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Publication numberUS3396284 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 6, 1968
Filing dateAug 30, 1965
Priority dateAug 30, 1965
Publication numberUS 3396284 A, US 3396284A, US-A-3396284, US3396284 A, US3396284A
InventorsRobert C Scherer
Original AssigneeBaldwin Co D H
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electric guitar bridge
US 3396284 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Aug. 6,'1968 R. c. scHERER ELECTRIC GUITAR BRIDGE Filed Aug. so, 1965 lil INVENTOR ROBERT C. SCHERER mwa- United States Patent Ohio Filed Aug. 30, 1965, Ser. No. 483,679 Claims. (Cl. S10-8.3)

The present invention relates generally to transducer bridges for stringed instruments, and more particularly to transducer bridges capable of bearing the tensions of the strings of `stringed instruments and of providing an electrical signal in response to vibra-tions of the strings.

Electric guitars are conventionally provided with transducers, capable of providing output in response to the vibrations of the strings when the latter are picked or plucked. In such guitars the modes of vibrations of the strings vary with time, from initial excitation to final decay, and, in particular, picking or plucking a string may induce a vibration in one plane in space while the free vibrations of the string may be in another plane, or the plane may oscillate in space depending on the precise character of the excitation.

Guitar players Vdesire that the sound of an electric guitar be similar to that of an acoustic guitar, but the conventional electromagnetic transducers employed in electric guitars are no-t capable of responding to all planes of vibration of a string, and usually can respond only to vertical vibrations, whereby the initial excitation of the string, which is predominately horizontal, is lost. Nor can such transducers opera-te in conjunction with nylon or other non-metallic strings.

It is a function of the present invention to provide a string transducer, especially for an electric guitar, which responds to vibrations of a string occurring in any plane, and which responds equally well to metallic and nonmetallic strings.

Brieily describing a preferred embodiment of the invention, an elongated metallic extrusion is provided, having the cross section of a U. One arm of the U forms a base which is supported on the body of a guitar, at the usual bridge location. The other arm is arranged to provide plural cantilever arms, for separately supporting each strin-g of the guitar. Considering one string only, for simplicity of explanation, a piezo-electric crystal is placed between the base and a cantilever arm, Underlying the crystal is a thin sheet of copper, i.e., Ishim stock or the like. Underlying the latter is a sheet of insulation which has acoustic damping properties, and underlying the latter, in contact with the extrusion, is a `further thin sheet of copper, i.e., shim stock or the like. rlhe two copper sheets then provide electrodes for the crystal and can be conveniently connected to output leads.

The strings of a guitar are connected, adjacent the bridge, to a tremolo bar. This is a lever operated device for simultaneously manually varying the tensions of all the strings of the guitar, whereby the player can produce modulation of tonal output. A longitudinal movement of the strings occurs during manipulation of the tremolo bar, which would saw across the lbridge if the latter were immovable. The bridge is accordingly mounted to pivot freely on an axis transverse to the strings.

According to the present invention, two holes are provided near the ends of the base of the extrusion. Threaded pins extend upwardly from a base plate and freely through the holes, and thumb nuts are provided on the screws, as adjustable supports for the base of the extrusion. The thumb nuts have tapered portions which mate with the hole edge and which form bearings for the holes, permitting the extrusion to pivot freely.

It is an object ofthe invention to provide a novel and economical pivotable transducer bridge for an electric guitar.

As a further feature of the invention, the transducer system of the invention is provided with string bearing elements which are adjustable in the direction of string length, individually for each string, to compensate the individual guitar for the differences from true pitch which ensue when the strings are stopped to short lengths, as a function of mechanical parameters of the string, such as density, thickness, etc.

The above and still further objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon consideration of the following -detailed description of one specific embodiment thereof, especially when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a view in perspective of a guitar embodying the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is a view in perspective of a bridge transducer and mounting according -to one embodiment of the invention;

FIGURE 3 is a view in transverse section taken on the line 3-3 of FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 4 is a further view in transverse section taken on the line 4--4 of FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 5 is a view in plane of a modied form of the transducer of FIGURE 2; and

FIGURE 6 is a view in transverse section taken on the line 66 of FIGURE 5 Referring now to the accompanying drawings, 10 is an elongated extrusion, which may be made of aluminum, brass, `or the like, and which has a U shape when taken in cross section. Arm 11 of the U is a base arm, and contains holes 11a adjacent to its ends, which are located symmetrically of the width of the base 11, and serve for pivotably supporting the `base yon nuts 12 threadedly engaging two threaded pins 13. The further or upper arm 14 of the extrusion is provided with transverse slots 15, which extend into the end wall 16, of the U, and form plural cantilever arms 14a. An inverted V-shaped riser 17 is provided near the forward edge of each arm 14a, `which has 4a transverse notch 18 cut at its center. The notches 18 serve to locate guitar strings S.

The cantilever arms form individu-al supports for the strings, which are acoustically largely isolated from one Ianother by the slots 15.

Located under each cantilever arm 14a is la piezoelectric crystal 20, having one wall in contact with the under side of the arm 14a, Under the crystals is a strip of thin shim stock 21 slotted at 21a, under each of slots 15. vUnder each strip of shim stock 21, is a strip 22, of insulation, which is resilient mechanically and which `clamps acoustic vibrations. Underlying the strip 22, is a further strip of shim stock 23. Strip 22 thus forms one electrode for all of crystals 20, and strip 23, grounded to the extrusion, forms the other electrode. Leads 25 are connected to strips 21 and 23.

A base plate 27 underlies the base 11. From the base plate 27 extend the threaded pins 13, which are located to mate with holes 11a and to extend freely therethrough. On the pins 13, are threadedly engaged knurled thumb nuts 12, hav-ing central tapered risers 28 which serve as balls to engage the holes 11a, and to permit pivotal movement of the base plate 11 with respect to base plate 27. Adjustment of Ithurnb nuts 12 vertically permits leveling of the bridge transducer as a whole, and adjustment of its vertical position with respect to the body of the guitar.

In the system of FIGURES 5 and 6, an elongated extrusion 30 is employed, which is of U-shaped cross section, as in the system of FIGURE 1, and integrally includes a base [arm 31, a string support arm 32 and a joining element 32a for the arms. The lengthwise edges 33 of the extrusion are cut at an angle of about 84 t-o the end edges 34. The support arm 32 is provided with grooves 35 in pai-rs, defining a cantilever `arm 35a each containing a central land 36. The grooves 35 extend parallel to the end edges 34, and for the entire width of the sup.- port arm 32 and Well into joining element 32a. On the cantilever `arms 35a, guided Vby lands 36, slide string supiports 37, each -consisting of a transverse raised member 38 and a pair of arms 39, 40 extending from the transverse 'raised member 38 at right angles thereto. The arms 39, 40 snugly tit the sides of the land 36 and are slidable thereon, while the transverse raised member 38 straddles and slides on land 36. As illustrated in FIGURE 6, a string 40 of a guitar is located in a notch 41 cut centrally of the transverse raised member 38. Each pair of arms, as 39, 40, is held in position, once it has been properly located by a bolt 42, which threadedly engages a threaded opening in the land 36. The bolts, having wide heads 43 which extend over the arms 39, 40, lock these in place when the bolt is tightened.

'Crystals and electrodes therefor are located and function as in the system of FIGURE 1. The 84 angle which the lengthwise edges 33 make with the directions of the guitar strings, and the Iadjustability of the string suplports of the lever arms, enable the adjustment of the bridge string termination such that the string plays in tune over its entire playable range, regardless of its physical parameters pertaining to oscillatory frequency.

It is a feature of the present invention that the guitar may utilize metallic or non-metallic strings, i.e., nylon or steel, throughout yor in part, without effect on tonal output, insofar as this effect may be due to the transducer.

The use -of acoustic damping material 22 is particularly important because it serves to damp out undesi-rable highs, `as clicks, pops, finger noise and the like, and yalso serves to acoustically isolate the crystals 20 from one another.

While I have described and illustrated one specific embodiment of my invention, it will be clear that variation -of the details of construction which are specifically illustrated `and described may be resorted to without departing from the -true spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. In a transducer bridge for a stringed instrument,

a member having a flat base,

a plurality of cantilever arms extending parallel to said base,

each of said cantilever arms including a string locating element,

a piezo-electric crystal located intermediate each of said cantilever arms and said flat base, and in contact with said cantilever arms,

a layer of electrically conductive material underlying and in contact with said piezo-electric crystals,

an electrical and acoustic insulating layer underlying said layer of electrically conductive material, 'and Ia further layer of electrically conductive material underlying said electrical and acoustic insulating layer land in contact with said base.

2. The combination -according to claim 1 wherein is provided an adjustable spacer supporting said base,

said spacer including two threaded pins,

said base including two holes,

said pins extending freely through said holes, and

nuts threadedly engaging said threaded pins,

each of said nuts including a tapered riser pivotably engaging an edge of one of each hole.

4 3. The combination according to claim 1 wherein said string locating elements are elements slidably adjustable with respect to said base in the direction yof the strings of said guitar.

4. The combination according t-o claim 2 wherein said string locating elements are slidably adjustable with respect to the base in the direction of the strings of said guitar.

5. In a transducer bridge for a stringed instrument,

a base,

means supporting said base on said stringed instrument,

a plurality of descrete cantilever arms secured to said base in string supporting relation, each of said cantilever arms including a string locating element,

a separate piezo-electrical element located in vibration receiving relation to each of said cantilever arms, and means for deriving voltages from said piezo-electric elements which are developed in response to vibrations of said strings and are communicated to said piezo-electric elements via said cantilever larms.

6. The combination according to claim 5, wherein said piezo-electric elements each has two faces, one of said faces being subjected to vibrations provided by said cantilever arms, land means for substantially isolating the other of said faces from vibrations of said base, said other of said faces being supported against said base.

7. The combination according to claim 6 wherein said last means includes a layer of electric and acoustic insulating layer underlying said other of s-aid faces.

8. The combination according to claim 5 wherein is provided an adjustable spacer supporting said base,

said spacer including two threaded pins,

said base including two holes,

said pins extending freely vthrough said holes, and

nuts threadedly engaging said threaded pins,

each of said nuts including a tapered riser pivotably engaging an edge of one of each hole.

9. The combination according to claim 5 wherein said string locating elements are elements slidably adjustable with respect to said base in the direction of the strings of said guitar.

10. The combination according to claim 8 wherein said string locating elements are slidably adjustable with respect to the base in the direction of the strings of said guitar.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,152,783 4/ 1939 Beauchamp 84-1 3,073,202 l/1963 Evans Sli-1.16 3,073,203 1/1963 Evans 84-1.16 3,137,754 6/1964 Evans 84-1.16 3,154,701 10/1964 Evans 84-1.16 3,291,887 12/1966 Carman 84-1.16 3,301,936 1/1967 Carman 3l0-8.7 3,178,501 4/1965 Evans 84-1.16 3,325,580 6/1967 Barcus 310-8 FOREIGN PATENTS 931,689 8/1955 Germany. 1,061,804 4/1954 France.

J. D. MILLER, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
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US2152783 *May 26, 1936Apr 4, 1939Electro String Instr CorpStringed musical instrument
US3073202 *Nov 18, 1959Jan 15, 1963Star Valley Electronics IncTimbre control for string instruments
US3073203 *May 12, 1960Jan 15, 1963Atuk CorpConversion of mechanical vibrations into electrical oscillations
US3137754 *Oct 12, 1961Jun 16, 1964Atuk CorpSignal generating system
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US3178501 *May 16, 1961Apr 13, 1965Atuk CorpControls for electrical string instruments
US3291887 *Jan 30, 1964Dec 13, 1966Frank C CarmanPiezoelectric musical pickup arrangement
US3301936 *Mar 4, 1964Jan 31, 1967Frank C CarmanStringed musical instruments with piezoelectric transducers
US3325530 *Apr 18, 1966Jun 13, 1967Gen ElectricMethod for making organosilicon copolymers
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FR1061804A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3519721 *Mar 21, 1968Jul 7, 1970Baldwin Co D HElectropiano with plural piezoelectric pickups on unitary acoustic rail
US3530228 *Apr 23, 1968Sep 22, 1970Baldwin Co D HElectric guitar piezoelectric transducer bridge with replaceable string height adjustors
US3600497 *Nov 20, 1969Aug 17, 1971Arrigo ZanessiElectromechanical transducer pick-up bridges for stringed musical instruments
US3685384 *Dec 18, 1969Aug 22, 1972Baldwin Co D HElectropiano
US4135426 *Jan 19, 1977Jan 23, 1979Ovation Instruments, Inc.Stringed instrument bridge
US4201108 *May 22, 1978May 6, 1980Bunker Instruments, Inc.Electric stringed instrument
US4278000 *Oct 26, 1979Jul 14, 1981Ngk Spark Plug Co., Ltd.Piezoelectric transducer for electrical string instruments and pickup means comprising the same
US4314495 *Nov 8, 1979Feb 9, 1982Baggs Lloyd RPiezoelectric saddle for musical instruments and method of making same
US4375180 *Sep 10, 1981Mar 1, 1983Scholz Donald TAutomatic tuning device
US4457201 *Aug 31, 1982Jul 3, 1984Storey David CCombined bridge and tailpiece assembly for a stringed musical instrument
US4497236 *Mar 15, 1982Feb 5, 1985Rose Floyd DApparatus for restraining and fine tuning the strings of a musical instrument, particularly guitars
US5018423 *Jun 12, 1989May 28, 1991Bunker David DNeck adjustment mechanism for stringed instruments
US5153363 *Jul 19, 1990Oct 6, 1992Fishman Lawrence RStringed instrument piezoelectric transducer
US5337644 *Apr 3, 1992Aug 16, 1994Korg/Fishpark AssociatesStringed musical instrument with multi-laminate fretboard
US5421233 *Jan 19, 1994Jun 6, 1995Bunker; David L.Adjustable neck device and method for stringed instruments
US5455381 *Sep 21, 1994Oct 3, 1995Gibson Guitar Corp.PIE20 electric pickup with adjustable string output
US5600078 *Jan 17, 1995Feb 4, 1997Edwards; Nole F.Adjustable bridge for a string instrument
US6198036Aug 24, 1999Mar 6, 2001Hoshino Gakki Kabushiki KaishaElectric guitar tremolo bridge piezo pickup
US7326838Jun 10, 2005Feb 5, 2008David BunkerAdjustable guitar neck member
Classifications
U.S. Classification310/327, 84/313, 84/307, 84/743, 984/371, 310/363, 84/DIG.240, 310/328
International ClassificationG10H3/18
Cooperative ClassificationG10H2220/175, G10H3/185, Y10S84/24, G10H2220/525, G10H2220/485, G10H2220/471
European ClassificationG10H3/18E
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 13, 1985AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: FRED W. GRETSCH ENTERPRISES, LTD., 715 GRAYS HIGHW
Effective date: 19850102
Owner name: GRETSCH COMPANY THE
Feb 13, 1985ASAssignment
Owner name: FRED W. GRETSCH ENTERPRISES, LTD., 715 GRAYS HIGHW
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:GRETSCH COMPANY THE;REEL/FRAME:004361/0184
Effective date: 19850102
Mar 7, 1983ASAssignment
Owner name: GRETSCH COMPANY THE; 908 WEST CHESTNUT, CHANUTE, K
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:D.H. BALDWIN COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:004109/0584
Effective date: 19820728
Mar 7, 1983AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: 908 WEST CHESTNUT, CHANUTE, KS. 66720 A CORP OF TN
Effective date: 19820728
Owner name: D.H. BALDWIN COMPANY
Owner name: GRETSCH COMPANY THE