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So I'm a bit confused about the break angle of the strings over the saddle. I'm sure like most things it will be a trade off. I thought that having a sharp or steep angle where the strings meet the saddle would give the best transfer of string vibration to the bridge and top and provide maximum volume/tone. It would also eliminate buzzing or sliding of the strings on the saddle. But, my best sounding CBG and my commercially made resonator guitar both have a very shallow break angle over the saddle and they both are very loud and clear (CBG is not a resonator but does have a nice Punch Chateau box) I see many builds here that have very shallow break angles but are said to sound good as well.
What do you folks think about break angle at the saddle, steep, shallow, does it really matter?
I'm talking about acoustic guitars, not electric.
Thanks for your input!
At the risk of sounding like a stalker, I am becoming a fan! I appreciate your input and look for it first when searching CBN archives. SO... I say this next bit because I find it interesting, not because I think you are wrong!
I followed the link to your pic of neck scarfs and used this tool to measure the angle from the pic:
I'm getting 24 degrees or so. The take away is I don't have to be afraid of scarfing the hound dog outta the neck.
Uh... I went chicken spit and came in around 6 degrees, just like my headstock. Maybe that was a "why bother?" Oh well, I'll just keep on keeping on. Thanks!
From Wiki, you can see there is a big range in scarf angles. The there's the Tele and Strat - no scarf.
It would be easy for people to get confused since the original question was about bridge break. Headstock scarf is for nut break and will have zero bearing on bridge break. I have never heard of neck scarf. Since scarf is, as far as I know, a type of joint, I don't see how there is any type of scarf that will determine your bridge break. I know YOU know this, but others might not.
Bridge break is pretty simple. Where your strings leave your tailpiece, you want to keep that as low as you can without the strings rubbing on the box. Then you make a bridge that gives you about 4mm clearance at the 17th fret. If your fingerboard is set flush with the box top, that bridge will be pretty low but you'll still get a sorta OK break, though you will tend to rap your fingertips/pick on the soundboard and sound like crap. If you fingerboard is set 3 or 4 mm above the box top you'll get an extra 3 or 4 mm of break, which would be very good.More break and more clearance for your pinkies. If your bridge is about 1/3 or a 1/4 in from the end of the box, it's easier to get a good break. If you bridge is in the middle of the box (and thus further from the tailpiece) your break angle diminishes a lot.
If your neck has some relief, you can get more bridge break without a higher action.
Simple system: 1) bottom of your neck going into the box is 2mm lower than the same at the back. That gives a moderate amount of relief.
2) Get your fingerboard elevated above the box top by about 3 mm to 6mm.
3) string it up. Adjust nut til you have about .5mm clearance at fret 1.
4) try different combos of bridge and saddle stuff until you get action height of ~4mm at 17th fret.
5)Make finished bridge to that height.
Bugger the trigonometry off. You're making it unnecessarily complicated in my opinion. Just get a good bridge break, a moderately high action, you're good to go.
Oh, I don't scarf, I just cut out as much depth as I need (more toward the back to give me the the extra 2mm for relief) and once I know it's right I laminate a length underneath for strength.
Thanks for your simple system. I will definitely be targeting your guides on clearance!
also... I dug this link from the archives
There's a good, noob-friendly explanation with illustrations towards the bottom. The top is a calculator for fiddling the variables. I don't expect to fiddle to such detail, but I now get the principle pretty well (if not the application... but that's why we practice!).
That neck angle calculator is pretty cool, but in your case you have a variable that YOU control - bridge height. If you know you have a little bit of relief, you also know you'll be able to make a bridge to the ideal height for setting your action. I keep a few bits of bridge saddle blank of different thickness and a few different bridge rods and it's easy to find a combo that gives the right height for me (4mm clearance at F17), measure it, and make a bridge of that height. Easier to do it by stringing up and experimenting than by doing calculations that will be thrown off if your neck cut is .5mm out.
You can go up to 4mm lower at front of box and get more neck relief.
Yeah - guys that don't tell you anything are MUCH more helpful than guys who take the time to explain stuff!! Not directed at anyone in particular.
"Truth is most of the really impressive builders don't type a lot of words and they don't enter into these debates.", and yet you speak volumes.