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why is a guitar bridge glued down?

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CRANKY YANKEE 14 Jan 02 - 08:33 AM
Midchuck 14 Jan 02 - 08:48 AM
Murray MacLeod 14 Jan 02 - 09:02 AM
Gary T 14 Jan 02 - 09:30 AM
53 14 Jan 02 - 09:32 AM
GUEST,Mark Clark (via public proxy) 14 Jan 02 - 11:19 AM
GUEST 14 Jan 02 - 11:21 AM
Jon Freeman 14 Jan 02 - 11:35 AM
Murray MacLeod 14 Jan 02 - 11:50 AM
mooman 14 Jan 02 - 12:06 PM
catspaw49 14 Jan 02 - 12:45 PM
GUEST 14 Jan 02 - 01:15 PM
catspaw49 14 Jan 02 - 09:32 PM
Coyote Breath 14 Jan 02 - 10:28 PM
Jon Freeman 14 Jan 02 - 10:35 PM
Art Thieme 15 Jan 02 - 12:39 PM
GUEST 15 Jan 02 - 03:27 PM
jeffp 15 Jan 02 - 03:40 PM
Ned Ludd 15 Jan 02 - 04:32 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 16 Jan 02 - 06:39 AM
barrygeo 16 Jan 02 - 07:35 AM
Murray MacLeod 16 Jan 02 - 08:27 AM
English Jon 17 Jan 02 - 07:20 AM
catspaw49 17 Jan 02 - 09:38 AM
catspaw49 17 Jan 02 - 09:39 AM
swirlygirl 17 Jan 02 - 02:26 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 17 Jan 02 - 06:27 PM
zac 17 Jan 02 - 07:13 PM
Murray MacLeod 17 Jan 02 - 07:34 PM
PHJim 07 Jul 11 - 08:10 AM
PHJim 07 Jul 11 - 08:36 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 07 Jul 11 - 12:02 PM
Big Al Whittle 08 Jul 11 - 05:23 AM
Newport Boy 08 Jul 11 - 08:46 AM
Backwoodsman 08 Jul 11 - 08:59 AM
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Subject: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 08:33 AM

If the string is tucked under the bridge plate , comes up through the guitar top, goes over the bridge and to the neck of the guitar. doesn't this clamp the bridge down? Sure it does, If you think that the bridge is glued down because the strings pull on it, think again. the string tension would pull the bridge off the top of the guitar long before you tightened the strings to pitch.

Sure, a classical guitar DOES take all the string tension, but the tension on nylon strings is one hell of a lot less than steel strings.


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: Midchuck
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 08:48 AM

The "break" of the strings over the saddle puts a downward and forward pressure on the front of the bridge, which levers the rear upward. You often get the back of the bridge lifting off if the glue job isn't good enough or the instrument is left in the heat or too heavy strings are used. Same thing that causes "bellying" of the top behind the bridge, and sinking of the top between bridge and soundhole.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 09:02 AM

Think "torque" ...................

Murray


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: Gary T
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 09:30 AM

Also consider that the fore and aft placement of the saddle is critical and it needs to be as precisely located as possible. If the bridge, which contains the saddle slot, is not firmly kept in position, it could creep away from its proper location and cause significant intonation problems. With an unglued bridge, the act of changing strings could very easily result in its moving.


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: 53
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 09:32 AM

it has to be glued or the pull of the strings would pull it right off.


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: GUEST,Mark Clark (via public proxy)
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 11:19 AM

I thought this was going to be a joke. As in:

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?

A: To show the opossum that it could be done.

Are you listening, Cleigh?

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 11:21 AM

Oops, I forgot the </blockquote> tag. Sorry.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 11:35 AM

So why is the glued bridge design favoured for most guitars but other instruments like mandolins use a moveable bridge with the strings held at the tailpiece?

Jon


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 11:50 AM

Mainly tradition, Jon. (Since the mandolin and arch-top evolved from the violin family.)

Tradition apart, the tension of eight strings on a mandolin is better taken by a tailblock and tailpiece than by a fixed bridge on the soundboard.

Murray


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: mooman
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 12:06 PM

Some makes of steel-strung guitar do not use bridge pins at all but, in such cases, a well designed top and properly glued bridge presents no problems. My Flambeau/Lowden has such a design and is now 18 years old without a hint of bridge creep, detachment or "rotation" of the top, despite heavy playing.

As Murray says, tradition is the main reason for the moveable bridge on the mandolin family but I have seen a number of 8-string instruments (Fylde springs to mind) that cope perfectly well with a glued bridge.

mooman


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 12:45 PM

Well, the question has been well answered starting with Peter's first post. To add to what mooman just said, there is also some argument that "through the bridge" strings will give more reonance than pin type bridges...and vice versa. Like using exotic material bridge pins, I think any difference is pretty marginal.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 01:15 PM

You are right Mr. C. Yankee---it shouldn't be glued down-- all along it's been a design flaw-- all these guitar makers --- all these years--all the glue wasted-- sure appreciate your bringing it to everybodies attention--I hope you'll re-design the other "flaws" in instrument construction and post them here also---:)


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 09:32 PM

Just out of curiosity Jody, where did you get this piece of "information."

Spaw


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 10:28 PM

Am I dull? (naw that's not the right question, surely but I have seen though never owned or played guitars with six strings and no glued bridge - My uncle Ted has one, played it for years, since the 1930's. A Gibson L-5, I believe). Or am I dreaming?

CB


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 10:35 PM

Your not dreaming CB, just looked at a picture of one. Looks like an arch top (that Murray mentioned) to me...

Jon


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 15 Jan 02 - 12:39 PM

Soooooooooooooo, why does a great blue heron stand on one leg?

If he picked it up, he'd fall on his face !

Art


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jan 02 - 03:27 PM

Why is a guitar bridge glued on? Ans: Not all are.


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: jeffp
Date: 15 Jan 02 - 03:40 PM

In fact, some are bolted on!

No kidding. I have a 1967 Epiphone Cortez with a bolted-on plastic bridge with adjustable saddle. Nice tone, believe it or not. A few years ago, I ran into a guy who had the same guitar with a Gibson marque. We had a ball comparing guitars.

jeffp


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: Ned Ludd
Date: 15 Jan 02 - 04:32 PM

Oops lost my cookie. That wasn't what I was getting at Jeffp, but now you mention it I had a little Gibson like that. Mahogany body, D25? can't remember.Mine sounded o.k. (a bit thin perhaps)


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 16 Jan 02 - 06:39 AM

I agree, it SHOULD be glued down. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something when I surmised that the bridge, bing pressed down by the string coming up through the top and anchored under the bridge plate, tended to slide forward toward the neck.

Catspaw49: to answer your question, by looking at m,y guitar and having to re-glue the bridge seven times on my Martin D-28 (1964 Brazilian Rosewood) It seems to me that the Martin Co, with it's great reputation, should be able to glue a bridge on a flattop guitar to where it wouldn't come unglued unless one wanted it to.

As for previous threads, I used to call the bridge saddle,"the bridge bone" This seemed to suffice. I didn't know that it was called "the saddle" until fairly recently. My terminology seemed to suffice./

Paul Geremia really loves guitars, his favorite pastime (he says) is restoring old "beat up and decrepid" 12 string guitars. When he's through with one it sounds like a million dollars. He uses the "strings anchored at the tail piece and over an unglued bridge" exclusively. He did things to my D-28, that improved it's tone immesureably (did I spell that right?) He refastened some of the struts and braces under the top. .


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: barrygeo
Date: 16 Jan 02 - 07:35 AM

The most important part of the guitar for tone is the soundboard or top of the guitar which resonates to the vibrations of the strings. The connection between strings and soundboard therefore effects the tone of the instrument. The most favoured design is to anchor the strings at the bridge which is glued to the soundboard.

An alternative is to attach the strings with a tailpiece. This tends to produce a duller tone but is favoured by some makers.

If you use a glued bridge on a mandolin the relative size of the support piece under the bridge is bigger and reduces the resonance of the sound board. Therefore the tailpiece method is more poular for mandolins and fiddles.

With bouzoukis some makers are now using glued on bridges in an attempt to produce a brighter tone.

Re-gluing bridges is a tricky operation. If you visit some of the guitar builder sites there are a number of tips.


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 16 Jan 02 - 08:27 AM

Jody, I have seen Paul Geremia play several times and my recollection is that he played a normal ( Martin type) twelve string as opposed to the (Stella type) twelve string you describe.

I am not claiming infallibility however and my recollection may be totally faulty, so since you are obviously a friend of his perhaps you could ask him again if he does in fact use the Stella type twelve string exclusively?

Regards

Murray


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: English Jon
Date: 17 Jan 02 - 07:20 AM

"why is a guitar bridge glued down?" - Because otherwise Scousers would nick it.

EJ


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Jan 02 - 09:38 AM

For an innovative look at tailpieces and bridges, check the thread on Appollo Guitars that is currently running. Nick Appolonio has really outdone himself on this 12 and the bridge is really neat.......lots of other great features too.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Jan 02 - 09:39 AM

Apollo Guitar Thread

Spaw


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: swirlygirl
Date: 17 Jan 02 - 02:26 PM

very good EJ but do you not think you could get better use out of the chip if you fried and ate it?

:)

xxx


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 17 Jan 02 - 06:27 PM

Murray MacLeod
Actually, Paul plays whatever suits his fancy at the moment. I've never seen him perform with a Martin. He likes mine a lot, but it's not the sound he wants.
He's got two or three Gibsons that he performs with, and, his chice of 12 strings depends on whichever one he's just restored, I think. I'll probably see him this evening and I'll ask him about a Martin 12 string.

regards Jody


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: zac
Date: 17 Jan 02 - 07:13 PM

I had an occasion to repair a 1957 brazilian rosewood D28 Martin for the daughter of Bobby Edwards, a "flash in the pan" early 60's country musician who later turned to gospel music-- If I am not mistaken,his "big" hit was "You're the reason I don't sleep at night" The repair I made involved replacing the bass side of the rim which had been "repaired" with big "glob" of bondo-- and the bridge had been "bolted on" with wood screws-- by someone who should have stuck with body work. The bondo and the damage to the top inflicted by that "repairman" decreased the value of that instrument considerably.It isn't necessary to be a "professional" to repair guitars but I would think it would be wise to practice on a lesser instrument than a fine old Brazilian rosewood Martin. I did that repair in 1985 or 1986 and I would doubt that today, that guitar would command much more than the cost of the repair I charged -- had it been repaired originally by a competent repairman and not a "butcher" it would bring several thousand dollars today.


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 17 Jan 02 - 07:34 PM

Jody, what I meant was that I think I have seen Paul play a 12 string which didn't have a tailpiece. I didn't mean it was necessarily a Martin.

Regards

Murray


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: PHJim
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 08:10 AM

Gibson made twelve strings with the tailpiece and the pin bridge. Since both were X braced, the pin bridge is usually the more desirable guitar. X bracing seems to go with a pin bridge (or a glued on bridge at least). Stella twelves, like the one Lead Belly played are ladder braced and, though they have a very different sound, they are great for those who desire that sound. An arch top guitar or mandolin produces a certain desirable sound with the bridge that is held on by the string tension. I have seen arch top guitars with fixed bridges, but not often.
While, as Murray MacLeod said, tradition may have something to do with it, the choice of fixed bridge or tailpiece has more to do with sound production than tradition.


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: PHJim
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 08:36 AM

I've noticed a couple of posts above referring to 1964 Brazilian rosewood D-28 and a 1957 Brazilian rosewood D-28. This is redundant as ALL Martin 28 models were Brazilian rosewood prior to 1969, when they switched to Indian rosewood.


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 12:02 PM

The way is was 'splained to me is like this:

To optimize the sound of a guitar's top, it needs to be put under additional tension above and beyond that provided by its construction. On a flat-top guitar, that additional tension is provided by the strings' literally trying to pull the top off the guitar. Instead of lying flat and relaxed, the top is "tightened" by the string tension.

On an archtop guitar with a floating bridge, the additional tension is provided by the downward pressure of the strings on the arched top.

As a general rule, a floating bridge on a flat-top guitar is going to produce a dead sounding top because downward pressure won't activate a flat top unless some ingenious structural modifications are made.


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 05:23 AM

I suppose if you did a gig in Allenton, Derby - it might get nicked if it wasn't glued down.


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: Newport Boy
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 08:46 AM

There's all sorts of 'explanations' for details of construction - but they certainly aren't rules. Almost all the variations can produce a good-sounding guitar in the hands of a skilled builder.

I have an old standard-sized, flat top Italian guitar by Alfredo Albertini, who was better known for his mandolins. As you might expect, it has a tailpiece and a movable bridge. I've strung it with both steel and nylon strings over the years and it produces a bright but mellow sound with either.

Phil


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Subject: RE: why is a guitar bridge glued down?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 08:59 AM

"If you think that the bridge is glued down because the strings pull on it, think again. the string tension would pull the bridge off the top of the guitar long before you tightened the strings to pitch."

The strings definitely pull on my Lowden's bridge - it's pinless and the strings don't go through the top. They're steel strings, and they haven't pulled the bridge off the top of the guitar. It's the glue that keeps it there.

The same is true of other pinless-bridge guitars... Takamines, Flambeaux etc.


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