I was just starting a Facebook conversation with  one of the 'big boy' successful  Luthiers, who was talking about making braces, and was asking him if he had ever fooled around with carbon fibre laminate bracing, and it occurred to me that I have never heard of using this material as a bridge plate. The properties of this material  ( before anyone here responds!) seems to be ideal for this, does it not? Available in whatever thickness is deemed proper, cut to exact same size as the whatever was taken out, never wear out, unless glue joint fails for some reason, should last longer than the playability of the guitar. What do you folks here think? Maybe used as a middle ply between two thin veneers of maple, or maybe just 'as is' ? Any thoughts?


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it may be a good idea but I am gonna stick with what is more traditional wood ,not to discourage you from trying it cause if we keep messing with it it may not be a guitar any more kidden ok but if I were gonna make a guitar last longer than a life time then id build a bridge /top saver system to save the load on the top braces to try and eliminate top repair later on like a possible looss brace. me likey the fact that the wood ones that are glued with protien I mean aliphatic or hide come back apart to be realigned or replaced later on .../// that and I can also say Mother Nature and I made this from Scratch .


I recall something about failure rates of carbon fibre/wood laminates interleaved which was negative, but that was some time ago.  The furniture dudes have been laminating timber with carbon fibre for fancy lightweight chairs and stuff for some time now and that seems to work OK. 

For bridgeplates I would hazard a guess that the frequency transmission would be different and maybe the attack time (rate) would be faster overall.

Carbon fibre doesn't take on a 'set' (not the good structural stuff anyway) which may cause problems with the top becoming distorted over time as it bellies a bit but the bridge plate area stays flattish.  

Personally don't know why one would bother - the existing system when done well works a treat in most cases.

David Hurd was using cabon fibre plate for bridge plates on his ukuleles
The abrasion from the ball ends might likely not be any better than wood, as the surface wear properties are not that good. I ride carbon fiber bikes (road and mtn) and things like cable housing tend to abrade them. It's amazing stuff, as it can be engineered to be very stiff in one direction, and very compliant in another.
I dislike working with CF, the dust is really bad news. What I have used for quite a few years for restoring bridgeplates is simple Formica or a similar countertop phenolic laminate. It's really tough (possibly tougher than CF) and adds no weight to the bridgeplate—just abrasion resistance. The main bridgeplate remains wood, but a small piece just big enough to surround the row of holes is glued to the bridgeplate to support the stringballs. This takes the beating, the rest of the bridgeplate does its job as usual.
Paul what glue do you use on the formica ?
I usually use a bit of titebond, but I keep it light, so if you ever need to take it out, it's easy to pop it off. Since the string balls do the real work, the glue has almost nothing to do except hold that little thing in place and keep the edges from rattling.
Alvarez-Yairi had dreadnought guitars with graphite bridges some time ago.My old catalog shows two, a YC2 custom and a Alvarez professional series 5045G. Those bridges were smaller than wooden ones to allow a bigger vibrating soundboard area. I guess their bridgeplate was graphite, too, but I'm not sure.
I can't see what properties would make it ideal.

I must be missing something in the guitar building world- My thoughts  (and I try to use this theroy when I build)

is wht fix something when it isnt broken.. or like an old actor once said- "I don't understand it-everybody

 wants to get into the act"  Im also wondering with all these new ideas that are coming along if there is a shortest of natural material.. just my two cents worth... Peace, Donald


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