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Need some advise about an SG bridge

dj335

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Oct 16, 2008
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Greetings, all.

I need to get some advice from forum members who have good knowledge about 60‘s SG’s.

I recently bought a 1969 SG Standard with Maestro vibrato tailpiece. I had a ‘69 back when I was a teen in the late 60's, but sold it in the late 70's, and have regretted it over the years. This one was surprisingly unmolested for a 40 year old. Only changes were the tuners are vintage Schallers, amber top hat knobs, and the bridge pickup was turned around (?). Original pots and solder joints, patent number pickups, no buckle rash or finish checking, just a few body dings. Original case with marigold lining.

I since have replaced the knobs with a set of black witch hats from my ‘72 ES-335 that I still own (see avatar pic).

Here is a picture from the eBay seller’s auction ( I haven’t taken my own pictures yet):

273.jpg



I bought this guitar for three reasons: 1. I regretted selling my old one; 2. As an investment, as I paid much less than other ones I’ve seen on the ‘Bay; 3. I plan on playing this bad boy!

My question has to do with the ABR-1 bridge. It has nylon saddles, which would be correct for a ‘69. Should I replace the nylon saddles with metal ones? Leave them as they are? Or put this original bridge into the case pocket, and buy a repro ABR-1 bridge with metal saddles?

What would you guys do if you had this guitar? Is the tone going to be that much different between nylon and metal? Clapton’s red ‘64 ES-335 had nylon saddles, and that guitar sounds pretty good to me!

I appreciate your replies and advice.

Regards,
Dave in So Cal
 
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j45

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For what it's worth I've always kept nylon saddles when alreeady there and have no issues with them. The best sounding vintage Gibson I've ever owned had nylon saddles and like you said, the Fool SG did which has the best sound from any Gibson on recording IMHO.
 

sweiger

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If you're curious about the tone difference, you might go for just some aftermarket metal saddles & put on the original bridge, shouldn't be that expensive I think. Be sure the threads are in inches and NOT metric.
Personally I prefer the metal ones (brass w/ nickel plating) as I find the nylons to somewhat dull the tone -but that's just my taste.

Looks like a nice score :salude
 

getchar()

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It's such a sweet guitar, I'd leave the nylon saddles, reverse the bridge pickup and replace the tuners to get it back towards original.

Like you don't understand why anyone would reverse the bridge pup!
 

dj335

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Thank you all that replied. Most of you said to leave the nylon saddles, so I've decided not replace them. After all, a lot of great records were made with these SG's that had nylon saddle bridges.

J45, I wasn't aware that Clapton's The Fool had nylon. That's another good reason to leave this one alone. In my first post, I was talking about his red 335, which I got to see up close last April at a Guitar Center event here in So. California. It still has it's original nylon saddle ABR-1.

I've also turned the bridge pickup back around to its proper position. Someone must have done that in the past to darken up the bridge pickup; it sounds way better now that its back to where it should be.

Thank you all for the help. Happy New Year to everyone!

Dave in So Cal
 

zombiwoof

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If you want to experiment, drop in a completely new bridge with metal saddles and keep the original as is. Swap it back if you don't like the difference and keep the bridge as a backup.

Al
 

MadmanMayhem

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If you want to experiment, drop in a completely new bridge with metal saddles and keep the original as is. Swap it back if you don't like the difference and keep the bridge as a backup.

+1. If you want to try metal I'd get a separate bridge.
 

garywright

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+1. If you want to try metal I'd get a separate bridge.

yeah, I agree ...you'll probably bend up (just like myself) the original saddle retaining wire getting the saddles out so I'd definitely get a separate bridge if you decide you want to experiment. ..btw, how about putting up a pic of the guitar with the witch hats and bridge pup turned around when you get a chance.
 

dj335

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..btw, how about putting up a pic of the guitar with the witch hats and bridge pup turned around when you get a chance.

GaryWright,

Here's some pictures that I shot tonight after my wife and I got home from dinner (no New Years parties for us this year....)

I've got a simple point & shoot digital camera, so the pics aren't great, but here you go:



In the original case:



Nylon saddle bridge & witch hat knobs up close:



And one more without the flash:



Wish I could learn to take better pictures. Some of the other forum members post great shots with closeup details, and no flash reflections. At least you can get an idea of what this 69 looks like.

Happy New Year!

Dave in So Cal
 
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dj335

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Gary,

Here is one more picture, this time of the headstock logo. The lack of a dot over the "i", along with pot codes of 1376902, date this guitar as an early 1969. The serial number is 803xxx, which means it could have been either a 1966 or a 1969, but it is definitely a 69. I don't think there was really any difference between a 66 and a 69, though, maybe only in the neck joint. You can also see the Schaller keys here:



I'm a big fan of the look of the original green key tuners, but these Schallers are actually pretty nice. I put Grovers on my '72 ES-335 shortly after I bought it new in the summer of '73, and hated them from day one. I finally put the original green keys back on a few years later.

If I pull these tuners, there will be a single screw hole inboard from each tuner on the back of the headstock. However, there are two visible holes as well as marks in the lacquer where the green keys were, so I probably will replace the Schallers with period correct green keys eventually.

By the way, would the original green key tuners be the single or double row type? Please post the answer if anyone knows.

Regards,
Dave in So Cal
 
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dj335

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I have another question for the experts. Should the ABR-1 bridge on this guitar have its adjustment screws facing towards the tailpiece as they are now? Or did this bridge get turned around backwards sometime in the past (like the bridge pickup did), and the screws should be facing towards the pickups/neck? Would love to hear from those that know....

Regards,
Dave in So Cal
 

sweiger

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Original tuners would be double ring / double line Gibson or Kluson deluxes.

Adj.screws should normally face the bridge p.u., to avoid the strings get in contact with the slots. This is important with stop tailpieces as on les pauls etc. But with a vibrola the angle is not as steep, so it may go both ways, depending on how deep the grooves in the saddles are. My SG's screwslots faces the vibrola, and the strings are just exactly clear of the slots.
 

sweiger

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I know it's more awkward to adjust the screws this way (especially on les pauls w/ 'buckers), but rather ½ hours PITA while intonating, than 1 or more strings not properly in place all the time. :)
 

Rev.WillieVK

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I've got a simple point & shoot digital camera, so the pics aren't great, but here you go:

Wish I could learn to take better pictures. Some of the other forum members post great shots with closeup details, and no flash reflections.

Don't sell yourself short Dave - those pics are great! Really. :applaude
(and better than 85% of the pics on ebay! :) )

Happy New Year! :salude
 

garywright

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Don't sell yourself short Dave - those pics are great! Really. :applaude
(and better than 85% of the pics on ebay! :) )

Happy New Year! :salude

+1 ...thanks, it looks MUCH better now with it's (mostly) stock clothes back on :)
 

j45

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Original tuners would be double ring / double line Gibson or Kluson deluxes.

Adj.screws should normally face the bridge p.u., to avoid the strings get in contact with the slots. This is important with stop tailpieces as on les pauls etc. But with a vibrola the angle is not as steep, so it may go both ways, depending on how deep the grooves in the saddles are. My SG's screwslots faces the vibrola, and the strings are just exactly clear of the slots.


This is pretty much what I think. Oddly enough, you can find the screws pointing in either direction in in photos of some old Gibson catalogs.
 
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