• Guys, we've spent considerable money converting the Les Paul Forum to this new XenForo platform, and we have ongoing monthly operating expenses. THE "DONATIONS" TAB IS NOW WORKING, AND WE WOULD APPRECIATE ANY DONATIONS YOU CAN MAKE TO KEEP THE LES PAUL FORUM GOING! Thank you!

Historically Accurate ABR-1.. Who makes one?

TM1

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2003
Messages
8,101
I'm wondering who makes the most accurate ABR-1 with the right metal make-up? I see Faber offers one that's 70% Zinc and 30% Aluminium. I don't know what the composition of the new Historic ABR-1's are, but it would be nice to know.
Anyway, I've been looking for a real `50's/early Sixties one, but no luck so far..
Thanks!!
 

stumphead

Active member
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Messages
373

ABM 2500N-RE BELL BRASS ABR STYLE NICKEL BRIDGE KIT (AB23009)​


I can testify that these ABM bell brass are amazing

BUT - they will radically alter the tone of your guitar.

your guitar will vibrate like a tuning fork !

but the tonal range will shift as the bottom end becomes huge
 

tdarian

Active member
Joined
Jun 25, 2008
Messages
3,518
I tried one of the ABM bell brass bridges on a historic that leans a little bright but the tone shift described above was too radical, too damped. I had good luck with the Pigtail zinc ABR1. Kluson also has a decent one and it is not expensive.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TM1

TM1

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2003
Messages
8,101
I tried one of the ABM bell brass bridges on a historic that leans a little bright but the tone shift described above was too radical, too damped. I had good luck with the Pigtail zinc ABR1. Kluson also has a decent one and it is not expensive.
The Kluson ABR-1 is exactly the same as the Gibson one and made in the same facility. It just doesn't say Gibson on the bottom. Same mix of metals: 70% Zinc/30% Aluminium. The Pigtail is the most accurate to the originals. I wonder if they're tried using a mix of Brass and aluminium?
 

stumphead

Active member
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Messages
373
here is a cut and paste of a comment I read on youtube
these are NOT my words or viewpoint but it makes for an interesting discussion on a Les Paul historic forum

after you read this feel free to leave comments ...... and thank me later


SDPickups

3 years ago
Johan. I have been ranting about this for years now. I know exactly why these old ABR1's sound so much better than anything being made now. So here, goes. MATERIALS, ENGINEERING DESIGN. The zinc body casting was made of Zamak. But there not ONE Zamak alloy, there are 8. The one that ALL the modern companies are using is a much harder Zamak alloy than was used in the classic Les Paul era. Why are the doing this? Stupidity, OR they are afraid of the "collapsing bridge" phenomena that very few old bridges did. But back in those days we only had Black Diamond strings that were 12-13 gauge, really heavy stiff strings with alot of tension. Next are the saddles. The old saddles were fatter, shorter, and had a much less extreme angle and flatter top. They weighed more. Most likely they also used the softest brass alloy than what is being used now. The adjuster screws were probably the same softest alloy, but I've not sent these to a lab, because I only have two pre- '62 ABR1's and don't want to destroy them. When the Patent bridges were used, they changed the saddles to pot metal , though a few rare ones have brass that I see rarely on Ebay. These are still better than anything modern because they were still using the softest Zamak. The Patent saddles though had the modern measurements less weight, and steep angle with sharp tops, sharp angle equals brighter sounds. Modern brass replacement saddles will NOT FIT pre-'62 ABR1's at all. The casting of the early bridges were narrower but weighed more than the Patent ones, this is why modern replacement saddles won't fit oldest ABR1's. Now here's the worse thing I discovered. I bought a Gibson Historic ABR1, it sounded awful on any guitar I put it on, real harsh, not very loud, tinny and sterile. So, I decided to buy a few others from Stew Mac and a couple other places. Well guess what? On close examination, they were all made by the SAME COMPANY, they were all identical. I quit buying ABR1 bridges because they all seemed to be coming from one single source, Korea probably, NOT US made. I did try one more bridge from Faber, the ABRH, and ABRM (metric). This is the ONLY bridge that came very close to my originals. But where it fails is on the low bass strings, the Faber is noticeably softer and bassier than originals. The original have a tight, bright and sweet bass sound. So, I use the Faber on all my demo guitars and many videos showing off real vintage PAF's and my replicas of them. I talked to one company selling replica bridges who claim they make their own, but they are the same bridge, I told him what I know without telling him how to make them and he wasn't interested at all. All these hardware sellers just go for the "looks" and have done no homework, and seem to have never looked at or tried original hardware. ALL the hardware on a vintage LP and other Gibsons are being done WRONG by Gibson. The tailpiece anchors, the stud bolts are all steel, but Gibson uses brass bolts and some are pot metal anchors. If you swap all your hardware out for vintage correct alloy materials, and physical measurements, your guitar completely changes for the better, and approaches true vintage sounds. I've not found any one making the anchors correctly, Retrospec is the closest but currently they aren't making them. I have a pair of original anchors, you rattle them in your hand and you hear acoustically how they sound, the replica anchors sound noticeably brighter, WRONG alloy. There are hundreds of steel alloys. Anyway, this is still a subject that annoys me no end. Worse yet we got companies making ABR1's out of solid brass, solid steel, titanium saddles, ridiculous materials that were never used. So, you got a Les Paul with all the wrong material hardware and throw on a solid steel bridge unit, well good luck with that. My own obsessive pursuit is to make my guitars sound like an original unplugged Les Paul, because thats where the tone STARTS, its natural acoustic sound, and the hardware is a HUGE part of that. If you go to my channel I did a simple demo of several ABR1 bridges vs my vintage one, on a '68 conversion, unplugged, so you can hear how the original bridge just beats all the others to hell.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2003
Messages
586
Bought my first Pigtail products in 2007 before Steve Rowen (the founder) passed, in addition to what many think are the best products Steve was a special person. It seemed every time I sent him an email he’d call me and we’d talk and he would educate me about my question. I’ve done business with them since Steve’s passing, the products and service are still first class but doing business with Steve was extra special. RIP Steve. 3A8D426C-D48C-4E00-A9EB-7EDD23B1D9A1.jpeg
 
Last edited:

fernieite

Active member
Joined
Jan 3, 2010
Messages
423
Bought my first Pigtail products in 2007 before the Steve Rowen (the founder) passed, in addition to what many think are the best products Steve was a special person. It seemed every time I sent him an email he’d call me and we’d talk and he would educate me about my question. I’ve done business with them since Steve’s passing, the products and service are still first class but doing business with Steve was extra special. RIP Steve. View attachment 15440
I bought my Pigtail bridge, posts, thumbwheels, studs and tailpiece from Steve back in 2007, as well.

I did replace my studs with Retrospec off-sets and thumbwheels when they came out.

I think I'll be keeping things just as they are...
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2003
Messages
586
I bought my Pigtail bridge, posts, thumbwheels, studs and tailpiece from Steve back in 2007, as well.

I did replace my studs with Retrospec off-sets and thumbwheels when they came out.

I think I'll be keeping things just as they are...
Anything I’ve ever gotten from Kim has been excellent as well!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 16, 2009
Messages
738
The hardware on my 2013 and 2014 is great. I also love pigtail hardware. It's tough to listen to the Stephens Design guy because of his tendency to choke every note with his right hand. A blind A/B comparison with an accomplished player would be nice!
 
  • Like
Reactions: TM1

TM1

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2003
Messages
8,101
The hardware on my 2013 and 2014 is great. I also love pigtail hardware. It's tough to listen to the Stephens Design guy because of his tendency to choke every note with his right hand. A blind A/B comparison with an accomplished player would be nice!
Exactly..!
 
Top