Fender and bridges

So, now you have a new bridge with more hi-mids and punch - just perfect to add a sponge underneath the strings to kill it all off again :grin:

No, just kidding - awesome research! You should have become a scientist, you’d make a great experimentalist!!

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exactly ! :rofl:

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Still testing the hi-mass bridge. It appears that the difference gets bigger in saturated tones, where the increased harmonics and high-mids become more perceptible.

here is a picture to show how it looks on the actual bass :

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Anybody know how to find out what kind of wood a P-bass is made out of??? like if it has a painted finish? how would you know???

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the more common thing on current Fender basses (and guitars) : if it’s a solid color, it’s alder. if it’s a transparent finish it’s often ash but it can also be alder, in this case it’s easy to see because the veneer doesn’t look the same at all.

ash and alder sound a bit different but both sound pretty good. an ash body is often heavier than an alder one, but not always.

on cheaper models (MIJ, MIM, Squier) it can also be basswood or poplar. those two woods have almost no visible veneer and they sound very close to alder with a little bit less attack (not really noticeable).

(my green Precision has an ash body because it was originally trans-white)

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What did you finally decide about the new high mass bridge?

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haha, good question … after a few months and some recording sessions, I will end my testing period soon. right now I’m almost sure I will go back to the vintage-style bridge. I’ll explain all that choice when I’ll be 100% sure and when it will be done on the bass :slight_smile:

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My Squier Jazz has a maple body and a maple neck . . . but it’s been discontinued.

Perhaps @Pbassnewb could use the serial number on his bass to find out?

Cheers, Joe

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I thought MIJ were generally more expensive, not cheaper? I know they are sought after…

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cheaper than MIA ! but good anyway :slight_smile:

are you sure about this ? a maple body would be very very heavy ! and would sound very bright

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I’m positive . . . and it IS very very heavy! :wink:

Here’s the link where I purchased it:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/JBass70OWT--squier-vintage-modified-jazz-bass-70s-olympic-white

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yeah I’m surprised, first time I see a Fender/Squier body made of this “soft maple”. well, I guess it must work if they chose this wood :grin:

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Ladies and gentlemen, here is the final chapter of my high mass bridge experiences. at least for now I think it’s the final chapter :sweat_smile:

So, four months ago I replaced the standard vintage bridge by a Fender Hi-Mass Brass bridge on Greenie, which is my #1 bass. I played a lot of hours, recorded a few things (mostly covers) and finally decided that this Hi-Mass bridge is not what I want, so I just replaced it back by the stock vintage bridge. Also I realize that I have not used the best words during my first tests, I will try to be more precise and I will list the characteristics of each bridge :

Hi-Mass bridge :

plus

  • acts like a “mechanical compressor” : the attack is slower and softer, and the dynamics is more manageable (normalized, if I can say), the sustain is a bit longer
  • the tone is warmer : more harmonics, more high mids, sounds rich and musical
  • good finish, looks more like a noble part than the steel vintage bridge
  • easy to mount and to set up, no bad surprise at all
  • not so expensive, especially for an original Fender part

equal

  • the instrument is more resonnant : I’d say it’s a good thing but it’s not what everybody is searching for
  • the tone is smoother, here again it all depends on what everyone is searching for

minus

  • 3 times heavier than the stock bridge, it adds weight to an already heavy instrument
  • it’s way bigger than the stock bridge and I find it looks bulky

Vintage bridge :

plus

  • lighter, less weight to hold and carry
  • agressive and metallic attacks
  • I like the look … very personnal point of view :slight_smile:

equal

  • sounds more … vintage … more Fender I’d say ! at least if we have the same “Fender tone” in mind

minus

  • with this kind of bridge, it’s very common to have some notes that will sound dull, not like the other notes (the hi-mass corrects this !)
  • less setup margin

I can’t say that one bridge is better than the other, and if I had really to tell, I would say the hi-mass is objectively “better”. But it depends on what you want from your instrument. I really like the agressive/metallic attack of the steel bridge and I find that the hi-mass sounds a little bit too soft with the overdrive, that’s why I chose to go back to the vintage bridge.

If it can help I would say that the hi-mass could be a better choice if :

  • you play mostly with a pure clean tone
  • you want a docile, smooth instrument
  • you want an all-around and predictable bass that will work pretty well in almost every situation
  • you don’t always use a compressor but you still are interrested by the benefits of a slightly compressed tone

And the vintage bridge would be better in my opinion if :

  • you want an agressive and bright attack
  • you play mostly with overdrive
  • you are searching for the typical vintage Precision Bass tone
  • you are OK to sacrifice all the benefits of the hi-mass for those characteristics

'hope it helps.

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@terb Thanks for the thorough overview. This is a lot more helpful than what you typically find when people try yo review bridges.

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a quick word about two months later, back to the stock vintage bridge. it’s on my main bass so I use it all the time, and I recorded a few covers since I changed the bridge back.

I feel the bass is more natural, more “lively” (but only in the sense I mean it / I can understand that someone could feel and say the opposite) … overall I’d simply say it’s more a Precision Bass to me !

At this point I absolutly don’t want to change the bridge again. this vintage steel plate is the right thing for me. I might sell the Hi-Mass.

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Thanks for the feedback. Interesting thread. Personally, I prefer the Hi-mass bridge. I like the look better than the original bridge. My ears are not good enough to tell any difference in tone.

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Like others have said, thanks @terb for this great research. I think I will hold off for a while on swapping out my bridge with a high mass.

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Hi terb, I’ve had a JB Marcus Miller for the last 10 years during which I had the opportunity to try other basses. I was fond of the rosewood fingerboard and recently bought a Precision MIJ. A luthier installed a Precision Hepcat 64 pickup. He said that those “hi-mass” bridges (a marketeting teaser for sure) would eat up the sound rather than expand it. All these bad ass US bass players never replaced their original Fender bridge did they ? Incidently, the French call it “a cheap chip of metal sheet” (clowns :partying_face:except hadrien féraud :heartbeat:)… However, in terms of propagation of vibrations, I’d stick to common sense : the less thick the more conductive. I might change my Marcus bad ass bridge for an original Fender one (not the recent ones which are thicker), just to see what it sounds like :wink:

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Thank you very much! Amazing job @terb

I love that people here take the time, not only to find out things for themselves in great detail, but also take the bit of extra time to distribute the knowledge gained.

I know which posts I will look up should I decide to customize/build.

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actually I happen to be french

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