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'49 SJ Saddle Question


duluthdan

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Not that I have the scratch to actually acquire the '49 Southern Jumbo that is listed in the inventory at Willie's Guitars, but that guitar sure has invaded my mind - especially curious about this bridge and saddle. It appears that the bridge is designed for a "thru bridge saddle" but it looks like a standard drop in saddle, in a thru bridge slot? Did these have drop-in saddles, or the longer thru brige design. These are the kinds of things that keep me up at night, and I need to get back in that comfortable state of real-life paranoia. Maybe I'll remember to call tomorrow and get the backgroung on this guitar.

49gibsonsjcl2.jpg

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I can't really see the bridge holes from your pic, and the saddle looks like it's a bit short on length. Looks kosher, but I haven't seen the Willie's listing. I think the '49 should have the bridge belly toward the s'hole, though.

 

So many guitars...so little time.

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I'm pretty sure all the Gibson J's (SJ, J-45, J-50) in that period had through-slotted bridges. Certainly mine did.

 

Fortunately, its simple enough to have a proper saddle made for this bridge.

 

SJ's are unique in this period in that their bridge design was not as "fixed" as that of the other J's. I've seen rectangular bridges, belly-up, and belly-down styles, all original.

 

It may be the angle of the photo, but it almost looks like the bridge pins are tilted back a bit. That would suggest that you need to have a close look at the bridgeplate to see if the holes are showing wear, which can cause the ball ends of the strings to pull up into the bridgeplate.

 

Really nice break angle over that saddle.

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The saddle was sanded down from the bottom instead of the top. This removed the taper that matched up to the end of the saddle slot.

JM

 

 

True, but the saddle must have been sanded down an awful lot!

 

The slanted (partly compensated) saddle angle relative to the string axis can also cause a significant change in break angle between the bass and treble strings, which is obvious from this photo.

 

On my L-OO Legend, the bridge is tapered in section (lower at the treble end than the bass end), which puts the treble string pins lower than the bass string pins, maintaining a constant break angle over all the strings. I pondered that one for a long time before figuring out why it was done that way. It's the only guitar I have with a bridge of that design

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The saddle was sanded down from the bottom instead of the top. This removed the taper that matched up to the end of the saddle slot.

JM

 

Eh?

Sorry Jeremy..I'm lost... ( saddle sanding is on my mind at the moment..so this has just made me think ...WHAT ? ) " from the bottom instead of the top"

 

EDIT

 

so the correct way to sand a saddle is from the top ?

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On an open ended saddle slot you have the edges/ ends that match up to the bridge. If you sand from the bottom on that type of saddle the ends will no longer be flush with the bridge. If the adjustments are made from the top the saddle will fit in the bridge the same as it did. This is much more difficult than working on a normal saddle where sanding from the bottom is all that needs to be done.

I hope I explained it alright?

JM

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On an open ended saddle slot you have the edges/ ends that match up to the bridge. If you sand from the bottom on that type of saddle the ends will no longer be flush with the bridge. If the adjustments are made from the top the saddle will fit in the bridge the same as it did. This is much more difficult than working on a normal saddle where sanding from the bottom is all that needs to be done.

I hope I explained it alright?

JM

 

Ahhaa

 

understood ...[thumbup]

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I am not questioning anyone here

 

just i am certain I have read here advice on sanding a saddle and this has never been brought into light...

 

so thanks

 

EDIT

 

how the hell do they keep the correct angle..or am i just now completely drunk and makiing an *** of myself

 

 

With a drop-in saddle, you just sand the bottom of the saddle, and leave the top radius untouched. With a slot-through saddle, when you sand the bottom of the saddle, the length of the saddle gets shorter, and no longer lines up completely with the ends of the through-slot in the bridge.

 

Sanding the top of a saddle is a pain, since you need to maintain the radius in profile (to match the radius in cross section at the end of the fretboard). In addition, it is quite common for the top surface of the saddle to be partly or completely compensated, which is difficult to maintain properly if you reduce saddle height by sanding from the top.

 

A through saddle generally matches the slot properly when both the saddle and bridge are new, but over time, as the saddle is reduced in height to lower the action, the saddle starts to look like the one on this SJ. It makes no functional difference, and if it bothers you, you just make a new saddle to the required hight that matches the bridge slot better.

 

What makes me pay attention when I see a saddle like this is that it means that the action has been lowered over time, often to compensate for the upward bow in a neck (or the upward bulge of the top at the bridge) which you can see over time. It just means you examine the neck, the top, and the string height more carefully to see if there are any issues.

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What do you guys think about the Willie's price? I'm thinking $1200 to $1500 over the going rate.

 

 

I'm not sure there is a reliable "going rate" on an SJ of this vintage right now. I am very interested in one of this vintage, but am having a hard time justifying the asking prices when I can buy a near-new one with virtually identical specs for around $2K. I love vintage, but I ain't rich.

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Its a guitar on consignment. Nothing extraordinry in the backstory - exceptionaly clean, very creamy sounding rather pristine example of a 40s SJ, with not much work needed, if any other than the saddle. The bridge plate (inside) has been replaced.

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