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Thread: Gibson Adjustable Bridge

  1. #1
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    Default Gibson Adjustable Bridge

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    Based on the attached article from Gibson about string action Iíve long thought that the introduction of the adjustable bridge was for the convenience of Gibson during manufacturing and secondarily as a convenience or sales inducement for the customer. Imagine how long it took to Gibson workers to adjust the fixed bridge to the top and set the action, especially when accounting for some top settling. I guess it served both purposes.

    I need to weigh the two types of bridges, I would imaging the fixed bridge is lighter and may be more responsive. I suspect there were articles about the pros and cons of the new bridge in the trade journals.

    Has anyone researched the contemporary acceptance of the adjustable bridge?
    Mark Lynch

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Gibson Adjustable Bridge

    I just located an original one piece bridge for my 1916 H4 mandola and used it to replace the 1922 or so adjustable Gibson bridge that it had previously.
    It caused me to revisit this question. The lighter one piece bridge seemed to improve the sound.
    Any thoughts?

    Mark
    Mark Lynch

  3. #3
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: Gibson Adjustable Bridge

    I just replaced the very good quality but non-original adjustable bridge on a 1911 F-4 with a replica "one-piece" [with removeable saddles] bridge, and was very pleased with the results.

    Conversely, I have a c. 1917 A-4 set up with a 1921 adjustable bridge with aluminum saddle. That mandolin sounds better to me with the '21 bridge than it does with its original mid-teens one-piece bridge.

    I had a customer who used to like to try saddles made of different materials on an adjustable bridge base. Ebony, rosewood, bone, aluminum, deer antler, and so on.
    I've also tried inlaying bone or deer antler into the top of ebony saddles.

    The early teens style bridges with removeable saddles take a while to make. The late teens bridges are easier to make. Note: they are actually built in two pieces-- a base plus a compensated upper section, laminated together. Making aluminum saddles is hard on tools even if you use cutting oil.

    If anyone wants either style of a teens replica bridge, I can be talked into making them.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Gibson Adjustable Bridge

    I have recently fitted a one piece rosewood bridge to a 1919 F4. I like it much better than the ebony original. I also changed the pearl nut for a bone one. I think a pearl nut and ebony bridge can make the Es and As very toppy and not to my taste. I also think the string spacings on the bridge affect sound. I don't like two Es close to each other or the As or any of them really. I like the Ds and Gs 4mm centre to centre apart and the Es and As 3.5mm centre to centre. The minimalistic delay in hitting the strings with the plectrum can improve the sound. That's my view after many years of analysis of such tings.

  5. #5
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Adjustable Bridge

    My 2, 22's had adjustable ones..

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  6. #6
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Adjustable Bridge

    I am finishing up my second build and in the process of figuring out how to make an adjustable bridge, someone recommended looking more into the Red Henry fixed bridge. They are easy to make and Red Henry has put a lot of work into figuring out what works: https://www.murphymethod.com/index.c...&contentId=122

    I've looked over the majority of this site and have found it very useful overall.
    aka: Spencer
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