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Best adjustable wrap-around bridge/tailpiece?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Zexcoil, Sep 24, 2006.

  1. Zexcoil

    Zexcoil Vendor

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    I've got a '67 SG Special that came with the original 4 wound + 2 plain compensated tailpiece.

    I replaced it with a PRS type lightweight aluminum tailpiece. This bridge intonates pretty well (although it is right on the edge of its adjustment capability on this guitar) but the problem is, it cuts the hell out of my hand! I played it for about half a set last night and the side of the heel of my hand is all ripped up this morning. I could feel it while I was playing, but I didn't realize it was that bad until this morning.

    So my question is:

    What is the best wraparound, retrofit (no modification required) properly compensated (3 + 3) or adjustable bridge/tailpiece?

    I'm familiar with:

    the Wilkinson:

    http://www.wdmusic.com/wilkinson_compensator_bridge_tailpiece_chrome_24558_prd1.htm

    this new one from Gotoh:

    http://www.wdmusic.com/combination_bridge_tailpiece_chrome_24549_prd1.htm

    and a few others on this Allparts page, including the Badass, Schaller and a PRS replacement:

    http://www.allparts.com/categories.php?cat_id=414&cat_name=TUNEMATICS

    Anyone have any feedback on any of these or additional recommendations?

    Thanks,

    Scott
     
  2. googoobaby

    googoobaby Member

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  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

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    Steve Rowan's Pigtail Music wraparound is the best - bar none. Superb American craftsmanship. :AOK
     
  4. levelfrets

    levelfrets Member

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    Pigtail's the best. There ain't nothin even close to the quality of those.
     
  5. Zexcoil

    Zexcoil Vendor

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    I did get the pigtail. It was somewhat delayed due to a question about whether I wanted it relic'd or not (I did) and for some reason his emails weren't getting to me.
    Anyway, I installed it Thursday night. It's really nice. Featherweight, in fact the box was so light I was skeptical whether it was in there or not before opening it. I think it improved my tone. My drummer commented on this at practice (unbidden) yesterday, too.

    Best of all, I played it for most of rehearsal yesterday, and the heel of my hand is undamaged!

    Thanks for the recommendations.
     
  6. Clorenzo

    Clorenzo Member

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    I've recently replaced the crappy original in a bandmate's Gretsch Junior Jet with this one and it has been the single most impresive unplugged tone improvement I've witnessed because of a bridge replacement. From almost dead to one of the most resonant guitars I've heard.

    There's one thing I don't like much about the design though. I was lucky 'cause once I set the overall position for good intonation in the outer strings, when I intonated the other strings, the adjustable saddles fell right in their middle position, but if you have to move one of them away from the neck, you get this very sharp edge sticking out just where the string wraps around the bridge. It may not be a problem but I can imagine strings breaking easily at that point.
     
  7. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    I replaced a Tone Pros AVT II with a Wilkinson on my Bolin and the improvement was dramatic. There does appear to be two different ones though. I bought mine from Stew Mac. The cheaper alloy ones showing up on ebay are not as nice.

    I also like the Pigtails one. If you want the adjustable saddles, that would be my recommendation.
     
  8. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    The Schaller 455 series is one of the best bridges ever. Someone told me it's made from zinc. I wonder what a steel or brass version would sound like? Anyway I have two guitars with these bridges and they sustain very well.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2009
  9. KLB

    KLB Member

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    I am resurrecting this thread for more input and opinions.

    My Heritage H-137 came with a Pigtail wrap-around bridge. I love the guitar, but I am dissapointed with this bridge for a couple of reasons:

    1.) The saddles have too much side-to-side play and front-back play. It is particularly bad on the 2nd and 3rd strings, and weakens the sustain and clarity of notes, especially with agressive hand vibrato, which forces the saddles to move a lot.

    2.) The two post slots where the bridge slides into don't hold the bridge perpendicular to the post, allowing it to tilt forward under string pressure so that the down pressure on the saddles is reduced too much. This results in weaker energy transfer and allows the strings to move around too much on top of the saddle during bends and vibrato.

    I could probably solve the bridge tilt problem by using a set of Tone-Pros locking posts, but I'd still have the wiggly saddles.

    The AVT2G-C Tone-Pros AVT-II looks like a good solution. I have not seen one to know whether the saddles wiggle a lot.

    The Hipshot Baby Grand bridge looks interesting:

    [​IMG]

    Comments are appreciated as I am ready to make a purchase this week.
     
  10. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

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    I knew Steve was making the bridge for the 137, but your report seems like it's from something else. The Pigtails just have always had the tightest threads, fit under the post head, etc of any of them (my experience, anyway.) You won't do better with TonePros, I'm sorry to say. The inserts are smaller than Pigtail's and the slop in the thread is crazy! Never mind that the head locks down on the bridge body, the whole post will wobble in the insert. Pigtail's fit and finish are better than all the others mentioned so far.

    Proceed at your own risk...............
     
  11. George Johnson

    George Johnson Member

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  12. KLB

    KLB Member

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    I spoke with Steve Rowen of Pigtail. He suggested I try reinstalling the retaining clips that hold the intonation screws in place. I found the high E string clip wasn't around the collar in the proper place, which allowed for the excess movement I was experiencing. The 2nd string clip needed minor adjustment, too. The out of place clips could have occured during mfg., or during setup at Heritage or the previous owner. (When the saddle is backed as far away from the intonation screw head as possible, then turned under pressure, it will force the retaining clip out of the intended slot.)

    Next, Steve told me that Heritage specified the post collar slot that the bridge slides onto to be slightly wider than stock for an intentional down tilt, which I measured to be about 5 degrees. I ordered a stock post set, which will hold the bridge perpendicular. The down pressure will increase by doing this, and should increase sustain and string stabililty over the saddles.

    I will update this thread again when I get the posts and put it all together.
     
  13. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    Leo Quan makes a great bridge too:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. imguitardan

    imguitardan Member

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    Last edited: Aug 3, 2009
  15. DamianP

    DamianP Member

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    Pigtail do an excellent Jr bridge which has a much more inconspicuous ridge.

    Damian.
     
  16. Zexcoil

    Zexcoil Vendor

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    I'm still really happy with my Pigtail.

    If you want vintage though, take a look at this:

    http://www.guitarpartsusa.com/item--Guitar-Bridge-Gibson-Les-Paul-Jr-%C2%AEstyle--PROD421

    I'm not sure about the quality level, but notice that it is compensated for a modern unwound G string.

    Frankly, I don't understand why you don't see more of these around. If I could have found a high quality aluminum version of this I would have jumped on it. Very vintage correct and pretty intonatable...
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2009
  17. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    This is head and solders better then the others.
     
  18. Baxtercat

    Baxtercat Member

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    Good, cause I may want to solder a ground wire to it......:)
     
  19. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    Your ground wire should be attached to a post bushing.
     

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