Appeal of ABR-1 vs. Nashville style bridges (and vice versa)

redking

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Ok gang - I don't want to debate which is "better" because everyone has a preference based on their own particular set-up, but for those that prefer the ABR-1 - why do you prefer that style of bridge, and for those that prefer the Nashville Style - why do you prefer that style?

My own thoughts after my experimenting over the last few weeks are that the ABR-1, being more narrow allows for greater break angle - if that works for you and your gauge of string, and the Nashville just seems more stable overall, but due to its width less break angle.

thoughts?
 

gball

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I prefer Nashville's. They are sturdier, things don't fall out when you remove the strings, they have better intonation and are easier to adjust. I actually think they look better as well - ABR's are a little dainty. After messing around with setups for 45 years I don't think decking the tailpiece makes any difference so the break angle is not relevant to me, personally.
 

Wise Guy

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Nashville 100% just because it's way better for adjustment purposes. The whole, ABR1 has better tone because the thumb wheel post go directly into the wood is absurd to me.

Edit: the harmonica bridge above should be much better than the ABR6 but I've never owned one.
 

BDW60

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The ABR looks better and is historically accurate. The Nashville is a practical but homely improvement.

Pretty generally wins. As long as a guitar can be intonated, I don’t have strong feelings on this topic.
 

ARandall

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Essentially ABR has a more solid connection into the wood.....as in the threaded rod goes deeper into the wood and the way the bridge connects to the stud is undeniably mechanically superior. The abr bridge itself is also milled form a sold piece of metal with recesses only for the saddles.
The downside is that the threaded rod is thin and can bend, and the travel for the saddles is limited

The Nashville has a 2 piece mounting with wood bushing and stud/height adjuster. The two are more beefy in terms of metal volume, but its all above the wood - the bushings quite literally have 1/3 of the wood contact of an ABR, and the flange on the surface is on a carved top so this too never contacts the top smoothly. Also the threaded interface is incredibly sloppy with every one I've ever used.
The intonation range is greater, but the bridge itself is by far less sturdy as the saddle spaces in the bridge 'chassis' are completely hollowed out. This typically has lead to the Nashville collapsing more than the ABR - especially due to the higher neck angles on the guitars they have come stock on.

I think the ideal would be a combination really, but with much more of the ABR's DNA than the Nashville. Some of the metric ABR's you can buy come with a thicker rod, but also a wider bridge piece like a Nashville.
Gotoh do a modern TOM like this - 4mm rod studs (rather than the approx. 3mm of the typical ABR) but fitted with a wider travel bridge.
 

Shelkonnery

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I have both Nashville and ABR style bridges on guitars I've played extensively and it's not what makes or breaks a guitar. You honestly can't tell the difference by ear. That's not to say there wouldn't be a difference in sound if you swapped one for the other in the same instrument. But they play and feel the same. It's like the long tenon rabbit hole - there's no way to identify on a blind test. It's just historically accurate, not superior by any means to me.
ABRs do look slick though.
 

Lester

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Nashville wins for me. More robust i.e. I've seen the ABR lean on those thin posts.

If you want it the tailpiece locked down (the angle issue), put some washers under the stoppiece on the posts.Lock down any height that makes you happy.

I don't put any stock in either bridge option or locking the stop bar making enough of a difference in sound to matter... but whatever makes you happy.
 
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timbraun

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Most of my Gibsons have Nashville - I think. I don't see enough visual difference to connect with 'looks better' argument. Tuning pegs, body shape (Special DC horn shape), binding - these things I notice.

I had to replace bent studs on an ABR once, so I prefer Nashville.
 

NINFNM

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I am a firm Nashville believer.

Pros:

- The Nashville system has more treaded contact than the ABR. Their Studs/Bushing connection has more threads than the Wheel/Post of the ABR.

- They also has a cleaner and better height adjustment, in the same line as the tailpiece was designed.

- Not to mention the non rattling and more stable saddle system.


I solved the only possible and subjective downside (wood transmision) and explained it on this thread:

Improving the Nashville bushings contact | My Les Paul Forum
 

Oranjeaap

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I like the way ABR1 looks. I just have a thing for old, worn, beater guitars. Most of them are indeed the older guitars with the ABR1. They are also nearly always nickel plated, even the gold ones have some sort of nickel undercoat I guess. They just look so cool when they start aging. Combined with the slimmer, more elegant design, just perfect.
Nashville is nearly always chrome or gold over chrome I guess. I don't like the way they age, I don't like they are so shiny when the gold wears away, I don't like how they are still shiny even if the chrome starts to crumble at some spots.

From a functional point of view, I guess the Nashville bridge is superior in every way.

Those who claim abr1 is superior when it comes to sound, maybe... maybe not... I don't hear it. Don't waste too much time on it.
 

filtersweep

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ABR-1 --- like nibs--- not at all necessary, but it is about the looks, tradition, and it reminds me I am playing a Gibson--- and in my case, my R8. But I am not inspired to convert my Nashvilles to ABRs on my SG, by other two Les Pauls.... even my Gretsch has a Nashville-ish bridge.
 

1981 LPC

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Because I couldn't find new brass saddles for my badly worn original Nashville bridge, I replaced it with a (Faber locking) ABR in 2014. Would have liked to have kept the Nashville from an originality stand point.

BUT even more relevant than ABR vs. Nashville bridge, are the Nashville bushings. In my 1981 LPC these were pressed in but I could pull them out with my fingers. They also very short compared to the depth of the hole drilled into the top (over 3 Cm).

Along with the Faber locking ABR I installed Faber iNserts. This combo really made a difference in terms of tuning stabilty (rock solid connection, so slop at all) and also in terms of how the guitar responds to strumming. What I did not expect was how much more resonant the guitar was. The neck vibrates and everything just rings out. Sustain improved too. Not a lot but it was noticable.

The best I can describe the overall effect on the 'tone' is that I now hear more of it. Imagine hearing a good song outside and opening the window to hear it better.

Review: Faber iNsert
Review: Faber locking ABR bridge

Nashville bushing vs Faber Insert.JPG

foto(5).JPG
 
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redking

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For what it's worth, I have a 2020 Standard with the threaded - insert version of the ABR-1 and I am testing the Graphtech Resomax bridge and tailpiece (which do come in a Nickel finish) and they have a magnet system to keep the bridge and tailpiece on the guitar when you take the strings off. I consider this to be simply a convenience feature and not impacting tone at all. I don't like how the tailpiece has to sit so high to get an acceptable break angle, so I have dropped it down almost to the deck and top wrapped it to get roughly the steepest break angle that you can get out of a Nashville style bridge. I need to play it more to determine whether I like it or not. I'm also experimenting with a wound G at the same time so it will be interesting.
 
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