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The Infamous "Lightning Bar" tailpiece...


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Hello All...


I joined this forum in the hopes that I could get some clearer answers pertaining to the Infamous "Lightning Bar" compensated wraparound tailpiece as used on the Melody Makers and SG Specials of the 1960's.


There are far few resources in regards to this part and Gibson, bless their heart, don't seem to know how to answer the question(s).


1. When were these introduced...officially?


2. What material were they made of?


3. What material were the mounting studs made of?


4. What is truly "historic" about the reissued PTTP-070 tailpiece?


5. What is the difference(s) if any between the TPBR-8513 stamped tailpieces used in the early 2000's as opposed to the TPBR-8513 stamped PTTP-070 tailpieces aside from the plating?


6. Why did my recent purchase of the PTTP-070 tailpiece from The Music Zoo come in the black "bench spec" packaging as opposed to the yellow "historic spec" packaging?


And lastly, why hasn't anyone sincerely tried to replicate the design in a low mass steel or aluminum and resell as an aftermarket part...

Pigtail has discontinued their endeavors to do this...I was recently informed by the owners widow.


Please help to shed some light on the topic at hand.


We can help to establish at least one resource to be preserved for others who may follow.



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Hey there...


I'm the proud owner of a 1964 Melody Maker, which was all original when I got it. Functional problems forced me to modify it, but all reversibly.


One such modification was the bridge. It has an original TPBR-8513 (stamped on the underside), compensated for a wound G string.


People revere these bridges as if they're something special. Far from it.


The reason nobody reproduces a low-mass steel version?


Because they suck. There's no mass to them, so they make any guitar they're put on sound thin and wimpy. An object needs Mass to vibrate. If you look at Any "lightning bar" wraparound from the 60's, there's nothing to them. They used as little metal as they could.


I put a TonePros adjustable wraparound bridge on it, and it Sounds better And it intonates so much better. That's a heavy bridge, and it brought the guitar to life.


To answer your questions:


1. Not a clue.


2. Plain old steel, as far as I can tell.


3. See #2.


4. Gibson's "historic" tendencies to build hype and label stuff to justify a price point.


5. I'm pretty sure the "modern" versions found on production models (non-custom shop) are made of zinc...the overpriced one is aluminum...


6. Can't comment on this.



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