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Question about Traeger book -- teflon on the bridgefeet.

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by lincland, Apr 8, 2005.


  1. lincland

    lincland

    Nov 8, 2004
    Dallas, TX
    I read in the Traeger book about using teflon under the bridge feet to increase sustain and volume. Anyone have any experiece with this? He didn't mention the thickness...any ideas?

    Lincoln
     
  2. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    No experience with this so no comment on the sound claims.

    I'd imagine he's talking about common "teflon tape", used by plumbers and mechanics and all sorts of folks to wrap threaded things for purposes of lubrication and "shimming out". It's cheap like borscht and comes in 12mm x 12M tape rolls. I just measured the thickness of some -- yes, I do happen to have a roll of it and a digital caliper right here at my desk -- and it comes in at .08mm or .0025 inches.

    I'm sure you can get other kinds of teflon stuff but this stuff is ultra-common. You'd be sourcing from plastics specialists otherwise.
     
  3. uptonbass

    uptonbass Proprietor, Upton Bass String Instrument Co.

    Oct 8, 2002
    Mystic CT
    Founder UptonBass.com
  4. lincland

    lincland

    Nov 8, 2004
    Dallas, TX
    Thanks...I'm guessing that this is that white tape...I've seen that stuff. That's an easy way to try it.

    Lincoln


     
  5. M_A_T_T

    M_A_T_T

    Mar 4, 2004
    Canada
    I have a few rolls of teflon tape. I used it on my air compressor for the couplings/fittings/hoses and on a few sink plumbing things. I honestly don't see how that stuff would help to increase sustain and volume, probably the opposite. It's a REALLY thin and soft material and I bet if you built up a number of layers it would just dampen the sound.

    Does Mr. Traeger call if 'teflon' or 'teflon tape' in his book? I'm thinking he is refering to blocks of teflon, not the tape, but I don't know for sure.
     
  6. Teflon™ has a very low coefficient of friction, so I wonder if a thin layer under the feet of the bridge might de-couple the bridge from the table laterally, so that there might be less tendency for the bridge to load the top (and vice versa) laterally, that is…

    :meh:

    - Wil
     
  7. M_A_T_T

    M_A_T_T

    Mar 4, 2004
    Canada
    You mean cause the feet to have more of a spreading motion, towards the F-holes, and less direct downward pressure on the top? This may be part of the reason bass and cello bridge feet are pre-spread when fitting them, but I may be wrong. I also wonder if having the feet too slippery could cause too much spreading, and in turn a poor fit.
     
  8. By "load" I meant dampen by increasing the mass. I think the downward pressure would be the same, irrespective of the spread. The reason for spreading the feet as if under load when fitting, is simply to get a good fit (uniform contact) between the underside of the feet and the top.

    - Wil
     
  9. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    AL/GA
    He refers to it as a "thin piece of teflon" and also mentions that parchment can produce the same effect (doesn't say what effect other than warmth and sustain increase) to a lesser degree, so I assume he means the tape. Also says that another luthier can produce the same effect by slightly rounding the bridge feet...which I've always read is an undesirable by-product of using the sandpaper method to fit bridges.

    Any of the resident luthiers care to comment on this? Why would the teflon increase sustain and warmth?
     
  10. lincland

    lincland

    Nov 8, 2004
    Dallas, TX
    My first thought was that it would dampen the sound. Why wouldn't it? Then I wondered why it was specifically Teflon. I can't figure out if it would increase slippage, or increase traction. I'm guessing the only way to know is to try it and see if there is any difference in sound.

    I wonder why specifically he mentioned "parchment". Would paper from a brown paper bag work just as well or does it have to be "ye old parchment"? Weird.

    Lincoln
     
  11. What page is that, I can't find it?!
     
  12. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Page 23, Ken. It's in the index under "teflon"! ;)
     

  13. Ahhh, so it is! Thanks.

    Traeger writes: "I sometimes install a thin piece of Teflon underneath the bridg feet. This produces a warmer, louder, and longer sustaining sound. Parchment will give tis effect to a lesser extent. The poorer the quality of the instrument, the more noticable this effect will be. Carleen Hutchins told me that she can duplicate this effect by slightly rounding the feet of the bridge. I have not experimented with this yet."

    What is warmer? sounds like that would be desirable for an orchestra bass but not so for a jazzer who may want a "cool" sound :cool:
     
  14. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Just spent a few minutes snooping around the web to see how teflon is sold. Easy as pie to buy it in sheets from .01" to 3" thick (got $6.5k for a 48"x48" sheet of the 3" stock?) Bar stock gets used in electrical work and starts at 1/8" thick, 1/2" wide, getting thicker and wider from there...

    Seems more likely than the tape...
     
  15. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    The poorer the quality of the instrument, the more noticable this effect will be.


    This would appear to be an important point.
     
  16. Parchment is animal skin, usually sheepskin very much thinned out. "Yee old brown paper bag" is wood pulp, mostly cellulose, but with a high acid content. Brown paper would eventually leach acids into the surrounding wood and might darken the finish, so I wouldn't try that at all. Warmer to me means less of the nasal sound, but it isn't definitive. Higher quality basses are probably already "warm". To me it seems like a frequency filter that cuts the highs more than the lows. Test it and describe it. Perhaps I should look up Leon Mandel, since he invented teflon, he might know what material properties are responsible for the effect.
     
  17. jtlownds

    jtlownds

    Oct 3, 2004
    LaBelle, FL
    I think I'll rap some teflon around the threads of my adjusters. It will probably do more good there, and will probably increase the volume and sustain there as much as it will under the feet of my bridge.

    You guys need to concentrate more on PLAYING the sound out of your bass, instead of looking for one of TRAEGER'S MAGIC PILLS to improve your bass. It probably doesn't need it.
     
  18. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Yes, well, if you've been hanging here any length of time at all or have otherwise taken the trouble to familiarize yourself with us and this topic I think you'll quickly see nobody here has made any claims for or against teflon. All we're doing is checking out some of the stuff that's in this new book.

    Thanks for the scolding though. I'm sure you feel better.
     
  19. Since achieving a perfect fit between the bridge feet and bass top would seem to be almost impossible, maybe the Teflon serves to fill the voids where the feet aren't making perfect contact and aids in increasing the coupling between the bridge and top.


    Added later:

    After thinking about this matter a little more, I remember a project I worked with in the mid 80's where we were measuring the effectiveness of different materials on reducing vibrations that were transmitted into sensitive electronic equipment. Some of the materials we tested that I thought would significantly dampen the vibrations actually increased the vibrations over certain frequency ranges and amplitudes.

    Teflon may be one of these types of materials. It could also be dampening some of the harmonics or waveforms that tend to resemble square waves thus producing a smoother more mellow tone closer to that of a pure sine wave.

    Just thinking out loud.
     
  20. It sounds like you are joking and I hope you are. Any little tweaks like this should be done exactly as suggested because doing it otherwise could either
    1. not achieve the goal
    2. be deleterious in some other way
    3. therefore, waste one's time

    BTW, I've had to limit my rehearsal time due to minor injury (totally sucks) so until that left arm gets better, I'm spending more time on the web doing research. I hope it's no intrusion and generally I share your opinion. Some people might take you seriously about the tape on the bridge adjusters.

    While teflon would reduce friction, there isn't a whole lot of that at this interface to reduce. Parchment would not reduce friction, so it is some other property that they have in common.

    I have tried to locate Dr. Mandel and either he has left no footprints on the web, has died, or is employed at another University. There are other Leon Mandel's and that makes it difficult to track him down.

    I did find that Teflon is used in printed circuit boards because of its "superior high frequency characteristics", whatever that means and is also used in hearing restoration surgery for prosthetic stapes (hearing bones) implants. I seriously doubt that CT considered this when he chose Teflon. My guess is that he could easily find it in thin, flexible, form and that when tested for his purposes it worked. These days it would be easier to get hold of than sheepskin parchment.