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Top wrapping? The really big question!

brandtkronholm

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Dec 3, 2006
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2,240
I got a reply from my applied math colleague at the university. Short story: (reply from my colleague) “I’ve taught this before, but it’s been a while. Depending on a few assumptions, the tension is the same.”
So I’ll need to ask him about those assumptions and get a more enlightening answer - later on. I say “later on” because I’m at the beach now!
 

Lewis Liu

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Jul 6, 2021
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I got a reply from my applied math colleague at the university. Short story: (reply from my colleague) “I’ve taught this before, but it’s been a while. Depending on a few assumptions, the tension is the same.”
So I’ll need to ask him about those assumptions and get a more enlightening answer - later on. I say “later on” because I’m at the beach now!
Thanks to "bandtkronholm" and "KR1", the discussion's really interesting. I'd love to hear more from you guys and it is really fun to learn.
 

brandtkronholm

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Dec 3, 2006
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Ok, my colleague has confirmed the following: My earlier description of "Why do top-wrapped string s feel slinkier" is right on the money. See post #6 of this thread.
He also confirms that the break angle at the bridge (or nut) doesn't affect the tension of the string. I'll spare us all the calculus. (Even I get tired of the math sometimes - and it's my job! Ugh!)

Here's a really nice webpage with all sorts of info: Lutherie Myth/Science: Human Perception of String Tension and Compliance in Stringed Musical Instruments
 

KR1

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Sep 11, 2016
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252
Ok, my colleague has confirmed the following: My earlier description of "Why do top-wrapped string s feel slinkier" is right on the money. See post #6 of this thread.
He also confirms that the break angle at the bridge (or nut) doesn't affect the tension of the string. I'll spare us all the calculus. (Even I get tired of the math sometimes - and it's my job! Ugh!)

Here's a really nice webpage with all sorts of info: Lutherie Myth/Science: Human Perception of String Tension and Compliance in Stringed Musical Instruments
Hey there,

I believe that a complete understanding of what is happening with the guitar string (low break, low friction) is missing from your colleague’s opinion. If nothing else, even you stated that the action feels “slinkier.” It does. In some cases, dependent upon neck set angle and the resulting bridge/stop tail relative heights, the difference is very noticeable.

Why, if not a difference of moving length under tension?

No matter; I’m not here to change minds. Go with what works for you (seriously). I would just suggest to those who want to get the best sound and feel out of their LP, that they make use of the height adjustments on that age-old tailpiece and try a few different positions. It was designed to account for neck set angle and string tension.

Edit: I am familiar with your above reference, particularly “compliance.” It’s that very attribute associated with string length that allows me to validate what I’ve posted, FWIW.

Best,

K
 
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O Riley

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Jan 22, 2021
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63
Hot diggity dawg! 2000 views! Over guitar strings.
Or is it, guitar strings over?..
 

gmann

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May 26, 2003
Messages
5,868
You guys are way over thinking this. Top wrap, or don’t.
 

Sol

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Oct 26, 2001
Messages
745
It definitely has an effect. Everything affects everything.

A fellow and late friend who designed and manufactured Pigtail parts, Steve Rowen, used to adjust the stoptail height on Les Pauls while he was watching the open string sustain on an oscilloscope. I’m serious; I was standing beside him ..lol..
What did you all learn from the oscilloscope readings ??
 

pdfiddler

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May 25, 2006
Messages
92
I would guess that it was pretty cool to watch. Kind of like the old TV networks sign-off about 2.am. :)
 

KR1

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Sep 11, 2016
Messages
252
What did you all learn from the oscilloscope readings ??
It’s been over a decade since those days but my recollection is that Steve Rowen was demonstrating changes in sustain as the break-over angle was changed (tailpiece height relative to the saddle). The focus at that time was the fitment of anchor inserts and bolts, both of which he was making in that machine shop along with the wrap-over bridges and tailpieces (Pigtail).

String compliance wasn’t the focus at that time, rather the reduction in sympathetic vibration caused by poorly fitting parts, brass versus steel, anchor depth, etc. The parts that Steve developed, machined, and sold in those days were all meant to lesson tonal losses.

The changes in string compliance (ease of fingering and bending) as the break-over angle was reduced to the point of easy string movement through the saddles was evident. In the case of wrap-tails, that issue is N/A, obviously.

Anecdotally, I’m sure the issue of sustain related to top-wrapping was discovered in all of this but I don’t have or remember the results. I’m not even sure if there was a reliable relationship determined regarding sustain or if different gauges were compared. Test guitars also yielded differences but again, the focus at the time in Rowen’s shop was sustain.

Sorry for the edit / lost power.
 
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