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 Post subject: Bridge weight
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2022 4:10 pm 
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First name: Tom
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Flat top guitar…..what weight do you shoot for w/out saddle. Any weight considered too light?
Tom


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 Post subject: Re: Bridge weight
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2022 7:01 pm 
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In general I like to see between 25g and 30g but I don't obsess over it.

I should have noted I'm making steel string belly bridges of Ebony or Rosewood.

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Last edited by SteveSmith on Fri Dec 09, 2022 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bridge weight
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2022 8:46 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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^Sounds about right, for ebony.


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 Post subject: Re: Bridge weight
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2022 9:30 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Gore has some details in the book on this as well stating 15-20 for a contemporary design and typical is I think 30?

I made a parlor guitar early on with a heavy African blackwood bridge. It’s not the best sounding thing. :)


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These users thanked the author bcombs510 for the post (total 2): Gasawdust (Sat Dec 10, 2022 9:42 am) • Pmaj7 (Fri Dec 09, 2022 6:55 pm)
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 Post subject: Re: Bridge weight
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2022 11:54 pm 
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I don't shoot for a bridge weight as such. It comes out whatever it comes out determined by which wood I use in combination with the bridge design I use on all my guitars.

Ebony is right around 30 g.
Indian rosewood is 20 to 24 g.
Madagascar rosewood has been 24 g.
The one ziricote bridge I did was 25 g.

Lately, I've been favoring Indian rosewood for its light weight.

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These users thanked the author J De Rocher for the post (total 2): Pmaj7 (Fri Dec 09, 2022 6:55 pm) • bcombs510 (Fri Dec 09, 2022 12:57 am)
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 Post subject: Re: Bridge weight
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2022 3:03 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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The optimal bridge weight/mass for any guitar is very much a function of that specific... guitar. Top thickness, materials, how and how much it's braced and what it's braced for meaning string tension are all important factors.

This is why when we swap out bridge pins from say plastic to something with much more mass, say bone we may... may hear a difference and that difference may... may be pleasing (or not). The change has nothing to do with the bridge pin material but instead the change of mass on the sweet spot of the top.

With this said experimentation and experience are key here if this is something that someone wants to pursue and hopefully nail for what they produce.

I'll add that player attack is also a factor, flat picker or finger style. One example is a Gallagher Guitar built for flat pickers and blue grass heavy bracing, thick top, I had a 7lb one in the shop and if you hit it hard enough it sounded pretty OK. But it underscores the role of the player and the type of music even.

With all of this mentioned there is no one answer to this question. There is convention and observing other successful guitars with many Martin bridges coming in around 30 - 34 grams (ebony) for belly bridges 20ish and under for pyramid bridges in some periods.

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 Post subject: Re: Bridge weight
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2022 11:09 am 
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In the middle of making a Katalox 12 fret triple with “roasted curly maple” for bindings, fretboard, bridge, etc.
The pyramid bridge is 6.25 x 1.25 x .375 with a weight of 11.5 grams, thus the genesis of my questions.
Tom


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 Post subject: Re: Bridge weight
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2022 11:23 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Gasawdust wrote:
In the middle of making a Katalox 12 fret triple with “roasted curly maple” for bindings, fretboard, bridge, etc.
The pyramid bridge is 6.25 x 1.25 x .375 with a weight of 11.5 grams, thus the genesis of my questions.
Tom


When I first read this. I thought the bridge was katalox. I thought there is no way a bridge that size is only 11.5 g. The. I re-read. . . What is the bridge made of that it is so light?

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 Post subject: Re: Bridge weight
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2022 11:40 am 
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Bryan Bear wrote:
Gasawdust wrote:
In the middle of making a Katalox 12 fret triple with “roasted curly maple” for bindings, fretboard, bridge, etc.
The pyramid bridge is 6.25 x 1.25 x .375 with a weight of 11.5 grams, thus the genesis of my questions.
Tom


When I first read this. I thought the bridge was katalox. I thought there is no way a bridge that size is only 11.5 g. The. I re-read. . . What is the bridge made of that it is so light?


I did the same at my first read. my first thought was "I think you mean 11 lbs!" laughing6-hehe

It looks like his 11.5g bridge is made of roasted curly maple.

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 Post subject: Re: Bridge weight
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2022 2:45 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Marcus wrote:
Bryan Bear wrote:
Gasawdust wrote:
In the middle of making a Katalox 12 fret triple with “roasted curly maple” for bindings, fretboard, bridge, etc.
The pyramid bridge is 6.25 x 1.25 x .375 with a weight of 11.5 grams, thus the genesis of my questions.
Tom


When I first read this. I thought the bridge was katalox. I thought there is no way a bridge that size is only 11.5 g. The. I re-read. . . What is the bridge made of that it is so light?


I did the same at my first read. my first thought was "I think you mean 11 lbs!" laughing6-hehe

It looks like his 11.5g bridge is made of roasted curly maple.


Ha! Man I guess I needed to read that 3 times. . . maybe I should call it a day and try again tomorrow! oops_sign

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 Post subject: Re: Bridge weight
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2022 5:04 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Generally speaking, a lighter bridge will tend to favor 'power', 'response' and 'treble/brightness', while a heavier bridge will give more 'headroom' and 'sustain', and less treble (NOT 'more bass').

The main 'job' of the bridge is to define the vibrating length of the string. Most of the energy has to stay in the string so it will keep moving, and it has to stay put so the string will make the right pitch. It does this (along with the top, of course) by being heavy enough and stiff enough to be hard to move at most frequencies. Some of the energy 'leaks' out into the top to get turned into sound. The heavier the bridge is the better it works to stop high frequency leakage, and the stiffer the bridge and top the better it works at keeping the low frequencies in.

Too light a bridge will tend to have a very 'bright' sound, and possibly 'wolf' notes. For a steel string I'd say 11-12 grams is to light; and for that matter even 20 might be. With a pin bridge you have another dial to turn, of course; you can use heavy bridge pins to keep things from getting away from you.

Another issue with that roasted maple is that, it could tend to split, if my experience is any guide. I'd be careful to avoid too much break angle on the saddle; more than about 15-20 degrees won't help the sound at all, and will put a lot more splitting force on the front of the saddle slot. If you can make the slot further back on the bridge, so that there's no less then 5 mm of wood in front of it, rather than the usual 3mm, that would help. Better yet, if you can route the saddle slot so that it tips back as seen from the side that will reduce the tipping force from the break angle. If the saddle bisects the break angle there is no tipping force, and even getting 'close' helps a lot.



These users thanked the author Alan Carruth for the post (total 5): Pmaj7 (Sun Dec 11, 2022 9:02 pm) • Durero (Sat Dec 10, 2022 9:43 pm) • bcombs510 (Sat Dec 10, 2022 1:06 pm) • Ken Nagy (Sat Dec 10, 2022 12:59 pm) • Gasawdust (Sat Dec 10, 2022 9:40 am)
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 Post subject: Re: Bridge weight
PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2022 12:47 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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bcombs510 wrote:
Gore has some details in the book on this as well stating 15-20 for a contemporary design and typical is I think 30?

I made a parlor guitar early on with a heavy African blackwood bridge. It’s not the best sounding thing. :)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro



I've had good luck using African blackwood for bridges on smaller bodied guitars. I bought "B" grade pieces that were not particularly desirable for woodwinds. The impedance mismatch seems to give plenty of sustain, and a moderately heavy bridge a well balanced sound.



These users thanked the author Clay S. for the post (total 2): Pmaj7 (Sun Dec 11, 2022 9:04 pm) • bcombs510 (Sat Dec 10, 2022 1:06 pm)
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 Post subject: Re: Bridge weight
PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2022 1:06 pm 
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Alan Carruth wrote:
Another issue with that roasted maple is that, it could tend to split, if my experience is any guide. I'd be careful to avoid too much break angle on the saddle; more than about 15-20 degrees won't help the sound at all, and will put a lot more splitting force on the front of the saddle slot. If you can make the slot further back on the bridge, so that there's no less then 5 mm of wood in front of it, rather than the usual 3mm, that would help. Better yet, if you can route the saddle slot so that it tips back as seen from the side that will reduce the tipping force from the break angle. If the saddle bisects the break angle there is no tipping force, and even getting 'close' helps a lot.


I hadn't thought about that. It seems that bowed instruments fix that with the "curve" on the neck side of the bridge. The break angles are NOT the same on either side of the bridge, the bottom has a greater angle than the neck side. I found that you can figure out the angle you need to have, and on most instruments it is easily planed onto your bride on the neck side. Some of it is there do to the angle that is on the bridge blank; but it needs more. Usually it comes out somewhere around the heart.

I have never heard any mention of this anywhere. It seems like it would make a bridge far more stable. The guitar has a smaller break angle, and I never thought about it at all.

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 Post subject: Bridge weight
PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2022 1:08 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Clay S. wrote:
I've had good luck using African blackwood for bridges on smaller bodied guitars. I bought "B" grade pieces that were not particularly desirable for woodwinds. The impedance mismatch seems to give plenty of sustain, and a moderately heavy bridge a well balanced sound.


Yes, I for sure cannot pin it on the bridge alone. ;)

It was #2, it couldn’t possibly be a dud due to bracing? Top thickness? Material properties? Yes to all!!! Hahaha

Edited to add- and I play that sucker all the time anyway!

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 Post subject: Re: Bridge weight
PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2022 5:57 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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On violin bridges the bisector of the average break angle runs through the feet. If it didn't the bridge would tend to tip over.

The 'clamshell' shape of the bridge is there to produce a uniform width of edge along the curved top of the bridge: if the surface was not curved the bridge top would be wider at the ends. One style of bridge has the back surface flat, and lined up with the nicks of the F-holes, while all the clamshell curve is on the front side of the bridge. Another style uses some curve on both surfaces, and sets the bridge so that the line between the nicks cuts halfway through the feet. Either way, the nicks are there to show the stop length of the strings.


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