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nickjwill

1960 J-50 bridge

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Question: Does any one recognize this belly up Ebony bridge as original for a J-45/50? (I posted this on the AGF forum yesterday). I found this on the local C/L last week. I took a quick peek inside to check the cracks, cleats, bracing, bridge plate etc and did not see any bolt holes in the bridge plate, only the 6 bridge pin holes. I suppose the bridge plate could be a replacement too. No ADJ stamp inside, only FON on heel block. It's in the shop getting prepped for repair the bridge is lifting and will be coming off to get reinstalled. I instructed the luthier to snap some photos of the top wood under the bridge so I can see if there are any bolt holes in the top. Thanks.

image.jpg5_zpsanlpdesu.jpg

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This picture makes me miss my '57 J-45. You can see the swirl marks around the replaced bridge. If you buy it find someone with BRW blanks and have them make a copy of the original. It looks like a workhorse. Screw the cracks!

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This picture makes me miss my '57 J-45. You can see the swirl marks around the replaced bridge. If you buy it find someone with BRW blanks and have them make a copy of the original. It looks like a workhorse. Screw the cracks!

It's mine. Bought it last week. It's in the shop now. Photo doesn't show it well but there is a huge belly below bridge and a equally huge dip in front of it. It's being re-hydrated right now and the top is slowly being flattened. I'll stick with the ebony bridge unless it doesn't work well. It doesn't bother me that much that it's not original. I think it looks kinda cool. Eager to get it back. It'll be my 3rd j-50. I had a '48 that was in great shape but was kind of a dog tonewise believe it or not and a '65 with the adjustable bridge that sounded great but the skinny neck wasn't for me.

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It looks "okay" ...but a lot dry. Finish has "had it".

 

With a lot of clean-up.....could be a nice guit! A little rough-looking from the picture shown, however.

 

 

 

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The footprint and shape of the bridge look right, but the lack of bolts isn't. I'm assuming you have absolutely confirmed that the bridge is ebony rather than rosewood. I have rosewood bridges and fretboards on two separate Gibsons that are almost as black as ebony.

 

I would keep the bridge. I might even add two tiny machine screws and their associated pearl dots just for old times sake, as long as you have the bridge off to do work. If you can, take a picture of the bridgeplate so we can look at the size and material.

 

If the guitar ever had an adj bridge, or the normal small machine screws, that will be obvious when the bridge is off the top.

 

I don't mind the condition of the top finish at all, although I am always tempted to touch up large patches of bare wood from pick wear with a little brushing lacquer to keep the wood more stable.

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There it is. Apparently it started out with an adjustable bridge. The bridge plate was changed too as it has no holes other than the 6 bridge pin holes. The Bridge plate is made out of solid maple approx. 3/16"-1/8" thick, a little wider (maybe a 1/4") than the bridge and spanning between the braces.

Ebony Shmebony! & Screw the bridge bolts. I'll look at it as an upgrade! image.jpg1_zps2u3nnv3e.jpg

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Definitely started as an adjustable bridge. The large filled holes are for the hollow barrel bolts that held the adjusting screws. A bit of clean-up and repair is called for before that bridge goes down.

 

Sounds like the new bridgeplate is the right size and material, so someone took some care at some point. With the bridge off, the question is whether to keep the ebony or replace it with rosewood to match the guitar. Depends on the skill and pricing of your luthier, and how much you like the guitar.

 

Below is a photo of what the original saddle adjustment mechanism and the oversized, plywood bridgeplate would have looked like. In 1960, it might have had a smaller, solid bridgeplate. This one is from 1968, and is obviously a belly-down bridge, rather than the more typical Gibson belly-up version.

 

boneadjustable.jpg

 

Here is the bridge my luthier (Ross Teigen) made to replace the adjustable one shown above, which Gibson had put on in 1968 during some repairs. This new bridge, which is Brazilian rosewood, replicated the original bridge from 1948-'50. I just checked, and that new bridge was $225, which I believe included the labor (this was a small part of a big job on the guitar.)

 

bridge.jpg

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