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Hi mass Bass Bridge


Mickyk

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I’ve recently bought a Squier Precision and the adjustment grub screws on the bridge protrude a fair bit and are sharp, so I’ve bought a Fender Himass bridge for it. Better adjusting, and less sharp parts to cut myself on with my rather ham-fisted approach to playing.  As to sound, well in the past I’ve had Badass bridges and to my ear they tightened up the sound a bit but would I notice that in the mix, no. Would I even notice it when playing the bass loudly, no, I only noticed it at home rehearsals and even then it wasn’t significant.

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If you want a nicer, slightly more solid replacement for a BBOT, the Gotoh 203 is the one. Not high mass, but slightly heftier, smoothly finished and no sharp edges, brass saddles, all for around £25. Has 7 screw holes - the rear 5 are the same as the BBOT and you don't need to drill for the other 2 at the front of the bridge if you don't want to. I have them on several basses.

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I changed mine on my Players Series PBass and it was night and day better !

Not so much in tone or sustain but that improved ( noticeable as a pick player ) but the saddles do not move or screws undo etc like the original bridge it comes with 

I used the chrome / brass Fender HiMass which I believe they use on a few of the USA models 

Easy job and worth doing and they look good too 

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How much difference does a hi-mass bridge make? The answer is, it depends.

 

All stringed musical instruments (even electric ones) make their noise through vibrations. All parts of the instrument are, to a greater or lesser degree, involved with either accentuating frequencies or dampening them. These effects are noticeable or not depending on how the instrument was made and what it was made of and the ability of the ears of those listening to it.

 

The pickups finally amplify the result.

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14 minutes ago, Dan Dare said:

If you want a nicer, slightly more solid replacement for a BBOT, the Gotoh 203 is the one. Not high mass, but slightly heftier, smoothly finished and no sharp edges, brass saddles, all for around £25. Has 7 screw holes - the rear 5 are the same as the BBOT and you don't need to drill for the other 2 at the front of the bridge if you don't want to. I have them on several basses.

The very bridge I have used myself. Doesn't have the makers name (oo-er) stamped onto it.

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I notice a definite improvement in sustain and (yes) tone with a higher mass bridge. You may notice it, or you may not, but it's there. 

One of the biggest plus points for me, is that generally the high mass bridges are better quality and have more adjustability than a standard Fender style bridge.  

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45 minutes ago, Supernaut said:

 

They don't change the sound but I find that they hold intonation better. 

Is that perhaps more a function of better design, better materials and more accurate construction, rather than any inherent chracteristic of simply having more mass?

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2 hours ago, Dan Dare said:

If you want a nicer, slightly more solid replacement for a BBOT, the Gotoh 203 is the one. Not high mass, but slightly heftier, smoothly finished and no sharp edges, brass saddles, all for around £25. Has 7 screw holes - the rear 5 are the same as the BBOT and you don't need to drill for the other 2 at the front of the bridge if you don't want to. I have them on several basses.

Same here, a nice bit of kit and if I`m not mistaken I think this is the bridge on JJ`s Shuker?

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So having read all the replies on this, the general consensus seems to be that the Hi Mass bridge doesn't equate to a more vintage sounding tone. But if you did fit  one then it would add to the aesthetics of the instrument, hmmm or is the jury still out.

 

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17 minutes ago, Mickyk said:

So having read all the replies on this, the general consensus seems to be that the Hi Mass bridge doesn't equate to a more vintage sounding tone. But if you did fit  one then it would add to the aesthetics of the instrument, hmmm or is the jury still out.

 

Whenever I look up vintage pickups the words scatterwound and heavy Formvar wire seem to crop up so my conclusion would be pickups made in this way combined with a valve amp would give more of a vintage sound than a high mass bridge. So I would lean towards marketing guff TBH.

Edited by tegs07
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I had a Geddy Jazz with the Badass bridge, sustained forever, had a Squier jazz fretless, the Jaco-esque one, which came with a standard bent tin jazz bridge, swapped it for a Gotoh hi-mass and it made absolutely no difference at all, unlike dropping a pair of Wizard pups in, which did.

 

Was the sustain on the Geddy a function of better builds and woods? Maybe. I have MM SR5s now, the MM bridges do the job very well, and I think the posts let into the body that secure the bridge do play a part in allowing the string vibrations to act with the body, as they all sound great unplugged, as did the Geddy, the fretless not so much. YMMV

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Never was impressed with the original BBOT, that moves about & digs in the side of your palm when string muting?
I have one of each on my Fender’s..

Gotoh on my Jazz

Fender Hi-mass on my PJ

Can’t hear too much of a difference, but I find the Fender Hi-mass, more comfortable?

B8A3F0D6-2C99-44B7-A38F-980784ADA874.jpeg

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I generally don't care too much about the bridge (I even don't mind the Gibson 3 point bridge 🤨) and whatever tonal difference there is would probably be lost in the mix imo. 

 

However, this bass whisperer vid on the difference between a locked and unlocked G&L bridge is pretty good and you can hear quite a difference......

 

 

Whether or not it makes much of a difference when the rest of the band kick in is another thing, but I do lock the bridge on my G&L.

 

You can hear a difference here in this comparison too......

 

I wouldn't say it makes the tone more vintage sounding though, nor would I go out of my way to change a bridge unless there was something wrong with it

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1 hour ago, tegs07 said:

Whenever I look up vintage pickups the words scatterwound and heavy Formvar wire seem to crop up so my conclusion would be pickups made in this way combined with a valve amp would give more of a vintage sound than a high mass bridge. So I would lean towards marketing guff TBH.

And flat wounds since those are vintage whereas rounds are not 

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Interesting input guys, better vintage tone ?  what is that  - rather subjective i agree.

 

But I can understand why a high mass bridge will anchor the tone and give a clear fundamental that is more distinct.

 

after all you must all agree if you have ever used a tuning fork - strike it, then ground the the end hard down on a solid surface . Hey ! presto  you can now hear the note loud and clear. That is what a high mass bridge will do to help your strings pick up the natural tone of your wooden bass and better transfer that signature frequency to the strings that in turn will be amplified via your pick ups. may be this all comes back to the Old tone wood debate, A well constructed bass with seasoned woods, body and neck will resonate better than cheaper cuts. and the high mass bridge is simply confirming - you can't make a silk purse from a sows ear. ?????

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3 hours ago, WinterMute said:

I had a Geddy Jazz with the Badass bridge, sustained forever, had a Squier jazz fretless, the Jaco-esque one, which came with a standard bent tin jazz bridge, swapped it for a Gotoh hi-mass and it made absolutely no difference at all, unlike dropping a pair of Wizard pups in, which did.

 

Was the sustain on the Geddy a function of better builds and woods? Maybe. I have MM SR5s now, the MM bridges do the job very well, and I think the posts let into the body that secure the bridge do play a part in allowing the string vibrations to act with the body, as they all sound great unplugged, as did the Geddy, the fretless not so much. YMMV

Replacement pickups definitely the quicker and easier route to a vintage tone. Put some Creamery 60s style pups in my Squier Jazz.... what a transformation. 

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15 hours ago, Doctor J said:

Think about it for a while. Did the basses which created that classic vintage tone have high-mass bridges? Were they old/vintage basses when the classic vintage tone was being recorded?

Maybe the air worked differently then, or perhaps the electricity used was a different shade of rose-tinted 

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9 hours ago, Boodang said:

Replacement pickups definitely the quicker and easier route to a vintage tone. Put some Creamery 60s style pups in my Squier Jazz.... what a transformation. 

I agree with this and about Creamery pickups. Despite the mockery there is a sound associated with those 50s and 60s recordings that is very enduring. Some of this will be down to recording techniques, including the often rushed nature of the recording and lo-fi production but some is down to the instruments. Less aggressive pickups combined with valve amps do sound pleasing to my ears. This is all subjective but I understand why people seek to reproduce it.

 I don’t think you will achieve it with a hi-mass bridge though!

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I went through a phase of always swapping my bridge from BBOT to a high mass one of some description.  I tried them all, pretty much.  Not for any improvement in tone - my hearing is so knackered that I couldn't detect anything even if it was there :) -  but just because I found the BBOT uncomfortable on my hand when resting it there, especially when the saddle height adjustment scews poke up.  Plus the aesthetics - particularly liked the Hipshot A style and Schaller 3D, nicely engineered bits of kit.  But these days I stick with the BBOT and just replace the saddle scews with shorter ones - much cheaper! :D

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