Grounding a titanium bridge

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by versalog, Nov 2, 2021.

  1. versalog

    versalog Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2007
    Vermont, U.S.A.
    Is titanium such a conductor that the usual wire under the bridge plate provides sufficient grounding for the strings? Asking specifically about the KTS titanium bridge with titanium saddles in particular. Thanks!
  2. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008

    I can't tell you if the titanium bridge will be sufficiently electrically conductive to work well with the usual ground wire, but you might find the above two links interesting and informative (I don't think the first lists titanium, but it does give the conductivity of brass, aluminum, and other materials relative to a copper standard).

    The second (you can click on different elements in the table to view their properties, which is pretty cool) suggests that titanium is significantly more resistive (less conductive) than copper, aluminum, and iron, though I don't know if this would vary much with different titanium alloys or have enough of an effect to make grounding problematic.

    I'd contact KTS and see what they say about grounding their bridge.

    Maybe someone else will chime in with first hand experience with this or other titanium bridges.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2021
    versalog likes this.
  3. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I have a random titanium piece here in the shop and it conducts just fine.

    Possibly even better than brass?

  4. JKos

    JKos Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2010
    Surprise, AZ
    versalog likes this.
  5. versalog

    versalog Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2007
    Vermont, U.S.A.
    Thank you all! I suppose a talk with KTS is in order, as suggested, to get to the bottom of how best to ground their bridge. I will report back when I have a response.
  6. versalog

    versalog Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2007
    Vermont, U.S.A.
    I spoke with KTS this morning. The usual ground wire under the bridge plate making the usual compression type contact provides sufficient conductivity for string grounding. Alternatively, the ground wire can be soldered to the underside of the bridge plate, provided a nice and clean, shiny and bright solder spot is created first with a little sandpaper. I am not convinced that titanium is solderable with lead solder and conventional tools and methods. Perhaps KTS meant a higher temperature process, or even welding.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2021
  7. Crater


    Oct 12, 2011
    Dallas, TX area
    It might be solderable, I think the biggest factor is whether the base metal (titanium) will quickly form an oxide layer when heated, and/or if some flux will cut through that.

    But I think that soldering is probably completely un-necessary in this case, and just having a good length of bare ground wire under the bridge will be more than adequate. It's easy enough to check with an ohm meter.
  8. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    Titanium is not as hard as some grades of heat-treated steel; it is non-magnetic and a poor conductor of heat and electricity.
  9. JKos

    JKos Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2010
    Surprise, AZ
    I think you're overthinking this. While pure titanium may have poorer conductivity compared to steel or aluminum, our bridges are not pure titanium, steel, or aluminum. They are alloys.

    Standard, under bridge exposed wire should work just fine.

    Take your multimeter and try to measure the resistance across the width of your titanium bridge. Now compare that to other bridges you have. I bet you can't get accurate enough readings to tell any difference.
    versalog likes this.
  10. David76112


    Feb 19, 2012
    All metals conduct electricity.
  11. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    This is being over thought by a factor of about a thousand. Consider that human skin is plenty good enough at conducting electricity in terms of providing a path to ground for shielding electronics from noise. The differences between titanium and other metals is orders of magnitude smaller than the difference between a metal with poor conductivity and skin. You will not have a problem.

    If you're worried about the "bare wire under the bridge" method, just stick the wire on with a bit of conductive copper tape. I like to do that anyways, regardless of conductivity, just to ensure the wire stays put while installing the bridge.
    versalog, Crater and JKos like this.
  12. versalog

    versalog Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2007
    Vermont, U.S.A.
    Well argued, gents. I tend to be in full intel-gathering mode when I have reached the limits of my knowledge on a topic, which happens frequently.
    ctmullins and dwizum like this.
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