Roller Bridge for a New Standard w/Maestro Vibrola

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Jess 1971, Feb 25, 2021.

  1. Jess 1971

    Jess 1971 New Member

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    Hello. I've been reading this forum a lot, so I finally joined, as I have a question about a new SG Standard 61 w/Maestro vibrola that I just purchased.

    I watched this video that details a few simple mods to increase the guitar's tuning stability:



    The two big suggestions are (1) inserting new Faber bridge posts to increase the stability of the overall bridge unit, and (2) replacing the stock ABR-1 bridge with a TonePros bridge with nylon saddles to reduce the friction with the strings on the saddles.

    In another video though, the same tech then says the TonePros bridge with nylon saddles did not work as well as expected (he gave it a B) and suggested instead that a bridge with roller saddles would be more effective at maintaining tuning stability. However, I have thus far been unable to find a suitable bridge with roller saddles.

    Does anyone here know if there is a drop-in replacement bridge for the ABR-1 with roller saddles?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
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  2. Mike_LA

    Mike_LA New Member

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    Hi, don't know about a drop in bridge but locking tuners will help with tuning stability.
    I replace the locking nut on all my trem guitars and it works great.
    Best of luck
     
  3. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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  4. Jess 1971

    Jess 1971 New Member

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    Thank you. Do you know for certain though that this roller bridge you suggested will be a drop-in replacement for a the stock ABR-1 bridge?
     
  5. Goldtone

    Goldtone Member

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    Domed thumbwheels are the fix. It’s what the Gibson vibratos originally came with and are available aftermarket for cheap (ie Crazy Parts)

    I’ve got them on a Firebird V and on 2 SG’s. They allow the bridge to rock back and forth on the wheels, always returning to the same position. The flat wheels that Gibson is erroneously currently using don’t allow the bridge to rock but force it to slide over the wheels and not returning to the same position
     
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  6. Jess 1971

    Jess 1971 New Member

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    Ideally though, doesn't it make more sense for the bridge to be as stable as possible and not move at all so that only the strings glide back and forth?
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
  7. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    Been a while since I last got one so no, only 90%, but the one I got was a drop in. Write them and ask.
     
  8. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    Yes.
     
  9. Jess 1971

    Jess 1971 New Member

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    Thanks. Yeah, I've written to them a few times already but so far no response.
     
  10. Goldtone

    Goldtone Member

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    No

    in this case you don’t want the strings gliding over the saddles. The wound strings will always bind
     
  11. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    For clarification, what I meant was ideally you have a roller bridge that's stable and the strings gliding over the rollers.
     
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  12. Jess 1971

    Jess 1971 New Member

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    So does anyone make a roller saddle bridge that can replace an ABR-1 style bridge without modifying the guitar?
     
  13. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    I would think none need modification. Or does your guitar have the old bridge posts that screw straight into the guitar body?
     
  14. Jess 1971

    Jess 1971 New Member

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    Yes.
     
  15. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    Well, if the posts themselves are moving then that's a problem. If not, then you just drop the roller bridge onto them and toss the posts it came with. Since the saddles roll, and since you've locked the bridge with the hex, it should be solid. Should... ain't no sure thing in this world. In any case the result will be a sh!tload better than what you have now.
     
  16. Jess 1971

    Jess 1971 New Member

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    My understanding is that there are two different types of tune-o-matic bridges, ABR and Nashville, with each having a different spacing. So if I try to put a Nashville bridge with roller saddles on there, I don't think it will fit. So I'm trying to find an ABR sized bridge with roller saddles, but I am having difficulty finding one. So I'm wondering whether they are even made.

    But perhaps I am misunderstanding something?
     
  17. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    No you're right. Weird they don't give more info on their page, but could be that one won't fit then. On stewmac they at least say that one's for Nashville so looks like I was wrong. https://www.stewmac.com/parts-and-h...-tune-o-matic-bridge-with-roller-saddles.html

    At least they also give the measurements.
     
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  18. skelt101

    skelt101 Active Member

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    It's been my experience that locking tuners don't have any affect on tuning stability. They can, however, facilitate quicker re-stringing. Out of curiosity, what do you replace the locking nut with?
     
  19. Jess 1971

    Jess 1971 New Member

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    I agree that locking tuners don't necessarily help with tuning stability. That said, if a guitar comes stock with a set of garbage Chinese tuning keys, any upgrade (locking or otherwise) will likely help, IMO.

    I did get a set of locking Klusons for my SG because changing strings with the Maestro vibrola and the regular stock tuners was a huge pain. But I don't think it had any real effect whatsoever on the guitar's ability to stay in tune.
     
  20. fuzbuzz78

    fuzbuzz78 Member

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    Roller bridges will Rob your SG of sustain. Speaking from experience. Also, Kind of a broken record at this point, but if you are having tuning issues, you need to take your guitar to a luthier who can dress your nut. Changing bridges and tuners will do very little to improve your guitar.

    the reason roller bridges reduce sustain is the string rests on a flatter surface which means more of the string is on the saddle which in turn reduces string vibration. The saddles on an SG are part of the reason these guitars have such great sustain. The saddles on an ABR or Nashville bridge are nice and pointy so less string is making contact, which transfers more vibration.

    I use the maestro on my 2014 SG Original II, a lot! It stays in tune for almost all of a 45 minute set. Everything is stock on my guitar. The only thing I did was dress the nut so less material was catching on my strings.

    take your guitar to a good luthier and have your nut dressed. It will be the best money you will invest into your guitar.

    as far as posts moving, a little movement is normal, and the bridge will return back to its original position.

    Coincidentally, I also play a completely stock Jazzmaster American Original. I love the rocking bridge on the guitar. Again, I heavily use the trem on this guitar. The only thing I did to the guitar was make sure the Nut was properly dressed. I can go even longer without having to tune with this guitar and the bridge rocks even more so than my SG. I’m not sure if all of these people have stock in roller bridges and tuners, but it blows my mind how often people talk about mods and ignore Nuts. Don’t be afraid to talk to a qualified professional about Nut health and your nut! You can thank me later.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
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