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Thread: Best practices for a floating bridge

  1. #36
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    One thing about the thick metal bridge damping factor the tests may not show is the movement of the entire bridge
    Agree that the transient movement of the bridge during attack wouldn't show in these decay time measurements.

    As the bridge always returns to its original position, it can be assumed that the bridge movement is resonant as well but presumably at a frequency below the lowest string fundamental. This kind of bridge resonance would show as a frequency modulation (vibrato) of the guitar signal for a fraction of a second. It would steal some of the attack energy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    Agree that the transient movement of the bridge during attack wouldn't show in these decay time measurements.

    As the bridge always returns to its original position, it can be assumed that the bridge movement is resonant as well but presumably at a frequency below the lowest string fundamental. This kind of bridge resonance would show as a frequency modulation (vibrato) of the guitar signal for a fraction of a second. It would steal some of the attack energy.
    Makes sense...and the frequency at which it modulates would be a product of the entire guitar. There may also be other higher frequencies excited within the body and the neck. Seems too complicated to calculate, so just try some guitars and pick those you like the response of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluoroscope 5000 View Post
    ... so just try some guitars and pick those you like the response of.
    Funny how it comes down to the same way it's always been done

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    It's mentioned in the bottom link (which I found fairly comprehensive for my laymans understanding) that "Both instruments had an adjustable bridge without vibrato mechanism."

    I think this could be significant relative to what Flouroscope 5000 indicated regarding momentary reaction in the bridge. But not just momentary in the case of floating bridges. And especially in the case of the lighter framed vintage strat type vibrato.

    I have the bridge on my own strat "decked" as it were. That is, pulled tight enough to the body so that there is no movement on heavy string bends and with the front screws down low. I had to readjust my bridge for my recent vibrato experiment. Fortunately it didn't take long because I have a lot of experience adjusting floating bridges. But on this strat I much prefer the bridge decked and I don't use the vibrato.

    Thank you Helmholtz for taking time to locate references that support the discussion.

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    "In fact when I run into problems working on electronic circuirts, there are so many times that when I finally track it down, the source of the problem is located between my soldering iron and my seat." SoulFetish

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    It's mentioned in the bottom link (which I found fairly comprehensive for my laymans understanding) that "Both instruments had an adjustable bridge without vibrato mechanism."
    Yes, Fleischer's main focus is on neck resonances/dead spots which appear to be strongest sustain killers in typical solidbodies. It makes sense to treat different potential influences separately.

    My main point above was that with solid bodies string vibrations typically do not penetrate the bridge and reach the body.

    Zollner also analyzed e.g. an American Standard Strat with a floating 2-point bridge. He essentially found additional string damping at 3 discrete frequencies between 2 kHz and around 7 kHz. He could relate them to longitudinal/extensional string wave resonances. Such longitudinal string vibrations will involve movement of the bridge as a whole and certainly are influenced by the bridge-system resonance/compliance.
    As in this case the bridge moves a whole and does not vibrate in itself, Zollner doesn't call it bridge resonance.


    There may also be other higher frequencies excited within the body and the neck.
    Yes, but higher frequency bridge-guitar-system resonances within the guitar's signal spectrum that couple to normal transversal string vibration will show in the decay time/frequency plot. If they don't show they don't influence sustain.


    I have not yet seen separate (transient) analyses of string attack induced phenomena with different bridges/mounting types. Would be most interesting as I think that attack response is very important with musical instruments. And I would love to be able to relate my extensive experimenting with different bridges, saddles, blocks, springs, string angle, tilt angle etc. to real measurement.

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  7. #42
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    And especially in the case of the lighter framed vintage strat type vibrato.
    Are you sure that a vintage strat vibrato with the large steel block is substantially lighter than a Floyd Rose? Vintage type weighs 390g/13.8oz without springs and mounting hardware.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    Are you sure that a vintage strat vibrato with the large steel block is substantially lighter than a Floyd Rose? Vintage type weighs 390g/13.8oz without springs and mounting hardware.
    Well it may be. The Floyd also uses a block, but as I recall the block doesn't have as much mass as the vintage Fender type. On that note, not all vintage "style" bridges have the heavy block either. The Floyd is a pretty substantial hunk of metal. Quality, machined steel in the best models. I'll see if I can determine an average weight for such bridges with a little searching and re post.

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    Well I'm finding vaguely definitive sources that put such bridges between 1.25 and 1.5 POUNDS!!! (567 to 680 grams) With a titanium version indicated as being "amazingly light" at only 14 ounces (397 grams). For the standard Floyd Rose Amazon indicates the shipping weight as 1.5lbs. for the bridge and 1.65lbs. for the bridge with the nut.

    And, of course, they make heavier "sustain" blocks too if you wanted to add another three ounces

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    "In fact when I run into problems working on electronic circuirts, there are so many times that when I finally track it down, the source of the problem is located between my soldering iron and my seat." SoulFetish

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    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    For the standard Floyd Rose Amazon indicates the shipping weight as 1.5lbs. for the bridge
    The complete shipping weight of a Fender Vintage vibrato (including springs, clamp and mounting screws) is 1.4lbs. Not much difference here.

    Anyway I don't like Floyd Roses, probably because of the spongy attack and somewhat rubbery feel.

    With 2 of my strats the vintage type vibrato is decked/blocked (mainly for 2-note bends and to allow finishing a song in tune if a string breaks) but I don't notice a difference in sustain and attack compared to the floating ones.


    I preferably use Fender Vintage (best "sounding", brightest saddles IMO), but also Callaham and Gotoh.

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    I'd think the thin bent Steel saddles would absorb more upper-mids via resonance than thick modern solid saddles. I also suspect more loss of low end compared to thicker saddles, although I don't know how that would be -- some YT comparisons seem to show thinner saddles reduce low end punch. The thicker bent Callahan saddles in particular seem to yield more punch. Mick from TPS went through that with a few different saddles on a Strat, ultimately deciding on the thicker Callahan's, which do admittedly sound slightly more brittle as well.

    It could just be that more low end sounds like less high end when driving a guitar amp. It's like how lowering a guitar pickup can sound like the relative high end output drops, when it's really just the loss of relative note fundamentals, and that the resulting weaker and less-exaggerated attack reduces the higher harmonic generation in the amp stages.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluoroscope 5000 View Post
    I'd think the thin bent Steel saddles would absorb more upper-mids via resonance than thick modern solid saddles. I also suspect more loss of low end compared to thicker saddles, although I don't know how that would be -- some YT comparisons seem to show thinner saddles reduce low end punch. The thicker bent Callahan saddles in particular seem to yield more punch. Mick from TPS went through that with a few different saddles on a Strat, ultimately deciding on the thicker Callahan's, which do admittedly sound slightly more brittle as well.

    It could just be that more low end sounds like less high end when driving a guitar amp. It's like how lowering a guitar pickup can sound like the relative high end output drops, when it's really just the loss of relative note fundamentals, and that the resulting weaker and less-exaggerated attack reduces the higher harmonic generation in the amp stages.
    I don't take "gear page" type discussions too seriously. Misconceptions and low tech interpretations abound. And terms like "more brittle" and "low end punch" are entirely subjective and undefined. This combined with the FACT that people tend to either love what they have or what they just bought, often attributing assets to it that aren't really there, has put me off of offering any consideration to un testable web commentary regarding tone. Sure, it can be said that people don't say things for no reason. But when such a high percentage of people only have reasons like ego and covetous it taints any ability to influence reality for logical minds.

    JM2C on that. And I honestly don't intend any offence by it.

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    "In fact when I run into problems working on electronic circuirts, there are so many times that when I finally track it down, the source of the problem is located between my soldering iron and my seat." SoulFetish

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    I'd think the thin bent Steel saddles would absorb more upper-mids via resonance than modern solid saddles. I also suspect more loss of low end compared to thicker saddles
    Saddles don't change "bass" (low frequency fundamental frequency) response.

    In 2005 I bought 3 complete Callaham vibrato bridges + some extra saddles and hardware. I noticed that the saddles and the baseplate measured and looked identical (including tool marks) to Gotoh parts. Block was different, though.

    The Callaham saddles are thinner than my original 1962 and 1969 strat saddles. BTW, the '62 saddles are hardened, the '69 saddles are soft.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    BTW, the '62 saddles are hardened, the '69 saddles are soft.
    I'm often amazed at the significant tidbits of knowledge you have regarding vintage gear. Especially how you connect these obscure pieces of information and how they relate to tonality. My thoughts on this latest piece of information:

    1) Who was considering the austenitic properties of the saddles when these "assembly line" guitars were conceived?

    2) Where was this information recorded that YOU now have access to it? (And how come I never heard of it before now?)

    3) How do you remember all these things so you can reference them later?

    4) Where do I get stamped type hardened saddles (short of buying an actual vintage bridge) so I can try them out and see if I hear a difference. Maybe I have to make them

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    "In fact when I run into problems working on electronic circuirts, there are so many times that when I finally track it down, the source of the problem is located between my soldering iron and my seat." SoulFetish

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    2) Where was this information recorded that YOU now have access to it? (And how come I never heard of it before now?)
    Always experimenting. I prefer to rely on my own observations. With saddles I try a small file and/or see how easy they bend, carefully using a vise. Or compare indents from an automatic center punch. With hardened steel a file has no chance.

    3) How do you remember all these things so you can reference them later?
    No problem with things I am interested in, like everything that relates to guitars, wood, tube amps etc.. But I often take/took down notes stored in big folders.

    4) Where do I get stamped type hardened saddles (short of buying an actual vintage bridge) so I can try them out and see if I hear a difference.
    Fender Vintage Replacement parts.


    2) Where was this information recorded that YOU now have access to it?
    In my memory/folders

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  16. #51
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Well, with some searching I couldn't find any stamped saddles that were expressly indicated as heat treated. And I did find corroboration for your tests of the earlier saddles done by others. I also read one forum thread where it was speculated that the early sadles weren't heat treated, but work hardened. Work hardening metals is something that luthiers in the know have been doing to frets for a long time by radiusing them, straightening them and re radiusing them a couple of times before installation. But from my own personal experience with austenitic steels I would say that your file test indicates actual hardened steel for the earlier saddles. Callaham is believed to offer heat treated saddles by some posts I read, but they don't. On their site they make a point of mentioning that their bridge pivot screws are heat treated. If their saddles were too they would surely mention it, but they don't. Other aftermarket manufacturers say things like "Made with the same methods used for the original saddles" but that's all. So...

    No heat treated saddles I'm afraid.

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    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    No heat treated saddles I'm afraid.
    ???

    From literature I know about steel hardening methods. Even did a vacation job in spring hardening when at school.
    I assume the harder '62 saddles and the Fender Vintage Replacement saddles are case hardened, at least they test the same. Callaham saddles are certainly not case hardened but they test as harder than the '69 saddles.
    Actually I care about results, not manufacturing methods. And I don't trust promotion/marketing statements and forums' opinions without verifiable evidence.

    And I am not saying harder is better.

    Certainly also tightly fitting screws are important.

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    Case hardened parts have a very hard skin and usually test harder than a regular heat treated steel. Thin parts are usually more economical to make from a heat treatable steel rather than to use a low-carbon steel and then case harden them. Case hardening will also crack off a sheet metal part if its bent and it can also render a thin part very brittle. I've never sectioned a Strat saddle and done a comparative hardness test on the surface compared to the core, so I can't say either way, though even if oil quenched a case hardened part will not bite with a file and all the genuine Strat saddles (both vintage and modern) I have do bite so I'm disinclined to believe they're case hardened.

    If they were case hardened then the threads would need to be cut first. Once hardened the treads would be very brittle and easily prone to damage, though when I'm case hardening parts I mask off areas to remain soft but this seems to be an unlikely process to use in this case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    And I am not saying harder is better.
    Of course. And I'm not either. I'm just saying I wanted to try them for myself.

    In fact, in my search I did see some brass saddles that are machined into the same profile as the stamped and bent saddles. Tone not withstanding, they looked uber cool Expensive though so I think I'll live without them.

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    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    ... oil quenched a case hardened part will not bite with a file and all the genuine Strat saddles (both vintage and modern) I have do bite...
    My '62 saddles as well as the contemporary Fender Vintage Replacement saddles do not "bite" at all (I thought I was clear on that). The latter changed over the years (I have samples dating back to the early 80s) and I am anxious to not generalize my results.

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    I'm just saying I wanted to try them for myself.
    Then try the Fender Vintage parts.

    BTW, over the decades I tried and collected many different makes including "Pure Vintage" and KTS titanium saddles. The most annoying problem I find with most of the aftermarket saddles (including Callaham and Gotoh, excluding Fender and Allparts) is that they are just a bit to wide, forcing me to grind them down. In this process hardness shows as well.
    (Brass is generally softer than steel.)

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    It seems I may have tried them already then. And I recall being vexed by the width of other saddles, but not for the same reasons as you I think. I have an American Standard size strat and I'm using a MIM size strat bridge. I didn't know about the difference in string spacing between the two at first. I consider it a happy accident because I really don't like having my E strings so tight to the edge of the fingerboard as many American Standard spaced bridges do. So I have an extra 20th of an inch or so on either side at my neck heel and I like it.

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    It seems I may have tried them already then.
    If you still have them, you might try the file test.

    ...a MIM size strat bridge
    May not really matter here, but MIM bridges and saddles have just above/close to vintage string spacings, but I don't like the cast zinc blocks. Saddles are not hardened.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    My '62 saddles as well as the contemporary Fender Vintage Replacement saddles do not "bite" at all (I thought I was clear on that).
    Not clear to me - you didn't mention your test method, you just said they test the same, but I'm not clear in what context "the same" means - the same as each other, or the same as a verified case hardened part. I no longer have access to a hardness tester, otherwise I could have given a figure for the saddles I have for you to compare with the ones in your possession.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    If you still have them, you might try the file test.
    I "think" I may have given that bridge to someone that was building a guitar about ten years ago. Otherwise it's in a box under other boxes in a closet but I'm not even sure about that. In other words, it's a project for another time

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    May not really matter here, but MIM bridges and saddles have just above/close to vintage string spacings, but I don't like the cast zinc blocks. Saddles are not hardened.
    EDIT: It turns out that Callaham is offering the MIM width stamped saddles I guess I'll have to get some.

    I'm not exited about the cast zinc blocks either. But it beats having the E strings waggle off the fretboard when I play.

    I'm not the only one to have this trouble either.

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    Last edited by Chuck H; 11-17-2019 at 11:24 PM.
    "In fact when I run into problems working on electronic circuirts, there are so many times that when I finally track it down, the source of the problem is located between my soldering iron and my seat." SoulFetish

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    I'm not the only one to have this trouble either.
    This is exactly why many aftermarket saddles need to be ground to fit vintage strat fretboards.

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    My strat is made of Warmoth parts that are supposed to be tolerance matched to the Fender specs. So it surprised me when I had the problem with the strings being too close to the edges.

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    "In fact when I run into problems working on electronic circuirts, there are so many times that when I finally track it down, the source of the problem is located between my soldering iron and my seat." SoulFetish

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Bailey View Post
    Not clear to me - you didn't mention your test method, you just said they test the same, but I'm not clear in what context "the same" means - the same as each other, or the same as a verified case hardened part. I no longer have access to a hardness tester, otherwise I could have given a figure for the saddles I have for you to compare with the ones in your possession.
    Well, it was you who introduced the term file "bite". In posts 50/55 I meant to say that a sharp file has no effect on my '62 and Fender Vintage saddles other than dulling the file - completely different from all other saddles (several dozens) I tested.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    Well, it was you who introduced the term file "bite". In posts 50/55 I meant to say that a sharp file has no effect on my '62 and Fender Vintage saddles other than dulling the file - completely different from all other saddles (several dozens) I tested.
    And that result is consistent with how amateur knife makers (of which I am one) test for hardness in heat treated blades. You can buy kits of small files of varying hardness. The file that's actually harder than your blade will bite but the softer ones don't.

    I was aware that case hardening can create a very hard surface. In fact that's been a problem with a lot of manufactured goods that use to be through hardened and I've had no end of trouble with some new parts (automotive, for my paint sprayer, power tool bearings and even files) not holding up nearly as well as when such things were commonly through hardened.

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    So it surprised me when I had the problem with the strings being too close to the edges.
    Oh boy, so many strange fractional measures. As far as I know (and measured) original vintage strat string spacing (55.6mm) never changed (unfortunately the neck/fretboard widths did). Means that the width of a single saddle must be lower than 11.1mm. Original saddles were typically 11.0 mm (0.433").

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    I consider "brittle" as how much 3~5kHz. Low end punch would be how much low end is in the attack.

    TPS = "That Pedal Show" on YT. The results I mentioned in comparing the Callahan's to some aged thinner saddles Mick demoed is from my own quickly switched A/B listening. The Callahan's were indeed bigger. It could just be that they produced less high end, and so just sounded like more low end through the amp? However, It is possible that thicker saddles would produce more low end punch if you consider that more mass at the front of the bridge, where it attaches to the body, reduces the amount of attack absorbed by the body. The mass behind where the saddle posts sit may not have much affect on that at all, acting as more of a fulcrum point for any vertical movement at the front of the bridge which might transfer to the very thin body area under the pickups.

    I think the difference in Mick's case was that the old saddles were the wrong width, which may have allowed some sideways movement between them to absorb more attack. I love TPS, but I do get frustrated by how they interpret the sounds of things, and the lack of some fundamental understanding of guitar circuity, but it is entertaining none the less. They are nice guys and do some great jamming and fun joking around.

    I've heard the same low end punch affect in YT comparisons with thicker Tele and Les Paul saddles, and when comparing Brass or Steel with Ti or Aluminum. Maybe it's more low-mids than bass? Hard to tell when judging sound within ~1/10 second or what not. I suspect more mass simply reduces attack absorption by the body, but I wouldn't know how to conduct a proper test for that, given all the variables. I also imagine it would be more audible when picking closer to the bridge due to more pressure compared to at the fret. Say, what was the topic again?

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