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Tone difference between Dupont and Dell'Arte bridge?

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  • noodlenotnoodlenot ✭✭✭
    Posts: 388
    well, the beauty of all this is that it´s really your call - if you prefer ebony, well, there really is no way around it: ebony it is! :)

    regarding density. all else being equal, if you increase the mass of the bridge and leave the stiffness roughly the same (let´s assume you can do that) the bridge will be heavier, thus harder to move by the same input of energy (the vibration of the string) - you´ll get less sound from the same picking strength, roughly speaking. but the decrease in output is frequency dependent: higher frequencies will be muted more severely when compared to the lower ones, so the net result will seem a bassier sound: not because you´ve added bass, but because you changed the balance by removing more treble than bass.

    the denser woods do tend to be stiffer, so the described effect is mitigated, as an increase in stiffness will tend to "push the trebles up" in the frequency balance - again, it´s harder to excite the bridge but the effect will be more noticeable on the lower feqs, making the result seem brighter.

    i really don´t want to bother you more with this stuff, but if you´re interested here´s an interesting post by luthier and researcher (and very good teacher) Alan Carruth.

    best,
    miguel.
    Buco
  • Posts: 4,732
    Oh It's not a bother man, I like reading your comments.
    That link has great discussions. I especially liked the wisdom words of one of the guys that said "generally useful conversations are specifically useless". I thought that was very funny but wise...and useful.
    In the end I learned not to discount anything until it's proven otherwise.
    And generally speaking, that I should have a bridge with more mass to it.
    I'm thinking about one way to proceed might be to add a layer of wood putty to my existing bridge.
    It might tell me something and that I can do myself without being dangerous.
    And I'll definitely try an ebony bridge too. That's where you and Heretic helped, I pretty much discounted the use of ebony altogether. Funny thing is that was based on generalized info I gathered here on djangobooks.
    This is a good way to cure GAS as well, doing subtle changes to your instrument for a fresh outlook.
    I've been doing that with picks previously and strings as well, though I'm settled with these two variables for now.
    I'm also looking forward to see if I can talk to Rodrigo Shopis at Django in June and finding out if he would be inclind to make me a custom bridge based on his recommendation and opinion.
    Now that would be super cool.
    Thanks
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    I've made a lot of bridges. I can't say much about wood choices (I've only used Jatoba and Columbian rosewood) but it seems that the weight and stiffness make a critical difference.
    You want warmth and it seems like the lighter the bridge the more sound (altogether) results; both high , low, and volume.
    A heavier bridge seems to emphasize mids and give an overall more compressed sound. So taking weight (dremel, knife, whatever you use) will up to a point give more sound. The lighter bridge when played softly will give more warmth, but will give more dynamics when played hard. If you take to much wood away, you may sacrifice stiffness with the result that the low strings will get muddy, and tone and volume are lost when playing hard.
    If you want to preserve the rigidity while minimizing the lightness in weight of the bridge, you carve (or abrade), until you have the thicknesses adequate to maintain rigidity in all directions but only just so.
    Its easy to lighten any bridge you buy if only by taking material away from above the feet. This involves digging a "cave" above the feet, and is something I've never seen unless I do it myself, but there is a lot of material in the store bought (and luthier) made bridges that adds to the weight but not significantly to the stiffness.
    Be careful to seat any bridge well to your top. A less than premium fit on a really responsive guitar will result in some pretty strange sounds which may lead you to think something more than the bridge is at fault.
    Jatoba (sp?) is softer than Columbian, but I can't really tell the difference because I wandered into a better way of making bridges when I had the money to buy better wood. I'd stolen a bit of left over Jatoba from a job site, whereas the Columbian I bought at a premium.
    The better the wood, the thinner you can take it though, and even your Dupont and whatever other bridges you might get can benefit from this "Jenny Craig" treatment if your careful and thoughtful in taking material from where it won't sacrifice stiffness.
    Buco
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • noodlenotnoodlenot ✭✭✭
    Posts: 388
    it´s not really that hard to make your own bridges, but you do need some tools: i used a block plane, a couple of chisels, a scraper and some sandpaper but a gouge would have been useful. anyway, a couple of hours work at best.

    Jeff, may i ask you what is Colombian rosewood? i never heard about it, could it be Bolivian rosewood (aka pau ferro/morado, Machaerium schleroxylon)? similar in grain pattern to brazilian rosewood, but no smell, a duller brown, less spiderwebbing and very tight pores. If you want to remove mass at the least expense to stiffness, best way would be to remove to the bridge´s width.

    best,
    miguel.
    Buco
  • Posts: 4,732
    Jeff thank you very much for your input, I'm enjoying reading everyone's comments and learning as well.
    Would any of you think filling in the underside of bridge with wood putty to increase mass would make any sense in trying out?
    noodlenot wrote:
    of course, it´s not just the bridge that dictates the sound of the guitar. For instance, if the top´s too heavy a lighter bridge will prove a better solution and help responsiveness, but if the top is made from a very light wood or is too thin a tad heavier bridge could help in getting a more "meaty" sound with better dynamic range (IME).

    Michael H also referred to overexcited top earlier and you mention differences between thin and heavier top.
    Well the fact is that Risto, the luthier, once told me that he used a thin piece of spruce to build the top. That's when I asked him which strings to use .10s or .11s and he replied that because of the top he used, the guitar will have plenty of volume with .10s and that's what he would stick with.
    It might be important to say that the bridge has been shaved down for action issues since guitar was new in '09 quite bit after Chicago winter/summer changes got to it and messed up the neck.
    It came to me with a perfect action of less then 3mm but as the neck kept moving over the next couple of seasons the bridge needed to be shaved down at least three times, maybe four to get the action playable.
    Now I hope it's stable and Geoff did an awesome job with somewhat of a "gut rehab" some 6 months ago: "hot iron" again, plane the neck, replace the frets and then a complete set up.

    So over time the bridge could've lost enough mass to cause high frequencies to be more pronounced. Because I don't remember noticing any excessive brightness in the beginning.
    So getting another bridge with more mass that the one that's on there would compensate properly to get the sound where presumably it was originally.
    noodlenot wrote:
    but then, higher level transients (attack) and shorter decay time could translate into higher volume and "projection"... there are all sorts of permutations and influences between these factors, i think it would be next to impossible to grasp them all. and we all hear things differently.

    cheers,
    miguel.
    Miguel what I'm not sure what you were pointing to, is would lighter or heavier bridge result in: "higher level transients (attack) and shorter decay time could translate into higher volume and "projection"?

    Thanks
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    noodlenot
    Columbian or Colombian was just what it said on the label on the block I chose. It was heavy.
    My first Jatoba bridges were very thin in width and not very rigid. Now I make them wide but reduced in weight more than any other bridge. I have a balance scale only so I can't talk in absolute weights but less than Dupont, Lebreton, and such.

    Buco
    Hell, try anything to get the sound you want. I would think wood putty wouldn't work for a lot of reasons. First being - too soft - won't transmit much and will absorb vibration.
    I'm always trusting the luthier (right or wrong) on the box of the guitar. I have two identical Lebretons. They are both really responsive, fairly warm, and a lot alike in sound. One with a lite bridge I made and one with an ultra lite.
    I can then switch them as the guitars have almost the same string height. The slightly heavier bridge made out of the same "Colombian" I've been using yields less volume, and more harmonics. The light one more volume and openess. I've come to believe that you want a bridge it as light and rigid as you can get. It seems that the high E & B will come through with any bridge (though the volume increases- the lighter the bridge). Its the mids and lows that improve with lightness and rigidity.

    Michael has relatively vast experience playing all these guitars so his advice deserves careful attention. It was his judgement that lead me to Lebreton. I just don't know how thick my tops are or much detail about the build of my guitars. I only know what happens when I build different bridges. Both Lebretons sound great with their Lebreton bridges by the way. I wanted different action and I didn't want to change his bridges. I just put them away. But the pair make a great platform for testing.
    I think volume trumps. If a bridge makes a guitar louder and still balanced, that's the bridge I want. Loudness seems very closely related to openess and dynamics, so volume (on these guitars at least) equals good.
    This generalization holds true for my other guitars as well. I think extra weight in the bridge serves no purpose.
    But I'm not trying to sell any particular brand of dogfood, just sharing what I've come to believe independently. I've been wrong too many times. But for now light and stiff bridges for me. The more string energy I can deliver to the top, the better. The bridge is just the link between string and top, but bridges really make a difference. Even my relatively cheap guitars sound different with small changes to the bridge. The Lebretons sound great with any bridge, just louder and more dynamic with the lite bridges.

    I'm glad you like your Ivanofski (sp?)
    Never tried one. When I lived in Seattle, I could visit Horowitz and play lots of cool guitars. The GAS has mostly passed now, so I don't miss trying the lastest and greatest stuff. And your right about the idea that the guitar you have can sound like several guitars even if your just changes bridges to get the different sound. And a good guitar can be kinda tone shaped just with bridges.
    Buco
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • noodlenotnoodlenot ✭✭✭
    Posts: 388
    Buco wrote:
    Miguel what I'm not sure what you were pointing to, is would lighter or heavier bridge result in: "higher level transients (attack) and shorter decay time could translate into higher volume and "projection"?
    the lighter. generally speaking and dumbing down things quite a bit (the only way i know it :) ), the lighter the bridge (or the bridge/top group) the easier it will be for the strings to excite it (so more volume for the same amount of picking force when compared to an heavier bridge) and (provided it´s stiff enough) more high frequency content, but it will also "reflect" less energy back into the string, so the string will vibrate for less time (no free lunch...) - in this case one could see the lighter bridge as "draining" more energy from the string: more "punch" and less sustain. this kind of sound (aggressive, projecting, dyeing quickly) is the one desirable for flamenco and, i believe, gypsy jazz.
    anyway, i feel like i need to restate this, there are all sorts of interlinked factors at work here (string break angle; bridge mass and design; top density, stiffness, bracing pattern; air volume; etc.) and - in real life - matters can get complicated easily.
    Buco
  • Posts: 4,732
    Jeff,
    as far as volume I think this guitar is plenty loud. Geoff, the guitar tech that did the work recommended by Michael B, said the same.
    Actually it was funny, the way he said it, it was almost his face was implying a dose of disgust as he said "this thing is loud". But although he works on Michael's guitars so he's familiar with gypsy jazz instruments, he himself is a Martin man.
    His Martin is the smoothest, lowest action acoustic guitar I have ever held and played. But try to dig into it the gypsy jazz way, forget it, fret buzz is the killer.
    Partially what made me start thinking about experimenting with bridges is after hearing Alfonso's Holo.
    That guitar has loads of volume and punch but still with a lot of warmth.

    I do like my Ivanovski, I wish he had more presence in States. Risto is a nice person and a true Django devotee. I'd get another guitar from him if I had the opportunity, maybe a d-hole next time.

    Miguel,
    that's a great explanation, you hit the nail on the head when you decided to dumb it down. Makes perfect sense. I believe it wouldn't be that hard to construct a bridge and I have most of the tools and am fairly handy. But when you don't know how to do something it can be as easy as slicing cheese, if you're not shown how to do it you're lost. I use a lot of tools in my work but nothing with wood. Especially getting the curve on top of the bridge I wouldn't know where to start.
    This way I'm still doing my homework so I can communicate better with Geoff and give him general direction of what I wanna do and how to go about it, that was actually his advice.

    Thank you everyone!
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Posts: 4,732
    Does anyone know how do you order a wood for bridge blank big enough for our style guitars?

    When I search for bridge blank wood, the thickest I find is 7/16 or so, seems like for our bridges you'd need about 5/8 or 15mm.

    Thanks
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Did you check what stewmac has
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
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