Sunday, December 15, 2013

Toby’s Rebirth: the bridge to 2014

Puns aplenty in this Bass blog… yep, as I mentioned, my 2000s era Tobias Toby Pro-6 is having a makeover – MIDI, Aguilar preamp, the lot – and fortunately Julian the Luthier has been up to his eyeballs in work, so I got the chance to realise that one of the other aspects of the bass I wanted to get right was the bridge.

The original bridge is workmanlike, but I’d really like it to have quick-release ball-end design – like the Warwicks and the old Aria Pro-II – so I can change strings quickly and easily, and indulge the economic side of my personality by not having to unwind (and therefore stress) the ends of the strings. See, I like to leave my used strings in a big vat of meths I keep for the job – leave them there for a couple of weeks, and they come out like new: no rust (no water!), and no skin / oil in them either (this is what makes strings go dead). This means I can keep using the same very reasonably priced Warwick black labels strings up to 5 times (and I do, on the Warwicks) – if the 6 string had the same design of bridge, it’d make life a lot easier, and this is supposed to be about giving an old friend a new start.

So, after some great suggestions from Barrie at Bass Gear in Twyford - looks good in Black: the curves of this bridge should work really well with the bass, and they do a lot of different string spacings, plus there’s a great PDF I could send direct to Julian of the mm-dimensions of the bridges.

I see this refit as a new birth for the bass, a new start – not a new relationship with a bespoke bass (I had considered that already), but a fantastic new lease of life – even when I removed the black clamp holding the GK-3B from the bass, it suddenly looked… well, nicer. I can’t wait to see it with the MIDI pickup fitted properly, all the electronics internal, and the original jack socket AND the 11-pin GK socket available, with the 2 patch change buttons on the lower side.

It also gives me a chance to get the bass set up from the outset as a MIDI bass – fix the fret level problems (they’re not huge, but they are tedious) – get it really humming as a fingerstyle and tap-based instrument. I’ve got other basses to slap, this one is intended to give me the ultimate fingerstyle funk/rock/synth platform to launch into 2014. I think it’ll make a real difference to pick the bass out of the case, set up the GR55 and look really pro.

Anyone out there ever done similar?

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