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[b]Magnetic bridge plates affect tone?[/b]

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by alheeley, Jan 20, 2006.

  1. alheeley

    alheeley Tele-Meister

    160
    Nov 24, 2005
    This from Glendales web page:

    "Magnetic 1950's: The Glendale magnetic bridge-plate will enhanced your guitar's sound. It will become vibrant with more over tones, more definition, more acoustic, and better frequency response. Bringing out the best of the 1950's Tele sound. If you want to enhanced your guitars tone with the 1950's sound this is the bridge-plate for you. I recommend you use Alnico 3 pickups to get the 50's tone.

    Non-Magnetic 1960's: The non-magnetic is very percussive, rich and alive sounding with great Twang, really enhancing the 1960's Tele sound that I set out to achieve. In Redd Volkaert's words "I ordered the new non-magnetic bridge, and my Tele came to life, more overtones & harmonics."
    If you want a very balanced tone and lots of twang, this is the bridge for you. I also use the Non-Magnetic bridge-plate. I recommend you use Alnico 5 pickups to get the 60's tone.

    Non-Magnetic verses Magnetic: The early 1950's Teles do not have the twang of the 1960's Teles. The non-magnetic bridge-plate helps bring out the twang of the 60's. Leo used steel saddles in the 60's witch have more twang than brass. In my opinion you can use brass saddles and a non-magnetic bridge-plate and get the best twang and the great tone of brass.
    "

    Is a magnetic bridge plate really going to have such an effect on the tone of the guitar, or is it more about the vibrations being carried through from the strings to the guitar body, being influenced differently by different metals (eg: brass saddles)? Does it have anything to do with the mysterious powers of magnetism?
     

  2. chickenpicker

    chickenpicker Friend of Leo's

    Jan 25, 2005
    UK
    You've got to take into account your direction in relation to the North Pole if you have a magnetic bridge - it has a real effect on sound and mojo.

    I have a gyroscope-equipped compass mounted on my headstock, so no matter which direction the stage faces, I can get the correct orientation.

    Which is a problem in one particular club in Bilston, as I never get to face the audience.
     

  3. alheeley

    alheeley Tele-Meister

    160
    Nov 24, 2005
    hEH, you sound as cynical as me about this!
     

  4. ThermionicScott

    ThermionicScott Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    37
    Dec 3, 2005
    SW CR IA US NA PE
    It's easy to be cynical when both designs are touted as being better than the other.

    BTW, when I hear the term "magnetic", I think of something that has been magnetized, which I don't think the early bridge plates were. I suppose "magnetic" is better marketing than "iron" though. :)
     

  5. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 28, 2004
    Maryland (US)
    kudos to Glendale

    I don't think Glendale's advertising/marketing is saying both are better. It's saying the magnetic ones are better for one type of tone and the non magnetic ones are better for a different type of tone.

    There's some wisdom I've seen here for the term ferrous instead of magnetic, being appropriate to describe the different plates. I try to stick to that, I started to use that in the previous paragraph but then figured someone would accuse me of misquoting Glendale.

    I haven't had the opportunity to play a Tele with a non ferrous bridge plate for other than a couple of minutes in a guitar store, an American Standard and that was several months ago.

    With many bridge plates, the non ferrous ones differ in other characteristics, often thickness and the use of six vs. three saddles, and in some case the mounting screw hole pattern and placement, and the string through hole placement. For many Teles then, the hole placements and pattern make it difficult, often expensive and time consuming, to try the type that's different than the one you already have in your Tele. And depending on the number of other characteristics that also differ for your configuration, possibly an apples/oranges comparison.

    Benefits of the Glendale bridge plates include fewer differences between the two within the Glendale product line, and so they make it possible to do a more fair comparison of ferrous and non ferrous. So if you really want to know whether there is a difference, and for a vintage bridge patterned and 3-saddled Tele; the Glendale saddles look to me like the best platform to experiment and answer the question. I'm thankful to Glendale for having made these.

    I can't afford to buy both and try. Then again, I'm content with the tone on my FENDER PAT PEND saddles that are $8 from MF.

    0le FUZZY hinted a while back that he was planning to do some testing of Glendale products. If you're reading this 0le FUZZY, I for one look forward to hearing anything you're willing to share on the differences in these plates.
     

  6. chickenpicker

    chickenpicker Friend of Leo's

    Jan 25, 2005
    UK
    Serious post (for once):

    All ferrous metals contain iron.

    Non-ferrous metals contain no iron. Aluminium, copper, zinc to name but three.

    Stainless steel is ferrous, but also contains chromium, which stops it rusting. Some stainless steel only contains a small amount of chrome (e.g. cheap cutlery), and is attracted to magnets. Some stainless steel contains more chrome (e.g. dairy equipment), and is not affected by magnets, although a quick google will turn up evidence that cold-working of these grades of stainless can impart some magnetic properties.

    Therefore, the term "non-ferrous" is not (in my opinion) the right way to describe these bridge plates.

    Again, a quick google shows that the term "non-magnetic stainless steel" is in use. NMSS. Perhaps we could add it to the list of acronyms? :rolleyes:

    chickenpicker BSc (Hons) Open (Tech); HNC; C&G 165
     

  7. kp8

    kp8 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 22, 2004
    Seoul, Korea
    plenty to be cynical about i the gear world, but think for a sec.

    guitar pickups are made with magnets.
    guitar pickup are mounted in bridge plates.
    some bridgeplates are magnetic...

    ... Now i am not gonna claim i know what the *sonic* effects of putting a big hunk of magnetic metal round a magnetic p/up is, but i bet something. Heck the moon makes the tide go in and out don't it? hee hee.

    That there is some difference between magnetic bridge plates and non is not something i am gonna dismiss just yet.

    add to the mix, p/ups that are microphonic.. what happens there... i dunno know eggzactly what it is but i am betting something...

    -kp--
     

  8. RockinCarl

    RockinCarl Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 21, 2005
    Michigan
    Are Callaham bridges magnetic?
     

  9. kp8

    kp8 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 22, 2004
    Seoul, Korea
    if i remember right they are.

    I'll try to remember to check when i get to the studio tomorrow, where i keep the callaham equiped tele. But i have a vague memory of sticking a fridge mag on there and having it stick.

    -kp8--
     

  10. alheeley

    alheeley Tele-Meister

    160
    Nov 24, 2005
    I did not mean to sound like I was bad-mouthing Glendale in this post, I was just trying to de-mystify all the pseudo-science mumbo jumbo around that is often talked about 'ultimate tone' and find out if such things like a magnetised bridge plate actually and significantly affect tonal response because of their magnetism, or is it more because of a well-made solid flat plate, fixed well to the body, a vibration-transfer thing.
     

  11. kp8

    kp8 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 22, 2004
    Seoul, Korea
    de-mystification of pseudo-science mumbo jumbo welcome as far as i am concerned. The more the better!

    I have my own hunches about certain things, but the ferrous -vs- non ferrous bridge plate thing is still shrouded in mystery. What effect this has, and if this is good or not has really only been discussed anecdotally. I am not yet convinced of any of it one way or another. Till some one chimes in with something halfway scientific "who knows", "i think" and a bunch of other touchy feel-ly bunk & uncertainty is all we got.

    My gut tells me nothing on this topic.

    Now Cryogentic treatment (hee hee)
    Speaker "break-in" and other myths hee hee.


    -kp8--
     

  12. alheeley

    alheeley Tele-Meister

    160
    Nov 24, 2005
    Dale from aforementioned company was kind enough to reply very promptly to my email question about this, it should be of interest:

    Maybe you can presume that a magnetic bridge plate causes some disruption of the field around the pickup, allowing it to be less 'focussed' on the areas directly above it, and more spread out; maybe this reduces the induced current when a string vibrates in what should be a lower density magnetic field?
    The softer brass saddles should affect transmission of vibrations from the string; this is clearly nothing to do with magnetism, or lack of.
     

  13. El Capitan

    El Capitan Tele-Holic

    808
    Jul 14, 2003
    AUSTIN, Tejas!
    I find this whole thing very misleading

    50's magnetic.
    60's non magnetic.


    Most of us know all tele bridges are magnetic until (?)
    (Can't remember and really don't care. It's this kind of attention to minutiae that I choose not to remember)

    Sound samples with the same saddles and same pickups would help....

    I am VERY interested if someone has just changed the bridge plate ALONE, and could offer an opinion, or sound samples.

    If you are like me, you changed the pickup, bridge plate and saddles at the same time, so no comparison could be made. LOL


    (This from a guy, that just spent around $200 bucks at the Glendale closeout sale)
     

  14. Twangbanger

    Twangbanger Tele-Holic

    946
    Mar 16, 2003
    Marble Falls, TX
    The ferrous bridge actually changes the inductance of the bridge pup. Same if you put the ashtray on.

    That's why the sound is mainly different.

    A coil of wire is effected by ferrous metals. The poles in pups are a ferrous metal, if not there would be no sound or very little.

    By placing a ferrous(magnetic) bridge around a pickup you increase the inductance.

    Non ferrous(non-magnetic) bridges will not change the inductance of the pup.

    Anyone that has an inductance meter should measure a bridge pup in and out of a Ferrous(maganetic) bridge and see a change.

    It's physics. I used to work for an old physic major/engineer and I asked him about this one day.
     

  15. RockinCarl

    RockinCarl Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 21, 2005
    Michigan
    So really with the non-magnetic bridge plate, you're getting the bridge pickup's "natural" tone? Hmm.... Interesting.
     

  16. Stan Martin

    Stan Martin Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 22, 2003
    MA
    I wouldn't say natural, but (T.Downs help?)

    So really with the non-magnetic bridge plate, you're getting the bridge pickup's "natural" tone? Hmm.... Interesting.[/quote]

    unaltered. There is a difference. I've tried both magnetic/non-magnetic or ferrous/non-ferrous.

    magnetic/ferrous seems to have a more twangy quality and yes Tele's sound twangy anyway, but there is more of it with the traditional thin ferrous Fender bridge.

    Does the thickness and or rigidity of the stainless steel plate have more of an affect than it's non-magnetic properties? Better men than me should be able to answer this. Mr.Terry Downs perhaps?
     

  17. fullerplast

    fullerplast Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 17, 2003
    I think I understand what you are trying to say, but I believe you have some of the terminology and concepts a bit mixed up.

    Inductance doesn't change due to the bridge material; it's a function of the number of turns of wire, size of the coil, and wire size, but not the magnetic field.

    The pickup works because of what is called magnetic reluctance, which is the ratio of magnet force to magnetic flux. Magnetic reluctance is in turn affected by what is called permeability. Permeability tells you how much a material is affected by a magnetic field. This is where the bridge plate comes into play. You are slightly changing the way a magnet responds to string movement by altering the magnetic field of the pickup. The strings are vibrating in this field and generate an AC signal in the coil so any change in the field will affect the signal. The field will be affected by the bridge pickup plate, as well as the bridge itself, if it is magnetic. Inductance is not affected by any of this however.

    All that said, use your ears. There will be a difference. Which bridge you prefer tonally (or even if you actually hear a difference), is completely subjective.
     

  18. Twangbanger

    Twangbanger Tele-Holic

    946
    Mar 16, 2003
    Marble Falls, TX
    Inductance is effected by the cahnge of an iron subastance around a coil. I proved this when rewinding the inductor in my wah. I had it closs to the correct value, so I wrapped the inductor with an iron sheet of thin metal. Yes, the inductance did increase then. All measured with an inductance meter.
     

  19. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 28, 2004
    Maryland (US)
    natural, thickness, rigidity

    Yes, the term natural is probably not the best choice here. The magnetic plate being historically correct for single coil Teles up to '83, many prefer to think of the range of Tele bridge pickup tones with the magnetic plate to be natural.

    I don't have any experience with the stainless steel plates. But Glendale advertises they are no thicker than the vintage Tele steel ones, and you can get one of them in magnetic form.

    One thing I have experienced is a couple of the Fender stock steel ones (reissue stamped FENDER PAT PEND, like comes on MIM '50s Classic or you can get from MF) becoming less than flat and having a zingy and bass-weak tone as a result. But on the bright side, I was able to flatten it and improve the tone to what I perceive was the more natural state for that plate.

    A second thing I've experienced is a different Fender stock steel one (reissue stamped FENDER, came on MIM '69 Thinline) that seemed physically slightly thinner and tonally slightly inferior (like the warped/bent one, zingy and bass-weak) to the FENDER PAT PEND. I flattened this one and it improved some, but I replaced it with a FENDER PAT PEND and I think it sounds better. I noticed the physical thinness in how the lip felt to my palm, more so than I could otherwise measure any difference in thickness. And just maybe I'm wrong here, maybe the difference was in my mind or due to difference in some other factor like screw tightness or strings.

    A stainless steel plate that is the same thickness as the vintage Fender steel ones, and that is also magnetic, sounds like a good idea that improves on the original while minimizing the chance of sounding different, or at least different in a way that would be perceived as a change for the worse. Its rigidity would hopefully make it more resistant to becoming warped or bent.
     

  20. Twangbanger

    Twangbanger Tele-Holic

    946
    Mar 16, 2003
    Marble Falls, TX
    Here's a good write up on pup's.
    Secrets of electric pups

    We are all right on this subject, we just need to put our heads together.
     

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