Saddles Parallel to Centerline, or Colinear with Strings?

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

  1. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    GREAT question, and I've never heard anyone ask, or wondered it myself. I would think this would become significant for jazz bass ERBs, where the string spacing is particularly tight at the nut. But I think it's cool that you're wondering it at all (and I love the ensuing discussion).
     
  2. odibrom

    odibrom SS.org Regular

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    Haven't I answered this "loop thing" problem previously?

     
  3. Gizmo Skatoon

    Gizmo Skatoon SS.org Regular

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    The problem with this is you've assumed bridge spacing in step 1. This is what I mean by feedback loop. It is fundamentally the step you need to take in iterating, just takes a few more cycles. It was quite tedious to figure out by hand, but was actually not difficult at all to do with assistance of CAD.

    I've come to the conclusion that anything less than colinear with the strings is a compromise. Consider how little a string needs to be displaced in the nut to destroy your tuning stability, or how picking up a guitar with slightly different string spacing throws you off. I am not a big company that can make a fortune by saving pennies on parts, so I'm doing things the right way.

    Thank you guys for all the help. Meditating on this, and hearing the opinions of people wiser than I, was immensely helpful. Thank you. Let me know if any of you have questions about how to get this done.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
  4. odibrom

    odibrom SS.org Regular

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    @Gizmo Skatoon:

    When designing a guitar, the first definitions are scale length (singular or multi), number of strings, string spacing at nut and at bridge, simply because THIS IS THE GUITAR, everything else is "accessory" (body shape, bridge type, tuners, woods, pickups, controls, construction, finishing...) and is dependent on these settings. A guitar IS its strings, without them, it is just a sculpture.

    For a multiscale guitar, one can't simply measure the string spacing at the nut or at the bridge because these are oblique to the center axis and since strings aren't parallel to each others, one won't find a constant result. So the string measurement MUST be done perpendicular to the guitar axis. Using the average scale length is only one possibility, eventually, one should use the shortest scale length as a reference because of the individual bridge placements.

    Again, decide on what you want as a string spacing at the nut and at the bridge. This is a DESIGN/CONCEPT DEFINITION, not something to be calculated. Single scale guitars do not require anything else on this matter. Multiscale guitars do require some extra geometric calculation, so one has to draw how one wants the strings to be and that is achieved with the help of a single scale design with all the specs. This single scale Design SHOULD be within the specs of the multiscale. I suggested the average scale because it looks logical to me (this is a subjective point), but one can use the shortest, the longest or any other scale length within the desired range.

    What will happen when using the same string spacing values at nut and at the bridge (nut different than bridge, obviously):
    • Shortest scale length as a string template will give a shorter spacing at the nut, but a larger one at the bridge.
    • Longest scale length as a string template will give a shorter spacing at the bridge, but a larger at the nut.
    • Average scale length as a string template will deliver a balanced result between the previous 2.
    I suggest you to draw these different possibilities as a test, since you have access to CAD software, it will take you 1hour top (hopping you are experienced with CAD tools).

    Again, draw a single scale template for the strings within the previous parameters, overlay it with the multiscale design, aligning it properlly and then extend/cut the strings to the designed limit lines of nut and bridge.

    Again, I have NEVER build any multiscale guitar, but I like to draw them until they look functional. This is how I do the design until the result looks correct. If you or anyone else have a different opinion, please feel free to share, I'm here to learn. As I see this, there is no loop.
     
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  5. Gizmo Skatoon

    Gizmo Skatoon SS.org Regular

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    damn idk how to tag people in posts. But yeah you're bang on. Scale length and spacing are some of a few level 1 absolutely fundamental aspects of a guitar. I probably am not describing the feedback loop thing correctly. All I was trying to convey is that changing the angle of the saddles changes the spacing of the bridge. Take from that what you will.

    And I don't think average scale will do. You need to use the shortest scale because the saddles of the two shortest scales are closer to the nut than any other pair, and therefore closest together. So the minimum string spacing at the bridge is defined by the shortest scale. Hopefully I'm conveying that clearly.
     
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  6. odibrom

    odibrom SS.org Regular

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    To tag someone wright "@"+"username", example: @Gizmo Skatoon

    Yes you are speaking/wrighting clearly. Average or longest scales for this will work on scenarios with wide string spacing at the bridge, bigger than the saddle's width. If the intended string spacing at the bridge is equal to the saddle's width, then the shortest scale length should be used for the string template.

    Nevertheless, after "calculating" the "bridge position" for each string, one can then opt to align the individual bridges with the strings or parallel to each other. IMO, that is the way I'd do it, so, again, through this method there is no loop whatsoever... right?

    ... and as I see it, at the drawing board, the saddle angle does not change the string spacing, intonating the string to proper set up does so if the saddles are parallel to each other, not if saddles are aligned with its string, as previously agreed... or so I think...
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
  7. odibrom

    odibrom SS.org Regular

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    ... please apologize for my writing mistakes... damn, some are so obvious... :wallbash::wallbash::wallbash::wallbash:, why can't we edit the topics after some time? How much time is it anyway?

    Just to finish/reinforce the previous subject, when one is designing a regular guitar (single scale length) the bridge choice is made at the start (trem, tom, etc...), along with the scale length and number of strings, and that dictates immediately the string spacing at the bridge and the string template design...
     
  8. Gizmo Skatoon

    Gizmo Skatoon SS.org Regular

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    @odibrom thanks man! And I just realized why you can't see the feedback loop. Sorry man I totally forgot to point something out. The front mounting screw for the hipshot solo (bridge I'm using) isn't at the very front of the mounting plate. So when you angle the saddles, they pivot around the mounting screw, and the very front of them will self intersect. That way when you change the angle, you have to space them out farther so they don't overlap. Idk why I didn't mention this earlier.

    And yeah dude you're totally right. I hadn't considered the possibility that you might have a spacing much bigger than the saddle. I suppose that's typical with basses. I'm trying to get the minimum possible string spacing, that's why all these things "have" to be the case for me.

    The colinear method is also really valuable to me for the reason @Hollowway mentioned, I have a relatively tight nut spacing, to make this ERG easier to handle. Makes all of these factors everyone's been discussing amplified in importance for me.

    Do you have any other features you wish guitars had? You're pretty wise on the topic, so maybe I can work on making some of your ideas happen.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
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  9. odibrom

    odibrom SS.org Regular

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    I think I'm starting to see where you're at at the looping thing... hey, trial and error thing? lol... But yeah, when selecting a bridge, one has to do calculations with its dimentions in mind... or one creates a new bridge...!

    About my specs on a multiscale guitar, well, they aren't that much special, 2 passive hums, not slanted but slightly angled for easy swapping (more options), piezos (that's where the thing blows, got to go with Graphtech Saddles and compatible bridge baseplates) and the sorts. Design wise it would be something similar to an slightly off set super strat. My bigger doubts are on scale range and no more than 8 strings due to my relatively small hands. Wood wise, I'd go with recovered wood or non exotic ones. I wouldn't even go with super figured tops. Natural finish or some weird painting by me or my wife. I'd try to get it with the lowest action possible and eventually a zero fret (or a brass? nut) for open string clear tones... locking tuners... Probably a neck through or a bolt on for convenience and that's about it. The wiring would be a crazy one, but that's another subject...

    Now would you like to see my drawings on these?
     
  10. Gizmo Skatoon

    Gizmo Skatoon SS.org Regular

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    Yeah man I would love to see the drawings! What kind of wiring would you want? I've got a blower switch and independent coil taps prepared for this guitar.
     
  11. odibrom

    odibrom SS.org Regular

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    @Gizmo Skatoon

    For the wiring, I'd go with a 4 way tele switch:
    • Neck,
    • Neck+Bridge parallel mix
    • Neck+Bridge serial mix
    • Bridge
    Then I'd manage the hums coils with either a 4 way rotary switch (for North, South, Parallel and Serial connections within each hum) or 2 mini ON/ON switches (per pickup) to emulate SeymourDuncan's Tripleshot rings. I'd eventually add phase switches for EACH coil. As for pots, there would be a mag volume, tone and piezo volume. There would also be a mag/mix/piezo ON/ON/ON miniswitch... It will be an airliner cockpit kind of control layout.

    With this arrangement, I get almost all coil combos possible. I have already tried some of the possibilities in my heavily modded RG8 and the tones are awesome to play with, truly unique.

    ...and well, enough with words, my current small body 8 stringer multiscale design (hasn't been edited since 2015). Perpendicular fret at 12th (not decided yet on this), 27" to 25.5" measured at the string (not parallel to necks axis):
    [​IMG]
     
  12. odibrom

    odibrom SS.org Regular

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    @Gizmo Skatoon and everyone else interested in this chalange

    I figured out how to rigorously solve the problem without having to go the trial and error route. It is similar to the following geometric exercise:
    • Consider 2 circumferences with different radius that do not touch each other or are intersecting each other.
    • Consider the point "A" outside of both circumferences at a random distance.
    • Rotating one of the circumferences with rotation center in "A", make the circumferences perfectly tangent to each other.
    If one can figure this problem, one can solve the "loop" @Gizmo Skatoon wrote about. Obviously, this exercise is just part of the solution, but it is the most important part of it. The rest is achieved with and after this first result, then, an overall adjustment may be needed, but not regarding string spacing.

    Have fun!...
     

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