Guitar Bridge - Facts About Bridges
Informative article on the significance the acoustic or classical guitar bridge has in securing strings & sound transmission.
About the most fundamental part in the tone-production chain of command, of the acoustic and classical guitar, is the guitar bridge.
We often take them for granted. They just sit there and quietly doing their job and are often under-appreciated.
You should pay a bit more attentions to your bridge though as there are things that can go wrong with the bridge that can put your guitar completely out of commission.
Guitar Bridge - The Belly Bridge
First and foremost, the first function of the guitar bridge is to provide a secure bond of the strings to the guitar top plate.
The quality of this bond cannot be over-emphasized as the guitar bridge is needed to resist the virtually 200 pounds of loading placed on the top.
Every so often you should check the bond of your guitar bridge to the guitar top plate. With the constant tension of the strings, the bridge can lift up on the back-side of the bridge.
Just take your fingernail or a thin guitar pick and run it around the perimeter of the bridge. If you can shove your nail or pick underneath the bridge at any point, you could have a potential problem with your glue joint and additional investigation would be needed.
The next function of the guitar bridge is to effectively convey the vibrations and tone that is produced by a strummed or picked string to the guitar's top plate.
What this means to the guitar lither is the bridge becomes an element that can help shape the tone of the guitar. If the bridge is left thicker or thinner this can have some effect on tone and volume. Also if it is thinned more on the bass side than the treble side this can shape the balance of the guitar slightly.
The appearance of the bridge is the concluding use of the guitar bridge. The guitar bridge design also plans a very substantial role in the way a guitar bridge appears and functions. It also should be comfortable to perch your hand on the bridge while playing the instrument.
If you look around at different specialty guitar shops and smaller production guitar shops you will see that there have been many enhancements in the evolution od the guitar bridge. In particular, look at Taylor Guitars. They have added some really nice refinements to the belly guitar bridge.
There are many types of bridges that are used for the acoustic guitar and subset versions of each of these.
As for the classical guitar, the bridge design was shaped for the most part by Antonio De Torres, when he made major design changes to the classical guitar in the mid 1800's, and that matching design is used on nearly contemporary classical guitars.
There are three main components of the classical guitar bridge. Those components consist of the saddle capture area, the string tie down block and the bridge wings. The bridge is glued directly to the top of the guitar top plate, without any further attachment.
So the refinements to the classical guitar bridge are few for the last 150 years. After all, when you find perfection why change it. About the only things that luthier's play with are different decorations made to the tie block, and some artist's license with bridge woods.
Probably the most employed bridge type is the acoustic guitar belly bridge. The belly bridge design was first used on the Dreadnought Guitar design by the C.F. Martin Company that was introduced in the early 1030's.
The major reason that contributes to the popularity of the belly bridge is it's timeless beauty and simplicity. The 3 major design features of the belly bridge consist of the belly-shaped plan-form, gently curved bridge ramps, and a captured saddle area. The most widespread attachment method for this bridge is by a glue joint only.
Gibson Mustache Guitar Bridge
As with the belly bridge, the prism bridge was introduced by the C.F. Martin Company and was used on their vintage small body guitar and the contemporary re-issue of those same guitars.
There are various differences between the belly bridge such as a rectangular plan-form, prism-shaped ramps and a through saddle.
The mustache guitar bridge was first designed and implemented by the Gibson Guitar Company. It was utilized in many of their acoustic guitars introduced during what is known as the 'pre-war series', which means prior to WWII.
The mustache guitar bridge gets it's name from the curvilinear shape it possesses, which appears like an old fashioned handlebar mustache.
It shares a common element with the belly bridge with it's captured saddle arrangement. The configuration of the bridge pin form is also unique in that they form a gently arc.
There you have it. The low down on bridges. These are the most popular guitar bridges used on both classical and acoustic guitars. The use is often governed by personal preference.