Mastery Bridge: Does It Make A Difference?

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Mastery Bridge: Does It Make A Difference?

Postby (drumbob) » Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:30 pm

Does installing a Mastery bridge on a Rick 6 do anything to improve the sustain? What are the advantages to using a Mastery bridge otherwise?
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Re: Mastery Bridge: Does It Make A Difference?

Postby (collin) » Sat Jun 20, 2020 3:25 pm

The ability to raise/lower each string in addition to back/forth (for intonation).

Raising/lowering the strings helps you dial-in low action for tight radius fretboards and uneven radius boards (both of which are common on vintage era Rickenbackers).

The Mastery is a brilliant piece of engineering and machining, and they add sustain and lock to the baseplate too.
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Re: Mastery Bridge: Does It Make A Difference?

Postby (admin) » Sun Jun 21, 2020 5:41 am

collin wrote:The ability to raise/lower each string in addition to back/forth (for intonation).

Raising/lowering the strings helps you dial-in low action for tight radius fretboards and uneven radius boards (both of which are common on vintage era Rickenbackers).

The Mastery is a brilliant piece of engineering and machining, and they add sustain and lock to the baseplate too.


I agree with this assessment and in addition find it easier to restring with the Mastery locked to the baseplate.
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Re: Mastery Bridge: Does It Make A Difference?

Postby (paologregorio) » Tue Jun 23, 2020 5:49 pm

Increase in sustain, increase in volume, and no more accidentally knocking the bridge sideways when playing aggressively. I like them so much I have Two of my Rickenbackers equipped with the mastery bridge, with a third purchased and waiting for me to install it.
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Re: Mastery Bridge: Does It Make A Difference?

Postby (whojamfan) » Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:37 pm

100% agree with all the posts so far, single best “upgrade” I’ve made. The effect is immediate, but playing live really iced the cake. The only “rocking and rolling” is the player, not the bridge. Changing strings are much easier with the bridge locked to the plate, and setups stay true despite heavy playing.
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Re: Mastery Bridge: Does It Make A Difference?

Postby (sloop_john_b) » Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:41 pm

I have not played a Rick with one, but have owned several Jazzmasters and Jaguars with them, and my current 1960 Jazzmaster has one (and a Mastery Vibrato) and I'm certain my experiences with them will mirror they effect they have on Ricks.

Aside from fixing the obvious issues with those bridges, the Mastery bridge "focuses" the tone, emphasizing the fundamental and cutting down on some of the overtones. While this isn't really in the spirit of the classic Jazzmaster sound - nor is it in the spirit of the classic Rick sound - it does make for a more versatile, "pro" instrument IMO. It'd be nice to have one Jazzmaster with a Mastery and one without, but my preference is to have the Mastery. I'd love to have one on the next 6-string Rick I buy.
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Re: Mastery Bridge: Does It Make A Difference?

Postby (Tommy) » Wed Jun 24, 2020 3:40 pm

sloop_john_b wrote:... the Mastery bridge "focuses" the tone, emphasizing the fundamental and cutting down on some of the overtones....this isn't really in the spirit of the classic Rick sound -.

And isn't that a problem?

I buy a Fender Strat because it sounds like a Fender Strat. We buy our Rics because they sound like Rics. Why would I shell out a hundred dollars for a bridge that takes away the sound that is Rickenbacker?
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Re: Mastery Bridge: Does It Make A Difference?

Postby (collin) » Wed Jun 24, 2020 3:51 pm

Tommy wrote:
sloop_john_b wrote:... the Mastery bridge "focuses" the tone, emphasizing the fundamental and cutting down on some of the overtones....this isn't really in the spirit of the classic Rick sound -.

And isn't that a problem?

I buy a Fender Strat because it sounds like a Fender Strat. We buy our Rics because they sound like Rics. Why would I shell out a hundred dollars for a bridge that takes away the sound that is Rickenbacker?


There are a lot of inherent flaws with the Rickenbacker bridge design.

Many of these flaws have been mitigated over the years with small changes, but the Mastery is a huge leap forward in terms of adjustability and precision machining. Any improvements in setup will only help the guitar's tone, IMO. This is especially important for vintage Ricks, which have extremely inconsistent saddle height, bridge adjustment and even fretboard radius - all of which can be helped by the Mastery.

I have two Jazzmasters - one '62 with original bridge, and one with a Mastery. If the original bridge is what makes a "Jazzmaster sound like a Jazzmaster" then I much prefer whatever it is that the Mastery-equipped Jazzmaster sounds like. There might just be a better version of the Rickenbacker sound using the upgraded bridge, and you wouldn't know until you try it.
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Re: Mastery Bridge: Does It Make A Difference?

Postby (sloop_john_b) » Wed Jun 24, 2020 4:14 pm

Tommy wrote:
sloop_john_b wrote:... the Mastery bridge "focuses" the tone, emphasizing the fundamental and cutting down on some of the overtones....this isn't really in the spirit of the classic Rick sound -.

And isn't that a problem?

I buy a Fender Strat because it sounds like a Fender Strat. We buy our Rics because they sound like Rics. Why would I shell out a hundred dollars for a bridge that takes away the sound that is Rickenbacker?


I understand that's why you buy Ricks. Feel and look comes first for me, inherent Rick sound is secondary. My guitars have to work and work well and cover a wide variety of styles and environments. Your mileage may vary.
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Re: Mastery Bridge: Does It Make A Difference?

Postby (whojamfan) » Wed Jun 24, 2020 5:38 pm

I found-
You’ll “lose” more of “that sound” changing out old strings than you ever will with Mastery. It’s sounds every bit the part to me played super clean through all the Voxes, Fenders, Hiwatts-all sound and behave the same-just clearer without being brighter. The biggest change is prominently heavy handed palm muting and open chord ringing players an awesome instant smile. It allows a more aggressive attack, but doesn’t require one, so you have a little more versatility in expressing the feeling of your playing.
Acoustically, much louder and even, but still sounds like what it sounded like before you put the bridge on.
The Mastery is just a little more robust and locks together so you don’t accidentally launch your stock bridge doing “windmills”.
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Re: Mastery Bridge: Does It Make A Difference?

Postby (Tommy) » Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:48 pm

I understand certain flaws do exist in guitars and, yes, probably this Mastery Bridge is the bee's knees when it comes to bridges. I went to their page and looked it up -- saw it was no longer in stock, by the way -- and it did look interesting. But the posts here about it altering tone...once again, I buy my Ric for the Ric tone. I don't want to lose that.

And, yes, I can see that if one is a professional musician a high quality bridge might be a must. But for a bedroom player who dreamed of owning Rics, other than knobs or pickguards, I won't ever alter them in any way.

Cool to learn these bridges do exist. I learned about various aftermarket Gretsch bridges and admit I bit on those. They did not change tone to my ears. They just fixed the radius discrepancies between fretboard and stock bridge.
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Re: Mastery Bridge: Does It Make A Difference?

Postby (admin) » Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:31 am

Tommy wrote:I understand certain flaws do exist in guitars and, yes, probably this Mastery Bridge is the bee's knees when it comes to bridges. I went to their page and looked it up -- saw it was no longer in stock, by the way -- and it did look interesting. But the posts here about it altering tone...once again, I buy my Ric for the Ric tone. I don't want to lose that.

And, yes, I can see that if one is a professional musician a high quality bridge might be a must. But for a bedroom player who dreamed of owning Rics, other than knobs or pickguards, I won't ever alter them in any way.

Cool to learn these bridges do exist. I learned about various aftermarket Gretsch bridges and admit I bit on those. They did not change tone to my ears. They just fixed the radius discrepancies between fretboard and stock bridge.


Tom: I think if you find a Mastery Bridge you will be impressed. I do not feel that I lost any of the classic tone with my switch. Now for the best part, the modification is completely reversible and you will have no trouble finding a buyer should you choose to let it go. Also putting it on one of your Rickenbackers you always have the others as controls in this experiment. Thanks for you comments. I appreciate your point of view.
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Re: Mastery Bridge: Does It Make A Difference?

Postby (aceonbass) » Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:02 pm

The mastery bridge has two saddles with two height adjustment screws that hold three strings each. As far as I know, the saddles aren't curved, so each trio of strings sit on the same plane, not a curve. So, it's not possible to adjust the intonation and height of each string separately, and have them all conform to a radius to match the fretboard. It's a well made piece for sure, but it should have been designed with three saddles, not two. The locking base plate is a great idea, but Mastery doesn't sell it separately.
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Re: Mastery Bridge: Does It Make A Difference?

Postby (paologregorio) » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:02 pm

No one who has actually installed a Mastery Bridge one’s Rickenbacker said that the mastery bridge changes the Rickenbacker’s tone.

JB Said he had installed a Mastery on his Jazzmaster, And related the tonal effect of the Mastery on his jazzmaster, only speculating that the effect would be similar on a Rickenbacker.

Mike and I, who have both installed mastery bridges on our guitars did not say it changed the tone of our Rickenbackers. Mike said he agreed with all the points so far, but That doesn’t necessarily mean he agreed with JB’s speculation that installing a mastery on a Rickenbacker would change the tone.

As far as I know, no one who has tried either my Mastery-equipped Rickenbackers or Mike’s, and we Both live in the same area, and have the same Rickenbacker playing friends, has ever mentioned a change in tone, only the increased sustain and volume from installing the bridge. I have not noticed a change in town, only increased sustain, and increased volume from installing the bridge, both of which are welcome improvements.

If anything, the mastery bridge makes the Rickenbacker sound “more Rickenbacker,” not less. It’s akin to installing Upgraded speakers in a guitar amp that better bring out the amp’s sound. Or, similar to upgraded components on other guitars that enhance that particular Guitar’s characteristics rather than detract from that particular Guitar’s characteristics. People replace pickups or other components on other brands and models of guitars, And for the most part, those guitars still Sound like the particular brand and model of Guitar after the upgrade. Rickenbacker guitar’s are no exception, and it’s because there’s a different component in the factory install doesn’t mean it’s any less a Rickenbacker, especially if the component is designed to enhance The Guitar’s characteristics, rather than change those characteristics to sound like something else.
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Re: Mastery Bridge: Does It Make A Difference?

Postby (paologregorio) » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:03 pm

Whoa; no one who has actually installed a Mastery Bridge in one’s Rickenbacker said that the mastery bridge changes the Rickenbacker’s tone.

JB Said he had installed a Mastery on his Jazzmaster, And related the tonal effect of the Mastery on his jazzmaster, and speculated the effect would be similar on a Rickenbacker.

Mike and I, who have both installed Mastery bridges on our guitars did not say it changed the tone of our Rickenbackers. Mike said he agreed with all the points so far, but That doesn’t necessarily mean he agreed with JB’s speculation that installing a mastery on a Rickenbacker would change the tone. Knock knocking JB’s estimation or speculation that installing the bridge word similarly focus the tone and diminish overtones isn’t reasonable, but I have not noticed that.

As far as I know, no one who has tried either my Mastery-equipped Rickenbackers or Mike’s, and we Both live in the same area, and have the same Rickenbacker playing friends, has ever mentioned a change in tone, only the increased sustain and volume from installing the bridge. I have not noticed a change in town, only increased sustain, and increased volume from installing the bridge, both of which are welcome improvements.

If anything, the mastery bridge makes the Rickenbacker sound “more Rickenbacker,” not less. It’s akin to installing Upgraded speakers in a guitar amp that better bring out the amp’s sound. Or, similar to upgraded components on other guitars that enhance that particular Guitar’s characteristics rather than detract from that particular Guitar’s characteristics. People replace pickups or other components on other brands and models of guitars, And for the most part, those guitars still Sound like the particular brand and model of Guitar after the upgrade. Rickenbacker guitar’s are no exception, and it’s because there’s a different component in the factory install doesn’t mean it’s any less a Rickenbacker, especially if the component is designed to enhance The Guitar’s characteristics, rather than change those characteristics to sound like something else.
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