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Birelis Bridge

AmpsmasherAmpsmasher Oakland, California✭✭✭ Christelle Caillot
I was just curious, I noticed bireli is using an odd bridge on the guitar he has been using lately, (on his tour) and was just wondering what kind it was if anyone knew? thx jim

Comments

  • guit_boxguit_box New
    Posts: 113
    interesting, I haven't seen it. Can you describe or post a pic?
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,251
    Or, if you can't post a pick of Birelli's new bridge... what's odd about it?

    I just made a traditional styled bridge but I inseted a micarta saddle (it's actually not micarta, but it's chemically similar... so you understand the type of material I'm talking about) and it works fantastic. My guitar (Dell Arte Manouche) has a great "spot-on" dry Selmeresque voice but has always been somewhat reserved... I wouldn't go so far as to say "soft" but it was not a loud guitar.

    Long story short - I set up with the new bridge and showed up for my Weenend jam with this thing and was sitting across from a guy I'd not gigged with for several months. As we were warming up he looked over and said: "is that a new guitar? Damn that's loud....

    So, some of that is coming from the guitar aging (it's about 8 months old now) but some of it was from the new bridge... made from a nice dense chunk of Rosewood with a hard synthetic saddle inset about 4mm into the wood and bonded (with cyanoacrylate)

    It works great. Down the road I think I'll do one with a MOP inset... that stuff is not only beautiful but harder than h***. I'm interested in seeing if there is such a thing as "too hard" of a seat for the strings.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • mmaslanmmaslan Santa Barbara, CANew
    Posts: 87
    It has a bone or ivory saddle in two pieces on an otherwise traditional Selmer-style bridge. The luthier is Stefan Hahl.
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,251
    Oh, OK.. sure - here's why he's doing that:

    1.) Split bridge: The scale length of a guitar is actually its scale length + an amount that allows it to stay in tune (each string relative to the other strings) as they get pressed down to the frets. The math behind it is weird, but suffice it to say - the compensation is an average that accounts for the rough mass of each string tuned to the given pitch. It's good enough as an approximation because the act of fretting a string introduces a lot of variability. Even when we're not trying to bend the pitch when we fret - we do just that to varying degrees - and a little bit different on each string each time we fret it. However, if you look at compensation on a per-string basis, you find that all things held equal... compensation from string-to-string is not really a linear relationship. To maintain relative tuning - the B string needs a little more than the average compensation... the D string should have a little less than average compensation... and the A string needs just a tiny little bit more than average... Long story short, most guitar companies either don't compensate - or they put some compensation on the B string and call it a day. But, you can get really darned close to perfect intonation using two straight segments of bridge... one that averages compensation for the top 2 strings - and one that averages for the bottom 4. Whoever made Birelli's custom bridge understood this.

    2.) Bone saddle insert: Transition zones in any transducer are where you have big opportunities to lose energy. For saddles, the harder the substance that the strings contact, the less energy will be absorbed into the bridge via the saddle - less absorbtion means more energy that will be transferred to the soundboard. The result is generally more volume, tonal clarity & longer sustain.

    I made a compensated gypsy bridge with an insert for my Dell Arte Manouche here a while back and I love it. I made an "80% compensated bridge" which is simply saying that I filed in the compensations with a dremel... I didn't have enough width in the bridge top to fully compensate.. but I got it darned close. If I ever make another one I'll likely split-bridge it. But it was hard enough to make the one I did make... But, I guess if you're Birelli Langrene, you can go into a luthier's shop and say: "Make me a compensated gypsy saddle with a bone insert and I don't care how long it takes you or what it costs."
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
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