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I usually post on the Acoustic Forum and did post this last week.

Thought I'd share it over here. I'm really liking it.

Built to the specs of the original popular carved acoustic guitar with a limited run of 10.

 

 

 

5678F078-410D-43FC-BA32-63C3C9FDB86B_zpspvoncbel.jpg6DF00AC7-D173-4097-8767-D4C123387937_zpsas8azkyj.jpg

 

 

 

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I usually post on the Acoustic Forum and did post this last week.

Thought I'd share it over here. I'm really liking it.

Built to the specs of the original popular carved acoustic guitar with a limited run of 10.

 

 

 

5678F078-410D-43FC-BA32-63C3C9FDB86B_zpspvoncbel.jpg6DF00AC7-D173-4097-8767-D4C123387937_zpsas8azkyj.jpg

 

[thumbup] Wow very nice. Wear it in good health! How's the tone?

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Should it not have a "proper" carved ebony/rosewood bridge and not the Tune-o-matic?

 

That's the way Gibson has been shipping out L-5 based guitars for many years, with the exception of the "Lee Ritnour" model, AND they won't sell you (or their "authorized" dealers) a "Ritnour" bridge separately.

 

So.... you have to go aftermarket, BUT........ I have seen many aftermarket carved ebony bridges advertised for sale, and not a single one is carved correctly to intonate properly (the "G" string saddle area is the specific problem). If you want an ebony or rosewood bridge for a Gibson archtop that will intonate correctly, you have to have one custom made.

 

I should add, or maybe I should have started off by saying, an ebony bridge will dramatically change the sound of an L-5. It will give it a MUCH more "woody" tone. Although this may not be the desired affect for some players, it was the last piece of the puzzle in me finding the ultimate jazz tone for what I do.

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Should it not have a "proper" carved ebony/rosewood bridge and not the Tune-o-matic?

I think An ebony saddle would look nicer. When I adjusted the saddles to bring in the intonation, they were all over the place so it would be a custom one. Since I have the Tune-o-matic set, I could use it for a template and make one when I get time.

 

Thanks

 

 

 

 

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That's the way Gibson has been shipping out L-5 based guitars for many years, with the exception of the "Lee Ritnour" model, AND they won't sell you (or their "authorized" dealers) a "Ritnour" bridge separately.

 

So.... you have to go aftermarket, BUT........ I have seen many aftermarket carved ebony bridges advertised for sale, and not a single one is carved correctly to intonate properly (the "G" string saddle area is the specific problem). If you want an ebony or rosewood bridge for a Gibson archtop that will intonate correctly, you have to have one custom made.

 

I should add, or maybe I should have started off by saying, an ebony bridge will dramatically change the sound of an L-5. It will give it a MUCH more "woody" tone. Although this may not be the desired affect for some players, it was the last piece of the puzzle in me finding the ultimate jazz tone for what I do.

I'll give that a try

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... I could use it for a template and make one when I get time.

 

That's exactly how to do it, measure the saddle location off a fixed point (plane) of the TOM (I use the front of the casting), transfer the differentials to a block of ebony that has been pre-cut to length/width/thickness AND post holes drilled, then get out your Dremel and have at it.

 

Here's the one I made for my L-5CES:

5923888423_2325937654_o.jpg

 

I think I did a step-by-step write-up on this for some website, maybe this one. I'll see if I can find it. Otherwise feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

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Beautiful guitar Dave.

 

Sorry to say that if it were mine it would have a floating DeArmond on it superquick!

 

 

Maybe a few years ago I would had. I do not plug in much anymore and if I do, I have plenty of electrics that don't see much action.

 

 

 

 

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That's the way Gibson has been shipping out L-5 based guitars for many years, with the exception of the "Lee Ritnour" model, AND they won't sell you (or their "authorized" dealers) a "Ritnour" bridge separately.

 

So.... you have to go aftermarket, BUT........ I have seen many aftermarket carved ebony bridges advertised for sale, and not a single one is carved correctly to intonate properly (the "G" string saddle area is the specific problem). If you want an ebony or rosewood bridge for a Gibson archtop that will intonate correctly, you have to have one custom made.

 

I should add, or maybe I should have started off by saying, an ebony bridge will dramatically change the sound of an L-5. It will give it a MUCH more "woody" tone. Although this may not be the desired affect for some players, it was the last piece of the puzzle in me finding the ultimate jazz tone for what I do.

 

Not sure about that?

 

 

Earlier this year.

 

DG

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Got started on the new ebony bridge.

 

Measured the Tune-o-matic

 

Slabbed a piece of ebony to thickness

 

Cutout 4 shapes and snapped out the pieces

 

Next I will drill, radius ends and shape the saddles

 

I would like to find something to polish the wood to match the base

 

A66CA101-D769-4EEF-9084-6FE02C039E3C_zpsevtr3prh.jpg

 

 

 

 

94C51CD3-80E0-4C5A-A761-D0E32099FFCA_zpsxtkwrozd.jpg

 

CE011992-2BC5-4107-9168-217421A2ADF8_zpsifcnixrp.jpg

 

 

 

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Here's the ebony bridge/saddle I made based off the intonation of the tune-o-matic

 

Intonation was right there. The height also came out within .005"

 

I did a sound byte with the guitar on the bench just strumming a couple open chords.

 

The sound was different. The bass was a little stronger and the overall sound was more acoustic sounding.

 

C3C011BF-EB0F-4DDC-A629-A79CF691B0DE_zpsnkujgfn1.jpg

 

8843A55F-EF89-44D1-83B5-038517996A2B_zpsgv62ncli.jpg

 

9635C500-880A-438B-83D3-FA89B8F5D881_zpstbzkihwh.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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Here's the ebony bridge/saddle I made based off the intonation of the tune-o-matic

 

Intonation was right there. The height also came out within .005"

 

I did a sound byte with the guitar on the bench just strumming a couple open chords.

 

The sound was different. The bass was a little stronger and the overall sound was more acoustic sounding.

 

C3C011BF-EB0F-4DDC-A629-A79CF691B0DE_zpsnkujgfn1.jpg

 

8843A55F-EF89-44D1-83B5-038517996A2B_zpsgv62ncli.jpg

 

9635C500-880A-438B-83D3-FA89B8F5D881_zpstbzkihwh.jpg

 

You made this? Very nice, clean work indeed! [thumbup]

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  • 2 weeks later...

What is perplexing here is that the stagger of the saddle notches is so much different than a 175 w/ a TOM bridge, or any other Gibson for that matter. Normally, the E-A-D- and G strings are progressively a little shorter, the E being the longest, the G being the shortest. This is also the case with flat-tops as well. Then the plain B and E have their own stagger, with the B being longer than the E.

 

When you go to a plain G, it then has to be longer than the D. But on your guitar, the D is longer than the A, which is highly unusual, as I have never encountered this situation when intonating an archtop Gibson, with or without a wound G, and with or without a TOM type saddle. Something does not add up here.

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Congrats on this beautiful purchase, Dave! [wub] Have lots of playing fun after your great bridge work. [thumbup]

 

...

Something does not add up here.

Every guitar is different. Due to unpredictable mechanical impedances at various frequencies compensation is an individual interaction of each particular instrument and the strings used.

 

Function is all that counts.

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I agree, every guitar is different, but usually only in very minor and subtle details, especially when you are comparing two models that are the same, and when comparing models made by the same manufacturer using the same hardware and scale lengths. For the intonation to be that far off from what is normal for Gibsons indicates something else is not right. I can see a given string being maybe 1/32" out from one guitar to the next, but most likely that would be due to action height and string gauge. However, in this case we see a major difference, especially with a wound G string being intonated almost 1/4" longer than what is normal. Whatever the cause, it's a real head scratcher because I have never come across a guitar that needed that radical of an intonation change to play in tune. Did you use a Peterson strobe tuner?

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On the bench I use my iPhone Pano app or my Matrix Quartz SR1000. They're always close to each other. I did this project with the iPhone.

 

When I received the guitar, as I do with all when I first get them, I tune them in the open then spot check them down the frets.

 

On this L5, I quickly saw that there was a problem at the nut. The first fret was off. The depths were okay but they did not have enough back draft. I recut every slot with some back draft being careful to not take them any deeper.

 

I then worked on getting down the neck set more accurately. I was very satisfied with the setup of the TOM from the nut down to the 12h fret.

 

I then put some painters tape to mark the position of the bridge, loosened the strings and removed the bridge and TOM.

 

I measured the TOM and duplicated it to a piece of ebony.

 

After replacing saddle and tuning up, everything checked and sounded good.

 

Your response got me questioning it so I rechecked everything with the Quartz tuner and it checked the same.

 

Additionally, I dropped by a luthier today (Jamonn Zeiler) to have him measure the L5 neck so he could duplicate it on a custom he's making for me. He checked it out and gave it a thumbs up. He said it was not unusual for the offsets on the saddle.

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Well, it just goes to show how no two guitars are exactly alike, even when made on precise factory tooling. How they screwed up the fingerboard slots is somewhat troubling, especially given that L-5s are supposedly hand made by the most skilled Gibson employees.

 

I did some research and found that some guys intonate the bridge saddles by comparing the 2nd and 14th fret, then the set the open string intonation by intonating the nut. Others take the approach of asymmetrically crowning the frets to move the fret pinch point either towards, or away from the bridge. In extreme cases, larger fret wire(jumbo) can be used to move the intonation of each fret if needed. Some guys mentioned they have to do this due to the custom string gauges they use.

 

Having just finished a fret job, I found that with the resulting lower action, my fixed compensation bridge now is much better, the intonation is almost perfect and not off enough to bother with now.

 

I have started shaping an ebony saddle for my Regent based on your results. Thanks for the great pictures and inspiration.

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