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Old 12-26-2019, 12:39 PM
MBrin MBrin is offline
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Default Archtop New Bridge Setup

Hello, I have an archtop with a tune-o-matic bridge - I am new to archtops. I am looking for a warmer sound. From what I can read, a wood bridge might help. I could carve the slots myself though would prefer one that is already set up. I don't mind carving the slits. Nevertheless, I would like to find some step-by-step instructions and tricks, including a discussion of wood types, adjustable vs. fixed height, etc. Thanks.
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Old 12-26-2019, 01:44 PM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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Do you have a wooden base for your existing TOM topper? If you do, you can go full tilt crafty and get a piece of hard maple, rosewood or ebony, drill holes to match the posts, and file/sand until it looks like a bridge topper. I'll be honest - it might be hard for you to do. I don't know of any step by step instructions, nor have I used any myself, mostly because if you are a wood worker, the steps are kind of obvious. What I would do as a first step in your case is try replacing your individual TOM saddles with ones made of nylon. A lot of people find that solves the problem, and you retain the adjustability of the TOM

If you want to go a step further, you can get a pre-made all wood adjustable bridge from StewMac, or the Amazon. I get them as starting points for bridges for my archtops that I build, because they are pretty good and the adjusters are a pain to find locally. You start by matching the curve of the base to the curve of the top of your guitar, with sandpaper, files, etc. Then you shape the top to match the radius of your fretboard, then you set your string width to suit your guitar's neck width, set up your slot locations, make sure the overall bridge height will work, then you need to carve the topper for correct compensation for each string. All of this takes some technique and time, but I can do it, so you probably can too.
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1963 National Dynamic lap steel
1996 Landola jumbo
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Last edited by MC5C; 12-28-2019 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 12-26-2019, 02:26 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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My Eastman archtop started out as a MDC805 mandocello with a two piece mandolin style rosewood bridge, with compensated all wood saddle.

When I converted it to an archtop guitar I replaced the nut and bought a two piece bridge with rosewood base and brass tune-a-matic saddle from StewMac. I cannot detect any loss of "warmth", sustain, response, etc. between the original all wood bridge and its current bridge.

If you do want to buy or make a new bridge the compensation is the tricky part.
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Old 12-28-2019, 03:46 AM
Ray175 Ray175 is offline
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Alternatively you could try nylon saddles on your TOM, that will soften the sound significantly.
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