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Long story short, I am wondering about the influence that the bridge (considering always the same type - a Floyd Rose-like bridge) has on how much the guitar chugs.

To expand a bit more. I have recently acquired a USA BC Rich Gunslinger. At first, I noticed that the guitar was chugging less than the two other guitars I have: a Jackson DXMG (with a Jackson licensed Floyd Rose bridge) and another Jackson SL2Q MAH (with a Floyd Rose 1000 series). It is difficult to define 'chugging' in words, but this video (as well as all the video series from Ola Englund) demonstrates what I mean by 'chugging'. Chugging 'less' means that, whatever the root cause is (my theory is that the bridge has an influence), it feels that the sound is excessively palm mutted

At first I thought it could have been the pickup (Dimarzio X2N), so I swapped by a EMG81. The tone changed, of course, but not enough chug. Then I realised that the guitar was not properly setup (at all). I then took it to a guitar tech, where frets were polished, crowned, nut was shimmed etc. The setup was certainly done very well. Though I still notice that the BC Rich chugs less than the Jackson.

I am starting to thing that this might be due to the bridge. It has the original one, which appears to be good stuff (Made in Japan Takeuchi licensed Floyd Rose), although I have the impression that this bridge appears to be way too sensitive to palm muting i.e. in order not to mute it excessively, I have to place my picking hand quite far on the back of the bridge, towards the saddles, otherwise it mutes way too much. This difference (where I place my picking hand) is noticeable compared to the bridges of my two other Jackson guitars, which supports my theory that the lack of chug (which is kinda like muting the strings excessively) can be caused by how the bridge is designed.

I really like this guitar, though it still does not have the tone as I want it to be. So I was wondering if I can expect a noticeable difference in tone if I swap the bridge (by a Gotoh, Schaller or Floyd Rose). Has anyone done that, and noticed a clear difference in how much a guitar can chug?

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  • 2
    Would you be able to explain a little more what you mean by 'to chug' here? I'm aware of the technique of playing palm muted chords, and what that sounds like; I can imagine different types of 'chugs', but I don't really understand what would be meant by chugging more or less.
    – topo morto
    Sep 14 at 9:10
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    @topomorto. yes fair point, I have edited my question
    – BCArg
    Sep 14 at 12:21
  • You did not discuss your amplifier or effects chain. These are far more important to "chug" than any bridge. You swapped to EMG-81 (likely a good move) and claim the BC Rich "chug's" less than the jackson. You did not indicate the pickups in either jacksons. You may be comparing apples to oranges. Pups matter. Sep 23 at 16:21
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Assuming your Pickups on the jacksons match the EMG-81 in the BC Rich, your issue is likely hand position and you've trained yourself where to place it naturally on your preexisting floyds. Learn the new placement for the new guitar. I've had this issue in the past. If not, swap it for a floyd you already like on your jacksons (e.g., the 1000 series).

Bonus: If you aren't a whammy user, dump the floyds all together. Way too much hassle - especially if you use different tunings.

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  • Good answer, I do I think it is highly related to a combination of bridge design + hand position. I think the strings on the BCRich (Takeuchi licensed FR) are somehow more exposed, so that they are more sensitive to palm mutting, that's why I have to put them more towards the saddles, or else I mute it too much and the guitar chugs less.
    – BCArg
    Sep 24 at 15:03
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Since you have already switched out pickups, it doesn't sound like they are the issue.

Going by experience, I think the bridge is the issue. A floating bridge (like a Kahler or a Floyd Rose) will bend towards the neck to compensate for increased tension on the strings. When you bend strings, execute dive bombs, or engage in excessive chugging, the floating bridge will compensate. This is useful in that you are less likely to break a string and the guitar will stay in tune longer (YMMV). A hardtail bridge does not compensate and will probably give you more "chug" since it is in a fixed position.

I have never removed a Floyd Rose bridge from a guitar, and it sounds like you have a nice USA made BC Rich, so I wouldn't recommend it. You might want to experiment where you you place your hand when palm muting near the bridge. Or maybe buy another guitar for your arsenal, which is a "win win situation" in my book.

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  • thanks for the reply. In fact I have already played with the place of my picking hand, and it does have a massive influence. The closer I place my hand towards the saddles of the bridge, the more it chugs. Don't know if I was clear enough in my question, but I am not thinking about putting a hard tail bridge on my guitar. Idea would be to potentially swap to another floyd rose i.e. a floating tremolo from another brand
    – BCArg
    Sep 14 at 13:16
  • I used to have a BC Rich Bich with a Kahler bridge, unfortunately I had to sell it. Kahler bridges are nice, I felt like I had more control over the tremelo than I did with the Floyd Rose on my Ibanez.
    – ToastMan
    Sep 14 at 13:31
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    It may be possible to get a sound closer to a hardtail bridge by "decking" the floating tremolo so that it only bends downward, and increasing the spring tension.
    – Theodore
    Sep 14 at 14:20
  • @theodore: like described here I guess you mean: youtube.com/watch?v=Lng0kCKW9YU&t=1s
    – BCArg
    Sep 14 at 14:36
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    @BCArg Yes, it does describe the different arrangements of tremolo bridges as I understand them. The analysis is a bit flawed IMO, though: It creates a false dichotomy between two "theories of sustain" to the exclusion of any others. Their empirical data may be correct, but I think they're blind to the assumptions they make about the mechanism behind it. Using a human to pick the strings also introduces a lot of error.
    – Theodore
    Sep 14 at 16:50

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