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 Post subject: Floating bridge
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:11 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:23 pm
Posts: 16
Location: Jefferson, Iowa
I haven't seen this question posted yet. Can anyone impart some wisdom as to is logic of a floating bridge over a fixed one on a hollow or semi hollow guitar with a trapeze tailpiece? I'm sure there has to be a reasonably good explaination but have never seen one.


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 Post subject: Re: Floating bridge
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:06 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:52 am
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Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
On a real hollow body, the tops are too wimpy to really bolt anything to it, and it would most likely adversely affect the acoustics of the guitar. The floating bridge transfers vibrations, but doesn't compromise the integrity of the soundboard (top). I think that anytime you see a Tune-o-matic on a ES335 shaped guitar, its gonna be a semi-hollow body with a block of something underneath that the bridge is anchored to.

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 Post subject: Re: Floating bridge
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:27 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:23 pm
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Location: Jefferson, Iowa
The floating bridge just locates the strings left to right on the neck and vertically on the frets. It doesn't anchor the strings, the trapeze does that. So why have a floating bridge when it could be glued to the top and accomplish the same thing? Bump the bridge and now it is out of tune. My inquiring mind has a need to know. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Floating bridge
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:09 am 
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Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
I don't consider myself an authority, and I'm certainly no Luthier or historian... however there are tons of instruments that use this setup. The whole Violin family, the Mandolin family, Banjos just for example. Maybe it's just grandfathered in, but maybe there is some compelling reason behind the non-glued floating bridge?

I know in the Violin world the Lacquer is highly prized, and that would get cracked off and damaged any time the bridge was replaced (every 75 years or so!) if it was glued down... Sorry I couldn't help out, maybe wikipedia or some other web source could shed some light.

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 Post subject: Re: Floating bridge
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:46 am 
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Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 9:32 am
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Location: NYC
I play upright bass which uses a floating bridge. When properly setup, the bridge feet make perfect contact with the top. On hollow-body instruments, the top flexes and changes overtime. With a floating bridge the feet can be modified to keep a good fit which translates into good tone. If the top were glued on it would be a much bigger job to do so. Also, on arch-top (rather than flat-top guitars) the side to side motion of the strings is important to the tone. A floating bridge with feet, allows the body to flex with this motion. It is an important part of the sound. If the bridge was glued to the top, it could not flex the same way.


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 Post subject: Re: Floating bridge
PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2008 4:11 pm
Posts: 657
Location: Tenn.
Stew Mac sells a floating tune-o-matic. I have always been told to mark the bridge location with tape when removing strings so the bridge can be put back in the same position and stay intonated.

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 Post subject: Re: Floating bridge
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:50 am 
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Location: NYC
If you use tape, make sure it is low tack painter's or draftsman's tape so you don't harm the finish. If the bridge will only be off for a short time and the guitar won't be moved much, post-it notes work well.


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