Original 50's ABR vs R9 ABR Video

rogue3

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This was cool.I listened fairly close with ear buds.
I'll venture bridges are like band pass filters,though not quite as extreme,same principle.

The old bridge is warmer sounding,and not as much treble as the new bridge.This is highlighted with the feedback that occurs on the second chord sequence comparison up the neck with the newer bridge.Lively with more upper frequencies. This is evident in all the other comparisons.

You might use the analogy of Stevie Ray Vaughan's comment in an interview i read once.A well known story. He said when comparing straight cords to his preferred coiled cords,the straight cords "pass too much electricity"...the inherent capacitance of the coiled cords filtered the signal, to a warmer sound.

The type of pot metal here i believe has the same effect.The brighter later bridge, could be interpreted as clearer,because of the additional treble.But some might like the old bridge and find the warmer sound,with more upper frequencies filtered out leads to a clearer signal.Not as busy in the upper end.

The point was brought up about the bridge saddles being sharp and to the point,making for a brighter signal.Another variable for sure.But overall i give the vintage bridge the vote for warmth and more bass frequencies.The new bridge for clarity and more treble,with seemingly less bass freq.different strokes.

I had a similar experience when i swapped out a mexican tele vintage copy bridge(soft,easily bent pot metal) for an All-Parts nickel plated bridge with individual saddles on my Roadworn Tele.
Type of bridge metal matters when doing a direct comparison.It became brighter,with more sustain.Lost some warmth, but better response up and down the neck.Resonance of the bridge and its filtering of the signal does change what the pickup see's.

But funny,after a period of time,it has become warmer sounding to my ears.voodoo.Your ears change,or,did the bridge settle in?idk.

I think after a period of time,this small a change doesn't really matter that much,and is only really obvious in a direct comparison like what the video showed.Your ears adjust.

BUT, sum of the parts of an individual instrument. if you have an overly bright guitar,for instance,the later bridge might not be the ticket,and vintage pot metal could moderate that,as could a pickup change, and all the other little things.
The video clearly demonstrates a difference.
 
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CreamTone

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Any thoughts on this @CreamTone?
Absolutely! And thank you for getting my attention.

I haven't read every post in this thread, but from the number of posts I can see there are many opinions. Mine is only one of them.

Every old burst I've ever played sounds dark unplugged. But when you plug one in... my Lord, the angels sing! Other guitars sound much more lively unplugged, including the Custom Shop reissues. But I don't think you can narrow all of it down to the bridge. Honestly, I don't buy into the thinking that every ratio of the alloys that went into the original Zamack was crucial. The thumbwheels play a big part. Gibson is still using steel for their thumbwheels. The originals were brass. These little saucers are literally holding your bridge and they're the second point of transfer (the first is the saddles, which are also brass) of every note you play. Steel is bright and sharp. Brass is warm and dark.

It helps to flatten the saddles to warm up the tone. But with an ABR-1 bridge, it can hamper intonation on some guitars.

The Les Paul is much more the sum of its parts than it is any one or two (or ten) specific features.

Cheers!
Lonnie
 

paco1976

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I liked more the 50s original.
However what I liked the most is the polar bear on the right of the screen.
 

Rock City

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Sorry, but you are wrong. The late ‘50’s saddles were flat on top when new. I’ve had pristine bridges and seen a good number of NOS original bridges still in the box with flat top saddles. And yes this will make a difference in tone. The flat top of the original saddles makes for more string contact which absorbs more top end making for a warmer tone. Much the same as fretwire. Narrow frets are always brighter than wider frets.
this + differ materials used in 1950s
 

vivanchenko

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I have read a huge number of threads here how some costly upgrade/material miraculously brightened up the tone and how great the added brightness is. Now, another upgrade dampens the brightness and it is even better? :wtf: the brighter sounding ebony fretboards must be crap too... :hmm:. So, the new consensus is that dampened brightness and lesser harmonics is the way to go?
 

Jewel the Sapphire

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Imo from the first clean example the 50s bridge was clearer and had more balanced tone and the modern resissue had a thin top end that overpowered the midrange
 
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Apache Crumb

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I believe damn near every part, component, finish, wood, plastics and so on will effect the guitars tone in some way. I had a 59 Junior and tried a Faber compensated wraptail bridge and it totally killed the guitars tone. Returned it and stuck with the original light weight aluminum wraptail. Just shaping & slotting Les Paul saddles will change the tone in some way, I know I have done it. I liked the 50's ABR better from the video, it sounded warmer & had more sustain, rang like a bell.....musical is the word.
 

519tbarr

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Thank you for posting this.
If any of the guys at Gibson are watching this video you need to take note of this. There's no question the 50's bridge makes the guitar sound life like. (for a 2008 reissue)
Gibson does a terrible job marketing their accessories, pickups and replacement parts. In 2018 - going into 2019 - this should be a focus. Be the best company with the best parts with the best description and provide all the possible information possible.
Very insightful video!



Guys maybe this was already posted here but the difference was VERY surprising to me. Even trough the shitty laptop speakers the 50's sounded so much clearer. Always thought that the bridge played a part but not this much.
Any thoughts?
 
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Interesting topic and thanks for posting the vid. In my experience, the stopbar has made the biggest difference. The lightweight aluminium ones really suit some guitars (brighten them up) and totally don't suit others (ice pick).
 

grayd8

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I believe damn near every part, component, finish, wood, plastics and so on will effect the guitars tone in some way. I had a 59 Junior and tried a Faber compensated wraptail bridge and it totally killed the guitars tone. Returned it and stuck with the original light weight aluminum wraptail. Just shaping & slotting Les Paul saddles will change the tone in some way, I know I have done it. I liked the 50's ABR better from the video, it sounded warmer & had more sustain, rang like a bell.....musical is the word.
Just taking abrasive chord and polishing my saddle/nut slots with it was one of the most dramatic changes in tone I have done to my Gibson’s. It really killed off the high end harshness and rounded out the tone on the high end.
 

Apache Crumb

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Just taking abrasive chord and polishing my saddle/nut slots with it was one of the most dramatic changes in tone I have done to my Gibson’s. It really killed off the high end harshness and rounded out the tone on the high end.
I was going to mention nut slots in my post but I wanted to keep it short.
I totally agree well cut nut slots make or break the playability / tone & tuning stability.
Often overlooked and tricky to master, cutting nut slots was an OCD thing with me for a while.
All guitarists should learn to do this.
 

Pappy58

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The power of the mind is on clear display in this thread! :run:
 

PierM

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Curious this guy always get some unique and incredible A/B, with basically everything he compares.........:hmm:

:io:
 

korus

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Just taking abrasive chord and polishing my saddle/nut slots with it was one of the most dramatic changes in tone I have done to my Gibson’s. It really killed off the high end harshness and rounded out the tone on the high end.
And the same goes for nut slots. Perfectly shaped - round and smooth - both saddle and nut slots do 2 things

- improved playing experience, better playing instrument : decreased friction of strings and bottom of the slot, which result in 'playing like butter' feel, and less chance of binding when bending, or just micro bending when playing fretted notes. Unless locked there, strings move in slots ALL the time, even when playing open string when we pluck the string it gets elongated and moves in slots.

- maximizes contact surface size of string and saddle/nut, which helps transfer and amplification by resonance of lower overtones, while absorbing more of higher overtones - the result is louder, deeper and less harsh tone, regardless of how hard/wrong the material of saddle/nut for optimal - originally designed tone of the particular guitar model is.

This is very basic physics but it is still too complex to grasp by people who cannot hear any difference. They think all people who claim to hear the difference are liars. I guess that is how colorblind react when they hear for the first time red and green are not the same color.

Since majority of guitar owners (general public) does not hear the difference, guitars almost never have properly shaped saddle/nut slots, regardless of guitar's price range. It would be like painting walls in different color, of the room where blind person lives. That is why guitar making industry does not bother doing it the only right way. The top of the saddles were flat originally, now they are almost sharp as knife - who hears that, really?

Once the musicians learn about this, feel and hear the difference, they apply that knowledge on their instruments, as they are able to perceive it and therefore appreciate it. They can surely see the color of the walls of the room they live in.
 
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grayd8

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Once the musicians learn about this, feel and hear the difference, they apply that knowledge on their instruments, as they are able to perceive it and therefore appreciate it. They can surely see the color of the walls of the room they live in.
One test I always do on a guitar every time I change the strings is to seal a piece of sewing string from my wife's stash and drag it through the nut and saddle slots.
If its not as smooth as glass I break out the abrasive chord and give it a few swipes.
 

jerry47

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metal composition Is the main factor, More / less carbon etc...
 

korus

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metal composition Is the main factor, More / less carbon etc...
... when speaking of regular, carbon steel (which is ferro-magnetic) and mostly Ferrum. More Carbon in alloy, carbon steel is harder.

When speaking of brass, which is mainly Copper, it is percentage of Zinc, that does the same, as Carbon in steel - greater the percentage of Zinc, brass is harder.

Zamak, alloy of which is ABR-1 body is made of, is mostly Aluminum with addition of Zinc. Again greater Zinc percentage makes Zamak harder.

Nowadays and back then in mid '50s, when they designed original hardware, very different carbon steel and brass were most common. Steel 1018 or 1022 today vs steel 1006 or 1010 back then, and brass C360 (36% of Zn) today vs red brass (20% of Zn) or some other brass with even less Zn, eg 15%, back in the days. Anyone can check physical properties of these on internet and compare them, but the bottomline is modern most common alloys of the same name/type are harder today than those 60 years ago. And that makes modern guitars thinner, punchier and unpleasant sounding (tighter lows, less mids, louder and harsher treble) when compared to stock originals. Relative level of different overtones in string vibration is altered and no electric signal manipulation can compensate for that sad and funny 'history unfolding' that alltogether resulted in 50+ years old 'mistery of the vintage tone' and secured never to be 'resolved'.

That increased hardness of all aloys used for modern hardware is the most important factor why no modern made replica of stock original have the tone of stock originals and cannot be mistaken for one by anyone with decent hearing ability. It is physically prevented. If someone wanted deliberately, on purpose to avoid tone of stock originals this is exactly the simplest, the cheapest and the most effective way to achieve that.

But common wisdom says: electric guitar is not an acoustic guitar, can't you see it has pickups, so people 'chase the tone' by changing pickups of the exactly same design, to a T. They even put original PAFs in Rx. And for some 'elusive' reason, the tone is 'not quite there', ever. People also play vintage guitars with stock original electric parts never touched by soldering iron, but with fake aged hardware (original hardware parts likely sold) that can easily get anyone to be deceived by it's 'authentic' appearance into believing fake hardware is stock original, and guess what - tone is exactly like modern replica by Gibson or any other, not a tone of a stock original. And then we read on forums - you know, man, not all vintage guitars are the same, not all vintage guitars are great, I've played them and there are many dogs and 'meh', nothing special sounding 'vintage' guitars, 'just like my Rx', 'my replica kicked ass of that holy grail' and similar honest opinions.

You don't say.
 
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jamdogg

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Very interesting, thank you OP for sharing. I am not very surprised in the huge tonal difference between the bridges. On my tele I swapped out the stock bridge plate w/a Glendale and that alone made a big impact. More than it should have, I thought at the time.

That all said, the best LP tone i ever heard came from a maple neck, pancake Norlin w/Nashville bridge. Now that would be a great thread - pancake analysis/comparison. :)
 

UEF

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Don’t know if this has been mentioned already, but the 50s ones have a differently sized wheel on the bridge posts
 




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