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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Source for nylon bridge


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/362768

Quickstep192 - Posted - 04/04/2020:  05:06:31


I’m looking for a place where I can buy a good bridge for nylon (carbon) strings.

I tried making one and it doesn’t sound good, so I’d like to turn to a pro. Any suggestions?

CEParagon124 - Posted - 04/04/2020:  06:28:40


ebay.com/itm/CLAWHAMMER-BANJO-...2paKkr1xQ

Emiel - Posted - 04/04/2020:  08:15:45


Here's another suggestion:

banjothimble.com/shop/historic...dges.html

csacwp - Posted - 04/04/2020:  09:44:45


Describe what doesn't sound good to you. What type of banjo are you using? What type of head? What string material and gauges? What type of tone are you trying to achieve?

kmwaters - Posted - 04/04/2020:  11:40:12


Contact Steve Davis here at BHO

Billybiltbanjo - Posted - 04/04/2020:  15:14:45


There is a fellow on facebook that is making some interesting looking clawhammer style bridges if that is what you are looking for.. They sound pretty good on his banjos.. youtu.be/Ucib6uK0k4c?fbclid=Iw...H7FdDrE-4

davidppp - Posted - 04/04/2020:  16:00:56


I'm in the process of trying to understand how these things work. As best I can tell, the most important design feature after the total weight is the flexibility. (That was a surprise to me, but it's probably familiar to people who build lots of them.) Going lighter than the most common steel-string bridges (which can be roughly 2.5 to 3 gm), 1 gm (+ or - some) gives a better match to the lighter strings, allowing them to get their vibrations into the head. (That gives louder, less sustain, and brighter sound.)

More flexibility (movement in the top of the bridge relative to the footprint) further enhances some of the brightness. (If it means anything to you, 3 to 6 kHz [or higher] is where that might appear.). In terms of the bridge design, the simplest variable for a two-foot bridge is the width (from the straight face view) of the top cross bar.

csacwp - Posted - 04/04/2020:  19:16:02


quote:

Originally posted by davidppp

I'm in the process of trying to understand how these things work. As best I can tell, the most important design feature after the total weight is the flexibility. (That was a surprise to me, but it's probably familiar to people who build lots of them.) Going lighter than the most common steel-string bridges (which can be roughly 2.5 to 3 gm), 1 gm (+ or - some) gives a better match to the lighter strings, allowing them to get their vibrations into the head. (That gives louder, less sustain, and brighter sound.)



More flexibility (movement in the top of the bridge relative to the footprint) further enhances some of the brightness. (If it means anything to you, 3 to 6 kHz [or higher] is where that might appear.). In terms of the bridge design, the simplest variable for a two-foot bridge is the width (from the straight face view) of the top cross bar. 



 During the classic era a hard rock maple was typically used for bridges. Fred Van Eps used a thin ebony bridge. Wouldn't either of those have less flexibility than a bridge made of softer wood?


Quickstep192 - Posted - 04/05/2020:  05:00:28


Why do you think the 5th string is elevated on this bridge (assuming that us the 5th, not the first)



 

Bart Veerman - Posted - 04/05/2020:  08:29:44


I make them but I'm not shipping until the C19 thing is over and done with.



The raised 5th bridge on the picture is intended for clawhammer style playing.



David: the common bridge weight range for steel-strung banjos is 1.5~2.4 grams. The 2.5~3.0 gr range you suggested usually is targeted to folks who want to tame their banjo's brightness, often as a result of hearing issues. When the top of a bridge flexes while the feet do not, then that behaviour suggests the effects of "shock absorbers" to "smoothen the ride," not desirable in my opinion. I'm curious, how many different kinds of banjos, tone rings, construction etc., have you used for your experiments to come up with these findings?



John: ebony bridges don't do a lot of flexing but they sure can sound real sweet

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 04/05/2020:  09:11:38


Enhanced brightness and consequent impact on 3-6 Kh may not be advantages to some. Tone, as we all know, is a subjective matter and I'm sure some would find that extra brightness objectionable.

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 04/05/2020:  09:13:41


I also found the title of this thread a little odd. I would suspect that a "nylon bridge" would be a rather poor option for any kind of strings.

davidppp - Posted - 04/05/2020:  09:16:23


Over the decades, warping of the instrument or changes in playing style may leave the current owner wanting to lower the string action. Lowering the bridge does just that. In most styles of playing, the first finger to notice that the strings are too close to the head is the thumb. Hence, raising the 5th string a bit relative to the others is a compromise that works.

davidppp - Posted - 04/05/2020:  10:39:57


quote:

Originally posted by Bart Veerman

I make them but I'm not shipping until the C19 thing is over and done with.



The raised 5th bridge on the picture is intended for clawhammer style playing.



David: the common bridge weight range for steel-strung banjos is 1.5~2.4 grams. The 2.5~3.0 gr range you suggested usually is targeted to folks who want to tame their banjo's brightness, often as a result of hearing issues. When the top of a bridge flexes while the feet do not, then that behaviour suggests the effects of "shock absorbers" to "smoothen the ride," not desirable in my opinion. I'm curious, how many different kinds of banjos, tone rings, construction etc., have you used for your experiments to come up with these findings?



John: ebony bridges don't do a lot of flexing but they sure can sound real sweet






"I'm curious, how many different kinds of banjos, tone rings, construction etc., have you used for your experiments to come up with these findings?"



You put your finger on just the right issue.  And the answer, as you likely suspect is not only one kind but actually just one instrument.  Nevertheless, I wouldn't have written what I wrote if there weren't reason for confidence.  Let me explain.



I managed to hook up with a professor of engineering at Cambridge University, who has been doing this sort of think on violins and guitars for over forty years.  He is a major figure in a small but active academic field that has been studying the physics of musical instruments very seriously for well over 150 years.  But no one in that world ever looked into banjos or drum-like soundboards.  The guy in England can monitor the motion of the corners of the bridge with a laser and do a state-of-the-art finite element calculation of the expected bridge deformation.  I believe that the comparison of calculation and measurement is so compelling that it is reasonable to extrapolate to simple changes in the design parameters.  We're writing this up in a form that is standard in his profession.  My job will then be to put it in a form that would be more widely accessible.



The first link on the top of my Web page, its.caltech.edu/~politzer/ , is to something S.S. Stewart wrote about the contribution of scientists and engineers to instrument design.  He's totally right.

davidppp - Posted - 04/05/2020:  11:06:01


quote:

Originally posted by csacwp

quote:

Originally posted by davidppp

I'm in the process of trying to understand how these things work. As best I can tell, the most important design feature after the total weight is the flexibility. (That was a surprise to me, but it's probably familiar to people who build lots of them.) Going lighter than the most common steel-string bridges (which can be roughly 2.5 to 3 gm), 1 gm (+ or - some) gives a better match to the lighter strings, allowing them to get their vibrations into the head. (That gives louder, less sustain, and brighter sound.)



More flexibility (movement in the top of the bridge relative to the footprint) further enhances some of the brightness. (If it means anything to you, 3 to 6 kHz [or higher] is where that might appear.). In terms of the bridge design, the simplest variable for a two-foot bridge is the width (from the straight face view) of the top cross bar. 



 During the classic era a hard rock maple was typically used for bridges. Fred Van Eps used a thin ebony bridge. Wouldn't either of those have less flexibility than a bridge made of softer wood?







The question of wood species and flexibility gets tangled up with the issue of "all things being equal..."



Builders know that the total weight is very important in its effect on the produced sound.  If you want to compare two bridges of different kinds of wood, you'd want the same design for both.  By "design," I mean the same dimensions on the face.  To get the same weight, the denser one would have to be thinner.  Even though the denser wood is less flexible for pieces of the same dimensions, when comparing pieces of the same weight and design but different thickness, the relevant flexibility might turn out to be very similar.  (Of course, real bridges differ from one piece to another and definitely care about the grain structure.  I talking here about "on average.")



A few years ago, I had the pleasure and privilege of looking at this a bit in person with Ken LeVan.  We picked through his trove of bridges, all of the same design, for pairs with the same weight but different material, e.g., bamboo vs. mahogany, spruce vs. walnut.  The write-up has sound files and crude sound measurements.  It seemed that the differences were no bigger than differences between bridges made of the same wood, design, and weight.

csacwp - Posted - 04/05/2020:  11:20:56


quote:

Originally posted by davidppp

quote:

Originally posted by csacwp

quote:

Originally posted by davidppp

I'm in the process of trying to understand how these things work. As best I can tell, the most important design feature after the total weight is the flexibility. (That was a surprise to me, but it's probably familiar to people who build lots of them.) Going lighter than the most common steel-string bridges (which can be roughly 2.5 to 3 gm), 1 gm (+ or - some) gives a better match to the lighter strings, allowing them to get their vibrations into the head. (That gives louder, less sustain, and brighter sound.)



More flexibility (movement in the top of the bridge relative to the footprint) further enhances some of the brightness. (If it means anything to you, 3 to 6 kHz [or higher] is where that might appear.). In terms of the bridge design, the simplest variable for a two-foot bridge is the width (from the straight face view) of the top cross bar. 



 During the classic era a hard rock maple was typically used for bridges. Fred Van Eps used a thin ebony bridge. Wouldn't either of those have less flexibility than a bridge made of softer wood?







The question of wood species and flexibility gets tangled up with the issue of "all things being equal..."



Builders know that the total weight is very important in its effect on the produced sound.  If you want to compare two bridges of different kinds of wood, you'd want the same design for both.  By "design," I mean the same dimensions on the face.  To get the same weight, the denser one would have to be thinner.  Even though the denser wood is less flexible for pieces of the same dimensions, when comparing pieces of the same weight and design but different thickness, the relevant flexibility might turn out to be very similar.  (Of course, real bridges differ from one piece to another and definitely care about the grain structure.  I talking here about "on average.")



A few years ago, I had the pleasure and privilege of looking at this a bit in person with Ken LeVan.  We picked through his trove of bridges, all of the same design, for pairs with the same weight but different material, e.g., bamboo vs. mahogany, spruce vs. walnut.  The write-up has sound files and crude sound measurements.  It seemed that the differences were no bigger than differences between bridges made of the same wood, design, and weight.






Good point. I have an original ebony Van Eps bridge as well as a trove of period maple bridges, and they all share similar dimensions (though not exactly the same). Tonally speaking, really thin two-foot ebony bridges are actually brighter than identical maple bridges with a classic style setup. This is the opposite of what I have experienced with larger modern bridges. 

Bart Veerman - Posted - 04/05/2020:  12:15:10


quote:

Originally posted by davidppp

The first link on the top of my Web page, its.caltech.edu/~politzer/ , is to something S.S. Stewart wrote about the contribution of scientists and engineers to instrument design.  He's totally right.





 



precious smiley

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 04/05/2020:  19:57:51


@ David Politzer

When you speak of bridge flexibility, what direction are you speaking of, the top to bottom flexibilty, or the end to end flexibility? I am certain that the difference in the grain orientaion between the length of the bridge and the height of the bridge could, and probably would, make a difference.

I pretty much agree with what SSS had to say about science and instruments, but I thoroughtly disagree with his characterization of the piano designers. C.F. Theodore Steinway made gigantic improvements to the piano by following the teachings of Helmholz; in fact he studied with Helmholtz. After the Steinways' success, most all piano builders began copying them. While violins and many other instruments were perhaps the products of "seat-of-the-pants engineering and haven't been bettered by physicists, the piano is not one of them.

I guess that just proves that scientists thier rules, as well as those who just build successfully without many scientific rules can both have a place in instrument design.

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