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Badass Bass Bridges - Everything You Need To Know

  • 4 min read
The Badass series of bridges offered by Leo Quan are quite possibly the most commonly purchased bass upgrade. These bridges have been around for a very long time - over 40 years. The 4 versions - I, II, III, and V - largely represent some incremental and compatibility changes/variations (mainly installation related) to the bridge over the years.

The Goal and Origin of the Badass Bass Bridge

Glen Quan, along with his partner Leo Malliaras designed this bridge to have more mass than the bridges that were found on OEM instruments of the day. These are not lightweight bridges; the Badass II and III bridges weigh in at a half pound each.

Their research and understanding showed that a more massive bridge would not lose as much of its energy to the body of the bass.

Subsequently, note definition and sustain is increased, as well as overall punch.

Additionally, there is more top end response and open-ness to the tone as the mass of the bridge and the fewer contact points (no rollers) allow a note to ring and not become dampened.

History

The original Badass I is no longer in production, and has been replaced by the Badass Bass Bridge II and III. The BA I had saddles that sat fairly high on the body and was not a direct retrofit for Fender Basses®. There was a little use of the Badass I as an OEM install 30+ years ago, but no sustained use by manufacturers. One can occasionally come across a Badass I on Reverb or eBay, but outside of nostalgia sake, it is probably not worth the effort.

The Leo Quan Badass Bass Bridge II was introduced a couple decades ago and players such as Marcus Miller and Geddy Lee had the II installed on their Fender basses® (I believe Geddy may have had a LQ BA I installed on a Rickenbacker® back in the day as well).

The BA II was created to be a direct replacement bridge for Fender®, since Fender’s Jazz® and Precision® basses have been historically the most widely sold/owned instruments.

In the past decade, Fender® has made some of their basses with 3 hole mounts. Leo Quan began to produce the III around that time to have a Badass Bridge option for these instruments.

Badass Bass Bridge Compatibility

Most bridges can be made to fit a variety of basses….better said, most basses can be made to fit a variety of bridges.

Here is a breakdown of direct retrofitting:

 • Badass II Bass Bridges: - Fender® 4 String Basses with a 5 (five) hole mounting pattern

 • Badass III Bass Bridges: - Fender® 4 String Basses with a 3 (three) hole mounting pattern

 • Badass V Bass Bridges*: - Fender® 5 String Basses with a 4 (four)** hole mounting pattern

*note: as of April 2020, the BA V is not available

**note: The BA V’s 6 hole mounting pattern is designed to work with Fender’s® 4 hole pattern. Either add the additional 2 holes (recommended) or skip them.

 

Installation on non-Fender® basses

There will be other brands of basses that have direct retrofit ability for the Badass II and III Bridges, depending on the bridge that is currently installed. Fitting a bridge that is not a direct retrofit for a bass is a pretty straight forward job for most guitar and bass techs. It may be necessary to fill old screw holes, but this is pretty easy for the average tech.

You can take some measurements of your current bridge to get an idea how ‘direct’ of a retrofit you may have:

Screw Hole Match-Up - If your bass bridge’s current screw holes have a screw center aligned (odd number of screw holes), and other screws that are .70” or 1.40” from the center screw (measured at center to center of screws) most likely a BA II will work.

If your bass bridge’s current screw holes have a screw center aligned (odd number of screw holes), and other screws that are .750 from the center screw (measured at center to center of screws) most likely a BA III will work.

It is not necessary to use all 5 holes when installing a BA II. Using the center screw hole and the outer two is sufficient.

String Height -  It is wise to take into account the string height off of the body.  Measuring from the bass body to the top of the outer (lowest) saddles on a bass, you will need at least 3/8" to use a Badass II and 7/16" to use Badass III without using shims in the neck pocket. 

Footprint - The BA II and BA III bridges have slightly different footprints. Often the BA II will be a better retrofit than the III since it is on the large side compared to most bridges, and will cover the discoloration left by the old bridge.

Badass II - 3.25” x 2.5”  •   Badass III - 3.25” x 2.125”

 

Badass Bass Bridge

 

 

Alternatives to the Leo Quan Badass Bridges

We offer a few different bridges that are direct Fender® replacements. These bridges are all suited to 5 hole mounted Fender Basses®.

The Hipshot KickAss Bridge is an excellent high mass alternative to the LQ BA II. A more elegantly designed bridge that doesn’t need to be slotted, has recessed holes for the ball ends of the strings, and variable string spacing. It’s footprint is 2.7” x 3.25”. Prices starting at $70.

The Hipshot A Style Fender Mount is another great choice. While it has just 3 holes, those three holes match up with the center and outer two holes. If the more modern styling of the A version appeals, it is a great option. This bridge has a footprint of 2.00” x 3.383” The brass is the better choice for high mass. Prices starting at $111.

The Omega Bass Bridge from Allparts is essentially a straight up Leo Quan Badass II clone bridge at a lower price. It looks identical and has the 5 hole fender mount. We offer the Omega in both a unslotted and slotted version. It is the same footprint size as the BA II. Allparts is now (circa 2019) the owner of the Leo Quan Badass Bridge and has been the distributor for many many years. Omega Bridge prices start at $65.

 

:: Browse our Leo Quan Badass II and  Badass III bridges

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