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Old 07-08-2010, 09:14 AM
rockinrebel rockinrebel is offline
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Default Change the adjustable bridge on a 1966 Gibson J-50?

Hi everybody,
I just got a 1966 Gibson J-50 which is a cool old guitar. It sounds pretty good right now but I've heard changing to a standard bridge with a bone saddle can increase the volume and give better tone. Makes sense by reducing the weight and having the string vibrations going more directly to the top the volume and tone should improve.
Any experience with this? Know of anybody that is really good at doing it?
Thanks for your input.
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:32 AM
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Don't always believe what you've heard including anything in this reply But if it's such a cool old guitar why butch it up? There's a awesome 65' J50 ADJ in town with killing tone and growl factor -one of the best slopes I've played in a long time. It has a cracked plastic bridge on it and IMO playes and sounds better then many, many guitars I've tried lately. Besides once you retrofit it it's resale value (if you care) will be next to zero.
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:53 AM
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That is one of the best mods you can do to a guitar. Lots of people can do it competently. You won't decrease its value.
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:22 PM
rockinrebel rockinrebel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Klepper View Post
That is one of the best mods you can do to a guitar. Lots of people can do it competently. You won't decrease its value.
When I was looking for one if it had already had an expertly done retrofit to a rosewood bridge with a bone saddle I think I might have paid a little MORE for it.
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:34 PM
wildbill1962 wildbill1962 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockinrebel View Post
Hi everybody,
I just got a 1966 Gibson J-50 which is a cool old guitar. It sounds pretty good right now but I've heard changing to a standard bridge with a bone saddle can increase the volume and give better tone. Makes sense by reducing the weight and having the string vibrations going more directly to the top the volume and tone should improve.
Any experience with this? Know of anybody that is really good at doing it?
Thanks for your input.
A buddy of mine has one that was retrofitted to a standard bridge with bone saddle and pins, tone and volume is 100% better than before.

I,d say go for it
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Old 07-08-2010, 02:18 PM
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Default I'd do it!!

I could care less about the re-sale value if I plan to keep the guitar and I like it. Plus, whoever invented the plastic adjustable bridge on Gibsons should be shot....if they've already passed on they should be dug up and shot again. I'd replace it in a heartbeat. But, I'd keep the old spare parts just in case I ever sold it.
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Old 07-08-2010, 02:21 PM
wildbill1962 wildbill1962 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by $ongWriter View Post
I could care less about the re-sale value if I plan to keep the guitar and I like it. Plus, whoever invented the plastic adjustable bridge on Gibsons should be shot....if they've already passed on they should be dug up and shot again. I'd replace it in a heartbeat. But, I'd keep the old spare parts just in case I ever sold it.


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Old 07-08-2010, 02:24 PM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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It is not that the idea of an adjustable bridge on a flattop was bad it was that Gibson never figured out how to do it properly. The main complaint about the Gibson adjustable bridge is the weight - they probably weigh three times as much as a standard rosewood bridge. There were also some issues about the way the bridge was bolted down to the plate causing pressure which tended to lead to more bellying than usual.

All in all changing the bridge, while it may only make a subtle difference in sound, certainly could not hurt.
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Last edited by zombywoof; 07-08-2010 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 07-08-2010, 02:25 PM
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I fabricate replacement bridges in rosewood for LG, J-45 and J-50 plastic bridge and adjustable bridge models and have never had anyone find that modification to be a bad thing. Plastic bridges are bad. Adjustable bridges are clunky.
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Old 07-08-2010, 02:34 PM
rockinrebel rockinrebel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by $ongWriter View Post
I could care less about the re-sale value if I plan to keep the guitar and I like it. Plus, whoever invented the plastic adjustable bridge on Gibsons should be shot....if they've already passed on they should be dug up and shot again. I'd replace it in a heartbeat. But, I'd keep the old spare parts just in case I ever sold it.
I just talked to my local luthier, Randy Wood (Randy Wood Guitars), and he said they do those all the time and it definitely helps the tone and volume.
The guitar already sounds pretty good so I would expect it to really growl with a new rosewood bridge and bone saddle.
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2012 Martin 000-28H "Ambertone 1933"......."Rosebud"
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2007 MIM Fender Standard Telecaster........."Lil' Joe"
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Old 07-08-2010, 02:35 PM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by $ongWriter View Post
I could care less about the re-sale value if I plan to keep the guitar and I like it. Plus, whoever invented the plastic adjustable bridge on Gibsons should be shot....if they've already passed on they should be dug up and shot again. I'd replace it in a heartbeat. But, I'd keep the old spare parts just in case I ever sold it.

You might be talking about Larry Allers, Gibson's Chief Engieer. Problem was in '66 he was no longer working under Ted McCarty and the shots were being called by the bean counters who took over CMI in '65. The guy you want shot was the same who gave us the Les Paul, ES-335. Hummingbird and some other non too shabby instruments. Seems to me he was a flippin' genius.
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Old 07-08-2010, 02:51 PM
$ongWriter $ongWriter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zombywoof View Post
You might be talking about Larry Allers, Gibson's Chief Engieer. Problem was in '66 he was no longer working under Ted McCarty and the shots were being called by the bean counters who took over CMI in '65. The guy you want shot was the same who gave us the Les Paul, ES-335. Hummingbird and some other non too shabby instruments. Seems to me he was a flippin' genius.
Maybe he just had "one" bad day. On that day he made the adjustable and PLASTIC bridge. I'm sure it took no time to crank out a couple hundred of them and by that time it was kinda like the Taylor ES system..."well, we have it started, we invented it, and we already have a bunch made....lets just act like it's a good idea and maybe no one will notice"....and, it seems I end most of my post this way, but...just my humble opinion!
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Old 07-08-2010, 03:16 PM
Doubleneck Doubleneck is offline
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I am the orginal owner of a 1967 J-45 that had an adjustable bridge. My bridge cracked fairly early and I had it replaced with a rosewood and bone. It was way too many years ago to tell you if there was a large difference but I never had issues after that. I remember my luthier at the time also saying that they started to use plywood bridge plates which didn't help either. If however, I was looking a an original J-45 and the adjustable bridge was still ok , I would not mess with it. I think you will get an improvement but I would not sacrifice orginality for that I think will be a small improvement. I also don't think that a bridge replacement will affect resale at all. Many have done this but I would still keep it orginal.
Steve

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Old 07-08-2010, 03:39 PM
SGretsch001 SGretsch001 is offline
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Get it done it will sound better for sure. I have a thing for vintage J-50 Gibsons, great guitars.
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Old 07-08-2010, 03:40 PM
Aaron Smith Aaron Smith is offline
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Seems like a change that people frequently recommend. Honestly the late 60's Gibsons aren't all that prized by collectors, so if you can make it a better player, go for it. That said, make sure somebody competent and experienced does the work.
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