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Designing a bridge with adjustable string-break angle

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by I-Am-The-Slime, Mar 3, 2018.


  1. Howdy folks,

    So I've been thinking again...
    (I know, it's a filthy habit that's going to kill me one day ;))

    I'm working on a piezo-only fretless with GraphTech saddles and Richter buffer + EQ (individual string inputs).

    I'm considering bridges (perhaps fabricating my own) and came to the issue of string break angle, and thought "Wouldn't it be cool to have adjustable string-break angle for individual strings?!"

    Looking at custom acoustic guitars, I can see that some luthiers have clearly put thought into this issue and addressed string-break angle for individual strings in their bridge design. As far as electric bass bridges, I haven't come across any that appear to have been designed with individual string break angle in mind. The only designs that have some flexibility in this regard is in bridges with a string-through-body option (that is, yes or no).

    One relatively simple solution I came up with is using a bridge with separate tailpiece and putting string retainers in between the two. Problem there is that string retainers are usually designed for two strings or more and I want single string adjustability. Furthermore, they're not designed to be adjustable and I want to be able to play around and see what works for which strings.

    So I crudely drew this up
    4.

    Some issues:
    Seems like a part that can be easily lost
    Could be fugly
    I don't have any way of manufacturing this myself



    I slept on it and came up with mark2, moving the adjustment to the tailpiece.
    Here is a sideview:
    5.

    Much more elegant, IMO, and seems more feasible to manufacture! Needs more thought, though. I'm thinking maybe some metal strips in between the strings and the screws... I wish I had some CAD skills, if only for a better way to communicate what I have pictured in my mind.


    Some questions:
    What are your thoughts on break angles, especially in relation to piezo pu's?
    Have you ever seen bass bridges with ways to adjust the angle?
    Any other fun ideas?


    Thanks for reading! :)
     
  2. Means2nEnd

    Means2nEnd Supporting Member

    I'm figuring you'll will get them where you want them and there they will stay. Why not just figure out what angle you want and build it that way? I see it possibly as an over complicated answer to a question that really doesn't exist. Could create more problems in the long run. Impressively well thought out and nice design I'm just not sure it's necessary all the extra parts to possibly fail or break strings. Just my 2 cents. Reminds me a little of those old locking bridges Fender made for a hot minute.

    I just watched a bass player live clip with Mike Tobias and Roger S and Mike said it more than once he tries to use the simplest bridges he can find and so does Roger there must be a good reason.
     
    I-Am-The-Slime likes this.
  3. Thanks! Yeah, I'm overthinking per usual, but I get a kick out of it and like to share in the madness ;)

    I guess it's the only way I can think of to figure out what angle I want empirically... How else should I figure out what's the best break angle for metal?:smug:

    All kidding aside, your point of more parts equals more chance at failure is well taken.
    Perhaps it could be used just as a test rig to figure out the angles I want and then produce a solid tailpiece with those angles. The idea was sparked by me not having a clue what angles to use and finding many varying angles in online searches. The (ill-described) metal strips are my solution to damaging the strings (and possibly to ground the strings, although unnecessary on a piezo only).
     
  4. Similar to the fine tuners on the Steinberger KB trems on some of the old Epiphones and Gibsons. And, no I don't know how well they work this is the first one I've actually owned and I will probably leave the locking nut off, mostly because I don't have it.

    IMG_20180303_153433. IMG_20180303_153433. IMG_20180303_153414.
     
    I-Am-The-Slime likes this.
  5. Very cool! Thanks for sharing that! I like the screws having a diameter double the size of the string slots.
     

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