Brass or Aluminum Bridge?

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Posted by Fred B. Stewart on January 07, 2002 at 19:08:37:

Hello Bassists: There is one topic about bridges that's often under explained, and that's the material it's made of; Part of a Bridges function is to dampen vibration because the saddles represent a negative interval and are stationary. However, the further back the bridge rests on the body, the more aggressive the wood vibration is, and you can test this with your fingertips. The screws also help dampen excessive energy through the bridge plate. What's happening is the bridge is compressing the wide bass resonances, tightening the vibration transfer between the wood and metal allowing for an even response. Aluminum excels in a Medium weight body wood especially with through the body stringing. In light woods Brass excels because low density resonant woods vibrate more readily. A bridge that's mounted at the end of the body needs more dampening than one placed further inside where there is less energy. This analysis is just a guide, but in general, the lower frequency of a B-string does benefit from a solid bridge whether its Brass or a Zinc alloy. An Aluminum bridge can be used with exotic woods that are inherently stiff and resistent to the wide B-string vibration. You can expect a quick bright response with Aluminum, and a more delayed and compressed nasal character with brass, and of course this always depends where the design of the bass is coming from. I use Hipshot bridges and absolutely love the quality and tone. One unknown fact is that you can buy vintage spaced bridges from Hipshot in Brass or Aluminum. I hope these little comments help, and remember there are many opinions about these matters, and this is mine. Have a great groove!

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