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zombywoof

ADJ Saddle Question

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My experience with these suckers is not that great. But I have noticed quite a few Gibsons with these contraptions which have a pretty tall saddle. I assume this is responsive to height of the bridge and neck angle. But here is what I have been wondering. If the saddle is raised then the only real contact it has with the bridge plate is though the bolts. So, although it would render the adjustment aspect of the saddle useless and require some really precise measurement, would it not make sense to shim the underside of the saddle after it is set to the proper height?.

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Yep, I suppose you may be correct, but mine sounds. fantastic, so I'm not gonna think about it, would just mess up my already feeble mind. [biggrin]

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Don't get me started. A lot of the adj bridge Gibson models sound OK, but I happen to live near a shop where a talented luthier can pull the adj bridge, gently remove the metal sleeves and install an Indian rosewood belly slotted bridge and bone saddle, all for less than 3 hundred bucks. You're right...the top is resonating off the bolt thread and sleeve. It don't seem natural!!!

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If the saddle is raised then the only real contact it has with the bridge plate is though the bolts.

I mentioned this dynamic recently in another thread, and I do believe it contributes to the creation of a unique sound. Essentially, it's like dipping the guitar's toes slightly in the direction of an archtop bridge arrangement.

 

If you happen to find the tone of one of these adjustable-bridged instruments satisfying, I'm a firm believer in leaving it alone, unless there's a structural stability issue that needs to be resolved. On the other hand, if you're not satisfied, there's no reason not to experiment. And of course, what you suggest would be totally reversible - my favorite kind of mod!

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I mentioned this dynamic recently in another thread, and I do believe it contributes to the creation of a unique sound. Essentially, it's like dipping the guitar's toes slightly in the direction of an archtop bridge arrangement.

 

If you happen to find the tone of one of these adjustable-bridged instruments satisfying, I'm a firm believer in leaving it alone, unless there's a structural stability issue that needs to be resolved. On the other hand, if you're not satisfied, there's no reason not to experiment. And of course, what you suggest would be totally reversible - my favorite kind of mod!

 

 

Thanks. The analogy to an archtop seems to be spot on. And I fully agree with the if it ain't broke, don't fix it philosophy.

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They do have a unique character, and I don't care for it. IMO...YMMV and all that...the right thing to do to these is pull them out and replace them. I did exactly that to a '66 J-200 once years ago, and it saved that guitar's life.

 

P

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I mentioned this dynamic recently in another thread, and I do believe it contributes to the creation of a unique sound. Essentially, it's like dipping the guitar's toes slightly in the direction of an archtop bridge arrangement.

 

If you happen to find the tone of one of these adjustable-bridged instruments satisfying, I'm a firm believer in leaving it alone, unless there's a structural stability issue that needs to be resolved. On the other hand, if you're not satisfied, there's no reason not to experiment. And of course, what you suggest would be totally reversible - my favorite kind of mod!

 

 

Great description!

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I completely understand the urge to convert the ADJ bridges to slot/bone saddles but I recommend against it. But, if you do, can I buy your old bridge? I'm looking for adjustable bridges from that time period. All I need is the rosewood part, not the hardware.

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Let me tell you what I did with my 65 j-45. I wanted to keep it original, but still wanted improvement. I replaced the original tuning machines with WD Klusons and they work much smoother. Of course I am keeping the originals. Then I bought a bone saddle drop in replacement from Philadelphia luthiers fro $15. This saddle was a smigeon too wide to fit in my slot, so I sanded it and tried it, over and over, until it was narrow enough to go down as I screwed, but still tight enough that it would probably be hard to remove with my fingers. I don't know if it's the bone or the tightness, but it sounds so much different and better..more woody, better fullness.. My theory is that with the tightness, the vibrations go from the strings and then go through the sides into the bridge and to the top that way, instead of through the metal screws. Whatever it is, I love it!

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My experience with these suckers is not that great. But I have noticed quite a few Gibsons with these contraptions which have a pretty tall saddle. I assume this is responsive to height of the bridge and neck angle. But here is what I have been wondering. If the saddle is raised then the only real contact it has with the bridge plate is though the bolts. So, although it would render the adjustment aspect of the saddle useless and require some really precise measurement, would it not make sense to shim the underside of the saddle after it is set to the proper height?.

 

I have a '69 Blue Ridge that came with an adjustable rosewood saddle. Raising or lowering the saddle never made a difference in the tone that I could detect. For many years, I just kept it screwed all the way down (for action, not tone reasons), so I'd guess that lowering it all the way doesn't actually put the saddle in contact with the top (i.e., the screws when bottomed out are still slightly above the top). Either that, or even if it is touching, the main path for transmitting vibrations is still via the screws. So, I'm not sure if shimming underneath the saddle while retaining the adjustment mechanism would make much of a difference; also, I'd think that if you happened to screw the bridge down while there's a shim there you could crack the top.

 

FWIW, I recently replaced the wooden saddle with a tusq one, and that made a noticeable difference. I had it done by a tech who also did a very thorough set up and replaced some of the hardware underneath, though. So who knows? Maybe that's what made the difference. Mysteries abound with these adjustable beasts.

 

John

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Interesting article about adjustible bridges at Frets.com

 

Thanks, that was interesting. I had to chuckle, because he especially disliked the ceramic saddle while a few people on this site have suggested that the ceramic adjustable saddles are the only good ones. [tongue]

 

After about 2 months with my 1965 J-50 ADJ (rosewood), I still don't have a problem with the sound. Very different from my 2008 J-50, but I enjoy the contrast.

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We have a couple -- these -- 62 and 65

 

60gibsons.jpg

 

For the most part we buy for sound, and most 60s Gibsons don't make the cut -- but these did. They are good enough I have never felt compelled to change them. They don't compete with some of the earlier years at all -- but these are folk revival guitars, and they work well for that.

 

Link.

Let's pick,

 

-Tom

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For the most part we buy for sound, and most 60s Gibsons don't make the cut -- but these did. They are good enough I have never felt compelled to change them. They don't compete with some of the earlier years at all -- but these are folk revival guitars, and they work well for that.

 

 

With those two models it is not like you had a choice of decades unless you opted for the Epiphone Frontier.

 

While I dumped the rosewood saddle on my '63 B45-12 I also just let the bridge be. Liked the way the guitar sounded, kind of like a Hummingbird with a chorus pedal.

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As stated many times, I have all sorts of these :

 

Ceramic

 

Rosewood

 

Bone

 

Old vase ivory

 

Tusq

 

Removeable rosewood insert w. ordinary sized bone saddle

 

Removeable rosewood insert with wood/bone saddle combo

 

Permenant rosewood with ordinary sized bone saddle

 

and even got a metal insert w. nylon saddle last week

 

My fifty Yen tell this is a real different horses for different causes case.

Would never exchange my original ceramic in the 1963 SJ - not for anything permanent anyway.

Though quiet and mellow even an original rosewood can sound very good on tape.

Several ceramic saddled guitars tried over the years sang better than mine - and mine btw sings lounder than the CW with permenant wood/bone job. With bolts in there too !!

 

So, , , try your way forward and never go black'n'white on this topic. We been here before - also recently.

I'm just glad the Board begins to accept the nuances when it comes to this classic Gibson experiment - which they re-launch now and again in connection with various retro releases. Unfortunately with tusq, not ceramic saddle.

 

But yes, , , you of course have to like the ceramic flavour to keep it in -

 

I do. .

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Zomb - There is a battered early 60's SJ on the Bay right now. Have been there a while.

 

The ceramic saddle in the plastic bridge on that is raised high, , , and makes me wonder if anything's wrong.

 

If action and everything was ok, I would definitely slip down a heavy shim, , , maybe one of Little Feet's old joints. .

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