Guitar Bridge – Variations on Acoustic Guitar Bridges

The bridge is one of the most important parts of the tone creation elements of the acoustic and classical guitars. With unconventional installation, or if the bridge is made of less than prime materials, the bridge can cause the luthier significant problems.

What is It’s Principal Function? The primary function of the bridge is to provide a secure bond of the strings to the guitar. The securement of this attachment is of extreme importance as the bridge needs to endure the nearly 200 pounds of tension placed on the instrument by the guitar strings.

Secondary Function of the Bridge: An additional purpose of the guitar bridge is to beneficially convey the vibrations and tone that is produced by a strummed or picked string to the guitar’s top plate.

What is the Final Purpose of the Bridge?Bridge appearance is the concluding purpose of the bridge. The functional beauty of a guitar bridge is also a very fundamental factor in guitar bridge design. Part of this functional beauty is the comfort that the bridge affords to the guitar player’s hand upon resting it on the bridge while playing the guitar.

Bridges – The Most Common Types:There are many varieties of bridges that are made for the acoustic guitar and subset versions of each of these. The classical guitar, principally utilizes only one type of bridge, and you will see that bridge used on nearly every modern and vintage classical guitar. It is the same bridge creation that Antonio De Torres designed in the mid-1800’s. The typical classical bridge has three major elements. The saddle area, the tie block and the bridge wings, which supply additional securement of the bridge to the top and also transfer string vibrations. The classical guitar relies completely on a glue joint to fasten the bridge to the guitar top.

The Belly Bridge:This is probably the most often employed bridge, and the one with the most importance. In the early 1930’s the CF Martin Company made the belly bridge part of their Dreadnought Guitar line. This popularity is due in part to the elegance and the simplicity that the belly guitar bridge design brings to the acoustic guitar. The belly bridge utilizes a captured saddle, gracefully curved wing ramps, and of course the belly plan-form. This guitar bridge is most typically attached to the guitar top plate using glue only.

The Acoustic Guitar Prism Bridge: Martin Guitar Company introduced the prism bridge on their vintage small bodied guitars, or parlor series of guitars and have since re-introduced it on numerous vintage re-issue guitars. There are various differences between the belly bridge and the prism bridge. These variations include a rectangular form, a through saddle and prism-shaped bridge wings.

The Mustache Bridge: The Gibson Guitar Company was the first to design and introduce the mustache bridge. Gibson first used these bridges on their guitars that were known as pre-war or guitars produced prior to WWII. I borrows it’s name from the shape of an old-fashioned handlebar mustache, which it resembles. It also shares the mutual component of a captured saddle with the belly bridge. The bridge pin shape is commonly fan-shaped or in an arc. A glue joint is most often combined with some kind of mechanical fastener for attachment of the mustache bridge.

That is it for the fundamentals on typical bridges. This covers the vast majority of bridges that are used for both classical and acoustic guitars. Each has its loyal following and reasons for using them.