The acoustical behavior of a bass guitar bridge with no saddles

Jonathan A. Kemp*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The acoustics of a bass guitar bridge without saddles was tested experimentally and the results contextualised. Conclusions were obtained demonstrating that the bridge without saddles (where knot around the ball end of the string forms part of the sounding length) produced no measurable reduction in sustain and may increase the sustain for lower pitched strings, in comparison to a conventional bridge featuring saddles. The bridge without saddles showed a reduction in string inharmonicity, and produced a splitting of the frequency peaks associated within the resonances of the string. This peak splitting is explained as being due to differences in the frequency of vibrations parallel to and perpendicular to the body. Since the loop of core wire strongly resists vibration perpendicular to the body but vibrates freely as part of the sounding length for vibration parallel to the body, the relative length of the loop of core wire with respect to the sounding length of the string determines the fractional difference in frequency. The perceptual quality of the sound is similar to the beating due to multiple strings per note (as in piano) and to electronic chorus effects.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0292515
Number of pages18
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2023


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