Love the plain wrap bridge, but...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by CitizenCain, Feb 10, 2008.


  1. CitizenCain

    CitizenCain Member

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    I'm a big believer in the "less is more" approach to wrap bridges. I think one of the things that gives them their defining tone is the total lack of moving parts. I've got four guitars with a plain wrap bridge, and one with a Schaller 455. Give me a plain bar any day!

    However, I seem to have a problem that recurs on my wrap guitars. The high E string likes to go "sitar" on me a few days after being changed. You'll know what that is if you've ever had that problem. An irritating buzz that makes the string sound all pingy and lose a lot of its body and tone.

    I believe I've traced it down to a lack of break angle on most wrap bridge tops. They seem to have a very rounded top and the string can easily vibrate next to where it breaks over the top of the bridge. I've experienced this on a stock Gibson non-aluminum bridge ('99 Oxblood LP), Gotoh aluminum and Faber aluminum.

    My SG Jr has a lighting bar bridge, no problem with that guitar, as well as a cheap GFS bridge on a Epi LP Jr that has a lightening bar with notches cast into it. I've seen pics of the Pigtail bridge and it has a nicely defined ridge across the top of the bridge. I think that is probably the ultimate. I've heard that Tonepros has something called the Invisi-Fulcrum or something like that. Is it essentially the same thing as the Pigtail, a nice "bump" across the top?

    Long way around to get to my questions...does anyone else have that sitaring problem? If so, is it with a Pigtail bridge? I'm this close to buying one to find out, but the cost and tales of long waits make me ask for firsthand experiences before going that route. Is the Tonepros bridge similar? Anyone having a sitar problem using one of those bridges?

    Thanks for any info!!!
     
  2. ultra

    ultra Member

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    My Pigtail wrapover is very cool with no sitar effect at all (on my 2003 Oxblood)

    But check out some new wrapovers, two of which are intonated correctly, here

    http://www.cvguitars.com/parts/index.html

    ultra
     
  3. ultra

    ultra Member

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    CC,

    I didn't notice that you had tried Faber. Sorry. I think the Faber compensated would be good for the SGjnr . I'm waiting to try one on my Jnr when it comes back from the shop.

    Probably Pigtail would be fine and i don't think there will be a problem with supply.
     
  4. CitizenCain

    CitizenCain Member

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    Yep, I tried the Faber intonated wrap bridge, the first design not the new one. I thought it was going to address this issue, but if you look closely at this pic where it's mounted on the guitar, http://www.cvguitars.com/images/TPWC-2-lg.jpg, you can see that the high E string actually breaks over the top of the bridge before it hits the cutaway part. You can see a little air under the string after it leaves the bridge. Same with the D string. The intonation cuts serve no purpose here towards either intonation or providing a clean release point for the string.

    See how the G string leaves the bridge right at the edge of the intonation cut? That's what I was looking for for all the strings. That would provide a good clean break for the string, no buzzing possible. I gave that feedback to the guy I emailed with from CV Guitars. I suggested simply moving the machining program towards the back of the bridge a couple of mm so all the intonation ledges occurred prior to the top of the hump. He said he'd pass that feedback along to Faber, but I doubt it happened.
     
  5. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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  6. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    I don't know anything about this company but this looks like machining an existing bridge rather than casting or machining an entirely new contour. They need to start with a ramp shaped bridge blank, high point being on the front edge, then machine the cutaways.
     
  7. 57special

    57special Member

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    I've used, and still use, Pigtail and Gotoh (when on a budget) wrap bridges. The Pigtail has a sharper ridge, but the Gotoh's isn't bad. I've found the culprit in some of the 'sitar" sounds to be the return wrapping on the string. Some batches have the string returning further back from the ball end, which causes the string to sit up, reducing the string angle.
    Anyway the Pigtail is very expensive, but very good.
     
  8. mockoman

    mockoman Member

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    CitizenCain,yup,I've been there.
    The stock wrap TP on my Historic LP Special not only 'sitared", but the intonation sucked,as well.
    I bought the Pigtail (the plain wraparound,not the one with adjustable saddles),and it cured both. There is a much more peaked hump,and the intonation is excellent.
    And,it sounds like a wraptail,which brings me to...

    I then bought the individually adjustable saddle Pigtail. It didn't really improve the intonation (I had to turn the saddle for the g string around),plus,it no longer had the wraparound tone(which on my guitar is like having a compressor on,the notes expand after the attack).

    I've also tried locking studs,(which seem to be a solution looking for a problem-does any LP Jr/Special lack sustain?),and they have the same effect-no longer has that wraptail compression/expansion of the note.
     
  9. mockoman

    mockoman Member

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    "They need to start with a ramp shaped bridge blank, high point being on the front edge, then machine the cutaways"

    Exactly.

    "Anyway the Pigtail is very expensive, but very good."

    And it's more expensive than their adjustable saddle model,which seems backwards.
     
  10. mockoman

    mockoman Member

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    I've tried the Faber,too. The G string isn't machined back far enough.
    To get it to intonate,I had to adjust the entire unit back so far,all the other strings were off.
     
  11. CitizenCain

    CitizenCain Member

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    Ah, at least I'm not alone :D

    My Gotoh wrap is really bad in this regard, maybe they've changed the design or something? Mine's about 2-3 years old.

    As for the string wraps, I run the string through an extra ball end so it pulls the string a little farther back, no problem with bending the string wraps over the bridge at all!

    Sounds like the Pigtail is the way to go. I might as well put my order in, just hope I don't run into some of the wait problems I've read about.

    You guys rule!
     
  12. mockoman

    mockoman Member

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    I ordered mine direct from Pigtail,and it was only about 2 weeks.

    Good luck.I'ved tried a lot of stuff,and always put the Pigtail back in. I am DONE!
     
  13. 57special

    57special Member

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    Yeah, i know about the extra ball end trick, but i hate doing it.
    Don't worry if Steve at Pigtail takes a long time. He won't rip you off.
     
  14. mkolesa@mac.com

    mkolesa@mac.com Member

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    +1 for the pigtail. it intonates much better than the stock gibby vos and the sustain is amazing when using the pigtail steel studs. i have to add though that it seems like not all strings like to be used with a wrap tailpiece... The first set I tried with the pigtail were some Gibsons and all the wound strings were muted. I changed over to D-Addarios and everything was fine. With all due respect to the other posters, it's not really that easy to design a stop tailpiece with built-in intonation... You have to realize that the tailpiece curves from e to E, to follow the radius of the fretboard, as well as curving from front to back where the break occurs... Very hard to get a shape that would do all that and at the end of the day it's not going to look like a vintage piece anymore because there would be a different ramp for each string. The best bet would be for someone (Pigtail?) to make one of these styles in a lightweight version (hint, hint!):
    http://www.allparts.com/store/tailpieces-stop-tailpieces-tp-0401-001,Product.asp
     
  15. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Member

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    I had the sitar problem with the stock wraparound on my 2006 LP Special, too. I had a Wilkinson on there for awhile which intonates well (adjustable B/G ridge), but it's pretty heavy in comparison to the stock aluminum jobbie and I really became found of the ring of the original.

    I just received a Faber on Friday and after reading your post thought "Oh ****!" :), but mine must be a newer one. Mine is intonating really well, it's nice and light and the High E is ringing clear as a bell. Here's a not-so-great pic.


    [​IMG]

    Jim

    P.S. that said, I've never heard a complaint about the Pigtail so if you're looking for "authentic" that seems to be the best way to go.
     
  16. CitizenCain

    CitizenCain Member

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    I'm not too worried about "authentic" or anything, I just want a nice clean ringing string :D Maybe Faber did alter their machining? I didn't have any issues with intonation, it was the sitaring problem that I was disappointed with. How long have you had the Faber on there and what kind of strings are you using?

    It seems on mine that I can put new strings on and they're good for a couple of days, then the high E starts to zing on me. I use D'Adarrio most of the time, either the 10-46 or 11-49 XL sets. I wanted to try out Fender Bullets because I read once that the bullet end fits in the string hole perfectly and results in no wrapped portion of the string at all. I thought that was kind of neat.
     
  17. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Member

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    I use the Gibson vintage nickel jobbies, 10-46. I've had a set on since Friday and the High E is still ringing nicely. I'll post back in a few days with an update if you like.

    Jim
     
  18. RockStarNick

    RockStarNick Supporting Member

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    These bridges never made any sense to me... they just seem way outdated and primitive.

    They always seemed like gibson needed a bridge, so they took leftover stop tails, put in two screws by the mounting posts, and slapped it on a guitar.

    the "lightning" combo wraparound is an improvement. a modern intonated one is even better.
     
  19. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Member

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    Well these existed before Gibson used a stoptail so your chronology is a little off there. :)

    Of course they're primitive - that's kind of the point. Once you add the moving parts in a Badass style retofit you lose everything that makes a wraptail "magic".

    Jim
     
  20. CitizenCain

    CitizenCain Member

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    Arriba on the magic, Jim! Less moving pieces = more moving tone :D

    And it was the other way 'round, Nick. Gibson had a bunch of wrap bridge left over so they moved them back farther and used them to anchor the strings for the tune-o-matic.
     

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