Bridge Foam and Neck Wraps

Was not sure whether this topic belonged in the Gear or Technique category.

My main genre is Blues/Motown and songs such as Sittin on the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding.

I have seen some on the forum, such as @Griff, mention bridge foam to achieve what I would call a more mellow tone/reduced sustain/sting damping, or whatever you would like to call it and I have always used bridge foam for this type of music myself but I see that a lot of people are talking and advocating neck wraps on the internet.

Can someone tell me if there is a difference between using foam under the strings at the bridge and using a neck wrap and what the advantages and disadvantages of each are?
Other than the fact that neck wraps are ridiculously priced for what they are :astonished:

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Hi @Celticstar,

A neck or fret wrap will only dampen open strings and I think harmonics, and foam at the opposite end (the bridge) will dampen everything. So it would depend what you were trying to achieve. I say stick to foam for your style if you like the sound you are getting. Someone with more experience may chime in, but this is the basic gist of it I think :man_shrugging:

I agree though they are super expensive, I have just used my daughters scrunchy before, worked well and they are like $2.

Cheers Brendan

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Hi @Celticstar,
I use foam like Bill @Griff on some of my recordings as does @terb.
I haven’t used the neck wrap but have seen a few posting on the forum using them.
The bridge foam IMO gives a nice mellow tone to the bass and the genre you like suits it well as does the laid back stuff I play.
I’m sure someone on the forum will be able to provide feedback :+1:
Cheers Brian

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@Celticstar, I haven’t used my Nordymute yet, but give it a look, it MAY have some “advantages” for you over the old school/traditional foam.

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@Brendan

Ah ha!
Nice to know.

Also nice to know.
I’ll have to pick one up at the dollar store.

I know @josh is not a fan of the neck wraps as he would rather we use technique but I have never seen him talk about bridge foam.

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If I’m not mistaken, there’s some talk about it in the gear review videos in this thread :slightly_smiling_face:

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@booker_t

Thank you for the information.

Just checked it out online.
$40 for foam glued to a stick :rofl:

I think I will stick to my popsicle stick with slotted foam I glued to it.
Actually I need to make a new one or two.

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You are correct @Krescht, I just saw in the link that you posted that Josh did rate the Nordy as a “get it.” Even without his review I’ll still always be on the hunt for the best gear that I can get.

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the neck wrap is more something to help with muting, whereas the foam at the bridge brings this dictinctive dark/fat attack and lowers the sustain. those are two very different things.

I have a neck wrap but I never found a use for it really :sweat_smile:

also I use a random foam block (from a butchered old chair) for the bridge thing, and I highly doubt that an expensive gadget would sound better.

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@terb

Probably why I never thought of trying anything at the nut when playing Blues.

I agree.
Some things can be done so inexpensively to change the tone and get the sound and feel you want.
I do not know why people would want to spend good money on simple things they can do themselves. Basic setup comes to mind.

My foam was from an old garden swing :slightly_smiling_face:
I did cut slots in it so it can just be dropped over the strings because I was afraid of changing the tuning by just pushing it under the strings. Tried both ways and did not notice any difference really so I just stuck with the drop on version.

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that’s a good idea, I will try this ! indeed I can confirm that the foam block under the strings requires to check the tuning.

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UK bassists might want to consider Grossmann mute instead as the Nordy Mute only seems to be avaialble in the US (plus Bass direct are a nice shop to give custom to)

https://www.bassdirect.co.uk/bass_guitar_specialists/The_BAss_Mute.html

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the page shows the “fump”, for information I’ve read very bad reviews about this device. the Grossmann looks more interesting but it’s really easy to build for way less than the asked price :slight_smile:

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There’s always Tip #100, where Carol Kaye describes her method of muting (with or without using a pick). Of course, her method for affixing the felt on top may not be everyone’s cup of tea. . .
Carol_Kaye_bridge_mute

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@chris6

Still seems pricey at 25pounds for foam glued to a block of wood.
As @terb says it is easy enough to make and works just as well for a fraction of the cost.
Only trick is getting the right color foam.

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@Never2Late

Interesting.

In that article I noticed she does say to use foam if playing with fingers

She says:
“You use a doubled up piece of felt on top of the strings when you play only with a pick. If you play with fingers (or even with fingers sometime and then pick sometime), then get a piece of foam about the same width, but fit underneath the strings,…”

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Yes, the tip covered both scenarios, and in detail.

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@terb

Yeh, I have seen a lot of bad reviews also and a lot of the good reviews were from music stores so the reviews may be colored by the fact that they may be sponsored.

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Some of the original fender bridge covers actually had the foam included. I think I saw somewhere Rickenbackers too, but I’m not familiar with those.

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my Grabber also have a rubber band glued inside the cover. it sounds pretty bad with it, because the rubber is way too hard.

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