Roller bridge sustain killer.

Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by Strato67, Mar 29, 2020.

  1. Strato67

    Strato67 Gretschie

    271
    Oct 19, 2016
    Texas
    I swapped out the bridge on my Airline H78 with a tunomatic style. What a huge difference in sustain. It had the roller bridge pictured. Any recommendations on a decent bridge for it ? The one that’s on it now is okay, but it’s on the cheaper side. But that roller saddle is junk. Chords ring out now.
     

    Attached Files:

    Ricochet likes this.
  2. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    I'm surprised . That roller bridge looks so " engineered "
     
  3. Strato67

    Strato67 Gretschie

    271
    Oct 19, 2016
    Texas
    Lol. Yeah it’s pretty crappy. The bigsby reaponds better now with the TOM bridge. And it actually stays in tune better. I might just get a Gotoh for it.
     
    thunder58 likes this.
  4. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    I've only owned one roller bridge - ABM. It has great tone and sustain. It's expensive, but I got mine for half off when Mojo was clearing them out.

    Schaller makes one that I would trust simply by the name, but I have no personal experience with that one. I also just saw that TonePros has one that I would be willing to try as well.
     
  5. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Decent bridge?
    Tru-Arc or Compton. One piece, no rattling parts, curve matches the neck arc, and great tone with your choice of materials.
     
    G5422T likes this.
  6. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Yeah, not a big fan of roller bridges either...
     
    G5422T likes this.
  7. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    That’s pretty normal. Too many separate parts sucking tone.
     
    DennisC likes this.
  8. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    ABM is the only roller bridge I will use, comparing with Wilkinson types which I think aren’t that great. The ABM does not suck tone, it rings out more like a solid bar bridge.

    I bought them when they cost $75, sold one, then bought another from Thomann, very pricey. I’d get a dBridge for that kind of money if there is a radius mismatch.
     
    ZackyDog likes this.
  9. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    That’s a Rock‘n Roller-Bridge:

    561E81A2-F6DA-43F1-8945-52C795AF49F6.jpeg
     
    DennisC likes this.
  10. DennisC

    DennisC Synchromatic

    Age:
    37
    847
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    I had the same experience. Although it was the ABM, and ABM really is a company making high-to-top quality parts - no doubt about that -, I didn't especially enjoy using it and took it off again.

    The expected and desired advantage in reduced friction across the bridge for the strings when they happen to move here is ... well, not really there. Tuning issues due to vibrato use that are actually caused by the bridge aren't that often anyway, due to a few reasons, but the approach of using rollers, kinda, makes sense. On first sight - of course! As I didn't have much experience regarding Bigsbys and their use and stuff, I bought this roller bridge. I wouldn't do so again - one-piece designs are to be prefered in my opinion.

    Looking deeper into it ... as the problem roller bridges aim to fix often doesn't even exist, it's solution is pointless. And the rollers are too small anyway, so if there are tuning issues related to the bridge, a roller bridge won't fix much of it. As any contact surfaces transmit, absorb and reflect any vibration in different proportions, the more parts you have, as a rule of thumb, the more is gonna get lost. A roller bridge has at least two parts more per string than an equivalent normal TOM has, so the number of opportunities to lose tone is increased, the contact areas are pretty small, to add another flaw. The more even and precise it all is machined, the less negative effect is to expect, but regarding the transmission of vibration (german this has the nice name "Körperschallübertragung" - body sound transmission), fewer parts is better. Always, ever, period, no else.

    Of course, as there's a lot more into this equation, this does not mean every guitar equipped with a roller bridge would sound bad or something.

    One major problem is the roller's size, like said above - if they were big enough to provide a sufficient reduction of friction, they'd make the guitar sound like a sitar. This isn't that desired in most cases, so the rollers are small, but their small sizes, kinda, make the rollers more a symbolic attempt to show how friction could be reduced under different circumstances than an actual improvement. In valvetrains for example rollers are the best you can do, but ... these run at slightly higher speeds, under different curcumstances and the transmission of vibration isn't desired there - the more getting lost, the less has to be done to get it into getting lost. But ... guitars are different. To put it short, you'd need a roller of, like, 1" in diameter to cure the friction, and one of less than 10 mm, preferably smaller, to not sitarize your tone, which isn't possible.

    Sorry for being a bit lengthy here...

    However, the answer is three. dBridge, Truarc, Compton. None of these will disappoint, compensated one-piece bar bridges are, aside from taste, a very elegant and well thought approach. Regarding taste - I think they look cool.
     
    new6659 and Stefan like this.
  11. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Hasn’t been my experience, and I’ve used them on Jags, Guilds, and Gretsch guitars. I recognize that tone is subjective, but sustain is a consistent marker of ‘improvement’. Guitars being bit and parts, there are other things are ‘robbing’ the string, including the bridge base, or a big plywood acoustic top.

    I also recognize that rollers are not always rolling under tension. If the bridge wants to move, the least resistant thing will give way first. In the case of standard TOMs and roller TOMs, it’s the posts, and the play in the thread machining. Once it can’t move anymore, and the vibrato is still going deep, then the rollers do kick in. I keep the ABM and all vibratos lubed with tri-flow, and it makes a difference toward good tuning stability as a Bigsby abuser :)

    More as a experiment, the Jag I currently own has an ABM roller bridge and a roller nut. No tone loss here, it’s still a plinkity-plink Jag, but very tuning stable..

    74A4A894-04CB-42A9-8929-486BDED54131.jpeg
     
    DennisC likes this.
  12. DennisC

    DennisC Synchromatic

    Age:
    37
    847
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    Yes, stuff can vary, and, in the end, it's too complex to make a sufficient model of the physics behind it all. And, of all roller bridges, the ABM to me seems the best one by far.

    I ordered one of the cheapest ones at amazon a few years back, more or less to see how much I get for, like, 7 € including shipping ... these are dangerous - not even deburred edges, blindly grabbing in the bag you could cut yourself. I sent it back, got my money back ... and a few weeks later, another of these bridges arrived. I asked why they did, as I also had my money back ... they didn't even answer.

    The rollers on my ABM didn't move much, the bridge in total did the first half of any motion at least. The wound strings imprinted their surface into the rollers, then acting like rack and gear. After all the bridge didn't really affect tuning at all; I got the nut done and tuning was no issue anymore. Same as on the 5420 (this was on the 2622), regardless of dBridge, stock-TOM and ABM roller, as the bridge was no culprit at all, but the nut.

    Anyway, there's more into it. A guitar with a roller bridge can sound and play absolutely fine, no question... Just like a non-roller bridge equipped guitar can be totally free of any tuning issues...
     
  13. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    From my personal experience about roller bridges, going from cheap to costy, I'd rather say that sometimes it resembles a case by case basis... o_O

    I'll take an example :

    Here is picture comparison between two affordable roller bridge, that proved to be working satisfactorily :
    - each time for the Göldo HW05C (39 Euros).
    - not always for the Vanson (15 Euros).

    [​IMG]

    I mean : the build quality of the Göldo is good, reliable and constant, while the build quality of the Vanson is not : some are well-built, others have too much backlash to work as expected. It varies from one sample to another... :confused:

    All these 3 guitars below have a Vanson roller bridge which works flawlessly, because they are from the "well built" range :

    [​IMG]

    But I have two other Vanson of the same model that are not correct. I put one on my G5420TLH : too much lateral backlash giving buzz, so I reverted to a Göldo HW05C :

    [​IMG]

    On my Gibson ES-335TD, I installed a TonePros TP6-R roller bridge, quite a costy device from a good reputation... That proved to be from a poor machining quality : I had to shim the saddle screws to avoid longitudinal backlash. Sorry I did not took pictures...

    Previously, I choose the same model TP6-R was for my Dano "Minverva Verde" and this sample proved to be of the expected quality... Conversely to the later one that I installed on my Gibson, feeling confident !

    Two of my guitars have a premium ABM2400C roller bridge : My Supro Westbury...

    [​IMG]

    ... And my SuperCharger (here seen along with my Dano "Minerva Verde" at right)...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    No issue on the Supro Westbury, but some tuning offset on the SuperCharger due to a steeper break angle. In that case, the Göldo HW05C and his large diameter rollers would give better results than the very small rollers of the ABM2400C, I think...

    About sustain : well... I must confess that I did not noticed significative difference by opting for a roller bridge, maybe because I did not paid too much attention to that ? o_O

    A case by case basis... :rolleyes:

    A+!
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
    new6659 likes this.
  14. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    I’ve never understood why one wants a roller bridge (on a Bigsby equipped guitar). All those separate parts are tone and tuning suckers.
     
  15. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    Not really. One wants one to eliminate yet another place for strings to bind. Yes, some are tone suckers, but not all are. I have the ABM 2400 and it's excellent from a tonal standpoint. Great sustain, doesn't enhance harsh frequencies or dampen any others.

    And no buzz whatsoever.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
  16. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Friend of Fred

    Age:
    56
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Never had a need or desire for buzz-o-matic bridges of any type.
     
    Stefan and audept like this.
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