John Gribble
John Gribble
@john-gribble
3 years ago
107 posts

The bridge is a piece, usually wood on acoustic instruments, on which strings rest and are sometimes attached. The vibrations of the strings are transferred to the resonating body of the instrument.

A saddle is a bone, ivory, metal, wood, or synthetic piece which is set atop a bridge, usually in a slot or groove. The strings sit on top of it. Traditionally saddles are not glued to the bridge. 

Sometimes a second piece of material is glued to the top of a bridge. If it is fitted into a notch or slot, it is called an insert.  If it is the top layer of a bridge, it is called a cap.

joe sanguinette
joe sanguinette
@joe-sanguinette
3 years ago
74 posts

yes floating bridges are the way to go

Matt Berg
Matt Berg
@matt-berg
3 years ago
57 posts

The short answer, yes.  The long answer, for most players it is one additional feature they need to worry about, will only modestly improve their play and generally makes them more frustrated.

If you plan to play many different styles of music, perhaps.  It really comes down to how much time you want to spend messing with your instrument for a modest improvement in sound.  Some people obsess over the tiniest improvement, some people say, close enough for rock and roll.

Bob
Bob
@bob
3 years ago
98 posts

I am wondering now if it would be better to have floating bridges rather than fixed bridges?

Matt Berg
Matt Berg
@matt-berg
3 years ago
57 posts

Uh, yea, the article on frets.net is confusing.  Try going to Stewmac.com (a site everyone who builds instruments visits from time to time) and type in saddle.  A much more authoritative source.

Lisa Golladay
Lisa Golladay
@lisa-golladay
3 years ago
101 posts

It determines where McSpadden glues the bridge. Read this page:  https://www.mcspaddendulcimers.com/kb_results.asp?ID=6

As a practical matter, compensation is more of a concern when:

1.  You have a short-scaled instrument (like a 23" Ginger)

2.  You are playing higher up the fretboard (in the second octave)

3.  You are fretting more than one string (noter/drone don't care unless the intonation is way off)

4.  You have a sensitive ear and notice when strings aren't quite in tune with each other

FWIW, my Ginger was compensated for GDG.  When I string her DAD the intonation's OK for me in the first octave but I notice it's off in the 2nd octave.  I know someone who tunes his Ginger DAA but had her compensated for that.

If you're ordering a standard 28" McSpadden and you retune between DAD and DAA often, I wouldn't worry about it.  If you tend to play drones in DAA and chords in DAD, then compensate for DAD.

I've heard enough arguments about "bridge" vs "saddle" to leave me totally confused.  According to Frets.com, no wonder: http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/Guitar/Setup/Saddle/saddle01.html

marg
@marg
3 years ago
557 posts

(the saddle is angled so that the distance from nut to saddle (bridge) is greater for the thicker strings.)

Is that what this angled is?

 

Compensation.jpg
Compensation.jpg  •  103KB

Matt Berg
Matt Berg
@matt-berg
3 years ago
57 posts

Ken, just because YOU can't hear the difference doesn't mean the rest of us can't.   Your responses to too many questions are that no one will hear the difference.    The idea is to continue improving the dulcimer.  If you have given up on improving the instrument, I am sorry for you.

Before responding, try stringing a compensated instrument DAA with the same gauge strings.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
3 years ago
1,766 posts

IMHO most people can't hear the difference between compensated and un-compensated dulcimers, making MacSpadden's claim more marketing hype than functional difference.  If you have perfect pitch or are anal retentive, then perhaps compensation matters. 

Matt Berg
Matt Berg
@matt-berg
3 years ago
57 posts

Well, first, it shows that McSpadden does not understand the art of lutherie.  The bridge is not compensated, the saddle is compensated,..., and no, it doesn't change just because you are making a dulcimer.

That aside, because of the difference in gauge of strings, thicker strings tend to become sharp as you play higher and higher frets.  To adjust for this, the saddle is angled so that the distance from nut to saddle (bridge) is greater for the thicker strings.  Longer distances tend to produce lower notes.  This keeps the thicker strings from becoming sharp as you play up the scale.

In the guitar world, a compensated saddle will not only be angled, but frequently has recesses carved into the saddle itself.

A compensated saddle does not prevent a musician from playing DAA.  Simply string the instrument with a thinner melody string, maybe a nine, and a thicker middle string, maybe a 12 or 14.  Works just fine.

marg
@marg
3 years ago
557 posts

What is a  bridge compensation or what does it mean?

McSpadden listed below post if you wanted to play in DAd

" If you expect to play only in D-A-dd, we recommend ordering the bridge compensation option to optimize playability in that tuning."