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What would you do with an old Gibson with an adj. bridge?


theflyingturtle

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There is a 68' Hummingbird for sale on CL in my area. 68' is my birth year too but I'll be upfront and say that like women with a pulse, I like all guitars on CL. However, it looked rough and it has the adjustable bridge which I don't like. So I got to thinking that maybe I SHOULD go look at it because you should never judge a book by it's cover. My mind on the other hand contemplates having the bridge replaced and making it into a nice, beat up player that will sound far better than it looks. So, would you change out the bridge or leave an old Gibson "preserved" for the next generation?

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I would skip over and have a look. It may have other things that make the adjustable bridge a non issue. To answer your question though, I leave them. The adj. bridge has been kicked around quite a bit here and the opinions and reasoning run the gamut. Hey it just might grow on you.

Good luck.

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For some reason, whatever it may be, people want a guitar from the year they were born. I'm bettin a buck that adjustable bridge or not, yer buyin it!

 

Good luck, I hope it is a good one.

 

rct

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I'd take a look at it. I personally like the adjustable bridge and in today's market place one can simply purchase a bone or tusk adjustable bridge saddle to replace an original ceramic or wooden saddle in an adjustable bridge which will resolve most of the sonic problems with the original ceramic or wood saddles of an adjustable bridge...although some find the original ceramic or wooden saddles in them to sound just fine.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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First - have a look at it. Try it. As mentioned earlier, the bridge may be eclipsed by something else (good or bad). If you buy - and there's an odd attraction for birth year guitars which I do not grasp, but also tend to share - which you well may, there'll be plenty of time to deal with the bridge in your own good time.

Keep the thread lively - adj. bridges are a favorite of mine, and this could be fun!

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What would I do? Just enjoy it as it was originally intended. That's what I do with my 1965 J-50 that still has the original adjustable rosewood bridge. But if you don't like the sound, don't buy it. There are lots of other guitars to choose from. I don't get the point of a "birth year guitar". Never even heard of this idea until I saw another post here. Why would a 1968 be better than a 1958 or ???

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I've got no beef with adjustable saddles. I suppose there might be a difference if it had a solid saddle....might.

 

Definitely do NOT turn your nose up.

 

My B45-12 originally came with a wooden saddle but the previous owner had swapped it out for... (ceramic?). One day I switched it back to wood just to try it. I prefer the ceramic but that's subjective.

 

My main guitar, a 1964 SJ, originally had an adjustable saddle but was swapped to solid long before I bought it in 1984 so I have no basis for comparison. Apparently the previous owner felt it mattered enough to send it for surgery. I wouldn't do that, I don't think.

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Now that I'm retired, I'm finally getting around to some of my guitar projects.

 

Just completed was the restoration of my 1966 Epiphone FT-45n Cortez. It was Kalamazoo's Epi clone of the Gibson B-25n.

 

This is the third B25/Cortez I've had. I bought it about five years ago because I simply missed the sound these little guys produce - with the plastic bridge & adjustable ceramic saddle! It's a distinctive metallic & percussive tone that I'm very drawn to - if the guitar is a good one. This particular FT-45n came with a rosewood saddle, but I had an original ceramic saddle lying around to put in it. After getting everything up to snuff & popping in the old ceramic saddle, the tone is exactly what my memory banks were craving, and I love it. This time, I'm not letting it go!

 

So here's the deal: Gibson's adjustable saddle is creating a different method of transmitting the string's vibrations to the top. It's somewhat like having a mini archtop bridge on your flattop, as the vibrations are not traveling directly through the bridge, but rather, they're going through the two metal posts upon which the saddle rests.

 

The only way for you to know if you like the tone is to try it. And then I'd add a few qualifiers: The guitar itself could be either a very good example of that particular model, rather average, or a clunker. You cannot fully judge this set-up based on one example. Also, the '68 version will probably have the belly-down adjustable bridge with rosewood insert, in which the whole guitar tended to be a bit more overbuilt than the earlier belly-up versions from '67 and earlier.

 

I say give the guitar a whirl. You have nothing to lose, and either way, you'll have one more tonal reference point to tuck away in your pocket. Happy hunting!

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No secret that I am a liker of the adjustable saddles. Believe they provide one - better say 2 - of the original modern Gibson flavors.

That said, you're not hearing me talking against fixing the thing, but my advice would be to wait till after you've tried all variations with different inserts, material as size wise.

For don't forget you can have a wooden insert made with and ordinary sized bone-saddle too if you like.

 

I happen to have one of those guitars around and it's fair to state that the bulkier 68 incarnation actually is a bigger 'issue' than the saddle.

bobouz mentions it : You are NOT buying the classic Bird-sound here, , , more like the modified vol. 2.

Then again again they can be very good, especially if they've been played.

I thought for a long time mine, which came with rosewood and now has porcelain, would be in the pass-further category.

That has changed - the guitar (a cherry Southern J) - shines in its own right and offers a good tight alternative to the much looser pre-68-light-weight-siblings.

 

And 1 last thing. The insert won't necessarily be hovering over the top.

All mine have full contact with the floor below them. And the times I raised the treb-side a hair to avoid e-string buzz, it didn't affect sound at all.

 

With this and the other posters in mind, go see the creature. You may get surprised ^

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My opinion is to either keep the adjustable saddle, replace it with an adjustable Tusq saddle, or have a tech (or yourself) carve a large bone saddle to fill the adjustable's larger slot. I wouldn't replace the bridge unless it is cracked or damaged and needs to be replaced.

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Here's some kind of a hybrid. Seems it still has the lighter back-braces, but the bridge is turned around and the guard screwed in.

Hmmmmm, , , sounds a little stiff, doesn't it. Not sure what type of top braces it has.

All I know is that the good guy from Normans can't bother to pay attention to bracing-thickness and weight, , ,

and that he doesn't realize that Stones got their Birds much earlier than '68. Come again, sir. .

 

 

1968 ~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjPYATFdn9I

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Yeah, I suspect the Women of Craigslist are quite popular with the members of this forum. We're likely a bit more cautious though with guitars....Seriously, it won't hurt to take a look at it. I'm not real familiar with adjustable bridges. Might even have one, but don't know it. Anyway, if the guitar is a "winner," then don't sweat the bridge. Good luck. [thumbup]

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'68-'69 saw a transition happening. As with many Gibson changes it was more a phase out-phase in than an abrupt change. The results were some interesting blends of '67-'68 and '68-'69 features. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Some of the hybrid-like guitars are excellent. Not all, but a significant number are really outstanding. Plus it's always fun to figure out which components came from which year. One more reason to love older Gibsons, or at least for ME to love 'em😍

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If you don't like it don't buy it. Changing the adjustable bridge won't make you like it.

On the other hand if you like it buy it. It's yiur birth year. I can never figure out why

anyone would buy something because they think it may be better if they sink more money into it.

That's one I've pondered as well. If there's a fix involved (loose brace, uncleated crack or the like) it's not the same as planning to scallop braces or some other 'way unoriginal modification. Sometimes people get lucky, but there have been a lot of awful mistakes made in the name of 'improvements'. 😱

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I have a '67 J45 that had an Adj bridge when I got it. I kept it original for several years but last year my curiosity got the better of me and I made a Rosewood insert for the bridge, routed it and fitted a normal saddle.

 

To my ears it improved the sound, but it sounded great anyway so any gains were incremental rather than gargantuan.

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For me the 1960s Gibsons come down to whether you can make peace with the skinny necks profiles and from the middle of the decade till the end the narrow nut. A guitar's sound is the sum of a whole lot of variables. Not possible to pick one aspect of the build that accounts for the sound of a particular instrument. I am of the mind though that the heavier bracing on a '68 guitar and the oversized plywood bridge plate, which I assume a late 1960s guitar has, is going to have more of an effect on sound than the ADJ bridge itself.

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