White element of the bridge. What for ?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Astra Piotr

White element of the bridge. What for ?

Post by Astra Piotr » Sat Jun 23, 2007 2:56 pm

Hello everyone,

I've noticed while observing people playing concerts or recitals that their guitars have a kind of white thing along the bridge. I understand that when someone plays concerts the guitar is normally (always?) luthier's made not factory made. I looked at some factories' websites and I didn't notice this "white thing" in the guitars they offer (just brown-wood bridge whithout any white elements)
So what is this thing and what is it's function. :cafe:

Regards

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Vesuvio
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Post by Vesuvio » Sat Jun 23, 2007 3:07 pm

Hello Astra Piotr,

Do you mean the saddle? This is the strip of bone or plastic set into the bridge and over which the strings run. It is through the saddle that the vibrations of the strings are passed to the body of the guitar.

In the attached picture the white rectangle below the saddle is the tie block through which the strings are threaded.

I do apologise if I have misunderstood, could you post a picture to indicate what you mean?

Best wishes, V
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"There are only two things worth aiming for, good music and a clean conscience." Paul Hindemith

Astra Piotr

Post by Astra Piotr » Sat Jun 23, 2007 4:05 pm

Thanks for quick reply Vesuvio,

Actually I had this ractangle in mind over which the strings are tied. My guitar doesn't have it (though it's not the one for professionals :-( ). It's just wood with little holes in it to put the strings through, no white ractangle. I searched the net again and noticed the rule that more expensive guitars have either the ractangle or just two strips running along the bridge.
Cheaper don't. So what's the consequence for the sound. (you wrote that "It is through the saddle that the vibrations of the strings are passed to the body of the guitar.")

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Vesuvio
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Post by Vesuvio » Sat Jun 23, 2007 4:34 pm

Hello again,

I'm no luthier, but I suspect the white edging to the top of the tie block is just decorative and whether it is there or not would have no effect on the sound. I suppose it just makes a neat job of bordering any pattern on the tie block.

I guess the saddle is much more important and I believe its material and the shape of its top edge can make a great difference to the sound. There are also specialist 'compensated' saddles that solve some of the problems guitarists have with tuning and intonation—some even being in two pieces like the photo attached (from a Greg Byers guitar).

Best wishes, V
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Pepe Vergara

Post by Pepe Vergara » Sat Jun 23, 2007 4:55 pm

The tie-block top has the job of helping protect the tieblock from the string potential damage. Usually the edges have to face the roughnes of th strings (especially the wound strings). SOme luthiers protect only the egdes and decorate the interior to match the rosette. Others (Antonio de Torres & Jurado) used also a white piece of ivory. Others use motherofpearl. However, m-o-p is not as strong as ivory. Nowdays, many use just bone. I use bone, but sometimes match the decoration with the rosette too.
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Vesuvio
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Post by Vesuvio » Sat Jun 23, 2007 5:01 pm

Thank you Pepe,

It had never even occured to me that the tie block would be subject to wear and tear, but I can see immediately that the strings could inflict greadful (EDIT Greadful? Dreadful!) damage on wood, especially the wound strings.

Best wishes, V
Last edited by Vesuvio on Sat Jun 23, 2007 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"There are only two things worth aiming for, good music and a clean conscience." Paul Hindemith

Pepe Vergara

Post by Pepe Vergara » Sat Jun 23, 2007 5:17 pm

Some more
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Vesuvio
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Post by Vesuvio » Sat Jun 23, 2007 5:28 pm

Hello again Pepe,

My practical skills are so limited, I know I could never build a guitar but I do admire the art and craft of lutherie. If I lived next door to you, you'd have to lock me out of your workshop because I would love to be able to watch you at work.

Best wishes, V :)
"There are only two things worth aiming for, good music and a clean conscience." Paul Hindemith

Astra Piotr

Post by Astra Piotr » Sat Jun 23, 2007 5:55 pm

Thank you for the answers. That's what I expected. It's a kind of protection of the bridge. Still, I wonder why for example Alambra guitars have the tie blocks (almost all if not all) but Admiras don't. Probably it's just lowering the costs.

And thanks for the photos :lol:

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