Bridge experiments with dense heavier design

bopsterbopster St. Louis, MOProdigy Altamira M30, Wide Sky PL-1, 1940? French mystery guitar

Due to cabin fever, along with a dose of dissatisfaction with guitar tone, I set out to create two bridges for 2 guitars. This first was a gypsy mystery, grande bouche that had a 7 1/2” long moustache bridge. It was not a hardwood, and it was a light color stained black.

For this one, I wanted better contact (it was total contact across the base), more energy transfer and this to sound like a 1930’s Selmer. I chose ebony, and not choosing any specific guidelines except those above, I came up with this:

Powerful, full tone, and gives me the sound I desired.

The second bridge, was for an Altamira M30 which had a replacement Dupont bridge. It looked more like rosewood, was hollowed out, and had feet dimensions that seemed to be like other well made guitars. The sound ended up being kind of dead after awhile, and I chose a Ziricote wood, dense, but less so than ebony. No hollowing, and wider feet.

This brought out a greater tightness, bright but yet not unbalanced.

After reading many of the posts on bridges and how design/weight/materials etc. affects tone, I was surprised at the sounds I was getting.

Anyone else have stories that seem to go against conventional wisdom?

vanmalmsteenBucomac63000Bill Da Costa Williams


  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,393


    I wonder if anyone has experimented with a carbon fibre bridge?

    I have read that CF resonates more powerfully than just about any other material...?

    I live in a little tourist town called Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, which is about twenty miles north of Niagara Falls.

    If you are ever planning on visiting the beautiful Niagara area, feel free to PM me and perhaps we can get together and do some jamming.
  • scotscot Virtuoso
    Posts: 532

    Interesting, yes. About 10 years ago I made several ultra-lightweight ebony bridges for a Favino I had where I cut away all the wood I thought I could get away with and still retain structural integrity. I went so far as to hollow out the feet with a dremel and removed wood from below the "saddle" - both horizontal and vertically. I wanted to "air out" the tone I was getting with the regular bridge. I liked the results and used that bridge the rest of the time I had the guitar. Surely others have tried making experimental bridges - let's hear about it.

  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,828

    Hey Will I've always thought light and stiff as possible is best in general so I would think a CF bridge would work well.

  • Posts: 2,692

    Paul, did you use hand tools only? How long did it take you per bridge? I have several kinds of woods that will someday become bridges...

    So your vintage mystery sounded pretty good already, you like it even better?

    Great work!

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • bopsterbopster St. Louis, MOProdigy Altamira M30, Wide Sky PL-1, 1940? French mystery guitar
    Posts: 469

    @Buco - yep. Rasp, files and sanding bits on my drill. It took about 3 evenings of work, for each, shaping and fitting it to the body. I do like the sound of both guitars better. I’ll record and post something tomorrow.

  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited May 9 Posts: 2,828

    Hey Paul, what is the weight of the old and new bridges? Thx

  • bopsterbopster St. Louis, MOProdigy Altamira M30, Wide Sky PL-1, 1940? French mystery guitar
    Posts: 469

    @Bones Jaw dropping difference:


    Dupont bridge - 15g; mine - 25g

    1940 grande bouche

    original bridge - 7g; my bridge - 24g

  • Posts: 2,692

    Wow, that's supposed to be heavy for a bridge! Sure is against the conventional wisdom. Did you do back and forth comparing? I believe your ears though, I've attested they're good quality ears!

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited May 10 Posts: 2,828

    Interesting. Thanks for the info. Well you are probably changing the natural frequency and the response of the guitar a bit by doing that.

  • bopsterbopster St. Louis, MOProdigy Altamira M30, Wide Sky PL-1, 1940? French mystery guitar
    Posts: 469

    The video is kinda rough, but the audio is true. New strings.

    BucovanmalmsteenBill Da Costa WilliamsBones
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