PHOTO: Patented TOONE & TOWNSEND Hybrid™ combined guitar & bass bridge. Precision machined in USA from 300 series stainless steel and aircraft aluminum.
There is more to this bridge than first meets the eye. You are looking at a generation leap forward in terms of engineering progress.
This compact bridge accepts both guitar and bass strings, either anchored or pass-through to a TOONE & TOWNSEND body mounted tuner.
Capable of the same string spacing as a guitar, string gauges from .009 to .140 can be mixed and matched in this lightweight modular bridge system. Combine any number of strings on the same instrument: 7-string guitar, 8-string guitar, 9-string guitar, 10-string bass...without limit.
String center-to-center spacing is 0.40" (9.9 mm) at minimum, matched to the pole pieces on a guitar pickup. You can also space the bridges apart, at any desired distance, making them perfect for bass.
As a luthier, this system is exciting.
So many musicians are seeking instruments that are extended range, or combine unusual numbers of strings (or gauges) of strings. Charlie Hunter is a great example of someone who has blurred this line. Evan Brewer. Tosin Abasi.
The distinction between 'bass' and 'guitar' is eroding. Up and coming players are grabbing for the frequencies that fall between guitar and bass.
I predict the market is necessarily going to evolve toward multi-scale (fanned-fret) instruments. The reason is string tension. If you've ever played an 8-string guitar with traditional frets, you will discover the low strings are slack and floppy. The scale length is too short for the (bass) gauge strings that are needed.
Also, the high strings are at much greater tension than a normal guitar. String tension feel across the neck is wildly inconsistent and requires a different finger or pick attack force for each string. The playing experience is somewhat like playing a detuned bass mixed with a Strat that's been tuned up a whole step.
The solution to balanced string tension is multi-scale.
It is quite fascinating how scale length affects string tension. A subtle offset on even a 6-string guitar will make a significant playing improvement. For example, the S2 guitars I am currently building combine the warm treble response and easy string bends of a Les Paul scale with the clear focused bass of a Strat scale. To your fingers, all the strings behave predictably and equally. Playing speed improves.
Musically, chords sound open, with the harmonic intervals clearly defined. There is a mathematical reason for this, as Ralph Novak explains in his technical lecture: Scale Length and Tone (1995 Guild of American Luthier's Convention).
PHOTO: Bridge length is 1.8100" (45.9 mm) extending 0.40" (10 mm) of intonation adjustment. String spacing center-to-center is 0.40" (9.9 mm) at minimum. String height adjustment range is 0.18" (4.6 mm). Securely screws to the instrument body via #8 stainless steel screw.