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Old 11-06-2012, 04:37 PM
Fred Wilson Fred Wilson is offline
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Default pinless bridge

I couldn't find the thread about this subject, but I just have a general observation about the subject. I own one of the early '90s Taylors with the pinless bridge. I also just happen to have an old Harmony Sovereign with a pinless bridge. The main difference a bridge with pins and one without is the angle of tension between the strings and the bridge. On a traditional steel string bridge, the ball end of the strings is behind the face of the guitar. So the tension is pullling on the face and the bridge in an upward direction. With a pinless bridge, the ball end is in only in the bridge itself, so the tension goes (nearly)straight between the tuning head and the back of the bridge.
There is a lot of tension on the glue between the bridge and the face. Given enough time(and the time will vary for a number of reasons) the tension will pull the bridge off the face. It took well over ten years with my Taylor, but I took it to Greg at Main Street Music in Nashville, AR and he glued it back on, so I'm good for at least another ten. It's worth mentioning that when I change strings, I take the old string loose from the tuner, then I take my wire cutter, and clip off the twisted end of the string. That way, when I pull the string out of the bridge, it slides right out and doesn't scratch the guitar face.
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:42 PM
steveyam steveyam is offline
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Lowden and McIlroy are also pinless.
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:50 PM
actaylor actaylor is offline
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My Tak is also pinless. And, when changing strings, I unwind the string from it's post then cut it in half to avoid scratching the top. I guess the pros to having a pinless bridge are that it was less expensive to build the guitar and you don't have to worry about losing pins. I can actually change strings faster on a guitar that has a pinned bridge than a pinless one.
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:53 PM
BluesBelly BluesBelly is offline
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Takamine also has quite a few pinless models that in addition to the glue joint are mechanically fastened. Don't know if Lowden or McIlroy are bolted in place. I have pinless bridge Tak and I can't say I notice a difference in performance from a standard pin bridge. If there is an advantage it would be enhanced intonation possibilities and ease of string change.
I agree with sniping strings off at change time and do it on all my guitars so the curlies don't get too wild in vicinity of the finish.

Blues
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:37 PM
PTC Bernie PTC Bernie is offline
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Default Pinless bridge

Actually, if you look at the load across the cross section of the bridge, the difference in the moment between a pinned bridge and a pinless bridge aren't as different as you might think. The major component is the one pulling the whole assembly in the direction of the head, as you would expect.

The amount of energy that translates "upward" against the underside of the soundboard is small compared to the pull toward the head of the guitar.

My Breedlove SJ25W has a pinless bridge. To my way of looking at it a pinless bridge yields better transfer of energy to the soundboard. The less you have poking through the soundboard the cleaner the sound.

As far as "dinging" the top is concerned, I shaped a piece of cardboard to fit flush against the bridge so that the ball end of the string impacts cardboard, not the guitar surface. End of problem.

All of this is just my less than humble opinion of course.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:42 PM
mustache79 mustache79 is offline
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I like the Yari Direct Coupled Bridge design and the bi level design used on many Alvarez models.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:57 PM
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murrmac123 murrmac123 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PTC Bernie View Post
Actually, if you look at the load across the cross section of the bridge, the difference in the moment between a pinned bridge and a pinless bridge aren't as different as you might think. The major component is the one pulling the whole assembly in the direction of the head, as you would expect.

The amount of energy that translates "upward" against the underside of the soundboard is small compared to the pull toward the head of the guitar.

My Breedlove SJ25W has a pinless bridge. To my way of looking at it a pinless bridge yields better transfer of energy to the soundboard. The less you have poking through the soundboard the cleaner the sound.

As far as "dinging" the top is concerned, I shaped a piece of cardboard to fit flush against the bridge so that the ball end of the string impacts cardboard, not the guitar surface. End of problem.

All of this is just my less than humble opinion of course.

It's not a question of transfer of energy, it's a question of how much torque is being exerted on the soundboard, and that torque is significantly less with a pinless bridge.
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:21 PM
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Hi Fred Wilson...

Just wanted to say Hello and Welcome to the Forum! Glad you joined and started a thread.

Not all pinless bridges are created equally, and many keep sufficient break angle between the saddle and the holes in the pass-through section of the bridge.

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Old 11-06-2012, 07:20 PM
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I'll only add that painters blue masking tape makes a great temporary "shield" below the bridge when changing strings on a pinless bridge.

The only issue I've noticed is that by having to cut the strings to pull them out (rather than "saw" the bridge more with each extraction) I don't then have a set of used strings to send to the Second Strings Project.

There are also designs which use a pin "mount" for the ball end which I think make the issue of break angle and torque even less different than a pinned bridge.

I like the look of a pinless, myself, and if the luthier / builder can make it function well, I prefer it.

Cheers,

Phil



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Old 11-07-2012, 04:01 AM
steveyam steveyam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PTC Bernie View Post
Actually, if you look at the load across the cross section of the bridge, the difference in the moment between a pinned bridge and a pinless bridge aren't as different as you might think. The major component is the one pulling the whole assembly in the direction of the head, as you would expect.

The amount of energy that translates "upward" against the underside of the soundboard is small compared to the pull toward the head of the guitar.

My Breedlove SJ25W has a pinless bridge. To my way of looking at it a pinless bridge yields better transfer of energy to the soundboard. The less you have poking through the soundboard the cleaner the sound.

As far as "dinging" the top is concerned, I shaped a piece of cardboard to fit flush against the bridge so that the ball end of the string impacts cardboard, not the guitar surface. End of problem.

All of this is just my less than humble opinion of course.
The moment is purely dependent upon the angle that the string makes as it leaves the back of a saddle. It has nothing to do with whether it is pinned or pinless. So, two similar guitars, one with pins, one with a pinless bridge - and with the same string break angle - will have the same 'composite' upwards and forwards moment (force, whatever you want to call it) acting upon it. The difference is.. with a pinned bridge a lot of the force will be acting upon the underside of the bridge plate, whereas with a pinless bridge the force will be trying (more so than pinned) to pull the bridge from the top of the guitar. It's the anchorage points that make the difference; the moment of the string could well be exactly the same on either style of bridge. Saying that, the break angle is often greater on a pinned guitar, although modern luthiers have taken cognisance of this issue (Lowden, McIlroy) as opposed to the older styled pinless guitars such as Harmony, that were quite flat.
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  #11  
Old 11-07-2012, 09:01 AM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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My Harmony Sovereign has a pinless bridge.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:42 AM
Masao Masao is offline
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Hey, welcome to AGF.

Not to be contrarian but ... i have a pinless guitar about 35+ yrs and have never had any bridge issues with it. I agree with LJ in that there are pinless and then there are pinless.

Off topic but others have noted what they do when they change strings on a pinless bridge. I change all my strings at once (another story) and then i snake all 6 new strings thru their bridge holes. Take the old 5th string and fish it thru the 'ball' hole of each new string (hope this description makes sense). I just like the clean orderly look of the 'ball' ends lining up. Obviously this would not work if there end 'ball' is recessed into the bridge. After getting the new strings on their post, i pull out the old 5th string and tighten to pitch. Needless to say i am not a speed demon when it comes to changing strings.



Ken
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:54 AM
ZekeM ZekeM is offline
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I started a similar thread a few days ago in the build and repair section. since that thread kind of died and this one seems to be getting some attention Ill post some of the questions I had in that thread.

1. With a pinless bridge is it still necessary for a bridge plate glued to the bottom of the soundboard?

2. Are there ever issues with the ball ends wearing into the holes from the tension? If so would it be a good idea to press some string ferrules like found on some electric guitars? Like these
or would that be a tone killer?
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:03 AM
steveyam steveyam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZekeM View Post
I started a similar thread a few days ago in the build and repair section. since that thread kind of died and this one seems to be getting some attention Ill post some of the questions I had in that thread.

1. With a pinless bridge is it still necessary for a bridge plate glued to the bottom of the soundboard?

2. Are there ever issues with the ball ends wearing into the holes from the tension? If so would it be a good idea to press some string ferrules like found on some electric guitars? Like these
or would that be a tone killer?
I'm a guitar tech not a luthier, but I would say..

That a bridge plate would only be needed if the bridge was to be pinned to the top as well as glued. In other words, some 'meat' for the pins to go into.

I don't think that ball ends tend to do much damage to pinless bridges. But in general, I think the lack of metal ferrules echoes the general traditional approach to acoustic guitar building. Metal ones just wouldn't seem 'right' somehow. And yes, there are those who would say that it would kill the tone.
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  #15  
Old 11-07-2012, 10:15 AM
ZekeM ZekeM is offline
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Default pinless bridge

Thanks for the reply Steve. I didn't know if without some bracing under the bridge the top would begin to pull up where the bridge is. I thought it might be necessary to keep the top from distorting in that area. But then again in a standard X brace the bridge area is a fairly strong point without the plate. Thanks for your thoughts.
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