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Discussion in 'Historics & Reissues' started by ashbass, Sep 6, 2017.
..and then there's this tank of a bridge..which I have always loved, and is on my NO#1 SG.
I started with gibsons in 2003 and an R7 Historic Reissue guitar. ABR1. So I'm used to seeing one on a guitar. I don't have rattle or run out of movement on the saddles when I intonate. IMO the nashville bridge is ugly and I like the look of an ABR1.
Now then, "looks" vs "function". When I do leave the nashville on a guitar that I'm trying to flip I leave it on. But the bridge stands out like sore thumb to me.
Playing and detailing guitars is a hobby. Just noodling around to make my guitars play better to me and to look better to me. It all makes me happy.
Can't beat that for saddle travel! If only there were a modern bridge of similar design for those guitars where even a Nashville doesn't offer enough travel for proper intonation.
They do this crap on Nashvilles too. This came out of a brand new guitar.
Ever notice how inconsistent the saddles are grooved? You would expect the string in the middle am I wrong? More often than not the groove is pulled to one side or the other making the strings unevenly spaced.
For guitars at this price I would expect each one to be perfect.
I agree. That's why I love Heritage guitars, they don't mess around with bridges, pickups, tuners and just build great guitars. They use Tone Pros bridges and Grover tuners and a wide variety of pickups from Duncan, DiMarzio, Throbak. Gibson should follow that lead but Henry J has to have control over everything while letting quality go down the poop pipe.
Well, I'm certainly no fan of Grovers, I consider them to be very inferior to Schallers, but at least there's nothing really deficient about Grovers. I have found new Grovers that had never even had their bodies tapped for the nut bushings, which is a stupid error that would have been caught if they had only bothered to assemble the machine parts before putting them in the box like Schallers are. I put only Schallers on my guitars.
Personally, I like the groves in the saddle to be as shallow and narrow as will keep the string in place. Also, I like the "blade" top of the saddles to be as narrow as possible. Therefore my Gibson and Epi guitars each sport a Gotoh bridge. They also have a wider range of intonation. And they are not expensive. I'm not a luthier, tech, or anything with pro experience in this area. I'm just sharing my personal preferences.
I have spares if you need them, just let me know!
I like OLD Grovers..but my '76 SG has Schallers OEM. (tuners and bridge!) Actually, Schaller OEM'd for Gibson from late '71/early '72, to about '94-'95ish...then went to PING..
I own the '99 R9 to the left, and a 988 ES-335. Both bridges have been replaced, the ES with a Tone Pros bridge, and the R9 within the past year, with a wireless ABR made by Philadelphia Luthier Supply, IIRC. In addition to the wire, depending on the year your guitar was made, Gibson stopped using aluminum for quite a few years. This has an effect on tone that is actually pretty noticeable.
Most people don't know that the ES-335 dates back to 980 A.D.
I doubt that studs are bent by notching saddles via the hammer/string method. Only a light tap is involved. I bet they get whacked from in-house handling, or in casing and shipping. And I have never, ever seen a Gibson bridge with the saddles placed out of order, resulting in wrong/unevern height. I'd attribute that kind of error to the dealer or a previous owner. I dislike the Gibson company very much, but fair is fair. As for the ABR-1 itself, it's up there with the Bigsby as a really clumsy way of approaching a fundamentally good goal. The retainer, the generally poor production quality (= bad fit, binding, slipping), and the lousy material (zinc alloy) make it a poor product. I don't think the Nashville version is any better, though it does allow more string travel, though in truth that should not be necessary if the bridge is properly located to begin with (and any setup requiring that much movement at the saddle end is going to have intonation problems up the fingerboard, too). I think all that stuff is relative junk in terms of quality, though better makers (not Kluson, IMO -- their stuff is sloppy, too) have managed to keep the look while creating decent, functional replacements. Every time I hold a Gibson ABR in my hand, I find myself thinking, what a piece of crap...
I've never seen any screws bent in mine, but I have found that they wear our ridiculously fast. When my R9 was about 6 months old I noticed some minute rattling and found some excessive play in the saddles.
Ended up buying a Faber, which not only had a more logical design with their c ring locks, but the tolerances were ridiculously tight.
ABRs look cool and vintage. In every other way, they are inferior to the Nashville. But, lord help me, I like their looks so much, I always replace my Nashville with an ABR. A Kluson, just like the man says. With raw brass saddles, usually. They look killer. How shallow can a guy get?
The problem I have with both ABRs and Nashvilles is the sorry way the intonation screws attach to the bridge body. If I'm not mistaken, both bridge designs set the screw head end into a "U" shaped slot. Some have a wire retainer and some don't It doesn't matter. The other end of the screw is sharpened to a point that fits into a small hole in the other side of the bridge body. The contact between the strings and bridge body (through the saddles) depends solely on string pressure.
On the other hand, Gotoh bridges have the head end of the screws mounted in holes that secure the screws very well. The other end of the screws are secured by nuts in some manner. I think other brands build bridges the same way. This results in a tonal improvement that I can actually hear (unless I am crazier than I think). A drop-in Gotoh bridge is the most cost effective tonal improvement you can make to your guitar. Around $30 delivered to your door by StewMac.
How hard is it to dislodge a bridge that's installed in a new Les Paul? I have a 2016 Les Paul Standard. I whacked the bridge with the side of my hand pretty hard several times, I was getting carried away with practicing "chuffing" or "dead strike" techniques. I regretted it later.
After doing the techniques for a while, and whacking the bridge with my hand, I realized I may be damaging the bridge or possibly dislodging the posts from the body. I don't see any obvious signs of it now, but do you think this is possible to do with your hand? How tough is a bridge and how well are the posts seated in the body?
The bridge shouldn't require any "whacking" to remove once the strings are removed UNLESS it is one of those that locks to the posts with allan screws. Check for those. If there aren't any, it could be that the posts are splayed in or out, thus binding on the bridge. To remove a bridge like that, I would recommend getting a piece of thick cloth to place on the guitar body to the back of the bridge, and place a thin piece of wood on top of it. Get a flat screwdriver and slip under the front of the bridge with the tip on the wood piece. Then pry upward gently and "jiggle" the bridge.
I'm not a fan of either ABR-1 or Nashville bridges. I want a bridge where I can adjust the height of each saddle, such as I can do on my strat. Does anyone make a drop-in replacement that can do that? I found an aftermarket LP bridge some years ago with adjustable-height saddles, but it required drilling out the holes in the body and installing larger ferrels, which I am not going to do on my R8—but i'd drop in a different saddle in a heartbeat if it had more functionality and didn't require me getting out the drill.
I have a LP faded with a Faber ABR locking bridge that intonates and sounds exceptional....Looks cool too!