Screwing down the stop bar all the way

Uncle Vinnie

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I've heard some guys do it because it transfers more sound through the body, etc., although I don't know if it's true or not.

I raise mine so I can slide a sheet of paper between the strings and the back of the bridge. It doesn't seem to make sense having two fulcrum points on the strings, the back of the bridge and the bridge saddles.

Back when the bridge/stop bar combo was developed was the stop bar intended to be all the way down against the guitar body? Is there a plausible reason for screwing it all the way down?
 

shark

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I prefer mine down low almost touching. Having the break angle set somewhere between the two extremes is most proper and preferred. It makes bending the strings easier because the strings can slide between the saddle slots with the reduced down pressure and friction across the bridge.

Ive seen em flat in between and high .When I got my last LP it was up way too high. Even made me think the guy who owned it wasn't a guitar player but a Reverb Guitar Flipper. The guitar was unplayable for all practical purpose other than slide.
My ideal spot is about 3 or 4 threads above flat. :)

ideal setting
 

cmjohnson

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I don't really think that it's all that important. High break angle or low break angle, it doesn't seem to alter the tone or sustain enough to worry about. As long as the break angle is adequate to keep the strings from buzzing on the saddles, and keeps them in their notches, is good enough.

I do favor TonePros locking hardware and like to use it to lock the stop bar tailpiece down on the studs.

I don't top wrap. Except when using a one piece top wrap combo bridge/tailpiece.
 

E.T.

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The stopbar itself was originally designed as a top-wrapped, height adjustable bridge for the '53 Les Paul (albeit with abysmal intonation that the "lightning" tailpiece was invented to compensate for a decade later), so it's technically engineered to be loaded up with the screws part-way in and torqued about its longwise axis by string tension. That said I have mine all the way down because it looks weird to me otherwise.
 
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Maggot_Brain

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I've heard some guys do it because it transfers more sound through the body, etc., although I don't know if it's true or not.

I raise mine so I can slide a sheet of paper between the strings and the back of the bridge. It doesn't seem to make sense having two fulcrum points on the strings, the back of the bridge and the bridge saddles.

Back when the bridge/stop bar combo was developed was the stop bar intended to be all the way down against the guitar body? Is there a plausible reason for screwing it all the way down?


Correction. Some guys do it because THEY THINK it transfers more sound through thr body. Just like 99% of everything guitar players believe. None of it is based in science. It's just how they think things happen. And if they think it happens that way, it must since 6000 other people think it happens that way, too. I mean, if 6000 people think something happens a certain way, it must! Right? LOL!


Though none of them have a lick of proof that it transfers more sound. They just "feel like" it transfers more sound. Just like they have no actual, verifiable proof that wood makes a difference in the sound of an electric guitar. Ask 2000 players and you'll hear 1000 different things they "think" or "feel like" is happening. But exactly zero of them have any proof it actually does work the way they "think/feel like" it works.

IIf I fixed cars at work because I "felt like" it was this or that, if be out of a job by the of the day. We don't base facts and science on feelings. Thank God.
 

shickma0

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I like to bottom mine out and top wrap, not for tone reasons but because I like to rest my hand there when I’m doing intricate picking patterns and palm mutes. I’ve noticed no tone difference in when I bottom out/top wrap vs not doing that
 

Wuuthrad

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I’ve noticed the bridge sometimes bending at an angle when the tailpiece is screwed down all the way. I usually raise the tailpiece to prevent this. Depends on the guitar, and also the string gauge.
I haven’t really noticed any tone change when doing this.
 

LtDave32

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We've all seen old LP bridges that have completely collapsed. I often wonder if the added string pressure from the stop-bar lowered down to the deck was a contributing factor.
 

John_P

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In early catalogues, Gibson instructs users to adjust tailpiece height to alter "string tension". As this can be debated (and Jesse knows it has been debated) Gibson has been quiet about it ever since, leaving it up to us to debate and decide!

We understand that "String tension" is not sufficient as a physical quantity to describe what happens (as string tension correlates to pitch), still the player may perceive a guitar as "stiff" or "slinky". There's more than one factor behind this and the tailpiece is part of that equation.

The tailpiece height affects bridge string break angle. This is a very important and valid physical quantity that determines the string force on the bridge, saddles and posts. This force affects an array of parameters that influence tone and feel.

Of equal importance is the effective bridge radius and angle vis-à-vis the string plane. The string force flattens the bridge and sometimes makes the bridge tip forward or backwards (elastic deformation as well as long term plastic, irreversible deformation).

If the bridge is mounted so that it leans backwards the tailpiece can be set very low, with a steep string break angle, without having the strings contact the rear edge of the bridge. This is not possible if the bridge leans forward, in which case the string break angle would have to be reduced by raising the tailpiece. This obviously also depends on the depth of the string slots and the width/travel range of the bridge.

The optimal string break angle is tried out on a case by case basis for each individual guitar. It's important to find out why the bridge is leaning in any direction and to what extent this is caused by a steep string break angle. "Clearing the rear edge of the bridge" is no evidence that the setup is OK, even though the opposite typically indicates that something is wrong.

Many have witnessed that "it's no problem if the strings touch the back of the bridge". It could very well be, in their case, that raising the tailpiece did not make an improvement. -But what about all the other set up parameters? -Why are the strings touching the back of the bridge? Maybe because the bridge is set too high as a consequence of that the truss rod is too tight? By far, the most common scenario is that the truss rod is not tight enough so that the neck has forward bow. Then the bridge has to be set very low to get playable action and as a consequence the strings won't touch the back of the bridge even when the tailpiece is decked. The latter scenario is obviously far from a good set up even though the strings are clearing the bridge.
 

eddie_bowers

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It appears to me that Gibson neck angles have been steeper than in the past. If you set the stop bar for the proper break angle this puts it ridiculously high. So many deck the stop bar and top wrap just because it looks better.
 

gtr-tek

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I like the Faber tailpiece studs as they allow me to lock down the tailpiece with spacers and get a favorable break angle of the strings over the bridge. Callaham make a similar set of studs too. I prefer the feel of the strings with this arrangement. As far as tone goes, not sure it makes a big difference. I prefer to not top wrap but I have before I got the replacement studs.
 

Duane.S

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Here is a downforce / break angle calculator:

On a solid body guitar I think the break angle has little to no effect on tone, but on an acoustic I notice a that higher break angles will increase the attack but has less sustain.

On my own Les Paul I will screw down the tailpiece and top wrap. I like a shallow break angle because I feel there is more string compliance, a little slinkier.
 

E.T.

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It appears to me that Gibson neck angles have been steeper than in the past.
According to The Internet Gibson's specification is now 5°±15"; the earliest LPs in 1952 (anecdotally) had a ~1° set and strings wrapped under the (trapeze) tailpiece, which was changed later that year to 2½ or 3° (depending on who you ask) with a top-wrapped trapeze then top wrapped stopbar in '53. It had got to 4° by 1956 if Gibson's "true historic" specs are to be believed, and maybe even 5° in 1960. I have no idea when they set the modern standard or how much variance there actually is versus the specification though. Someone needs to go down to their bank vault with a protractor and a plumbline and take some actual measurements from original vintage instruments.
 
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mdubya

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I think the ideal is when the strings can clear the back of the bridge with the tail piece decked.

But... all of those items are adjustable for a reason, too.

I like my tail piece lowered all the way down, but not tight. I think a little bit of play is good.

I bought into all of the locking bridge, tail piece, etc. non-sense (IMHO) and found that I did not like everything locked in place.

Some guitars work best with the tail piece decked and strung the traditional way (my preference if it works), some work best with the tp decked and top wrapped, some work best strung traditionally and with the tp raised to the perfect height.

I guess I have enough guitars that each work in their own way to no longer GAF. :wave:

I feel the same way about neck size. As long as the nut is wide enough, I have the full spectrum of slim 60's, medium round, slight V, '64, '59, near baseball bat, etc. I like them all. :)
 
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Uncle Vinnie

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In early catalogues, Gibson instructs users to adjust tailpiece height to alter "string tension". As this can be debated (and Jesse knows it has been debated) Gibson has been quiet about it ever since, leaving it up to us to debate and decide!

We understand that "String tension" is not sufficient as a physical quantity to describe what happens (as string tension correlates to pitch), still the player may perceive a guitar as "stiff" or "slinky". There's more than one factor behind this and the tailpiece is part of that equation.

The tailpiece height affects bridge string break angle. This is a very important and valid physical quantity that determines the string force on the bridge, saddles and posts. This force affects an array of parameters that influence tone and feel.

Of equal importance is the effective bridge radius and angle vis-à-vis the string plane. The string force flattens the bridge and sometimes makes the bridge tip forward or backwards (elastic deformation as well as long term plastic, irreversible deformation).

If the bridge is mounted so that it leans backwards the tailpiece can be set very low, with a steep string break angle, without having the strings contact the rear edge of the bridge. This is not possible if the bridge leans forward, in which case the string break angle would have to be reduced by raising the tailpiece. This obviously also depends on the depth of the string slots and the width/travel range of the bridge.

The optimal string break angle is tried out on a case by case basis for each individual guitar. It's important to find out why the bridge is leaning in any direction and to what extent this is caused by a steep string break angle. "Clearing the rear edge of the bridge" is no evidence that the setup is OK, even though the opposite typically indicates that something is wrong.

Many have witnessed that "it's no problem if the strings touch the back of the bridge". It could very well be, in their case, that raising the tailpiece did not make an improvement. -But what about all the other set up parameters? -Why are the strings touching the back of the bridge? Maybe because the bridge is set too high as a consequence of that the truss rod is too tight? By far, the most common scenario is that the truss rod is not tight enough so that the neck has forward bow. Then the bridge has to be set very low to get playable action and as a consequence the strings won't touch the back of the bridge even when the tailpiece is decked. The latter scenario is obviously far from a good set up even though the strings are clearing the bridge.
Best explanation I've heard so far.

Seems the ABR bridges (at least on my two R6s) seem to want to angle forward toward the headstock more so than the bridges on my '78 Pro Deluxe and '81 Deluxe.
 

Wuuthrad

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Interesting subject, I thought I would share a few more thoughts:

I prefer Trapeze tailpieces and string through body TOM style, but they all work, and the tonal variation of different tailpiece heights on any one particular guitar is zero to my ears.

I make bridge height adjustments all the time, based on guitar, string gauge, usually preferring higher action, playing slide, or down tuning.

On a Trapeze or a Guild for example, with more string behind the bridge there is more sound and tone options with harmonics and sound effects playing behind the bridge. To me the Wilkinson bridge with adjustable string width is ideal really.

Interesting how people do adjustments based on looks…

I think the ABR straight into the body is a bad design which leads to bridges bending, and nowadays people complain about new ABR’s being not “real” because they have a post!

To anoyone more knowledgable than I am (quite a few of you I’m sure!) I wonder why did Gibson decide to put the Tailpiece where it is? Seems a bit close to the bridge.

Compare the Guild:

B29C7799-B960-456F-B22D-1985EA06E0B5.jpeg
 

Blues_Verne

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Hi Y'all,
may be I overlooked some written ideas here, but this is what I go for:
I pathetically hate moving parts at guitar bridge systems. With all my guitars I bolt on / lock down the bridges and tailpieces. Height adjustment is easily possible with distancers/washers from hard wood, especially 100+yrs old olive.
This way you sure get more string energy into the body with enhanced sustain, attack, definition and TONE. Like they say, the proof of the pudding...
LP-Olive-Heart6.jpg


AWE-JazMa1hbs.jpg
LP-Trad'15-Hcsb_BridgeMod.jpg
 

LPTDMSV

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We've all seen old LP bridges that have completely collapsed. I often wonder if the added string pressure from the stop-bar lowered down to the deck was a contributing factor.
bent or broken ABR-1 studs too
 

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