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Author Topic: String ramps: changing the Break angle  (Read 6904 times)
Danny
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« Reply #20 on: July 05, 2009, 08:02:23 PM »

You can order a purpose made saw, for about five bucks, from Stew Mac here: http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Saws/Bridge_Pin_Hole_Saw.html

You could also just take a jig saw blade and wrap duct tape around the top of it, for a make shift handle, and use that. Sort of like a prison shank.
   I have a mini multi-tool that has a small saw blade that works for slots.
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BluesMan1
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« Reply #21 on: July 05, 2009, 11:21:51 PM »

   Jeremy, got the gist of what you're saying, but wouldn't a new, solid set of pins be better? I brought this idea up to my luthier, who didn't respond too well to it. Too set in his ways (60+yrs.?). Mentioned that some higher end guitars were having the strings ramped @ the bridge, which he was aware of, but couldn't see any advantage to it. What, exactly, is the tonal advantage to doing this? He said more was gained by just throwing some bone pins on & being much simpler. That ended our conversation about that. It seems like a one-shot deal doing it & if you screw up, you're the same. Nicely, what do you gain by doing this?. I'm @ the point where my GAS is about to come to an end, so trying this on my SD-50 sounds like an interesting "upgrade", if that what it breaks down to. I'm always looking for someway to make my guitars sound better.
   Thanks.
     Jeff   
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2009, 01:21:24 AM »

   Jeremy, got the gist of what you're saying, but wouldn't a new, solid set of pins be better?

Yes, I only meant turning the pins sideways after slotting the bridge was better than turning them backwards - not that turning the pins sideways was better than unslotted pins. I believe the advantage of slotting the bridge is durability. With slotted pins the ball end of the string will get wedged between the pin and bridge plate, slotting the bridge lets the ball end rest against the bridge plate. This link has pics and explains it better http://www.bryankimsey.com/bridges/slotted.htm

That link also covers ramping. The main benefit of ramping is the increased break angle over the saddle. This increases the downward force on the saddle but also increases the rotational torque on the bridge and saddle. Increasing the break angle isn't always an improvement. I believe that once a certain break angle is reached increasing it has no noticable effect on tone. So if you already have a tall saddle you probably won't gain anything by ramping the bridge; in fact the break angle can be too much which can lead to string breaks and other issues. In my experience most saddles in Larrivee's aren't that high and ramping the bridge can't hurt.
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Zohn
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« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2009, 06:30:23 AM »

So if you already have a tall saddle you probably won't gain anything by ramping the bridge; in fact the break angle can be too much which can lead to string breaks and other issues. In my experience most saddles in Larrivee's aren't that high and ramping the bridge can't hurt.
+1 I agree, but for the Pyramid bridges like on your SD Jeff. The angle on my SD's bridge is just fine, but on my LV and J (both belly bridges) the angle on the two unwound strings are poor in my opinion. I'm just concerned about future value if one messes with the bridge, although the Jumbo really needs some attention there!
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Zohn
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« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2009, 06:34:55 AM »

Once you ramp the slots you will want to put slotless pins in or, at the very least, turn your slotted ones around backwards. Once the ramp channels are slotted, the ball end of the string will rest directly against the bridgeplate itself. What you are after, with the slotting, is to move the string forward and hold it there. It kind of defeats the purpose to ramp the pin holes and then in turn put the slotted pins back in.
I'm not suggesting slotting through the entire Pin hole, but rather just a distance down, and out at an angle less or equal to the angle over the saddle. The slot in the pin still functions as normal.
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Zohn
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« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2009, 06:37:02 AM »

This link has pics and explains it better http://www.bryankimsey.com/bridges/slotted.htm

That link also covers ramping.
Cool link, thanks
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GA-ME
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« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2009, 02:25:59 PM »

I'm not suggesting slotting through the entire Pin hole, but rather just a distance down, and out at an angle less or equal to the angle over the saddle. The slot in the pin still functions as normal.

Cool, I understand what you are saying. You just want to create a relief channel in the surface of the bridge to allow the string relief forward without actually cutting slots into the entire bridge pin hole. I misunderstood your intentions, as most folks seem to also want to slot the pin hole to allow for a good seating of the ball end directly on the bridge plate. I guess I tend to think of the ramping procedure as a total combination of slotting the pinhole, to allow the ball ends to rest on the bridge plate, creating the ramp slot itself, and then fitting slotless pins. My bad.
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BenF
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« Reply #27 on: July 06, 2009, 02:39:51 PM »

This thread is really interesting.  I assume that this is a simple solution for an older guitar before it needs a neck reset, once the saddle can go no lower?

My forum III has a particularly high saddle and break angle compared to other guitars I have seen.  I guess even mass produced instruments like Larrivee actually have a degree of difference in these details, and therefore some would benefit from ramping the bridge and others wouldn't.  The break angle is cerainly much shallower on my OM.

From the links provided above, it wansn't clear if slotting the pridge and using unslotted pins improved sound, or if it just stopped the pins from wearing/bending over time.  Surely just buying a new set of pins every 20 years or so would be an easier solution if that was the only benefit?
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Ben
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« Reply #28 on: July 06, 2009, 02:57:12 PM »

This thread is really interesting.  I assume that this is a simple solution for an older guitar before it needs a neck reset, once the saddle can go no lower?

My forum III has a particularly high saddle and break angle compared to other guitars I have seen.  I guess even mass produced instruments like Larrivee actually have a degree of difference in these details, and therefore some would benefit from ramping the bridge and others wouldn't.  The break angle is cerainly much shallower on my OM.

From the links provided above, it wansn't clear if slotting the pridge and using unslotted pins improved sound, or if it just stopped the pins from wearing/bending over time.  Surely just buying a new set of pins every 20 years or so would be an easier solution if that was the only benefit?

Ben, its not so much the wearing of the pins that is the benefit sought in slotting the bridge pin hole itself and using unslotted pins that is of benefit, but rather, preserving the bridgeplate integrity. Slotting the pin hole and using unslotted pins forces the  ball end of the string to rest securely on the bridge plate itself rather than being wedged between the slotted pin and the edge of the bridge plate. If you look at the links provided by others you can see the ball end dangling below the pin/bridge plate wedge point. Imagine tuning up and that string moving up into the bridge plate, acting as a sort of saw, over the years and you can envision how that would  eat away at the edge of the bridge plate over long time periods.

Slotting the pin hole allows full support/contact of the ball end on the bridge plate and support from behind by the pin which should make the bridge plate last longer. Replacing a bridge plate can be a very difficult proposition. I would think it also can't hurt in regards to producing the best transfer of energy from string to top in having the ball end securely and snugly against the bridge plate itself. You can slot just the pinhole, without ramping, to allow a good seat of the ball end on a guitar that has a good break angle already.
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BenF
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« Reply #29 on: July 06, 2009, 03:03:08 PM »

that makes sense, I see merit in protecting the bridge plate.  Thanks.
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Ben
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Zohn
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« Reply #30 on: July 06, 2009, 03:46:12 PM »

Cool, I understand what you are saying. You just want to create a relief channel in the surface of the bridge to allow the string relief forward without actually cutting slots into the entire bridge pin hole. I misunderstood your intentions, as most folks seem to also want to slot the pin hole to allow for a good seating of the ball end directly on the bridge plate. I guess I tend to think of the ramping procedure as a total combination of slotting the pinhole, to allow the ball ends to rest on the bridge plate, creating the ramp slot itself, and then fitting slotless pins. My bad.
+1 - Right!! In retrospect though, after reading the article from the link supplied by Jeremy, the "slotted hole/plain pin" idea makes good and perfect sense for the very reasons mentioned, and that could be the way to go some other time in future. Meanwhile I just need some more pressure on the saddle at the south, and the most elegant way to do it.
Who invented guitar forums and particularly this one?? I say   to him/her/them!!! This is a great place to be
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« Reply #31 on: July 06, 2009, 04:34:05 PM »

Jeremy, thanks for the link to a well illustrated web page with good discussion about bridges, pins and ramping.
I was helping a friend restring his LV 03 last week and the Low E string was really stuck in the hole. The bridge pin wouldn't budge. (sorry if I am using incorrect nomenclature) It appeared as though the string ball had wedged itself partly in the bridge pin hole. His guitar is only 7 years old.  Mine is 3 months old. How do I prevent that from happening on mine over time?
Is it poor seating of the string ball?
Is it not setting the ball up tight against the pin and bridge plate and allowing the string to saw itself through the plate over time?
What is best way to set the ball properly in the hole when sliding the pin back in?
 
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #32 on: July 06, 2009, 05:33:29 PM »

It appeared as though the string ball had wedged itself partly in the bridge pin hole.

 It's not that the strings saw through the plate(they are stationary) but that the ball end crushes the plate and pin by being wedged in there. This is what slotting the bridge helps prevent. The ball will sit flush against the plate rather than wedged into a corner.

I always seat the ball end by pulling on the string while pushing the pin down.
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Big E
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« Reply #33 on: July 06, 2009, 06:46:58 PM »

Thanks Jeremy. I was thinking of a slow sawing action. ie over time if the string slowly slipped each time it was played if the ball wasn't seated during a restringing.
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #34 on: July 06, 2009, 07:35:33 PM »

Thanks Jeremy. I was thinking of a slow sawing action. ie over time if the string slowly slipped each time it was played if the ball wasn't seated during a restringing.

I see what you are saying. I wouldn't worry about the string sawing through the plate, I'd concentrate on the ball end doing the damage.
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #35 on: July 06, 2009, 07:38:02 PM »

Also another reason to use unslotted pins and ream the bridge to match is many manufactures don't taper their bridge pin holes which creates a gap around the bottom of the pin for the ball end to wedge into.
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Zohn
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« Reply #36 on: July 11, 2009, 05:19:32 PM »

Found a nice sketch from a Fishman UST installation instruction that illustrates the difference in the break angle of a bridge with and without a string ramp nicely.


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« Reply #37 on: July 14, 2009, 06:09:55 AM »

Zohn, that is a nice illustration. That makes it quite clear.
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Zohn
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« Reply #38 on: July 18, 2009, 05:56:40 PM »

Anyone done this? What does one use to cut the slot neatly?
I cut slots in the high E, B and G strings' pin holes to change the break angle. Acoustically it makes a remarkable difference to the overall balance in boosting those strings' volume. Will plug it in tomorrow at church to hear it electric - that's where I really need those strings to blend in with the rest. 
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« Reply #39 on: January 06, 2010, 04:07:47 PM »

So glad I stumbled on this thread. Many thanks for those who posted such great info and pics. Kimsey's site was very useful as well.

I'd been somewhat vexed at my eleven year old Taylor 312 for some time now. Didn't seem to have the resonance it once had and it gradually dawned on me that the high E and B strings were overwhelmingly louder than the lower 4 wound strings which sounded quiet and muddy.

Taking a close look at my old bridge I saw that in all that time the two unwound strings had basically ramped themselves a 3/8th inch slot into the bridge.

Maybe that explained the increased volume so I decided to see what I could do to help the lower wound strings. I also took a look under the bridge from the inside of the guitar and to my horror found that a strip of wood (bridge base plate?) had peeled off between the post holes. Damage that I assume was caused by the ball of the string digging into the post holes for 11 years. Yikes! That decided me on slotting.

I basically ending up slotting the lower three bass strings and ramping them slightly. Plan on getting unslotted pins, but till then, I turned the old ones so they were flat against the string. The next problem was how to fill in the ramp for the E & B strings to restore it's former break angle in hopes of decreasing their volume. I basically filled in the grooves with bits of wood, inelegant and I'm hoping for suggestions on a more stable solution as these will likely have to be replaced every time I change strings.

I was very, very happy with the result. As I was stringing the guitar back up I heard resonance I hadn't heard in a while. Strumming full chords sounded so much better. The slot fill-in's on the high strings dampened the volume just enough and the lower strings now had more volume and a sharper clearer tone.

Sound files of the result, before & after.

If someone's got 5 minutes I'd appreciate a 2nd opinion. I think they sound different, but after 2 hours of figuring this out and working on the bridge I might be biased.


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