Bridge & Nut

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments

Bridge & Nut

Postby HNLim » Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:45 pm

Is there a difference with :
1. Plastic
2. Bone
3. Ivory
4. Others (please advice)

For use to build the bridge and nut. Why not use brass or the same material as the fret?

What do you think of this?

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Re: Bridge & Nut

Postby Matthew22 » Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:03 pm

Hi, from reading your posts I know your into Innovation, and from that standpoint the picture you provided is a great option. as far as I know it's a system invented by John Gilbert. sound wise I think it works (no reason why not) although I've never played a guitar with it. it offers great flexibility with action (string height) adjustment as you can lift or lower the string height simply by turning the.. mmm post? in any case, I see no reason why not to go that way.

on a personal note, I don't like it, but a traditional saddle out of brass or some other golden colored metal could be beautiful. Torres build a guitar that showed of the best of his workmanship and materials and used silver for the nut and saddle. he called it "La Guitara Cumbre" (spelling is probably off) which means "the supreme guitar". I have recording of it as well as of other Torres guitar and can say that in sound it is in no way supreme (IMHO) the his guitars of simplicity, made of medium quality materials. his work and ability are amazing nevertheless and is does sound wonderful. a metal saddle will likely give a different sound than bone, same as a wooden saddle has a different sound. so for me that would be the first point of consideration.
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Re: Bridge & Nut

Postby mikfik » Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:48 pm

The damping factor of each of these materials is different so the tone of your guitar will be slightly different depending on which material is used. (Ivory and bone are very similar and will sound almost identical) but plastic and metal are quite a bit different.
Try different materials and listen for yourself. It's not hard to make a couple of extra nuts and saddles and then you will know which to pick.
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Re: Bridge & Nut

Postby Scot Tremblay » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:54 pm

J.G. & J.A. Stauffer guitars (as well as many others of the 19th century Viennese school) often used a metal saddle (a fret and occassinally a brass bar). Some of their instruments also sported a "zero" fret so that the string always was paired with metal. I have experimented with different material for the saddle and nut as it applys to my Stauffer replicas. I find the zero fret and metal saddle gives the guitar a brighter clearer tone over all, quicker attack, more sustain and a bit of a boost in volume. I'm not clear if the volume boost is actual as it takes a fairly large percentage increase for the human ear to perceive volume difference... Tests with appropriate equipment would have to be done to be sure.

As I don't make modern instruments I don't know how this would apply to them but I suspect it would be a positive step. The trick would be to get luthiers and players to give it a try. I don't think the innovation pictured above was/is widely accepted for what ever reasons..not traditional? I'd like to hear from those that have actually used it.
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Re: Bridge & Nut

Postby Jeff Highland » Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:15 pm

Some of the problems with using brass for a saddle include
-Weight if using a conventional style saddle. this will seriously impact responsiveness
-Lack of height and inotatation adjustment if using a fretwire saddle
-Weight? and lack of inotation adjustment for the individual saddle bridge shown.
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Re: Bridge & Nut

Postby Scot Tremblay » Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:27 pm

jeffhigh wrote:Some of the problems with using brass for a saddle include
-Weight if using a conventional style saddle. this will seriously impact responsiveness
-Lack of height and inotatation adjustment if using a fretwire saddle
-Weight? and lack of inotation adjustment for the individual saddle bridge shown.



These observations were addressed in the 19th century to varing degree of success but our modern luthers with their high tech scientific approach to the guitar are well equiped to overcome them in short order. They just need a little acceptance for their work from those that cannot let go of tradition...but that doesn't take long either, case in point, the raised fingerboard, lattice bracing, recessed soundboards, arm rests, sound ports...those all were met with scepticism and now a short decade or so later they are common place and largely accepted...maybe even approaching "tradition" status.
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Re: Bridge & Nut

Postby Jeff Highland » Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:06 pm

Scot Tremblay wrote:
jeffhigh wrote:Some of the problems with using brass for a saddle include
-Weight if using a conventional style saddle. this will seriously impact responsiveness
-Lack of height and inotatation adjustment if using a fretwire saddle
-Weight? and lack of inotation adjustment for the individual saddle bridge shown.



These observations were addressed in the 19th century to varing degree of success but our modern luthers with their high tech scientific approach to the guitar are well equiped to overcome them in short order. They just need a little acceptance for their work from those that cannot let go of tradition...but that doesn't take long either, case in point, the raised fingerboard, lattice bracing, recessed soundboards, arm rests, sound ports...those all were met with scepticism and now a short decade or so later they are common place and largely accepted...maybe even approaching "tradition" status.


You can't overcome excess mass.
Most of todays innovation is in reducing mass while maintaining stiffness
Brass bridgepins were all the rage for steel string guitars a few years ago...don't hear much of them these days.
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Re: Bridge & Nut

Postby HNLim » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:18 pm

What about titanium, aluminium or a combination of both. Light and very stiff.
1978 Yamaha GC30A - Spruce/Jacaranda
2012 Esteve Adalid - Spruce/BRW
2012 Hippner Custom -Spruce/BRW
2013 Yamaha SLG-110N
2014 Sen Goh Custom - Spruce/BRW
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Re: Bridge & Nut

Postby HNLim » Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:05 pm

jeffhigh wrote:
Scot Tremblay wrote:
jeffhigh wrote:Some of the problems with using brass for a saddle include
-Weight if using a conventional style saddle. this will seriously impact responsiveness
-Lack of height and inotatation adjustment if using a fretwire saddle
-Weight? and lack of inotation adjustment for the individual saddle bridge shown.



These observations were addressed in the 19th century to varing degree of success but our modern luthers with their high tech scientific approach to the guitar are well equiped to overcome them in short order. They just need a little acceptance for their work from those that cannot let go of tradition...but that doesn't take long either, case in point, the raised fingerboard, lattice bracing, recessed soundboards, arm rests, sound ports...those all were met with scepticism and now a short decade or so later they are common place and largely accepted...maybe even approaching "tradition" status.


You can't overcome excess mass.

Would a carbon fiber bridge saddle and nut work. Light and stiff.
Most of todays innovation is in reducing mass while maintaining stiffness
Brass bridgepins were all the rage for steel string guitars a few years ago...don't hear much of them these days.
1978 Yamaha GC30A - Spruce/Jacaranda
2012 Esteve Adalid - Spruce/BRW
2012 Hippner Custom -Spruce/BRW
2013 Yamaha SLG-110N
2014 Sen Goh Custom - Spruce/BRW
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Re: Bridge & Nut

Postby Jeff Highland » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:09 pm

I can see no advantage in using carbon fibre/epoxy bar for nut or saddle.
It is not actually very abrasion resistant and is nasty to work with cutting and sanding
The nut and saddle do not require any great stiffness anyhow, it is the structure of the top that I was referring to and saying that you do not want to impose unnecessary additional weight at the bridge with metal components.
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Re: Bridge & Nut

Postby erictjie » Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:06 am

the most exclusive nut and saddle are made of elephant ivory or black buffalo horn. I might get the black horn from tibet. but no way to get elephant ivory
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Re: Bridge & Nut

Postby pogmoor » Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:25 am

HHNLim wrote:What about titanium, aluminium or a combination of both. Light and very stiff.

I made an aluminium nut for a guitar I used to own. It seemed to work ok and was certainly no worse than the bone nut, though I didn't conduct any proper tests. I'd be interested to hear if anyone has used titanium, which is harder than aluminium.
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Re: Bridge & Nut

Postby HNLim » Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:19 am

Has anyone ever tried using jade for the bridge or nut?
1978 Yamaha GC30A - Spruce/Jacaranda
2012 Esteve Adalid - Spruce/BRW
2012 Hippner Custom -Spruce/BRW
2013 Yamaha SLG-110N
2014 Sen Goh Custom - Spruce/BRW
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Re: Bridge & Nut

Postby col_kilgore » Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:11 pm

now this is probably the stupidist thing ever , but the suggestion of jade got me thinking. how about diamond ?

Yes I know that practically speaking impossible but surely as the hardest material known it would sound epic ?

Anybody want to try it ?
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Re: Bridge & Nut

Postby Richard Newman » Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:42 pm

Diamonds have been relegated as the hardest kid in town.

Apparently the alchemists in white coats have developed ‘’mineral lonsdaleite’’ and ‘’wurtzite boron’’

They apparently exceed a diamonds hardness by 18-58%. I don’t think they will have songs written about them….. but they may come in handy playing scrabble!!
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