Break angle

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Von Trapp, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2016
    Messages:
    1,118
    Likes Received:
    669
    Location:
    Sweden
    Does anyone know what the minimum break angle should be between bridge and tailpiece? I looking into putting a Vibrola on but I'm a little worried the angle might come out to shallow.
     
  2. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,849
    Likes Received:
    4,194
    Location:
    London, new hearing aid project - exciting
    The right break angle is as shallow as you can make it without the strings jumping out of the saddle notches when you play. The less the break angle, the smaller the string force on the bridge. This has the dual effect of preventing the famous bridge collapse, and also bringing the strings more accurately back to tune when you release the trem.
     
    PixMix and Chubbles like this.
  3. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2016
    Messages:
    1,118
    Likes Received:
    669
    Location:
    Sweden
    Right, so a quite shallow one would be ok then? I have about 4mm drop on a V but it looks like there's a different neck angle on this SG because the drop looks like it will be 2mm. Don't want to drill the holes only to have the guitar sound like damn sitar.
     
  4. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,849
    Likes Received:
    4,194
    Location:
    London, new hearing aid project - exciting
    That will be OK. If you find the strings jumping out of the saddle dents, just file them a little deeper.
     
  5. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2016
    Messages:
    1,118
    Likes Received:
    669
    Location:
    Sweden
    Great, thanks for the advice.
     
  6. Chubbles

    Chubbles Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2016
    Messages:
    673
    Likes Received:
    408
    I bought a cheap Dean guitar years ago. The break angle was very high because it was string through body. Over time, the cheap tuneomatic bridge sagged in the middle causing buzzing. Now, I start with a very low break angle and increase it until I get a good feel. High break angles creep me out.
     
  7. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Messages:
    8,058
    Likes Received:
    8,156
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    This works fine for me... I've wrapped my strings over
    the top of the tailpiece. I did it because I read somewhere that
    it might improve tone and sustain. I'm not sure that it really
    does, but my SG sounds awesome, so I'm keeping it this way.
    Fig 08 tonepros bridge&tail.jpg
    I never have any trouble keeping my strings in the notches,
    and I never break strings on this guitar either. I do use 11s, but
    they don't break. I put them on and take them off in sets.

    I've seen posts on this site that claim the perfect break angle
    is the same angle as the strings have when they leave the nut
    headed for the tuners. I don't know if this has any validity beyond
    satisfying some kind of OCD, but it's an interesting concept.

    Anyway, I don't think you'll have any trouble either.
     
  8. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,849
    Likes Received:
    4,194
    Location:
    London, new hearing aid project - exciting
    It does have mechanical validity. when the break angles are equal the force on the bridge is straight down along the posts. this stops the tendency of the bridge to be forced to lean forwards
     
    Go Nigel Go likes this.
  9. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2016
    Messages:
    1,118
    Likes Received:
    669
    Location:
    Sweden
    Thanks, yeah that looks shallow to me but great if it works then. I only know that if it's too shallow you'll be playing the sitar and that's what worried me. I'm a little considered that the strings may slide off when I press the vibrato down but like you said I can just file down the saddles and raise the bridge.
     
  10. AngelDeVille

    AngelDeVille Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    1,404
    Likes Received:
    1,751
    I top wrap because it look cool.

    Hate string through bodies!
     
  11. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2015
    Messages:
    7,867
    Likes Received:
    7,435
    Location:
    Sutton Québec
    On my SG. Works great.

    bridge.jpg
     
  12. Sven Schmeler

    Sven Schmeler New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2021
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Having trouble with this myself.
    The way my luthier sets up an SG is to have the stop tail screwed all the way down to the body, but I feel like this kills a bit of sustain with the break angle. The luthier also suggested top wrapping, but anytime I tried it strings feel too loose. Seems like a lose/lose situation. I’ve even been thinking about adding a Bigsby to help with the break angle.
     
  13. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Messages:
    3,902
    Likes Received:
    4,821
  14. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2016
    Messages:
    1,118
    Likes Received:
    669
    Location:
    Sweden
    I did solve this issue by making my own trem (the one in the avatar) because I didn't want to take the risk. But I don't understand your specific problem. From what I understand your tailpiece needs to be screwed all the way down (this doesn't affect sustain btw and some woodoists actually believe doing this will enhance the sustain) yet he also suggests top wrapping. Now the former would increase the break angle whereas the latter would decrease it, so what he does and what he recommends are complete opposites and it all makes no sense. What is the actual problem? Pics please.
     
    Sven Schmeler likes this.
  15. Sven Schmeler

    Sven Schmeler New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2021
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Sorry, I was rambling will try to clear it up a bit. I don't like the way my guitar is set up now, because I feel like there's unnecessary fret buzz and the break angle isn't great. String action is a bit too low but I trust my luthier the way he set it up. However, I'm struggling to see a way to get the action a bit higher and to get the break angle to look a bit more respectable. Do you think that adding a tremolo like yours would help with this?
    243124324_418814662933406_4321005867878037404_n.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2021
  16. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    12,058
    Likes Received:
    10,161
    Location:
    -
    That is the worst looking set up I can imagine. The guy who did it may be a luthier but he is not a tech.
    Fire him search Biddlin's set up and do it right.
     
    Von Trapp and Sven Schmeler like this.
  17. Sven Schmeler

    Sven Schmeler New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2021
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Guess the first part of solving a problem is recognising I have one LOL wasn't aware it was this bad. Looking at your method right now, looks great. Thank you!
     
    Biddlin likes this.
  18. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,849
    Likes Received:
    4,194
    Location:
    London, new hearing aid project - exciting
    The action height is set by those knurled wheels that support the bridge. Turn those and you will raise the action. But the stop bar is so low that the strings are grinding into the back edge of the bridge. You need to rectify that quickly or there will be damage.
     
  19. Sven Schmeler

    Sven Schmeler New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2021
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Will take it to another tech to have a look at it during the week. Thanks!
     
  20. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2016
    Messages:
    1,118
    Likes Received:
    669
    Location:
    Sweden
    Well, I don't think you have a problem at all really. As has been pointed out more fervently here earlier that setup leaves a lot to be desired. First off, the strings should not touch the back of the bridge. That means, raise the tailpiece. Secondly, If you experience fret buzz, one of the remedies can be to raise the bridge. So, try raising the bridge and tailpiece and that may very well do the trick.

    As for trems, no, a trem like mine doesn't solve problems, it's just a trem. Also, it's not available on the market yet because I designed and made it myself. The problem with my break angle was that it was too small (to accomodate a Vibrola), yours is too large. If he bottoms the tailpiece because he thinks it will enhance sustain I suggest he either studies how a guitar works or starts a career in pencil sharpening instead. The latter being much easier and virtually fail proof.

    Also, setting up a guitar hardly takes a luthier to do. Most are just "luthiers" anyway, meaning "guy that sets up guitars" and since it's not rocket science you too can do it. Paying someone to set up a guitar is like paying someone to screw in a light bulb.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2021

Share This Page