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archtop bridges



  • StringswingerStringswinger Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭ 1993 Dupont MD-20, Shelley Park Encore
    Posts: 456
    My Dunn came with what can best be described as an archtop bridge. It has two feet that are expertly fitted to the top of the guitar. No contact is made with the center of the bridge. It is solid and has a bone saddle for the wound strings (why the plain strings lie directly on wood remains a mystery to me).

    When I took the guitar to Paul Hostetter for a set up, he made a selmer style bridge out of rosewood and gave it to me telling me to try it and if I liked it i could pay him for it, if not just return it, no harm, no foul.

    I kept it! (and paid Paul the very reasonable price that he requested)

    The difference in tone and volume is astounding. There is some mojo with the Selmer style bridge. The Selmer bridge increased volume by about 20 percent and gave the guitar more bite. Admittedly, for playing folk music or classical (or anything but gypsy jazz) Michael's bridge would be better. For a Django sound, Paul's bridge smokes it.

    I wouldn't think of putting a Selmacc bridge on my L-5 (or any of my other archtops) and conversely, I wouldn't think of putting an Archtop bidge on any of my Selmaccs.


    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass
  • for 6 years now, my Shelley Park plays exactly the same all year around. I might like to think that its a moody guitar that changes with the seasons, but it doesn't. it just plays. After 4 months, my dell arte hommage seems to behave the same.

    one thing I want to add about bridges is that I dont think they last forever. at some point, every few years maybe, its probably good to change bridges since I SUSPECT the string slots can get damaged and cause string breakage.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,991
    Here's a photo of Scot's bridge....

  • Mac HackMac Hack San Diego, CANew
    Posts: 44
    pallopenna wrote:
    Okay, so now for my followup: I've noticed recently that Biereli, and a few other players, are playing guitars with traditional looking bridges, with a catch. The catch is that the bridges have a bone saddle on them. I can see the advantages to this design in theory, but I've never played a guitar fitted in this way. Does anyone have any experience with this type of bridge on a selmac. Any thoughts?
    I'm guessing that Boulou Ferré uses this set-up in trying to achieve more sustain.
    "On apprend tous les jours." - Stéphane Grappelli
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,252
    Very interesting use of a center strut to allow weight reduction across the bridge's span and to spread the contact across more of the soundboard... very intelligent design... Now I need to read back through the thread to find out where that came from (who made it - where to get it etc..) Same with the tailpiece... solid - no nonsense design. Hats off to the luthier who did that work, I'll bet it sounds great.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • scotscot Virtuoso
    Posts: 594
    The bridge and tailpiece that came on my Gitane were really junk, so I made new ones. Also the moustaches were in the wrong place - the bottom edge of the moustache was where the top edge should have been - so I had to remove them. I am happy with this bridge though I should not have made two radical changes to the same bridge - it's hard to evaluate the results. I'm making another lightweight bridge without the bone insert but it's a ways from being finished.

    I don't know if this bridge added any sustain - which really isn't desirable anyway. My Saga sounds basically like every other Saga I've played - it's got that weird natural reverb and a bright and punchy sound. But it certainly sounds better than it did with the original bridge.

    This tailpiece ultimately was a failure. I made it to remedy the flexing at the string attach point of the original Saga tailpiece. Even being made of 5-15 stainless it still flexed along the long axis. I riveted some hard aluminum along the edges and now it's very rigid but doesn't look as good. The string posts are hy-lok fasteners and are a little bit too big for the string loops, too. I never could find a suitable string post. And I should have tried heat-treating it before I abandoned it. The relief and the lip stamped into the original tailpieces are there for a purpose - the lip makes the tailpiece rigid along the edges. That's intelligent design! The Favino/Billardi tailpiece is made of very hard steel of some kind and is very rigid - that's what is on this guitar now.

    I have some ideas for a titanium and ebony tailpiece - I have the material, now it's a matter of finding time to make it...
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