Dyed Bridges

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Intune
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Location: Connecticut, USA

Dyed Bridges

Post by Intune » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:37 am

A question for you luthiers out there: If, say, a light-colored walnut bridge were to be dyed to resemble darker rosewood, could the dyeing process -- in which the wood presumably absorbs potent chemical dyeing agents -- adversely affect the weight or acoustic properties of the bridge? Would it be "safer" from an acoustic standpoint simply to leave the walnut in its natural unadulterated state, even though this might not be as visually attractive as walnut dyed to a darker color? Any risks from dyeing a bridge -- or for that matter dyeing other woods used on a guitar? This question might become more important as more "alternative" woods are chosen because of concerns over sustainability or CITES regs, yet the players still want the "look" of traditional guitar woods. Appreciate hearing any opinions about the possible effects of dyeing. Thanks.
Intune
2010 Andres Marvi (cedar/Madagascar rosewood)

"...beware of all enterprises that require new clothes..." -- H.D. Thoreau

simonm
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Re: Dyed Bridges

Post by simonm » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:21 pm

I cannot see dye having any effect whatsoever on the wood apart from the color but I have never carried out any tests. All the processed food we eat has dyes in it many of natural origin. (That said some very poisonous substances are natural).

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Doug Ingram
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Re: Dyed Bridges

Post by Doug Ingram » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:22 pm

I don't consider dark bridges more attractive than non dark bridges. Not at all.

I can't imagine that dyeing Walnut would change its acoustic property.

Personally, and this is a strong opinion, I believe that we will need to embrace a new aesthetic for the classical guitar as we move into the world where the materials which give the "standard" look to the classical guitar become increasingly difficult to sustainably harvest, access, and use.

If that means letting Walnut look like Walnut, then bring it on!

bftobin
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Location: Canada

Re: Dyed Bridges

Post by bftobin » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:31 pm

Even Brz Rw was all over the place on color. I have bridges I bought back in the 70's and 80's that range from almost black to very light brown.
I can't see walnut being too light in color.

SteveL123
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Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:05 pm

Re: Dyed Bridges

Post by SteveL123 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:27 pm

Here's some posts from Trevor Gore and James Lister on walnut bridges. Search "walnut".

The concern is that walnut is less dense than BRW and does not weigh enough for a bridge.

viewtopic.php?t=94937&start=60

viewtopic.php?f=11&p=1226253#p1226371

Jose Marques
Luthier
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Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2015 1:36 pm

Re: Dyed Bridges

Post by Jose Marques » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:43 pm

Doug Ingram wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:22 pm
I don't consider dark bridges more attractive than non dark bridges. Not at all.

I can't imagine that dyeing Walnut would change its acoustic property.

Personally, and this is a strong opinion, I believe that we will need to embrace a new aesthetic for the classical guitar as we move into the world where the materials which give the "standard" look to the classical guitar become increasingly difficult to sustainably harvest, access, and use.

If that means letting Walnut look like Walnut, then bring it on!
exactly what i think too!!!
I'm a Luthier living in Bury st Edmunds UK

Euan Hannah
Amateur luthier
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Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Re: Dyed Bridges

Post by Euan Hannah » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:23 pm

A lot of the really cheap guitars have fingerboards and bridges that have been dyed or ebonised. I can't imagine that the dying process has any obvious effect on the sound. Some cheaper rosewood bridges (possibly plantation grown) look a bit washed out. I think it is more obvious on steel string instruments with mahogany soundboards when a pale bridge can look quite washed out. At the end of the day it is a matter of personal taste.

John higgon
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Re: Dyed Bridges

Post by John higgon » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:01 pm

Doug Ingram wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:22 pm
I don't consider dark bridges more attractive than non dark bridges. Not at all.

I can't imagine that dyeing Walnut would change its acoustic property.

Personally, and this is a strong opinion, I believe that we will need to embrace a new aesthetic for the classical guitar as we move into the world where the materials which give the "standard" look to the classical guitar become increasingly difficult to sustainably harvest, access, and use.

If that means letting Walnut look like Walnut, then bring it on!
I agree! We will have to embrace new materials, ideally they needn't be any worse than traditional materials (but they may well be different), and players will just have to get used to it. Let the walnut shine!

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Trevor Gore
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Re: Dyed Bridges

Post by Trevor Gore » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:33 pm

American black walnut works very well for bridges and you can dye it or not, as you choose, and it doesn't affect the acoustics. Walnut dyes well using ferrous acetate (iron/vinegar) solution. Check out "ebonizing wood" on your search engine of choice. You can obtain colours varying from total black (looks like it has been painted) to almost identical to EIR, once you've had a bit of practice.
Trevor Gore: Classical Guitar Design and Build

lux
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Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:33 am
Location: Medford, Oregon USA

Re: Dyed Bridges

Post by lux » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:32 pm

Jose Marques wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:43 pm
Doug Ingram wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:22 pm
I don't consider dark bridges more attractive than non dark bridges. Not at all.

I can't imagine that dyeing Walnut would change its acoustic property.

Personally, and this is a strong opinion, I believe that we will need to embrace a new aesthetic for the classical guitar as we move into the world where the materials which give the "standard" look to the classical guitar become increasingly difficult to sustainably harvest, access, and use.

If that means letting Walnut look like Walnut, then bring it on!
exactly what i think too!!!
I agree as well...up to a point. One of the promising, relatively affordable woods for bridges, for example, is padauk. That magenta color is great in bindings and rosettes, but a bridge? Not sure if I could warm up to that. Has anyone here tried either ebonizing or fuming padauk to tone it down a bit?
Last edited by lux on Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lux
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:33 am
Location: Medford, Oregon USA

Re: Dyed Bridges

Post by lux » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:34 pm

.
Last edited by lux on Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lux
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:33 am
Location: Medford, Oregon USA

Re: Dyed Bridges

Post by lux » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:34 pm

.

Jose Marques
Luthier
Posts: 173
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2015 1:36 pm

Re: Dyed Bridges

Post by Jose Marques » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:31 pm

lux wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:32 pm
Jose Marques wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:43 pm
Doug Ingram wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:22 pm
I don't consider dark bridges more attractive than non dark bridges. Not at all.

I can't imagine that dyeing Walnut would change its acoustic property.

Personally, and this is a strong opinion, I believe that we will need to embrace a new aesthetic for the classical guitar as we move into the world where the materials which give the "standard" look to the classical guitar become increasingly difficult to sustainably harvest, access, and use.

If that means letting Walnut look like Walnut, then bring it on!
exactly what i think too!!!
I agree as well...up to a point. One of the promising, relatively affordable woods for bridges, for example, is padauk. That magenta color is great in bindings and rosettes, but a bridge? Not sure if I could warm up to that. Has anyone here tried either ebonizing or fuming padauk to tone it down a bit?
i have used padauk 2 x and i like it, it works perfectly, and if you combine colours then you don't have any "ugly" problems... and for the lattice lovers they know that Australian Smallman have padauk in bridges.

and i used already 2x walnut in bridges, like it as well, other woods will work such as pau ferro , laburnum for example

see my site you will find some pics
I'm a Luthier living in Bury st Edmunds UK

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