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Need a ceramic bridge


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Why go with the ceramic saddle? If the original adjustable bridge had one criticism, it was its ceramic saddle. There was a time when roughly 'bout half of original adjustable bridge owners would change their bridges to non-adjustable bridges thinkin' it was the adjustable bridge that could be improved...when the adjustable part was never ever really the tonal issue (it was always an innovative device that worked great to easily raise or lower action), it took Gibson in recent years to finally pinpoint the actual source of the adjustable bridge's flaw that could tonally be easily corrected by their simply creating a replacement tusk saddle for the conversational and funky vintage ceramic one. Stew-Mac even sells a replacement tusk saddle for the original ceramic one rendering it no longer necessary to change the original adjustable bridge on a vintage guitar like often used to occur...when vintage guitar owners can now just change only the saddle. IMHO, I don't recommend installing a ceramic saddle even if you can find one from a vintage model...its one of those things that all vintage guitar collectors recognize is just routinely replaced for an instrument's playability. Most keep the ceramic saddle in their case just to retain...so I doubt you'll have much luck finding one. They certainly aren't made anymore due to the tusk version's tonal superiority as a replacement to keep the innovative functionality of the adjustable bridge in place.



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Try posting on the beatgearcavern, as well. It's a forum devoted to '60s music and instruments (and the Beatles in particular), and adjustable bridges and ceramic saddles are appreciated for their own charms there, LOL. They have a Marketplace section, and ceramic saddles pop up there from time to time, or people post when they spot them on eBay or the like.


In the Expert section, you'll find lots of info about the construction and restoration of the adjustable bridge system. Look for tedkuls posts in particular.


I do agree with QuestionMark's assesment that the Tusq saddles sound pretty good, though. I have 4 guitars with adjustable bridges and Tusq saddles, and they all sound good. Could they be improved with a fixed saddle? Possibly, though one of them, I can't imagine.


If you have a laminatated top, ladder braced J160E, and are looking to zero in on the Beatles sound, I'm told the ceramic saddle provides that extra degree of ping. I have one with a Tusq saddle, and it sounds period accurate to me, but others say the ceramic saddle gets you even closer. I wonder whether that's before the Remasters came out, though, LOL.


Red 333

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Try a place in Canada called "Folkway Music." They're in Guelph and do stock old adjustable saddles. Note that when contacting them they will try to convince you to replace yours with a fixed bridge! Hold firm!


I'm glad there are some fans of the adj bridges here - I have an old J-50 with one and it's fantastic. In fact, some of my favorite recordings were made with these style guitars:


Pete Townshend used a 1968 J-200 that had a tune-o-matic bridge. He used it from the Tommy album until the late 1980's (when it deteriorated pretty badly). Pete was known to turn his guitars into sawdust onstage, and this J-200 was the only one he ever treasured. "Pinball Wizard" anyone?


Jimmy Page used a borrowed adj J-200 on the first Zeppelin record. He swore it was the best acoustic he ever played. Can be heard on "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You."


Keith Richards owned an adj Hummingbird in the '60's. Can be heard on Beggars Banquet, among others. Was the guitar he threw a mic inside of to record "Jumpin' Jack Flash."


The Beatles used the aforementioned J-160 guitars, but George Harrison also used an adj J-200 on "Here Comes the Sun." Funny how John Lennon could afford any guitar he wanted (and he used a Martin on the White Album), but he stuck with the so-called "tonally inferior" J-160. He used it on "Give Peace a Chance."



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Mikey I will have one in a couple of weeks when I receive my 60 J45 back from having the bridge replaced.

I saw one sell recently on E-bay for $100. I don't know if I want to sell it in pieces or as a set with the bridge.

I've had 60's Gibsons that had adjustable saddles that worked good and sounded good and the bridge was at least a 1/4 to 5/16 inch tall. This particular one had a bridge that was much too low, actually only 3/16 inch in height. The neck set is fine but the bridge was so low that to get the action correct, the saddle was at it's highest point and it just wasn't condusive to this guitar. The guy who is doing the bridge work told me it was quite common to see late 50's and early 60's with an extremely low bridge and they came that way from the factory.

What's my 60 J45 worth $2000-$2500 ? I'd rather have a nice J45 with a correct repro bridge and fixed saddle that sounds and plays to it's potential then one with the original bridge like what was on it. I certainly am not saying all adjustable saddles should go but some should.

It will have the exact same footprint and exact shape and contours of Gibson bridges of this era. Of course it will be made with Brazilian rw.

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As Red 333 hinted, I'm in favor of the ceramic saddle. It's the ONLY way to really nail the Beatles' acoustic sound. I agree that it doesn't make the guitar "realize it's potential", but it DOES give me the sound I'm looking for.


I'm also kind of obsessed with the Gibson adjustable saddle in general, and have been accumulating a fair collection:





What kind of saddle did you use the Tusq to replace? All recent Gibsons come with a stock tusq saddle. From the mid-90s to 2002 they came with a corian saddle, which the Tusq isn't a huge difference from.





If you're looking to sell the assembly seperately from the saddle, contact me.



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