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Post new topic Bridge on Gibson
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Author Topic:  Bridge on Gibson
Phillip Hermans


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 19 Nov 2017 9:32 pm     Reply with quote

Howdy everyone,

Glad to find this forum. I've been playin this old bootleg Gibson and have been hoping to tweak a few things on it.

Maybe yall can help me out.

The bridge on this thing has a radius, I filed it down a bit.
The bar still doesn't sit level at higher frets.

My question is should I just keep filing?

Is there a bridge I could pop on there that would be better?

Should I just make one?



Maybe these questions are more existential crises in guitar form.

Either way thanks for taking the time to read curious to hear what y'all think.

PS
Excuse the pickup for now, there are some questions around that as well.
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James Hartman


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 20 Nov 2017 5:58 am     Reply with quote

Looks like a generic Gibson "tune-o-magic" style bridge. Any replacement bridge of that type will also be radiused. You could replace it with a different style like a "hard tail" Strat bridge. But before going that route, I'd just keep filing.

You can buy individual replacement saddles for that bridge, if the outer ones are already slotted too deeply. Stewart Macdonald, for instance, sells replacement saddles that are not pre-slotted. Although you might encounter a compatibility issue with the saddle screw threads, depending on who manufactured that particular bridge.
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post Posted 20 Nov 2017 7:47 am     Reply with quote

You don't need a bridge with individually adjustable saddles on a lap steel.

I'd fix a simple steel bar there. Even a bolt or large nail from the hardware store would be better than what you have(and better than a hardtail Strat bridge too).

In fact, for a simple fix you could try taking off all the saddles and putting a threaded bolt, cut to length, in their place.

You can also buy pre-made proper lap steel bridges pretty cheap on eBay and elsewhere.

Guitar bridges on steels are my pet hate and,for me, is a sign that the builder either doesn't know or doesn't care about lap steels.

The pickup might be fine but it's in the wrong place, of course - the poles should be directly under the strings.
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James Hartman


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 20 Nov 2017 9:17 am     Reply with quote

Jeff Mead wrote:
You don't need a bridge with individually adjustable saddles on a lap steel.

I'd fix a simple steel bar there. Even a bolt or large nail from the hardware store...


True, no need for individual saddles. If the top surface of the bridge is flat (not radiused - some are), simply laying a piece of threaded rod or bar stock behind or in front of the saddles would likely be the easiest fix.

Seems evident from the photo this instrument is someone's diy project, cobbled together from parts that were at hand. Presumably Mr. Hermans wants to keep it cheap and simple.
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post Posted 20 Nov 2017 10:10 am     Reply with quote

James Hartman wrote:

Seems evident from the photo this instrument is someone's diy project, cobbled together from parts that were at hand. Presumably Mr. Hermans wants to keep it cheap and simple.


From what I can see the control plate is from a Gibson BR-9 (with a bit broken off) and the body could well be from one as well.
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James Hartman


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 20 Nov 2017 10:27 am     Reply with quote

Jeff Mead wrote:
James Hartman wrote:

Seems evident from the photo this instrument is someone's diy project, cobbled together from parts that were at hand. Presumably Mr. Hermans wants to keep it cheap and simple.


From what I can see the control plate is from a Gibson BR-9 (with a bit broken off) and the body could well be from one as well.


Yes, I think you're right. Too bad it's not all intact.
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Phillip Hermans


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 20 Nov 2017 7:59 pm     Reply with quote

Jeff Mead wrote:
You don't need a bridge with individually adjustable saddles on a lap steel.

I'd fix a simple steel bar there. Even a bolt or large nail from the hardware store would be better than what you have(and better than a hardtail Strat bridge too).

In fact, for a simple fix you could try taking off all the saddles and putting a threaded bolt, cut to length, in their place.

You can also buy pre-made proper lap steel bridges pretty cheap on eBay and elsewhere.

Guitar bridges on steels are my pet hate and,for me, is a sign that the builder either doesn't know or doesn't care about lap steels.

The pickup might be fine but it's in the wrong place, of course - the poles should be directly under the strings.


Thanks for this. I knew there must be a simpler solution. I'm gonna try with a threaded bolt first and see how that feels.



Appreciate all y'alls responses. It is a BR-9, I have the original pickup too, I just could never get it to make a sound.

Is there a definitive way to tell if a pickup is dead?
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post Posted 21 Nov 2017 1:22 am     Reply with quote

Phillip Hermans wrote:


Is there a definitive way to tell if a pickup is dead?


Just get a jack lead and tape the wires from the pickup on to the plug and plug it in. Tap the pole pieces with a screwdriver (with the amp at low volume).

If it is dead your local guitar tech should be able to point you towards someone to rewind it. Those pickups sound great.
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Jim Sliff


From:
Lawndale California, USA
Post Posted 21 Nov 2017 12:57 pm     Reply with quote

Wow, too bad - that thing has been seriously hacked.

Collectors would not even call it a Gibson at this point - wrong pickup, no pickup cover, wrong bridge & tailpiece with non-original screw holes in the top of the guitar.

Suggestions were good - but you can do anything you want to make it playable - file, replace, bolt other parts to it - .It has no value as a vintage guitar.

Definitely get rid of the bridge, though. install a straight bar-type bridge. Might as well leave the tailpiece *if* the string path creates enough down pressure at the bridge. That type of stud tailpiece may be higher than the normal string path, though - you may want something that has the ball-end attachment closer to the top to increase sustain & improve tone.

A threaded bolt - unless it's pretty small - will have too big a radius and will kill sustain. The "saddle" should be as small as possible - and also VERY smooth. Otherwise the strings will vibrate at the saddle, killing sustain and/or creating buzzes.

The threads may also not be straight enough. If you use a coarse-thread bolt the thread as will be at a slight angle but the strings need to be straight. A smooth rod with small grooves angling off the back would be *much* better; an angled piece of metal 1/16" or so thick and notched slightly even better.

whatever you use the contact point should be as small as possible and preferably *not* significantly rounded on the neck side.
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No chops, but great tone
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George Piburn


From:
The Oklahoma Hills, USA
Post Posted 21 Nov 2017 3:10 pm     We are Glad to Help You. Reply with quote

My intent on this addition to this thread is to Help, even though it is a sales pitch.

Since you are basically making a steel guitar from scratch, I can sell you a set that will solve your problem instantly for under 30 bucks.

We make both Open E-D type spacing and notches , and C6-A6 Type tuning spacing and Notches. The one in the photos is Stainless Steel Polymer. The Carbon Fiber Polymer are the bottom photos of an 8 String.

That Black insert on the bottom is Graphite Polymer that is conductive so you can ground your strings.

If this is for you , I can elaborate on how to add this to your project, If No One Minds me talking about it.








_________________
GeorgeBoards S8 Non Pedal Steel Guitar Instruments
Maker of One of a Kind Works of Art that play music too.
Instructional DVDs
YouTube Channel
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post Posted 21 Nov 2017 3:32 pm     Re: We are Glad to Help You. Reply with quote

George Piburn wrote:

Since you are basically making a steel guitar from scratch, I can sell you a set that will solve your problem instantly for under 30 bucks.


This is the solution I'd go for.
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Mick Hearn


From:
United Kingdom
Post Posted 21 Nov 2017 11:42 pm     Reply with quote

Some very good suggestions here but I am a bit confused over one point and that is that the bridge should be as sharp as possible. I don't quite agree with that point. A pedal steel has quite a large radius bridge and the Emmons lap steel has quite a sizable chunk of round stock both for the bridge and nut. Apparently it sustains forever. My own expereince comes from my Gretch country gent which is fitted with a bridge which is one large lump of metal. No intonation changes here only by moving the whole bridge. I tried to be clever and replaced it with a Gibson tunamatic and immediately sustain was lost. I quickly went back to the original bridge. If I were able to replace the bridge on my National for round stock I would do.
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ShoBud 6139, National D8 Console, ZB student, George Boards Lap Steel, National New Yorker.
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Jim Sliff


From:
Lawndale California, USA
Post Posted 23 Nov 2017 8:23 pm     Reply with quote

Quote:
Emmons lap steel has quite a sizable chunk of round stock both for the bridge and nut. Apparently it sustains forever


The Emmons actually has a sharp dropoff at the exit point of the string - that's the critical area. "Sharp" means an exit "point" - not an exit "area". The flatter the radius the more surface the string vibrates against, lowering sustain.

It's simple physics.

And sorry, but *nothing* "sustains forever".
_________________
No chops, but great tone
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James Hartman


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 24 Nov 2017 5:39 am     Reply with quote

Jim Sliff wrote:
Quote:
Emmons lap steel has quite a sizable chunk of round stock both for the bridge and nut. Apparently it sustains forever


The Emmons actually has a sharp dropoff at the exit point of the string - that's the critical area. "Sharp" means an exit "point" - not an exit "area". The flatter the radius the more surface the string vibrates against, lowering sustain.

It's simple physics.

And sorry, but *nothing* "sustains forever".


Yes. However the excursion of the string right at the "exit point", as it vibrates, is infinitesimal. How flat a radius would be required for it to make contact that would dampen the vibration? I can't say exactly. Consider the diameter of the tone bar you use. Mine's 7/8" in diameter. Why isn't that a problem?
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Bill Groner


From:
QUAKERTOWN, PA
Post Posted 24 Nov 2017 7:02 am     Reply with quote

I have to agree with James. The diameter of the rod would have to be huge to dampen the string. I used 3/8" diameter stainless steel to make mine. I machined "V" grooves with a 60* angle. If the string was .015, I made the groove .025. Each groove is .010 deeper than the string diameter. I don't know if this is the proper way to do it, but I have had no problems with the round bridges I made.

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currently own, 4 Gronertone lap steels.
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Phillip Hermans


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 2:29 pm     Re: We are Glad to Help You. Reply with quote

George Piburn wrote:
My intent on this addition to this thread is to Help, even though it is a sales pitch.

Since you are basically making a steel guitar from scratch, I can sell you a set that will solve your problem instantly for under 30 bucks.

We make both Open E-D type spacing and notches , and C6-A6 Type tuning spacing and Notches. The one in the photos is Stainless Steel Polymer. The Carbon Fiber Polymer are the bottom photos of an 8 String.

That Black insert on the bottom is Graphite Polymer that is conductive so you can ground your strings.

If this is for you , I can elaborate on how to add this to your project, If No One Minds me talking about it.









George, this is looking like a nice solution. My goal is really just to get this thing playable and as good sounding as I can without going crazy (it would be easier just to buy a new axe, but not as fun)

I'd love to hear more about, please elaborate!
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Phillip Hermans


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 2:31 pm     Reply with quote

Jeff Mead wrote:
Phillip Hermans wrote:


Is there a definitive way to tell if a pickup is dead?


Just get a jack lead and tape the wires from the pickup on to the plug and plug it in. Tap the pole pieces with a screwdriver (with the amp at low volume).

If it is dead your local guitar tech should be able to point you towards someone to rewind it. Those pickups sound great.


Thanks, if I recall correctly I did get a little sound out of it using a similar technique.
It was just not nearly as high output as the pickup I have in there.

I'll try again and if not find someone to rewind it. I think I'm giving up on humbuckers in general *ducks*

thanks for your help
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George Piburn


From:
The Oklahoma Hills, USA
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 6:15 pm     Glad to help you Reply with quote

Hello Phillip,

I am Glad to Help You.

I have one in Carbon Fiber polymer and one in the Stainless Steel polymer.

The Stainless is a little more bright sounding as it is some more dense and metallic.

Both will sound great for your project, to install simply measure the scale set the flat sides at the scale length , and screw them down.

Others can advise on the scale length - how to measure and so on.

The Receivers use #6 Sheet Metal Screws , the Nuts use #4 - Ace is the place. Stainless Steel Phillips Flat or Oval heads.

To ground the strings attach a wire from the bottom graphite strip or better yet wrap it around one of the hold down screws that goes through the graphite strip and the strip too. Add that ground wire to the controls typically on one of the pots of output jack.

The 6 string bridge spacing is .390 which is what most P90 or humbucker type PuPs magnets are. The Nut is .375 -- 3/8 = 6 string steel guitar prefered.

The notches are set up for open E - D type tunings .052 (56) gauges down to .013 or similar. Season to Taste with a Triangle Needle File if you want.

If you plan to go Hawaiian the we can make you a set with Notches - Spacings for C6-A6 type gauges.
Our 8 String version is already set up that way.

If you want to do String Throughs we have plain Bridges too already in E-D or C6-A6



We have done all of the hard work for you, simply screw it down and presto instant steel guitar.

PM or Email for sales invoice.

_________________
GeorgeBoards S8 Non Pedal Steel Guitar Instruments
Maker of One of a Kind Works of Art that play music too.
Instructional DVDs
YouTube Channel
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