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Hi, 1st post. I want to replace my guild bridge with an ABR1

wm_b

Member
Messages
2
I have an old guild that's been out of action for awhile. The bridge is inop and the parts are impossible to find. I'm going to convert the guitar into a studio instrument. I want to start by replacing the bridge with an ABR1. To follow, a Buzzy Feiten tuning nut and waverly machines.

The guild bridge has 3.125" spacing from what I can tell and an ABR1 is narrower so I need to fill the original holes and re-drill. The body is solid mahogany and I would like to fill the holes with the same. Where can I find mahogany doweling? I would also like to screw the bridge support pins directly into the top and not use the metal receivers. Is mahogany hard enough to do this? I have a 1963 es355 setup like this but it has a maple top.

I'm wide open to suggestions about this endeavor. Thanks, William
 

Bob V

Member
Messages
1,186
First you should check the fretboard radius of your Guild to make sure that you can use a Gibson style bridge that's preset to about a 12" radius (you can adjust it slightly according to how deep you cut the slots on the saddles, but they're not supposed to be very deep). Second consideration is you should probably buy a bridge without pre-notched saddles because you may need to tweak the string placement and spacing so they sit just a comfortable distance from the edges of the frets and you can proportionally space them out. A lot of the import bridges have the saddles already notched in the middle (although Gotoh is a good quality bridge I'm not sure they're easy to find with un-notched saddles).

As far as the plugging is concerned, the best way to plug the holes is with a plug cutter on a drill press and a scrap of mahogany; that way you wind up with the grain running the same direction as the rest of the body. If you just use a hardwood dowel you'll wind up with the grain running up and down, and that's also a problem since you'll then be re-drilling nearby in the same plug area and the end-grain won't hold the new bridge posts as well. It kind of depends on how big a hole is left behind when you remove the old bridge (are there metal inserts in the top?).

Last thing to consider is what type of Tune-O-Matic bridge to use. The original style ABR-1 has a retaining wire and saddles that tend to rattle and they sometimes don't have enough travel for proper intonation adjustment, and it sits on narrow threaded posts that go directly into the wood of the top of the guitar. Newer "Nashville" style bridges have a different post spacing, more travel for compensation, and they sit on thicker studs that thread into metal inserts in the guitar top.

Take some pictures and measurements of your guitar, and drop an email to Brian at Marquis Distributing (a Tone Pros dealer) and he can make sure you get a bridge that will fit your needs. Tone Pros makes a bridge that looks and mounts like an ABR-1 but the saddles don't rattle and they have more intonation travel. They also make Nashville style bridges that are used on the 2008 redesigned Les Paul Standard. Oh, yeah, there's the feature of locking on the studs with setscrews so the bridge doesn't fall off when you change strings, but that's a small bonus since all the other features and quality of the Tone Pros bridges are enough to buy them.

Then you need to decide on nickel or chrome...
 

wm_b

Member
Messages
2
As far as the plugging is concerned, the best way to plug the holes is with a plug cutter on a drill press and a scrap of mahogany; that way you wind up with the grain running the same direction as the rest of the body. If you just use a hardwood dowel you'll wind up with the grain running up and down, and that's also a problem since you'll then be re-drilling nearby in the same plug area and the end-grain won't hold the new bridge posts as well. It kind of depends on how big a hole is left behind when you remove the old bridge (are there metal inserts in the top?).
There were metal inserts but they've got to go. I really wish there was a drop in replacement for the guild adjustomatic bridge but they don't exist. The hole spacing is unique. I'm also going to have to move the bridge back slightly (away from the neck) to get the guitar intonation correct. With the old bridge and the saddles that were on it I couldn't get set up correctly without physically tilting the bridge back. That's one of the motivations behind this job. I have great sounding body that feels good but the hardware that was on it is just not making it.

Last thing to consider is what type of Tune-O-Matic bridge to use. The original style ABR-1 has a retaining wire and saddles that tend to rattle and they sometimes don't have enough travel for proper intonation adjustment, and it sits on narrow threaded posts that go directly into the wood of the top of the guitar. Newer "Nashville" style bridges have a different post spacing, more travel for compensation, and they sit on thicker studs that thread into metal inserts in the guitar top.
I really like the tonepros stuff. It's a likely choice. I have an ABR1 with brass saddles that came from an old LP. I really liked it when it was on the guitar (had to replace with a nashville because I needed a specific saddle for a midi pickup). I'll probably go with a new one for one specific reason that I will cover later...

Then you need to decide on nickel or chrome...
...or gold... which is what it will be. The body is gloss black and the finish buffs out nicely. I think gold will look pretty classy.

Thanks for the comprehensive reply. William
 




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