Saddles Parallel to Centerline, or Colinear with Strings?

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by Gizmo Skatoon, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. Gizmo Skatoon

    Gizmo Skatoon SS.org Regular

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    If the strings are not parallel (spaced wider at the bridge than nut), should the saddles fan out in this way too?

    All the bridges I've seen have the saddles parallel to the centerline of the neck, but this seems like it would create a weird sideways breakangle on the saddles.

    Any thoughts?
     
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  2. Killemall1983

    Killemall1983 SS.org Regular

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    Never seen a guitar with a problem due to this. All guitars are made with it perpendicular to the centerline.
     
  3. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive SS.org Regular

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    I think it is a small enough difference that it's a negligible difference.

    For fender style saddles with the screw in the back, the saddles might pull on line with the strings.

    Good idea to do for individual string saddles though.
     
  4. odibrom

    odibrom SS.org Regular

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    A guitar saddle has a top/contact surface type that allows for easy, no bending, direction and orientation change within the string's path. It is a double curved surface, such as Torus (its inside at least, most likely in this situation) or an Hyperbolic Paraboloid... or so it should be.

    With individual saddle/bridge systems, one can align them with the strings without any problem whatsoever. However, for full system bridge, it is way more convenient to have saddles parallel to each other (and to the necks axis) due to production costs.

    In the end, IMO, there is no gain in doing saddles aligned to strings when counting the extra labor hours that come from that, specially if we're to set/build/design a full bridge this way. The difference between this "new system" and the traditional is minimal if at all felt by the player.
     
  5. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Man, this is a superb question. I've never made a bridge. Someone here who has will, I hope, come back with a definitive answer.

    In the mean time, from my observations, @odibrom is correct: if there is an option to make the string saddles orient such that their intonation adjustment moves them in line with the string, this is preferred, but to save costs on most bridge assemblies, the saddles are kept parallel to each other in order to simplify the design, and it seems to pose no measurable difference in operation.
     
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  6. odibrom

    odibrom SS.org Regular

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    The thing that really set these two systems apart is the following:
    • on the traditional (parallel saddles, to each others), when one adjusts the intonation, string spacing is altered at the bridge.
    • on the new one (aligned saddles, to strings), when one adjusts the intonation, string spacing is not altered at the bridge.
    This is a simple math/geometry problem with triangles. The changes made to the string spacing with the traditional system take effect on the entire scale length per string and its surroundings. It will be a pretty small amount, but on this matter, it may influence the predictability of one's finger movements and where the next string should appear. I believe every one here has already experienced trying to fret one string and the finger bypassed it or didn't quite get to it, delivering a muted sound. This may be a game changer... or not.
     
  7. Gizmo Skatoon

    Gizmo Skatoon SS.org Regular

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    Wow much larger response than I was expecting. You guys are awesome.

    You're definitely right, production/design costs make this new system not preferred for mass production. However, my situation is such that I'm designing a guitar from the ground up, and being one off, I don't really care for a slight increase in input cost.

    I'm using a single saddle design, specifically the hipshot solo, so I thought if the difference wasn't negligible I would try it. I would think the benefits are a) consistent string spacing, b) improved tuning stability, c) more precise intonation (at least easier to perform), and d) less string breakage.

    One issue I've come across for this new system is there is a feedback loop in creating the design. To know what angle the strings (and therefore saddles) are at, I must know the string spacing at the bridge, but to know the string spacing at the bridge, I must know the angle of the saddles (since at an extreme enough angle and close enough spacing the saddles would overlap). A bit of a paradox.

    Here are a few pictures of my design so far. Any criticism on this is also welcome.
    Birds eye.PNG
    Bevel.PNG
     
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  8. odibrom

    odibrom SS.org Regular

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    I've drawn a few ff guitars in CAD just for the fun of it, though never actually build one. The way I did it was with a single scale guitar design at the base:
    1. Calculate the average scale of your fanned fret and draw a new single scale fretboard with strings on it with the desired spacing at the nut and at the bridge.
    2. Align this "new design" with the perpendicular fret of the ff fretboard, minding obviously the same fret number and the fretboard with.
    3. Extend / cut the drawn strings of the "new designed" fretboard to match the ff ends.
    4. Done.
    The rest is peanuts, right?

    Oh, I like the design, but feel that the bevel is a bit too extreme, maybe half on the front, half on the back like the Ibanez Saber guitars...
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  9. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    The angle of strings relative to the centreline is so small all 4 'advantages' would be completely insignificant. But also no harm in doing so.
     
  10. odibrom

    odibrom SS.org Regular

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    Yes they are, and so is a negligible difference of .5mm in string action, however we all fight for it, don't we? At the nut, the diference is really insignificant, but at the higher frets were everybody+1 likes to show themselves of is where this may be a game changer for consistent string spacing. Eventually (a bit of speculating here, no actual calc have been done), at the 24th fret string spacing my vary more than 1mm, which is enough for testing if this works or betters a guitar's design... right?
     
  11. Gizmo Skatoon

    Gizmo Skatoon SS.org Regular

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    Ah yes that's essentially how I did the multiscale. Calculated intonation points on the longest scale, created an intersection point between straight fret and shortest scale, then worked backwards from that intonation point on the shortest scale to the nut. The rest is connect the dots.

    As for the bevel, thank you for the criticism, I'll look into those ibanezes. The bevel is the way it is because the body is wedge shaped. I did this so when the back of the guitar is flush to your body, the neck is tipped forward, creating a neutral wrist angle for your fretting hand. The bevel then is to allow access to the strings.

    I'd love more criticism on the design.

    As for the bridge alignment, it seems pretty obvious that this fanned bridge style would be more optimal, but seems like there is a bit of discussion on whether it's negligible.
     
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  12. Winspear

    Winspear EtherealEntity Vendor

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    It's an incredibly small angle. I've been designing my guitars/bridges like this but it's really not necessary at all. It does mean you are changing the spacing slightly when altering the intonation, but it's microscopic.
    You are right the front of the saddles end up closer together, so pay attention to that with the Hipshot solos, but having done it myself with that exact bridge I can say they wont overlap :) I suggest looking at Fretfind2D if you haven't tried it before.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2017
  13. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive SS.org Regular

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    Should be thinking about cutting nut slots colinear with the strings as well.
     
  14. odibrom

    odibrom SS.org Regular

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    ... and making the tuners aligned also with the strings for that matter...

    However, I don't think that the nut will interfere (playing wise) as this bridge positioning does, which is already minimal
     
  15. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive SS.org Regular

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    If the goal is to not have the strings break across the bridge/nut at an angle horizontally, then the nut has just as much angle as the bride.
     
  16. Lorcan Ward

    Lorcan Ward 7slinger Contributor

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    Good questions and observation. I think the result would be negligible but it would be there. I saw on Skervesen's FB post that they align the saddles according to the customers string gauges so the string spacing is exact across the board.
     
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  17. odibrom

    odibrom SS.org Regular

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    In guitar I don't find this much questionable, but in basses, there are those who prefer the spacing measured from the string's center/axis and others who prefer it measured on the space between the strings...
     
  18. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive SS.org Regular

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    That's pretty common on nuts and TOM bridges (because you can cut the bridge slots yourself). You cut the slots so that the space between the EDGE of each string is the same, rather than the center. Probably personal preference as to whether that's better.
     
  19. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

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    From my point of view, aligning single bridges at an angle is a little over the top. On a proper bridge, the string will sit in a groove so it doesn't move anywhere. Over the an adjustment range of 10mm the theoretical ideal line only moves by 0.5mm (on the outer two strings). That's assuming a 35mm/53mm spacing, even less on a Gibson of course.
     
  20. Gizmo Skatoon

    Gizmo Skatoon SS.org Regular

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    You guys are on the money. Indeed I do cut nut slots colinear with the strings, and have the tuning pegs tangent to the strings. You have to remember when you wind a string through the tuner, the string doesn't go to the center of the peg, but rather tangent to it's circumference. Downside is it forces you into a triangular shape for your headstock.

    I've also done the spacing "edge to edge" as I like to call it. I think this is superior in all ways, because you don't have to compensate for the variability of string gauge with your playing. This especially valuable in ERGs, because the string diameters diverge so greatly. A functional center to center distance on the higher strings, at an extreme, would result in the thicker strings contacting each other, rendering them useless. Problems would occur sooner because strings are displaced when they vibrate. I like to play fingerstyle, so this is a really important feature for me.

    Almost everyone seems to think making the saddles colinear with the strings is over the top. Because of the feedback loop I described earlier, the only way to do it while creating a precise tolerance stack is to throw darts at the map, re-tolerancing each time, until the desired result is achieved. This is a lot of trial and error work, but if it made a noticeable difference I would do it.
     
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