wraparound tailpiece questions

foghorn

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I've been looking at a number of SG's and some Specials (and maybe some others) have the wraparound tailpiece. I've never owned an SG without the good 'ol tune-o-matic.

First off....what is the advantage of a wrapround? Is it supposed to improve the sound in some way? Is it a cost saving measure? Just don't know the deal on these.

Secondly, it's my understanding you can only move the bass and treble "ends" of the tailpiece so individual strings are not adjustable. Is this correct and has anyone found it to be problematic? Other Pro's/Con's of a wraparound?

Thx!
 

Norton

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I've owned a couple, modified a couple and scratch built two guitars with wrap-around bridges.

Advantages?? In my experience.... Wraptail systems Feel a bit more like a telecaster bridge - string snap, immediacy with picking etc.

GENerally - I've found that strings feel stiffer... 9's feel more like 10's etc.

Hard to do a direct comparison on the same guitar with a bridge/stop vs. wrap tail... but on a wrap tail there is no sympathetic ringing of the strings behind the bridge.

I haven't noticed any major difference in vibration transfer to the body etc...

As far as intonation goes... so many wrap tail pieces have movable saddles so if you did have crazy intonation problems they'd be easy to fix. Standard non-adjustable saddle wrap tails work just like arch top bridges and the lateral positioning is usually all you need to get tight intonation.

They look super cool, but they aren't magical in any real way, and I'm putting tune-o-matic style bridges on the guitars I'm building.
 

Decadent Dan

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I just want to add this comparison.
The cutout is a LP Jr with a non-compensated bridge.
Notice it mounts at an angle to the pickup.
The compensated bridge behind that (from a different Jr) would mount parallel to the pickup and ridges angle the top.

F3D6440D-C4D2-45F8-A2AD-0D01685789B2.jpeg
 

Go Nigel Go

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I just got my first wrap around bridge a little over year ago. I was always a bit suspicious of them and "preferred" the separate adjustable bridge, based on nothing because I hadn't tried one before. I picked up an Epiphone LP Junior at a Pawn Shop with a single pickup and a lightning bar stop/bridge. Wasn't planning to buy, but the action was sweet, the intonation was dead on, and the price was... well... stupid low. It came home with me.

After living with it I would say the number one benefit is just simplicity. No magical mystical anything, it plays and sounds just as good as any other, just with fewer parts.
 

cerebral gasket

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I just want to add this comparison.
The cutout is a LP Jr with a non-compensated bridge.
Notice it mounts at an angle to the pickup.
The compensated bridge behind that (from a different Jr) would mount parallel to the pickup and ridges angle the top.

View attachment 45762

I see so many second hand guitars where people unknowingly installed a 50’s style wraparound in place of a 60’s style wraparound or vice versa.

They are not interchangeable.

The 60’s style wraparound was first used on the 1963 SG Juniors and Specials that had the Short Vibrola.

Imagine trying to use a Vibrola with a 50’s style wraparound installed at an extreme angle like on the 61-62 SG Juniors and Specials.
 

beerbelly

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I have two guitars with the 'lightning bolt' wraparound bridges, a '64 Gibson SG Junior and an Epiphone LP Special. Both have mahogany bodies & necks, and they are the most resonant of any guitars I own. Could be the wood, could be the bridges, or both, but they really shake.
 

foghorn

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Hmmmmm....

I have to say the "string snap" and feeling the strings are "tighter" (subjective, I know), intrigues me. I like that feeling of having higher gauge strings on than I actually do. Also "maybe" more resonant?...So both positives in m book.

My problem now is, if I went that route, to find one without a slim taper neck. I was seriously looking at the new Faded Special in Pelham Blue....but...slim taper neck. Ugh. I want a rounded somewhat beefier neck. The search continues...
 

Go Nigel Go

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The feeling of heavier strings may have some truth to it. I haven't changed the strings on mine yet (they were new when I got it, and don't have enough miles on them yet to require replacement for casual playing). I was thinking they might be tens, and I am used to nines. The visible difference is negligible, but the feel would be noticeable. I plan to put a set of nines on it one day soon, so I will report back on the difference when I do.

Sonically I can't say I noticed anything more than what I would attribute to it just being a different guitar. Different, but not startlingly so. The idea of the resonance of the strings behind the bridge with a separate saddle above the stop vs. zero distance at the stop bar is a real thing, so that also makes sense. I'll just say I can't hear it. My SG has the string anchor a whopping 3 inches behind the bridge. I don't hear the difference while playing, but the frequency when I strum between the bridge and the tail piece is much lower and more audible than on my LP which is only an inch away. Makes sense it would affect the sound, but I don't notice it while playing normally. The feel is very different though, and my nines feel like eights with the extra length, so going back to the first point, the subjective feel could very well be a "thing".
 
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cerebral gasket

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I prefer wraparound bridges for simplicity. They intonate fine as long as the post holes are drilled at the correct location.

They don’t cave in like a TOM bridge when people deck the tailpiece. The wraparound bridge also eliminates the top wrapping arguments online.
 
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DrBGood

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I top wrap my TOM tailpieces, so I love the wraparound, I like it's minimalistic look and function. It intonates great if you take the time do do it properly. I have ... let's see ... 5 with a wraparound.
 

plankton

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I have a couple guitars with the lightning bolt wraparound. I think it's my favourite style of bridge. Simple, with no moving parts to lose any string vibration, and as others have mentioned there's no issues setting the intonation if it's been mounted properly.
 

Decadent Dan

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B91260D2-3215-4A3E-BED9-AC884A493817.jpeg Another difference between the comp and non-comp is the comp (lightning bolt) has hollow areas underneath. The non-comp is solid.
 
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papagayo

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Why is there 2 versions of this wraparoud bridge? One is vintage.

Temp 47729.JPG
 

cerebral gasket

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Why is there 2 versions of this wraparoud bridge? One is vintage.

View attachment 45790

Top: Vintage for wound G string
Bottom: Modern for unwound G string

Look at the placement of the “saddle” on the lightning bar for the G string. The vintage has the “saddle” placed higher than the modern one.
 
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cerebral gasket

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Hmmmmm....

I have to say the "string snap" and feeling the strings are "tighter" (subjective, I know), intrigues me. I like that feeling of having higher gauge strings on than I actually do. Also "maybe" more resonant?...So both positives in m book.

My problem now is, if I went that route, to find one without a slim taper neck. I was seriously looking at the new Faded Special in Pelham Blue....but...slim taper neck. Ugh. I want a rounded somewhat beefier neck. The search continues...

They haven’t produced any SG Juniors or Specials with P-90’s, wraparaound bridge, chunky rounded neck since 1970 until now with the 2021 Iommi SG Special.
 

DrBGood

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They haven’t produced any SG Juniors or Specials with P-90’s, wraparaound bridge, chunky rounded neck since 1970 until now with the 2021 Iommi SG Special.
Man that is an ugly SG !
Rings on P90s ?
And that Badass bridge is the nastiest part on ANY guitar. Way too high saddles and poking hand sharp corners on them. It also looks like it was designed in a back shed somewhere.
 

cerebral gasket

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Man that is an ugly SG !
Rings on P90s ?
And that Badass bridge is the nastiest part on ANY guitar. Way too high saddles and poking hand sharp corners on them. It also looks like it was designed in a back shed somewhere.

It's a tool.
The one used to forge Heavy Metal.
 

MR D

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I prefer wraparound bridges for simplicity. They intonate fine as long as the post holes are drilled at the correct location.

They don’t cave in like a TOM bridge when people deck the tailpiece. The wraparound bridge also eliminates the top wrapping arguments online.

C.G., I kno that cave-in's are a problem with T-O-M Bridges and seen it happen on a few Lester's........ so way back I took a good look....and what I came away with was that the Low 'E' and High 'E' contact the part of the Bridge that is b4/just at the start of the upward arch...so since noticing that I let the Low 'E' and High 'E' slightly touch the Bridge and the rest fall in line and do not touch. I used to have the space of a $1 Bill under the Low/High 'E's but after noticing the arch not under the 'E's thought it was un-necessary and w/wanting the Stop-Bar as close to the body as possible, just let the High/Low 'E's slightly touch. The purists may think 'Blasphemer' but I've yet to have the slightest of problems. No tell-tale micro-cracks, buzzing etc...
I also used to be a top-wrapper, but after getting an intolerable, severely annoying buzz on a few Guitars (Lester's that I just could not get rid of the buzz & I have no idea why not as there was nothing on the top of the stop bar, smooth to touch) so just went with the above......A GIBSON Luthier recently told me about Stop-bars and Body contact....
 

cerebral gasket

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C.G., I kno that cave-in's are a problem with T-O-M Bridges and seen it happen on a few Lester's........ so way back I took a good look....and what I came away with was that the Low 'E' and High 'E' contact the part of the Bridge that is b4/just at the start of the upward arch...so since noticing that I let the Low 'E' and High 'E' slightly touch the Bridge and the rest fall in line and do not touch. I used to have the space of a $1 Bill under the Low/High 'E's but after noticing the arch not under the 'E's thought it was un-necessary and w/wanting the Stop-Bar as close to the body as possible, just let the High/Low 'E's slightly touch. The purists may think 'Blasphemer' but I've yet to have the slightest of problems. No tell-tale micro-cracks, buzzing etc...
I also used to be a top-wrapper, but after getting an intolerable, severely annoying buzz on a few Guitars (Lester's that I just could not get rid of the buzz & I have no idea why not as there was nothing on the top of the stop bar, smooth to touch) so just went with the above......A GIBSON Luthier recently told me about Stop-bars and Body contact....

Yep.

I only top wrap wraparound bridges for obvious reasons.

With a TOM and tailpiece, the tailpiece is designed with threaded posts to adjust the height so that the strings do not hit the back of the bridge. Some people think decking a tailpiece improves sustain. If that were the case, they should try decking a wraparound bridge where the bridge and tailpiece are one and the same and see how that works out.
 


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