of muting in their playing they use. 

The sound of a Precision bass is clearly influenced by the pick up design and location and the remainder of the construction. 

There is a school of thought that body material makes no difference to the sound of a solid bodied electric bass (a theory which would also support the idea that bridges and bodies don't transfer reverberation/sound)  - however that view on body wood not making any difference is not shared by most if not all of the organisations and individuals that make bass guitars - we're back to armchair observers v professionals again.......😏

I too have no problem what type of bass people prefer but remember the biggest variable is the player - and another is the strings (especially round v flat) 👍

But have you tried turning it off and on again? 

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1 hour ago, ClassicVibes said:

But have you tried turning it off and on again? 

Haha - that's my usual solution for a recalcitrant PC or lap top (or smart phone even) 😁😂

However for bass guitar resonance in the body wood behind the bridge, you don't need to plug it in - acoustic resonance is easy to feel if you put the palm of your hand against the back of the bass guitar body behind the location of the bridge whilst plucking an open string 👍

I guess you were joking but just to extend the comment, the only way to adjust it (turn it on or off - probably not off completely) is by muting the string either dynamically by using various playing techniques, or by muting the strings with a mechanical damper of some sort. 

Edited by drTStingray
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