A lot of good point have been said here, and I agree with the marketing hype. However, if you have a Les Paul that sounds a little on the dark side of things, I definitely believe that the Callaham ABR is a good choice if you want to bring out a tad more brightness and clarity. However, on a bright-sounding instrument, the Callaham can potentially become a bit overbearing, IMO. I couldn't care less about bragging rights on any upgrade as long as it does what it's supposed to do, and the Callaham is a pricey unit.Compared to what? If you have a cheap guitar with bad hardware, a well cut Callahan will probably sound better. If you have a recent Gibson with a no wire ABR1 with properly cut saddles, it might sound "different" but not necessarily "better". His marketing hype is a bit over the top IMO. I had a wired ABR bridge that rattled and replaced it with a Callaham instead of a TonePros because I was curious. It was the wrong finish though (nickel while my guitar had chrome hardware) and eventually I picked up a TonePros. No discernible difference, not even unplugged. His whole schtick about pot metal and all that, it might be true at some level, but you're getting very deep into cork sniffing territory there.
So it depends on what kind of a buyer you are. If you want to be able to brag about how much you spent on your guitar go for it. If you are more of a player looking for a good bridge, there's no need to spend that much unless you have the cash to burn (there's nothing wrong with that). I'd caution that there is a downside to his bridges though: if you need more intonation room on your G string for example, you're SOL if you didn't order it with the saddles reversed because those saddles aren't coming out. Maybe your luthier could do it but I wasn't able to.
We all buy guitars and mod them for different reasons. For some people, it's to make that killer NGD thread listing all the work they've had done to their brand new perfectly awesome guitar (often (not always!) because they aren't good enough to post a video of them playing the new guitar). For others, it's to have a guitar to play Hope that helps, just my opinion of course!
I don't think he's doing that at all. I always saw it as his take on hardware and he obviously believes in it. It's an option that's available if you think it's worth trying for your music. At least it was in my case, and I am faaaar from a retired baby boomer......I think he's one of these guys preying on our tendency toward unhealthy consumerism (the idea that you can buy great tone)... What works for a retired baby boomer looking for a way to rekindle their glory days shouldn't be thought of as healthy by a young player who hasn't payed off their student loans yet. Jus sayin'.