These hardware items for basses consist of Bridges, Nuts, Machine Tuners, String Hold Downs, Strap Connectors, Output Jacks, and other miscellaneous parts. However, some of these parts can affect the sound and playability of the instrument significantly. Below are two pictures of Gotoh Machine Head Tuners on a 5-string Jazz Bass Neck.
On the left side of the right photo is a string hold-down bar between the nut and tuners.
Below is a picture of a black plastic nut for a five-string Warmoth Jazz Bass Neck. The nut is out of the slot and ready for installation. Notice that there are pencil marks in the slot on the neck. These were used to determine where the slots in the nut should be placed.
Bridges have a huge impact on the sound of the bass. There was a time when I had heard that changing hardware items like the bridge or tuners, would change the sound, but I did not really believe that it would be that noticeable until I tried some experiments.
I have a Warmoth 5-string Jazz Bass, which was a “build-it-at-home-project” of mine, where I had purchased the raw parts to build this bass. For the bridge, I chose a Schaller Chrome Bridge because I liked the design and the mechanics of the adjustments.
The sound of the bass though was weak for a Jazz Bass. My good friend Dan Mohler (a great bassist and set-up specialist) loaned me a Wilkeson Bridge for the bass. He said to try it out and see if makes any difference since he was sure it would.
I reluctantly put the Wilkeson on the bass…WOW! I was really surprised that the bass sounded so much better and the attack of each note was stronger. I immediately called Dan and told him about the difference. He told me that if I put a Carvin Hipshot Bridge on that bass it would sound even better. So I ordered a Carvin Hipshot, and sure enough, he was right. I have since put that same bridge on my Schecter Stilleto 5-string bass.
The Schecter came with an S-Tech type (individual bridge pieces for each string). The Carvin Hipshot made a good bass sound even better, and it is also easier to adjust the saddles on the unit for correct string length adjustments. See the photo below.
Below is the nut and string hold down near the head of a five strings Jazz Bass. The nut is in the center of the photo. The string hold down is towards the upper left corner and has two black screws with it.
Below are some string ferals which are placed below the bridge, so that the strings are fed through the back of the bass, then up and over the bridge and across the fingerboard to the headstock. There are five string ferals in the photo below. On the right side is the black rear cover for the electronics inside the bass.
My main purpose for installing these string ferals under the bridge was to accommodate the bare-core Super Step strings by LaBella. Currently, I only pull the B string through the back of the bass. This allows for a short length (about 1/2 inch) of the bare core to be exposed past the bridge.
If I place this string in the bridge, as I would normally do, the exposed bare core would be about 1-1/2. This causes the string sound to lose too much bottom end (low frequencies). When being fed through the back of the bass, and exposed only about 1/2 inch past the bridge saddle, the sound is almost perfect.
For locations to find and purchase brass hardware, check out the Resources page.