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Author Topic: Effects of replacing standard bridge with a pyramid bridge  (Read 2056 times)
Tuba Mike
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« on: February 09, 2017, 04:13:47 PM »

Hello follow Forumites:

I was considering replacing the bridge on my Forum IV with a pyramid bridge.  Our local luthier commented that adding the extra weight, although not a lot, could effect the tone/sound of the guitar.  He suggested this as serious food-for-thought before taking on the time and expense of making this change.  He basically said he could not guarantee that I would be happy with the result.  I chose not to make the change as I did not wish to risk this on my wonderful and beautiful Forum IV.  John Jr. thought this would be an excellent question for forum members.  So, with that said, how do you think changing the bridge would effect (if at all) the tone of the guitar?

Sincerely,

Tuba Mike
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2017, 04:42:47 PM »

Hello follow Forumites:

I was considering replacing the bridge on my Forum IV with a pyramid bridge.  Our local luthier commented that adding the extra weight, although not a lot, could effect the tone/sound of the guitar.  He suggested this as serious food-for-thought before taking on the time and expense of making this change.  He basically said he could not guarantee that I would be happy with the result.  I chose not to make the change as I did not with to risk this on my wonderful and beautiful Forum IV.  John Jr. thought this would be an excellent question for forum members.  So, with that said, how do you think changing the bridge would effect (if at all) the tone of the guitar?

Sincerely,

Tuba Mike

It will (most likely) be a change in the mass of the bridge.  I have long been of the opinion that with bridge pins, the only significant thing is the change in mass...  material is inconsequential, it is the mass and how that affects the vibration of the top.  I think the same applies to the bridge shape (as long as we aren't talking some radical reshaping of the bridge which will take up a significantly bigger or smaller area.  Whether that change in mass will improve the tone or not is always questionable.

I'm also of the opinion that if I like the way a guitar sounds, I'd rather keep it as is rather than do something structural which may or may not improve the sound.

Ed
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mike in lytle
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2017, 05:42:48 PM »

Hello follow Forumites:
I was considering replacing the bridge on my Forum IV with a pyramid bridge................ John Jr. thought this would be an excellent question for forum members.  So, with that said, how do you think changing the bridge would effect (if at all) the tone of the guitar?
Sincerely,
Tuba Mike

Extraordinarily cool question, which I will be delighted to add what I think.

I think the pyramid shape and mass of the Larrivee have such a negligible effect that you may confidently make you choice based on aesthetics alone.

To properly affect the behavior of the the guitar, I would propose the pyramid needs to embody certain physical characteristics, as the pyramid acts as a battery for energy fields. Using the mathematical formula of the pyramid at Giza, reduced to 1 x 1 inch dimension at its base, might possibly enable the pyramid to trap and preserve musical notes for an indefinite period of time. I would theorize these self-sustaining notes could be attenuated by merely touching the top of the pyramid with the heel of the palm, which temporarily increases the mass of the pyramid, casing the energy field to drain.

This then leads to the exciting possibility that the pyramids could actually be "tuned" to thirds or fifths, by means of differing dimensions of the pyramid base, and when properly installed, enable the guitarist to play along with oneself.

That is what I think.
Mike
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yellowesty
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2017, 06:48:57 PM »

While not qualified to comment on the energy stored in the pyramid at Giza (or any other pyramid, for that matter), there are a couple of issues that can be addressed.  In addition to being the conduit for energy from the strings, through the saddle, to the top, the bridge has at least two other tone-affecting aspects:

The bridge is a mass that must move whenever the center of the top moves.  The greater the mass, the lower the fundamental resonance of the top.  To sample that effect, you might try replacing your bridge pins with heavier pins -- a simple, reversible test.  I used brass pins for a while when a new guitar had a wolf tone -- after a couple of months, the guitar settled in and the heavy pins were no longer needed to tame the wolf.

The bridge is also a significant lateral stiffener of the top.  A pyramid bridge will, likely, have a different stiffness than the original, and that will affect the top resonances that relate to the cross dipole.  I expect that to change the sound, but have no idea how to predict the outcome; maybe some more experienced luthier can comment.
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2017, 07:44:30 PM »

I'll run and hide in my cave after this as I'm sure I'll get stone for posting it.I have shaved down and replace many a bridge in all my years of doing repair and have never notice any real difference in tone.As for switching bridge's out as long as the replacement bridge covers the foot print no big deal.



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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2017, 10:51:39 PM »

  The shape of the pyramids actually adds very little mass (which is why braces get shaved the way they do, in a triangular shape to dramatically reduce mass).  I think pyramid bridges look super-cool and really wish my favorite guitars had them, or even the option of adding them.  If you don't mind the expense, by all means, go for it!  While you're at it, ask him to use hide glue.  That'll offset any potential concerns about tone.
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« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2017, 11:13:04 PM »

I can't, for the life of me, see why you would want to do this.  
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yellowesty
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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2017, 11:16:44 PM »

Looking at photos of the pyramid bridge, it does seem like there would be minimal added mass over a standard bridge.  In fact, based on some views, the pyramid bridge might have less mass than a standard bridge. 

Another sonic influencer could come from potential flexibility of the pyramid bridge.  There isn't much material between the center section of the bridge, holding the saddle and the bridge pins, and the pyramids.  As those valley act a bit like hinges, they will lessen the stiffness across the soundboard.  That will certainly affect soundboard resonances and, possibly, the coupling between the saddle and the X-braces -- whether those changes are significant enough to be audible, and if audible, whether they are for the good or not, I have no idea.  Uncrob suggests, "no."
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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2017, 01:41:15 AM »

I replaced the bridge on my old Larrivee parlor with a pyramid bridge.  It was larger than the standard one. Just made it sound better to me.  And looks way cooler.
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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2017, 07:43:17 AM »

I can't, for the life of me, see why you would want to do this.  
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Tuba Mike
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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2017, 01:22:49 PM »

Thanks, folks, for your thoughts and comments. 

Mike in litle:  Hilarious!  In addition to the energy captured, it would also get rid of my guitar's headaches.  Wait ...that would be me.  Nevermind.

Duck.... I simply like the look of a pyramid bridge on the smaller body guitars.  The initial thought was purely one of  aesthetics.  However, at the risk of effecting the sound of the guitar I choose not to do it.  In addition to that ....

Unclrob:  ... the footprint of the Larrivee bridge I had obtained from Larrivee (which did have the proper string spacing) was smaller than the one currently on the Forum IV.  Thus I was also concerned with the possibility of a visible space around the new bridge.

Danny:  That was the other side of the question.  It could sound better.

Thanks again for the great thoughts and information.
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« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2017, 06:48:45 PM »

I'm also in the camp of believing there might be less mass to a pyramid bridge over the standard, the wings of the pyramid are much shallower at the edges.


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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2017, 04:04:54 PM »

I have couple "pyramid" bridge Larrivees.

Lets be clear about something important (regarding a previous post around the "energy" of a pyramid.)
In actual fact, as you might know, a pyramid is a three faced design, structure/object.
"Pyramid style" guitar bridges have four faces on each side of the saddle and bridge pins.

The other difference regarding "mass" is the "footprint" of the actual bridge.
an upgraded pyramid style bridge will need to be made larger than a standard one to cover up the footprint left by the standard style bridge (thus adding mass).

Wouldn't a simple "mass" equation be based around the weight of the two bridges?



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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2017, 05:14:04 PM »

I ordered my pyramid bridge online and it was larger than the Larrivee bridge. In my case I wanted more structual support on the thinned down, crack repaired top of my old O-01 MH. It worked out well in all respects for me. Looks, support and sound.
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2017, 06:06:28 PM »

I had a conversation with Jean, albeit after a couple of single malts, about this very thing.  It revolved around changing out the pickguard on my 50th for a clear one.  I said I thought that besides looking better, not having the plastic pickguard would allow the top to vibrate better and hence would get better tone.  He said that he has come to the opinion over time that having some extra "mass" on the soundboard actually improves tone .... and he said that would include both pickguard and bridge.  He likened it to the flywheel on an engine.  Something to keep the vibrations going.  I deferred to his knowledge and experience and kept the pickguard.  

Now, whether or not there is a "Laffler curve" for this idea, wherein you reach a certain point when more weight starts to be counterproductive, I don't know. I am sure at some point that becomes a factor.   But, it is an interesting idea.
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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2017, 06:14:40 PM »

I had a conversation with Jean, albeit after a couple of single malts, about this very thing.  It revolved around changing out the pickguard on my 50th for a clear one.  I said I thought that besides looking better, not having the plastic pickguard would allow the top to vibrate better and hence would get better tone.  He said that he has come to the opinion over time that having some extra "mass" on the soundboard actually improves tone .... and he said that would include both pickguard and bridge.  He likened it to the flywheel on an engine.  Something to keep the vibrations going.  I deferred to his knowledge and experience and kept the pickguard. 

Now, whether or not there is a "Laffler curve" for this idea, wherein you reach a certain point when more weight starts to be counterproductive, I don't know. I am sure at some point that becomes a factor.   But, it is an interesting idea.
that is very interesting
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« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2017, 02:50:20 AM »

I had a conversation with Jean, albeit after a couple of single malts, about this very thing.  It revolved around changing out the pickguard on my 50th for a clear one.  I said I thought that besides looking better, not having the plastic pickguard would allow the top to vibrate better and hence would get better tone.  He said that he has come to the opinion over time that having some extra "mass" on the soundboard actually improves tone .... and he said that would include both pickguard and bridge.  He likened it to the flywheel on an engine.  Something to keep the vibrations going.  I deferred to his knowledge and experience and kept the pickguard.  

Now, whether or not there is a "Laffler curve" for this idea, wherein you reach a certain point when more weight starts to be counterproductive, I don't know. I am sure at some point that becomes a factor.   But, it is an interesting idea.
Yes, definitely interesting.
I'd venture to guess it relates to the build itself. My most responsive guitar has a thin layer of shellac, no pick guard, and you can see subtle ripples where the braces are because the top is so thin. That thing is ridiculously sensitive and if I pick a string, the other strings sing sympathetic overtones.  It's just tuned to perform that way, with minimal mass on top.  But, what Jean is saying there is very interesting and I can see how a guitar with a little heavier finish, top, bracing, (a normal guitar) might benefit from weight at the center of vibration, where the strings meet the board, to counter the damping I've a hard time picturing the pick guard doing anything but damping, but I think it's in a location where it wouldn't matter much. I say that only because I've never heard anyone say adding a pick guard affected their tone and I've removed one and didn't notice any change.
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mike in lytle
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« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2017, 04:06:00 AM »

I have couple "pyramid" bridge Larrivees.

Lets be clear about something important (regarding a previous post around the "energy" of a pyramid.)
In actual fact, as you might know, a pyramid is a three faced design, structure/object. (Mike added italics)
"Pyramid style" guitar bridges have four faces on each side of the saddle and bridge pins.

Wouldn't a simple "mass" equation be based around the weight of the two bridges?

A pyramid has as many sides as the base has straight edges.
3, 4, 5, 10 whatever.
What makes a pyramid is that all the sides are triangular and meet at the apex (the top point).
Pyramids don't "have" energy, unless you are talking about the kinetic effect of a multi-million ton stone structure (gravity), or perhaps the carbon energy stored in the structure of a wooden pyramid.

Anyhow, the "mass" equation would be not just the "volume" of the bridge but also the "density" of the wood.
Since we are talking about wooden guitar bridges, we are talking about differences that would be hard to figure.

Sorry about this, but I can't sit next to the smartest guy in class without comment.
Mike


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« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2017, 01:17:58 PM »

A pyramid has as many sides as the base has straight edges.
3, 4, 5, 10 whatever.
What makes a pyramid is that all the sides are triangular and meet at the apex (the top point).
Pyramids don't "have" energy, unless you are talking about the kinetic effect of a multi-million ton stone structure (gravity), or perhaps the carbon energy stored in the structure of a wooden pyramid.

Anyhow, the "mass" equation would be not just the "volume" of the bridge but also the "density" of the wood.
Since we are talking about wooden guitar bridges, we are talking about differences that would be hard to figure.

Sorry about this, but I can't sit next to the smartest guy in class without comment.
Mike



Apologies for my own ignorance from a 1950's education.
 ya, I was taught pyramids had 3 sides (and the bottom of course-making it a 4 sided design).
 I stand corrected.

WITH that in mind, and my reference to "energy" does any one else remember the stupid pyramid energy scam going around sometime ago?
 Media and people making all these stupid claims about the "power" of a pyramid (4 sided).
insane claims of magical healing powers or making you car run better to purify pretty much anything....

With regards to mass and volume, I would assume both bridges would be made from the same wood (ebony) for the same density.

Again, it's nice to be corrected, but even this lifetime professional musician in his 65th year, still gigging regularly (with Larrivee guitars) might  be growing  weary of shots, corrections and his own unwanted opinions on the forum.
 



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« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2017, 01:57:09 PM »

WITH that in mind, and my reference to "energy" does any one else remember the stupid pyramid energy scam going around sometime ago?
 Media and people making all these stupid claims about the "power" of a pyramid (4 sided).
insane claims of magical healing powers or making you car run better to purify pretty much anything..
Ha ha ha I do recall THIS as I'm sure do you 
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