i'm looking for ideas for a string retainer for the tail end of a cbg. I need more saddle break angle on a neck thru. Strings seem to slip on the bridge when the guitar is played hard. I'm using a bolt for the bridge, but the break angle is only around 5 degrees at the bridge and 15 degrees at the head which is connected with a scarf joint.
Any retainer ideas and design ideas that wont rip through the top?
Well, there's lots of options. One that I particularly like is to use a triangular-shaped piece of wood and slot the top, where you then place a nail with both ends cut off and filed. File groves for the strings in the nail. It forms the saddle, the triangular wood transfers the sound straight to the top of the git, and the height can be adjusted by sanding down the bottom of the wood.
Another method is with the bolt. The trick there is to get a bolt that is the correct diameter... then with the correct number of threads per inch. Too many threads per inch and the strings will slip. Too few and the strings may buzz. Which one you want to use depends on what strings you're using. I usually take a hack saw to a bolt and saw string groves in the top. That seems counter-productive (why use a bolt in the first place?)... but bolts come in such a wide variety of diameters and threads that it makes it really easy to create a floating-bridge using a bolt. Plus they do a good job of transferring string vibration right to the box.
Overall though, I prefer a wood bridge. Some folks like carved bone-- and that is probably the best bridge available. I've seen some really nice work out there. I don't think it's so much the break angle of the strings as it is the way the strings sit in the bridge slots. That said, I've seen gits using metal-top un-slotted bridges, just letting the strings set and slide as they will. They won't go very far and it seems to work fine the way I pick (which is either just below the neck or even on the neck).
As with all things CBG... lotsa options! : )
Thanks Wayfinder! Great information! I think though I need to sharpen the break angle just behind the bridge. I need something like a string retainer but behind the bridge. I'm using a bolt for the saddle and although that seems ok, the string angle is only around 5 degrees. I cant just screw a string retainer into the box top as I think it will just rip out because of the string tension.
That photo looks like a pretty normal angle to me. However if you want to add a retainer, glue a 1/4" piece of wood on the inside of the box behind the bridge where you want the retainer. That will reinforce the box and spread the tension of the retainer out over several square inches instead of just a couple of spots. Should work fine. I've used that trick several times for various things, as have others.
Geez of course! Good idea! Thanks so much for helping me!
Most welcome. I'm sure you'll return the favor sometime when I'm stumped. : )
If it's a neck-through design, you can screw down a picture hanger clip... or use 2 flat-head screws, the trick is each screw needs to pull the string off to one side just a bit to keep the string from popping off...
A string retainer between bridge and tailpiece
Maybe something like my Happy Ending tailpiece/bridge/saddle/pickup combo.
Kinda related - On my steampunk build I got weirdly creative. I used ebony epoxied & screwed to aluminum with holes drilled thru for a thin nail and used the ball ends from old strings as the 'notches' on the 'saddle'.
Highly creative Ted. Love every photo. Using the ball ends as string slides is brilliant. And I especially like the headless tuning key / bridge / saddle combo. Gonna have to try that. :D