I got around to ordering a new bridge and some strings from Superior Bassworks a while ago. And they’re awesome.
The bridge took a bit of work to get fitted, but was more than worth it. And way easier than fitting a “normal” bridge ((link to deuce video here)). The feet are made from spruce, which is a softer wood than the maple usually found in bridges, which makes fitting them to the bass top (which is generally also spruce) a breeze. It’s a brilliant bit of engineering.
The way the feet are made, it’s pretty much not gonna tip over, ever. The bass side foot running along the bass bar transfers more vibrations to that side of the bass, and we all know vibrations=noise, so thats great to give the lows a bit of a boost. As fitted to my commie bass (after an all too brief stint on the beater bass), that thing is now a damn cannon.
Another cool detail is the way pickups are fitted. On a normal bridge, there’s a bunch of filing, sanding, and probably shimming involved to get a secure (but not too snug) fit for the pickup. The Deuce overcomes this with a cleverly crafted slot complete with a screw so it is super easy to install a pickup, and adjust the pressure/fit on it so you can dial in a decent sound. Piezo pickups can be a bit of a dark art. If the fit is too loose or too tight, all sorts of strange things’ll happen, nasally sound, feedback, crap tone, etc. So much depends on the correct fit that couldn’t be overcome with EQ or other processing, and this design makes it as easy and almost instant as you’re likely to get to adjust that.
The only thing I’m not such a fan of is the method of adjusting the string action. It works for sure, but it’s not the easiest method, fitting a spanner into the tiny space and wrangling a couple of nuts per side to raise/lower the bridge. Perhaps I’m being spoiled, having two way adjustment is awesome, I just wish it was easier. I’ve seen some spy photos that suggest the new versions will have a different, tool-free, system, which I look forward to, stay tuned! I will be getting another one of these for my other bass as soon as I (and my bank balance) can get round to it.
The Superior Bassworks Deluxe Strings are amazing. For starters, you get six strings in the packet so you’ve got a few options for which gauge strings you run, and can switch them in and out for the sound/feel you prefer. It’d appear the general consensus is to run strings 2, 3, 5, 6 (from thickest to thinnest) which is what I’m running on the bass in the pictures, and it seems to work pretty well.
The texture makes them a lot easier to play than the other “whacker” type strings I’ve used, they stick to your fingers really well, and even make a decent noise when bowed (my arco playing leaves a little to be desired though). Apparently the texture makes them “grab” the air for more acoustic volume/tone too, which is a bonus, especially when recording (which is mainly what this bass is going to be used for, it’s a little more fragile than the one I use for gigs). I know enough physics to know that that makes sense! These things play like butter.
The sound on them is great. A nice low growl with a quick decay. The E suffers a little in the definition department, but is by far the best “gut like” string I’ve heard, and is fine once amped up. That all important click is great too, a good woody thunk without being too harsh or “clacky”.
Here is what I recorded recently with The Wreck Scene, for some sort of reference.
There's no way I can recommend this stuff enough.