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.
The original Badass I is no longer in production, and has been replaced by the Badass Bass Bridge II and III.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.
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”