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ES-335 Tune-o-matic Bridge

#1 User is offline   zigzag 

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 06:48 AM

On my ES-335, the saddle for the 6th string on my original bridge was reversed, and when I was adjusting the intonation, I found it would not move far enough back to intonate properly. When I removed the spring and turned it around, I found the groove in the saddle messed up the string spacing. Not a problem, I just filed in another groove. It works okay now, but I think I still want to just replace the whole bridge. I looked on the Gibson web site, and they are advertising the newer Nashville Tune-o-matic bridge. Would anyone recommend these, and would the nickel have any advantages over the chrome, or visa versa?
"If you don't play 'em, what good are they?" -Mike Campbell

#2 User is offline   NeoConMan 

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 06:52 AM

Hmmmm....
I have no answer, but as a 335 owner I will watch this thread with interest...

#3 User is offline   Tim Plains 

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 07:16 AM

Why don't you try a Callaham or Fabre replacement bridge? Everyone sees these as upgrades to Gibson bridges. I just replaced the Nashville on my LP Traditional with a Fabre ABR-1. To be honest, I did it just for looks but I think it did, in combination with a new tailpiece, give me a slightly different tone. I'll warn you - some of their ABR-1s are advertised as dropping right onto the stock Nashville posts. I had to fight with mine a little bit and (on other forums) I have read that some people had to modify the bridge to get it on.
Tim

#4 User is offline   zigzag 

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 07:57 AM

R9, you're scaring me, man. The Nashvilles are apparently without springs that hold the screws in place. I am told that the stock hardware is nickel, and since I play more jazz, that's probably what I need to stick with. I'll google your recommendations and see what I find. Thanks for the tip.
"If you don't play 'em, what good are they?" -Mike Campbell

#5 User is offline   pickypicky 

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 08:45 AM

I suppose it would be an interesting experiment to try out a Nashville bridge. They have deeper grooves I believe and probably do sound a bit different.

As for your saddle problem, which I don't think is a big problem, just get another saddle if the one you have looks too messy. Another option would be to try Graph-tech's composite saddles. They're called string savers and I have them on my FB VII. That stopped all the string breakage I was suffering. And they seem to sound no different.

#6 User is offline   sok66 

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 04:44 PM

[quote name='zigzag]On my ES-335' date=' the saddle for the 6th string on my original bridge was reversed, and when I was adjusting the intonation, I found it would not move far enough back to intonate properly. When I removed the spring and turned it around, I found the groove in the saddle messed up the string spacing. Not a problem, I just filed in another groove. It works okay now, but I think I still want to just replace the whole bridge. I looked on the Gibson web site, and they are advertising the newer Nashville Tune-o-matic bridge. Would anyone recommend these, and would the nickel have any advantages over the chrome, or visa versa?[/quote']

Don't do that. Properly installing a Nashville on your ABR-1 guitar involves drilling large holes for the adjusting post anchors and if you don't like the way it sounds, or looks, reversing the process is a major endeavor. Just order a set of replacement ABR-1 saddles and make a new one for your 6th string. The Nashville is a great bridge design, but very intrusive for a conversion.

The problem you have is a common one with ABR-1s, which have a host of other issues, too. Getting one set up right can drive you nuts, but it can be done. They impart a unique tone that is worth striving for. A few things I always do with ABR-1s:

1) replace the stock adjustment studs with longer stainless steel screws of the same thread pitch. I use 1 1/2" lengths, either cut from rod or from screws which I cut the heads off of. Double nut them and run the screws firmly to the bottom of the holes. This increases vibration transfer and the stronger screws won't bend towards the nut like the stock ones.

2) As needed, turn the saddles around until they can be intonated properly, without jamming them into the end of the slots. If you do the latter the screw will try to walk up towards the string. You'll likely have to cut new slots to get the strings spaced evenly.

3) Tighten up the retaining spring as much as possible. If necessary, make a new one out of an unwound thord string (.017" or heavier).

4) If the neck angle allows enough clearance under the bridge, use a second set of thumb wheels on the bridge studs, screwed tightly against the top of the guitar. These add more strength to the stud and increase vibration transfer to the top.

Lastly, if the bridge studs are improperly located (a common issue since the first ABR-1 was released in the '50s) and you can't get the bridge properly intonated, replace it with a Tonepros AVRII. Thes look virtually identical to an ABR-1, but use a NAshville-style clip to hold the saddle in place, and are just a bit wider, allowing more saddle travel.

#7 User is offline   zigzag 

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 11:16 PM

sok,

If I replace the stock ABR-1 bridge with a Tonepro AVRII nickel bridge, will it fit the existing posts? Should I expect to hear a difference in tone?
"If you don't play 'em, what good are they?" -Mike Campbell

#8 User is offline   hallgroper 

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 03:20 AM

sok66, where did you get all that knowledge on the ABR-1? I copied as keeper.
"The empty vessel makes the loudest sound." w.s.

#9 User is offline   zigzag 

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 03:53 AM

Quote

Lastly, if the bridge studs are improperly located (a common issue since the first ABR-1 was released in the '50s) and you can't get the bridge properly intonated, replace it with a Tonepros AVRII. Thes look virtually identical to an ABR-1, but use a Nashville-style clip to hold the saddle in place, and are just a bit wider, allowing more saddle travel.


I did a little research into the Tonepros AVRII. According to their description of that specific bridge, it still uses the spring like the ABR-1 and not the clip like the Nashville. I like the idea of the Nashville clip. I'm going to call them Monday to see if I the AVRII is available with a Nashville clip.
"If you don't play 'em, what good are they?" -Mike Campbell

#10 User is offline   jamester 

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 05:09 AM

I'm a big fan of the Tonepros AVRII, it is an improvement in every way: more intonation room, locks to the posts, looks identical to the real thing, and even though it does have the retainer clip there is *no rattle* whatsoever. Money well spent, for me it's a no-brainer...

#11 User is offline   roadhog96 

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 06:19 AM

I read last year that some of the new Gibson's models are coming from the factory with the Tone pros ABR-1 style locking bridges. I haven't seen any personally. The stock Gibson bridge is poorly constructed. This is why so many change them out. I have red hundreds of threads on this and have to agree with them. I plan on switching mine as soon as I have some income. Faber is good, Callahan is better, and Pigtails is very good. The stock Gibson is sloppy. The screws jam, the saddles lift up, the spring vibrates and you can't intonate properly. The aftermarket bridges have tightened up the tolerances and made improvements to the the ABR-1 style and material design. Definitely worth the upgrade in the long run. I wouldn't suggest switching to the Nashville bridge if your guitar came with the ABR-1. They were suppose to be an improved design over the ABR-1, post don't bend and there is more room for intonation available with them but it would require drilling the body for the threaded inserts. Nickel, Gold, Chrome finish, not a factor in tone. The material in which it's made has more influence on the tone. You can turn the saddles around if needed to intonate properly, it will vary on with different string gauges.

#12 User is offline   sok66 

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 07:01 AM

[quote name='The Hall Groper]sok66' date=' where did you get all that knowledge on the ABR-1? I copied as keeper.[/quote']

Thx, let's just say have a lot of experience w/ABR-1s!

BTW, the double thumbscrew idea is an old one, tried & true. You'll see this occasionally in photos of the old rockers' Gibsons. Dan Erlwine did an article years ago about the bridge posts. I must have stumbled on the idea back in the 60s when we had so many vintage Les Pauls, 335s, etc. with bridges that were tipping over towards the nut from string pressure. The stock posts are some kind of soft brass. They're not long enough to completely seat in the holes, which can vary in depth. When you do this mod, run the new stainless steel posts in until they seat (don't strip the threads in the wood). Then put the thumbwheels and bridge on, restring, set the action and mark the top of the postsat the top edge of the bridge. Disassemble, then trim off the excess post & polish off the ends.

#13 User is offline   sok66 

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 07:03 AM

Quote

I did a little research into the Tonepros AVRII. According to their description of that specific bridge, it still uses the spring like the ABR-1 and not the clip like the Nashville. I like the idea of the Nashville clip. I'm going to call them Monday to see if I the AVRII is available with a Nashville clip.


The AVRII has "e" clips that hold the screws in place, very similar to the Nashville. The retaining wire on an AVRII is purely cosmetic, has no real function. It has the same post spacing as an ABR-1, too, but a bit more saddle travel, and, without the risk of the saddle adj screws walking up towards the strings.

I also forgot to mention, the ARVII offers the ability to lock the bridge to the post with a tiny allen screw. Some guys feel this is a major benefit, although I can't say I've noticed any difference one way or the other on the AVRIIs I have installed. The big benefit to me is the AVRIIs more solid design, freedom from the retainer wire slop & rattle, the locked down saddle screws and increased intonation travel. That last item has saved me from having to plug & re-drill bridge posts on a number of Gibsons.

#14 User is offline   zigzag 

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 08:11 AM

Thanks for all of your help.

I ordered the Tonepros AVRII from Sam Ash; it'll be here in two weeks. I'll let you know how it turns out. BTW, when the guy at Sam Ash called Tonepros, the person on the other end recommended TP6 or T3BT. When I went to their website and read what it said about them, I got a little nervous, so I insisted on the AVRII based on the website, but also, based on the recommendations on this thread.

Thanks again everyone.
"If you don't play 'em, what good are they?" -Mike Campbell

#15 User is offline   zigzag 

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 04:30 AM

Update. Almost a month after ordering the AVRIIN bridge, it is now installed. It was definitely worth making the change. It dropped right on to the old posts; it is much more stable. I like that the bridge can be set onto the posts, because being stabilized to the posts will not allow it to move if the stopnuts are accidentally moved. I like the additional saddle room for intonation adjustment. And it looks great. I do not hear any difference in tone.
"If you don't play 'em, what good are they?" -Mike Campbell

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