Harmonica Bridge Replacement?

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Cableaddict, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. Rox

    Rox Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    307
    Likes Received:
    186
    So, Kluson said what one of them was made of, but not the Japanese one? Unless there's part of the quote missing..?

    Thing is, we've all had duff bridges of every type, and excellent bridges. I can't for the life of me get on with a Floyd, but the Fender System One Trem was excellent.

    Perhaps the Harmonica bridges I've come across were the good ones - but all I know is this: the ones I have had hands on experience of sounded and looked great.
     
    SG standard likes this.
  2. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,566
    Likes Received:
    2,063
    Do you mean the System III? IIRC, the System I was a rebadged Kahler, but the III was an amazing piece of engineering by Fender. The trem arm contained two allen keys, which was all you needed to set up the guitar; adjusting the saddles and also the nut height, plus you could rotate the arm to lock the bridge and have a hard tail. And you could use one key to adjust the lock position so the tuning was consistent between floating and locked - regardless of tuning/string gauge. On top of that, you could unlock the nut in an instant with a lever, no need to mess around with allen keys to do that!

    I never came across a better locking trem system, and I can't understand how Fender let that get lost in the mists of time. This was my Strat with a System III, note the lever arm by the headstock:

    [​IMG]
     
    lcw, Raiyn and dexspeed like this.
  3. Rox

    Rox Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    307
    Likes Received:
    186
  4. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,566
    Likes Received:
    2,063
    Fair enough. He seems to have parts for all three models. I also had a System I - it was my first Strat, all black and very cool looking - it was also a great player. I actually regretted selling it and keeping the one above, just because I think it was a better player. In fact, it's the only guitar I've really regretted selling! At the time, it was widely said to be a rebadged Kahler - I see he thought the same but discovered they were actually made by Schaller. I don't recall it having any features that weren't on other locking trems like the Kahler units, (and nothing wrong with that), but I could be wrong. :)
     
  5. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2016
    Messages:
    4,947
    Likes Received:
    2,791
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    I don't understand it either. Then again, the Corksniffers love to stifle innovation in favor of the same old thing.
     
    SG standard likes this.
  6. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2013
    Messages:
    1,889
    Likes Received:
    1,585
    First of all, tonewood being a factor with solidbody electrics is absolutely not recognized by luthiers universally. Not even close.

    As to your above claim, why then did Ibanez' engineers sit their top of the line Artist models' bridges on a solid brass block for sustain?
     
    SG standard, Raiyn and koaguilds like this.
  7. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2016
    Messages:
    4,947
    Likes Received:
    2,791
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    [​IMG]
     
    PermissionToLand likes this.
  8. Rox

    Rox Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    307
    Likes Received:
    186
    Never tried a III, but those ideas sound really clever. I loved the fact the System I was so smooth, especially when leaning your palm on it. Should never have sold it...
     
    SG standard and Raiyn like this.
  9. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2016
    Messages:
    4,947
    Likes Received:
    2,791
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    Just the fact it essentially came with it's own tool kit. You've gotta love that.
     
    SG standard likes this.
  10. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,566
    Likes Received:
    2,063
    Very true. I've certainly come across arguments that a highly resonant body is not necessarily a good thing on an electric, even though it's a requirement for an acoustic.
    And also Carlos Santana (a man who knows a thing or two about sustain) had Yamaha insert a brass block under the bridge of the SGs he was endorsing and playing in the late 70s.
     
    PermissionToLand likes this.
  11. Rox

    Rox Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    307
    Likes Received:
    186
    Indeed. Contractually known as the Santana Claus I believe.
     
  12. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2013
    Messages:
    1,889
    Likes Received:
    1,585
    Certainly it can become overkill with a semihollow because you start getting feedback. The whole endless pursuit of sustain is just laughable to me when my $170 Squier has no real noticeably shorter decay than my Custom Shop Gibby. I'm sure if you measured it there would be some (likely inconsistent) difference, but who the hell is recording or playing stuff where it's critical to have a note sustain for 50 seconds instead of 45 seconds? Who cares? It's such a dumb thing to obsess over, unless the notes are literally being cut short, in which case you need a fret leveling. Hell, most of the guys going on about sustain are playing distorted rock anyway.

    But at least there is real evidence that sustain is affected by the bridge and, to a lesser extent, the wood of a guitar. Tone, though? I haven't seen any compelling evidence.
     
    Raiyn likes this.
  13. bobbiehart2013

    bobbiehart2013 Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    47
    yes and I bet he's not even worried that he's not playing a Gibson Sg in this photo too !!
     
  14. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Messages:
    7,908
    Likes Received:
    7,930
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    This is simply not true. Sorry to say it, but it's not true.
    If you've got a '70s guitar with an original bridge and you don't
    care for the tone, you should sell that instrument to someone who
    doesn't feel that way
    , and buy yourself a guitar with the bridge
    you prefer. Cheaper, and better in every way.

    If you've got a '70s guitar with an original bridge, it's your sacred
    duty to maintain that instrument with respect. Too many '70s guitars
    were mercilessly butchered. Any that remain ought to be treated like
    the honorable veterans they are. The only reason to own a fine old
    '70s SG is because you want what that guitar can do. Buying something vintage and then finding fault with it and trying to make it into something that it's not is like shooting yourself while cleaning
    your pistol. Don't do it. Sell it unmodded to someone who respects
    what it is and buy yourself what you actually want. Like duh...

    The ABR-1 bridge was designed when guitar strings came in one gauge:
    Heavy. Talking' 1950s technology. New string gauges in the sixties made the ABR-1 obsolete, and Gibson responded to guitarists needs by
    designing the Harmonica bridge, with more travel for the saddles.
    Talkin' 1970s technology...
    This actually worked and solved the problem of guitarists complaining that their old guitars wouldn't intonate properly with their old ABR-1
    bridges and their new light gauge strings.

    Guitarists hated the Norlin guitars because of changes to the original
    SG (and Les Paul) designs, and they roundly condemned the harmonica bridge... wrongly. Those work fine and have no real flaws except for how obtrusively big they are. Just aesthetics... no technical problems.

    For some weird reason I don't understand, the ABR-1 bridge seems to
    have a lot of fans. I don't own one, so I don't get it. Gibson bridges work fine, and Gibson bridges don't suck tone. Even if they did, Gibson guitars have plenty of tone and don't suffer one bit.

    I'll repeat my suggestion: Honor your old guitar, play it as designed
    enjoy its unique tone and shape, and hardware. (or sell it if you don't
    appreciate it...) and use newer (cheaper) more mundane instruments as mod platforms.
     
    Brian Moore, lcw, Raiyn and 1 other person like this.
  15. Norlin SG

    Norlin SG Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    634
    Likes Received:
    418
    Nothing really new here. I went over to some trumpet Forums and Oh man, the discussions do get really intense sometimes. Drop a bomb on one of those forums about say which trumpet has the best anything? Then sit back and be amazed at the $**t storm of responses you would get.

    Fictitious reply: I think the Bach Strad dual reverse lead pipe taper has much more influence on octave sibilant projection than any deep bore modified bell taper ever will.

    You got to admit that even though the buzz words and instruments are different, it sure sounds a lot like this forum at times. :D

    Almost forgot.
    • Harmonica bridge = good
    • Block inlays = Meh to O.K.
    • Volute = good
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
  16. Rox

    Rox Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    307
    Likes Received:
    186
    Prog. Rock.

    :smile:
     
  17. Rox

    Rox Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    307
    Likes Received:
    186
    I heartily endorse these sentiments. :cheers:
     
  18. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2016
    Messages:
    4,947
    Likes Received:
    2,791
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    Kind of a side note on this, but when they sell trem block upgrades they're usually brass or steel that's significantly heavier than the pot metal blocks Squires come with. I've seen Titanium blocks, for hilarious amounts of money mind you, but they're out there.

    I have to laugh at this, but not from a guitar related standpoint. We were at a show Friday night when the lead singer of the band we were watching yelled at the sound guy that he wanted "532 milliseconds" of delay for the vocals on the song he was going to sing. Then, a quarter of the way in, after some delay was dialed in he yelled again for "532 MILLISECONDS!" Bear in mind, he's been the lead singer in this band for 32 years. You'd think that, after three decades, you'd be professional enough to handle that stuff in advance. You know, tell the guy that you'll announce "blah blah song" and what you need for that one song rather than yell from the stage like a petulant ass.

    On the other hand, SWMBO and I have a new "in joke / catch phrase", so there's that. :p
     
    PermissionToLand and rotorhead like this.
  19. rotorhead

    rotorhead Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2017
    Messages:
    778
    Likes Received:
    558
    Location:
    Jacksonville FL
    Heh...

    I can attest that bands don't always get to use their own sound people. Sometimes you're stuck with the house people, or even worse, hired guns such as in a festival setting.

    Little to no chance for a decent soundcheck, too. But yeah, sometimes it becomes a nightmare. There's no time to coordinate anything before you hit the stage and most of the tweaking happens between songs.

    Uggh.
     
  20. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2016
    Messages:
    4,947
    Likes Received:
    2,791
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    Aside from some quickly sorted mic levels on the final act, none of the other 5 bands had an issue. Plus the guy is kinda known as a primadonna.
     
    rotorhead likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice