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ABG bridge/ribbon transducer

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by 59jazz, Jun 15, 2003.

  1. 59jazz

    59jazz Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma Supporting Member

    Well now that I'm building a semi hollow bass, I'm toying with the idea of building an acoustic type bridge, complete with ribbon transducer. Any tips, theories, warnings? I'll try building anything!
    Thanks in advance, steve:meh:
  2. I think the biggest thing to be aware of when installing an acoustic-style bridge with ribbon transducer is that the bottom of the saddle, and the bottom of the saddle slot in the bridge need to be absolutely flat. Very slight dips or humps can make for big differences in pressure under one area or another, and therefore big differences in string balance. You can use that later to adjust the string balance if needed, but you definately want to start out with the contact as even as possible along the whole saddle.

    Also, I believe some builders actually angle the bottom of the saddle, so the bottom is more like a knife edge (very dull knife!) rather than flat, so the saddle presses down along a line that's maybe 1/32" wide rather than the 1/8" or so width of the saddle. That may give better pressure, and also make it a bit easier to keep the pressure consistent along the whole length of the saddle.

    I understand that there's a bit of an art to tweaking acoustic saddles to get optimum performance out of the under-saddle transducers, though, which is why so many folks experience uneven string response and whatnot from cheaper acoustic guitars and ABGs.

    Good luck!
  3. 59jazz

    59jazz Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma Supporting Member

    Thanks for the reply Mike! Sounds like good advice......
    I was looking at the Fishman Thinline transducer, and the Fishman Matrix Natural (which has a .120 width. They seem to be a safe bet, but I need to do some more research.
    What's your take on setting up the bridge, as far as intonating goes?
  4. My suspicion is that the intonation is best done with a particular set of strings in mind. My ABG actually intonates pretty well up past the 15th fret, but I've kept using the same brand of strings the builder shipped it with. Edward Dick is also an excellent acoustic builder, so you can't discount simple skill and experience.

    Of course, with an ABG, the relative lack of sustain and darker tone in the higher registers makes "pinpoint" intonation a bit less crucial--the notes start to get a bit "thuddy", which covers up a fairly wide variance in intonation. For a solidbody electric, I'm not sure that would be the case. Someone like Rick Turner or Rob Allen could probably give you a better answer.