I know bridge placement has been discussed, but what about the difference between the glued on bridge with the strings pegged, or hooked on like a uke or hard tail, compared to a bridge with a tailpiece and the strings pressing down on the bridge. 

I know that more down pressure is good(to a point) but what about up pressure. The acoustic guitars with pegged strings would have a pulling force on the soundboard rather than a down pressure. What do you cbg wizzes think of one over the other for acoustic purposes. I'm hoping to have as long a debate here as John got started so lets go.

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There is (or should be) a correlation between the type of bridge and the bracing used on the top.  If the strings only apply a downward force, a simple brace under the bridge that runs perpendicular to the fretboard could suffice.  If the strings attach to the bridge itself, they will apply a bending moment to the top and the bracing should be designed to withstand that moment.  If not, the top will want to deform (as seen on many acoustic guitars) with the side toward the headstock sinking and the opposite side pulling up.  To resist this tendency, the bracing needs to stiffen the top along the fretboard.  A simple “X” brace from corner to corner across the top is very effective at providing the necessary resistance to the torque applied by the strings.  Hope that is food for thought.

Thats a good start, and important ideas to think about. I guess what I am wondering is if there is a noticable sound difference between the 2 methods, oh and to get people debating.

Ahhh, yer all fulla crap.




Now that we've gotten the ad hominem attack out of the way, I think that the only way to know if there's an appreciable sound differnce between the two methods wiould be to build several identical-seeming guitars, one with pegged strings and a glued on bridge, another with a hard tail, and another with a tailpiece. Everything stays the same except the bridge attachment method.

Well I know we're all full of crap, thats half the point. Now lets get some more of it flowing. I need opinions not facts! lol

My opinion is that the thickness of the soundboard and string tension are the determining factors for good acoustic tone, not which way the strings are pulling (up or down). I have commercial gits with fixed bridges and extensive bracing, that show some soundboard bowing, due to the fact that I like to drive my gits with phosphor bronze Mediums.

Alternate Tuesdays during a full moon might also play a hitherto unsuspected role.

I've done both and had both work well.  I actually think that you can get away with a tail piece and floating bridge better/safer on a thinner top as long as you don't over tension it.   I would guess that 3/4 of my current (last 50 builds) are with bridges secured to the top by either gluing or mechanical (screws).   Often I use aluminum channel to form a hard tail. 

WS 204 body

I guess the point I want to make is that a bridge with the string termination (either peg or hardtail) does not really "lift" the top, but twists the top with the back of the bridge lifting and the front of the bridge pressing down.  I think that this kind of bridge really wakes up a thicker top. 


just some thoughts,


Wichita Sam

So Sam, nice looking guitar by the way, are you using any bracing on the top of a guitar like the Havana Honeys?  I too like the concept of a bridge that "twists" the top.  No experimental evidence, but it would seem to have the ability to excite to the top.  Also, how are you terminating the neck?  More specifically, how much of the top is contacting the neck inside the box?  I have typically kept the contact to about a half an inch on the top and two to three inches on the bottom to try to leave as large a vibrating surface as possible.  Thanks.

This Tail piece has the 1/8 inch generic wood on top starting on the body then off of a oak tail piece under it and has a great sound. You can even put the piezio on the outside bottom of the oak tail piece an it picks it up no problem. Oh and I saw long pieces of pine today that would make great saddles but it was pine?? So I googled it and there were some articles saying pine has a great tone does anyone know more about that?



When I use a hard tail like on the Havanna Honey, I use a piece of 1/4" hard wood (mostly maple about 1"X2") under the bridge and screw thru the bridge and top into the hardwood stiffener.  Ususally, on a piezo pup, I sandwich the piezo between the top and the stiffner.  The neck is a bolt on with a 1 3/4 wide hardwood head block.  Once you've done a couple it is really easy and gives you a lot of design possiblities that a neck thru just doesn't allow.  Most of my builds are played amped, so loudness acoustically isn't the most important thing to me.  By the way, if you shave the headblock, you could have the whole top free to vibrate.....


the best,


Wichita Sam


Hi guys, I'm a newbie here but seeing as we are all full of crap I'll donate a spoon full. I've just finished my first cbg by following some of the basic steps, I made it a through neck with a relief for the lid to resonate, the tail piece is screwed to the back of the lid and neck and the strings pass over a floating bridge. acoustically it sounds fine BUT it has very little sustain. this Leeds me wonder if the downward string pressure is actually limiting string vibration.

I should also mention that I thickness-ed   the lid from 1/4'' to 1/8'' which weakened it considerably and then needed to brace it.

So trough neck versus bot on, tail piece versus bridge pining. Can we have good sustain and resonance at the same time? Regards to all, Walt

To date Ive built an Aeolian harp, a cbg, and a uke so my practical experience is limited but I've also been reading Luthier books and studying like crazy so here are my thoughts for what they are worth...

Many thousands of stringed instruments have been built over hundreds of years using both fixed and floating bridges, if there were any appreciable difference one would have won out by now. The break angle of the strings over the bridge or apron makes substantially more difference in volume and tone. Too shallow an angle and you lose volume and its possible for the string to slide back and forth causing unpleasant sounds. Ive experienced this while experimenting. Supposedly the ideal angle is about 45 degrees.

I build lid on the back i find it more stable. I call this the fishtail I use it with a archtop style bridge and a modified strat style bridge plate for a tailpiece screwed through the box end and into the fishtail. the top is supported only by the area around the neck joint and the small part on the tail this gives the top a chance to vibrate. This is how i built them before I had seen a CBG and now I have a million ideas thanks to this site. 


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