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More Cowbell   You are logged in as Guest
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El Burdo

 

Posts: 535
Joined: Sep. 8 2011
 

More Cowbell 

Apart from the usual very depressing bitchwitchery in another thread, it made me wonder, if the material in the saddle can affect tone, can the size? It is after all the point at which the vibrations are introduced to the bridge and on.
I currently use a 2mm slot because I have a 2mm router bit. But is a larger size more efficient? I have recently made two guitars, one Santos and the other Barbero and the sound is broadly the same currently despite a lot of the internals being different. The saddles I get from Madinter all seem to be over 3mm thick.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 30 2014 13:42:11
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: More Cowbell (in reply to El Burdo

I think 2,3mm (3/8#) is about standard for Spanish guitars and thats what i work myself.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 30 2014 17:57:18
 
krichards

Posts: 597
Joined: Jan. 14 2007
From: York, England

RE: More Cowbell (in reply to El Burdo

quote:

if the material in the saddle can affect tone, can the size


Its a very good question and I think the answer is likely to be yes.
But at 2mm you're ok, most saddle slots seem to be 2.0 to 2.5mm.
The most important thing I would say is to have the bottom of the slot absolutely flat so that there is good contact, and a sliding fit along the back and front surfaces. This should ensure maximum energy transfer to the bridge and into the soundboard.

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Kevin Richards

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 30 2014 18:05:49
 
El Burdo

 

Posts: 535
Joined: Sep. 8 2011
 

RE: More Cowbell (in reply to El Burdo

Amazing. It's such a simple question and evidently no-one knows. Thanks for your response though Kevin and Anders - though I think 3/8" is maybe a tad big
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 31 2014 8:44:07
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: More Cowbell (in reply to El Burdo

The advantage of having a wider slot is that you have more space to compensate the indivisual strings
I once widened the saddle slot of a Granada guitar that was built without compensation and that had poor intonation. I widened the slot from 2mm to 3,2mm and then it was possible to compensate it right.
I couldnt hear any difference in sound and nor could the owner.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 31 2014 8:46:29
 
orsonw

Posts: 1418
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: More Cowbell (in reply to Anders Eliasson

quote:

The advantage of having a wider slot is that you have more space to compensate the indivisual strings
I once widened the saddle slot of a Granada guitar that was built without compensation and that had poor intonation. I widened the slot from 2mm to 3,2mm and then it was possible to compensate it right.
I couldnt hear any difference in sound and nor could the owner.


I had a similar experience. A luthier almost doubled the saddle width to resolve an intonation issue on an uncompensated guitar. Afterwards I couldn't notice any difference in sound quality or volume but it may have changed.

I find that if I want to hear a very noticable change in a guitar's sound quality and volume then changing how I play and improving my technique are the best solution. Though I once had a badly repaired tie block and saddle replaced and I could hear a definite improvement in volume and tone afterwards.

Of course I am not building guitars, I only play, so I hope my experience is not too off topic. Of course I think it is a good thing that the luthiers experiment and try to understand these things that I cannot!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 31 2014 10:33:40
 
El Burdo

 

Posts: 535
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RE: More Cowbell (in reply to orsonw

That's great. Useful to know. As a solution to an intonation problem it's quite elegant. I had an intuitive feeling that the quality of the sound would change with the width of the saddle but it's good to know that there is no obvious difference.
My next issue is the bridge itself. Barbero made a bridge with wings of different thickness (the Bruné drawing) and my intuition tells me that it just turned out like that. The alchemists though might say that it was by design. Only way is to test it and I can't stand wasting wood (which in terms of bridges I do all the time...).

Thanks.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 31 2014 10:57:55
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: More Cowbell (in reply to El Burdo

quote:

My next issue is the bridge itself. Barbero made a bridge with wings of different thickness (the Bruné drawing) and my intuition tells me that it just turned out like that. The alchemists though might say that it was by design. Only way is to test it and I can't stand wasting wood (which in terms of bridges I do all the time...).



Well maybe now you understand some reasons for not building copys...
I would trust intuition, but maybe some Barbero copycat will tell me I´m all wrong, which I will accept, because I dont work copys.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 31 2014 11:52:11
 
jmdlister

Posts: 2
Joined: Dec. 7 2010
 

RE: More Cowbell (in reply to El Burdo

quote:

ORIGINAL: El Burdo

My next issue is the bridge itself. Barbero made a bridge with wings of different thickness (the Bruné drawing) and my intuition tells me that it just turned out like that. The alchemists though might say that it was by design. Only way is to test it and I can't stand wasting wood (which in terms of bridges I do all the time...).


If the thickness difference between the wings was 0.5mm or less, I'd guess it was by accident, any more than 1mm and I'd have thought it more likely to be by design.

Of course, the bridge is a significant part of the structure of the top, and its design will have a considerable influence on the sound of the guitar. Changing just the bridge material can change the mass at the centre of the soundboard, and the stiffness of this transverse "strut", both of which will affect the top resonances, the body resonance, the sustain and more.

James

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 31 2014 11:53:39
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2711
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: More Cowbell (in reply to Anders Eliasson

Though I don't have one myself, I have seen guitars where the bridge slot was left narrow, but the saddle was wider at the top, with the strings individually compensated.

More work making the saddle, but a tiny bit less added mass.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 31 2014 19:30:21
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7545
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: More Cowbell (in reply to Anders Eliasson

If I were you Burdo I would email Brune' and ask him myself. He's very approachable and would give you a succinct answer. He's very generous if you don't take up a lot of his valuable time. There are lots of things that look major that might not mean too much, and then are are little aspects of building which might change things enormously. But a good way to research is to go ask the person who did the drawings and studied the original instrument.


If you make that Barbero bridge, which is really an archetype for most flamenco bridges, just pick one side or the other a try to make your bridge symmetrical. Make two or three with wood that feels different in flex and weight. Weight them all, flex them all and then remember what it feels like, write down the weight.

The question I would put to Brune' is: How flexible and how dense does he reckon that bridge was? He might say a few things and then add in that what you're looking for is XYZ...

The bridge is important, but here's the thing don't obsess over it too much, just do it. The important thing is to get it done, to record and remember the qualities of the bridge and then use that as your bench mark.

In other words you have a constant model to keep referring to, the Barbero plan, you keep a tactile memory and a write down some stats on the top and bridge. How the top flexes back and forth, what the main air resonance is of the top- Hitting F# for that model is really good, G is ok up from G and up it gets too finicky and overtones show to much presence. Keep those things on paper and in your mind and hands in relation to how heavy the bridge is and how much flex the bridge has where the wings and tie block meet.

The fit of the bridge to the arch is important too, at least to me. Get a sharp scraper and fir the underside of the bridge to the belly very carefully. Then before you close the guitar make a very accurate caul which fits under the bridge around the bracing and use a plane to make a convex arch on top of the caul so it fits the inside arch of the top. You want the bridge to pretty much fit the top, but you can push the top up into the bridge a little bit.

That particular guitar will be good if you work for an F#, but still retain a strong top, and make a nice light, but slightly flexible bridge. A bridge that is between 18 and 22 grams will work. But don't go upwards of 20 if you can help it.

And if you can ask Brune' for tips on how to make it work. You are right following the the plan because you don't have an in person teacher and that Barbero format will make a good guitar if you do the plan pretty much as it is. It will give you a base camp to explore from. People who learned from teachers like I did can often get dogmatic because My teacher did this or that and there's a defensive posture inherent in the stance towards making a copy. The reasons you see are; I'm too proud to copy! or I'm too good to copy, I'm too original to copy, or I'm past that stage in my work when I need to copy.

Picasso copied Velaquez' pictures and made variations on them when he was in his 80's.
Van Gogh copied Japanese wood block prints, Ezra Pound studied Dante' and copied some of his formats.

You can go to the Prado and see Chinese art students who have traveled there to make copies of Murrillo. If you copy you will learn. There's no such thing as a 'copycat' there are only dogmatic dogs and good guitar makers. Sometimes the two are not mutually exclusive, but who wants to hear them bark?

But the important thing is to get it done. Too much thinking leads to "Analysis Paralysis"- Move at a pace that feels right, but don't get overwhelmed second guessing yourself.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 31 2014 23:43:32
 
El Burdo

 

Posts: 535
Joined: Sep. 8 2011
 

RE: More Cowbell (in reply to El Burdo

Thanks everyone. I won't ask Bruné yet Bananasensei as I still feel as if I'm making guitars in Bizarro World, where earthly logic is consistently defied. What was a perfect measurement is revealed in context to be wildly wide of the mark. I'm getting into the feel and response of wood though, though my last top was again a low C#. When I can talk in whole sentences that don't start with 'whuh?' I'll feel more able to communicate with him. You guys are fine though.
I did do a lot having said that of what you say, and my view on plans are that they are guides. Although indeed the map is not the territory, I have yet to work out quite what one can change, hence my question about the size of the saddle.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 1 2014 9:41:55
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