Design of components

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Design of components

Post by David_A on Sun Nov 09, 2014 5:26 pm

I've opened this new topic to invite a bit of discussion about the design, construction and components of guitars in general. To start things off, I'd like to tackle a question posed by Jim recently. This concerns guitars with a separate bridge and tailpiece, and the question is: why is the bridge sometimes not set parallel with the tailpiece?

I'm sure everyone knows about adjusting the bridge, and that there is always an overall angle to the line of the bridge saddles when intonation has been correctly set. The bridge saddles need to have sufficient movement to allow this to be achieved, plus a bit of leeway in both directions to allow for variations such as different gauge strings. However if most of the string contact points are to one side of the centre line of the bridge then the string tension will cause a twisting force. This could bend the two bridge mounts if they are not very strong (I've seen this happen on a poorly-designed bass bridge). The standard tune-o-matic type bridge is not very wide, so it needs to be positioned close to where the intonation will dictate, which is at an angle. Some bridges are built wider and stronger (as on my Rainbow and Ibanez guitars see pics) so that they can be mounted straight, which looks better but costs more, and that's probably what it's all about.


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Re: Design of components

Post by Westbone on Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:05 am

They're wider to compensate for slight manufacturing tolerances.

+/- a mm or so.

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Re: Design of components

Post by Westbone on Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:20 pm

The Rainbow bridge and tailpiece are made from 'pot' metal which is very cheap.
The tailpiece on the Rainbow,Prestige,Thunder II etc. are all the same. The tailpiece is extremely vulnerable to bumps and bangs and will snap at the weakest point ie. A+B strings. Have a look how thin they are from below.

Many folks have been looking for replacements due to breakages.

Here's a link to a fix.
http://forum.westoneguitars.net/t5061-swiftlock-tailpiece

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Re: Design of components

Post by Barry on Mon Nov 10, 2014 3:35 pm

Jim wrote:...I never understood why some bridges aren't mounted parallel to the tail-piece on some guitars...
What is the logic here? Anybody?
It mainly has to do with compensation in order to get the intonation correct. Most acoustic saddles on good quality guitars are angled simply because there is no way to physically adjust the strings individually as with an ABR-1 or Nashville style bridge. The angle is determined by the scale of the guitar with G-scale (Gibson) requiring more compensation that an F-scale (Fender).

If you look at David's 2nd pic above, in particular, you'll see that while the bridge is parallel to the stop tail, the saddles in fact are angled in order to compensate.

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Re: Design of components

Post by Westbone on Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:14 pm

Barry wrote:
Jim wrote:...I never understood why some bridges aren't mounted parallel to the tail-piece on some guitars...
What is the logic here? Anybody?
It mainly has to do with compensation in order to get the intonation correct. Most acoustic saddles on good quality guitars are angled simply because there is no way to physically adjust the strings individually as with an ABR-1 or Nashville style bridge. The angle is determined by the scale of the guitar with G-scale (Gibson) requiring more compensation that an F-scale (Fender).

If you look at David's 2nd pic above, in particular, you'll see that while the bridge is parallel to the stop tail, the saddles in fact are angled in order to compensate.
Looks like a wound G in the 2nd. picture.

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Re: Design of components

Post by David_A on Mon Nov 10, 2014 6:29 pm

Pic 1 is the Rainbow, which has a plain 3rd. You can see that my intonation adjustments have resulted in a big step in the angle between the 3rd and 4th strings because 1,2,3 are plain and 4,5,6 are wound.
Pic 2 is the Ibanez Artist, which also has a plain 3rd. It looks like the bridge may need a bit of adjustment but the intonation seems fine so I haven't changed it. I must admit I bought the guitar as an investment and it is in such mint condition that I'm reluctant to use it for gigs, which is a pity because it's a superb guitar. I'll try and post some more pics of bridges to show some other variations.

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Re: Design of components

Post by Westbone on Mon Nov 10, 2014 6:41 pm

What are the post centers on the Ibanez stop tailpiece?

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Re: Design of components

Post by David_A on Mon Nov 10, 2014 6:42 pm

I'm shocked to read Westbone's (Damian's?) comments on the fragility of Westone bridges and tailpieces. I always assumed the quality of them was a bit better than the stock ones. I've not had any breakage problems with any bridges or tailpieces myself; the only problem I've had is the saddles wearing down where I put the back of my hand on them to damp the strings. I notice that some people go to the trouble of getting replacement parts in brass; does this make much difference to the guitar's playability?

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Re: Design of components

Post by David_A on Mon Nov 10, 2014 6:54 pm

Westbone wrote:What are the post centers on the Ibanez stop tailpiece?
Sorry, not sure what you're asking about there. The tailpiece has the normal post screws. The bridge has locking screws, which are more unusual.

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Re: Design of components

Post by Westbone on Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:44 am

David_A wrote:
Westbone wrote:What are the post centers on the Ibanez stop tailpiece?
Sorry, not sure what you're asking about there. The tailpiece has the normal post screws. The bridge has locking screws, which are more unusual.

Hey, I've just become a Westone Nut! Love it!Very Happy
The distance from the center of one post to the other.

You nut... Very Happy

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Re: Design of components

Post by Westbone on Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:51 am

David_A wrote:I'm shocked to read Westbone's (Damian's?) comments on the fragility of Westone bridges and tailpieces. I always assumed the quality of them was a bit better than the stock ones. I've not had any breakage problems with any bridges or tailpieces myself; the only problem I've had is the saddles wearing down where I put the back of my hand on them to damp the strings. I notice that some people go to the trouble of getting replacement parts in brass; does this make much difference to the guitar's playability
It's the Swiftlock tailpiece that's the Achilles heal.

Brass is an easier material to work with.

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Re: Design of components

Post by David_A on Tue Nov 11, 2014 6:22 am

"It's the Swiftlock tailpiece that's the Achilles heal."


Self-healing tailpiece? Now that would be useful!
(sorry couldn't resist!) Roll on Floor Laff


BTW, I've put the Ibanez away for now, but will check next time I get it out (the guitar, that is).

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Re: Design of components

Post by Westbone on Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:41 am

Laughing

Wish they did 'heel' themselves

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Re: Design of components

Post by Barry on Tue Nov 11, 2014 10:14 am

Westbone wrote:Yes seen all those types of bridges, nothing new!
None are Westone though.

Maybe you should put this in the Non Westone section.
Done! CLICK HERE to continue the discussion of bridge types. Wink

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Re: Design of components

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