Johnny A Owners! Question

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by jefrobie, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. jefrobie

    jefrobie Supporting Member

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    I have a Johnny A Standard w/bigsby...Challenges to keep in tune, but not too bad normally. Anyway I took it in too a very reputable guitar tech and he made a couple of observations that I wanted to run by you guys. He said the nut they used was junk. Even with some work and "nut sauce" probably going to have a problem since I'm running the bigsby. Suggested a bone nut or a Tusq XL which will allow strings to slide much better. Also noted that they used an older style ABR-1 bridge which has the narrow saddles, which in turn does not allow the strings to move as well and thus more of a challenge with a Bigsby. Kind of surprised considering the dough I spent on the Johnny...even the standard. Thought I'd get some input. Maybe on the higher end signature they used a newer bridge design and better nut material?
     
  2. saf_1

    saf_1 Member

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    Jeff - don't own one, but I've played a few (had a big hard on to buy one for awhile). I HAVE owned a bunch of other Custom Shop Gibsons, however, and the obsevations your tech made would not surprise me in the least. I really enjoy Johnny A's playing, and have seen him live on a number of occasions (which is what got me initially interested in the instrument). I'd be very curious to know how the Bigsby is set up on HIS personal guitar(s), and if he has modified the nut and/or bridge on his instruments. I've seen him in person at several guitar shows, as well as in a hotel bar after the show, and could've just asked him for you - if I known the question 2 years ago! ;)
     
  3. mt1782

    mt1782 Silver Supporting Member

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    If by narrow saddle you mean narrow saddle slots? I believe gibson is still doing that by hand so they "can" be all over the place. You could always go with roller saddles, I had them on a 6119 with a bigsby... Still wasn't all that stable if you used it for anything more that a little modulation.
     
  4. SmilingDave

    SmilingDave Supporting Member

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    I've got a 2005 Johnny A and I found myself having to replace the nut back in September. I was never totally happy with the tuning and had taken it in a number of times to be worked on over the years. The shop I took it to replaced it with a bone nut and I couldn't be happier--it was a big improvement, and now it stays in tune perfectly. Your tech might be on to something, it matches my experience.
     
  5. jefrobie

    jefrobie Supporting Member

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    I am going to bite the bullet and have the Graphtech ghost installed, along with a new tusq XL nut. The ghost will have the new bridge which will deal with that issue. Maybe for the vintage aspect or whatever, but my standard Johnny has the old style abr-1 bridge which has the narrower saddles. Probably fine in a stop tail, but at least this tech feels like its a poor choice for a bigsby.
     
  6. jads57

    jads57 Supporting Member

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    Used to own a Johnny A w/Bigsby. Changed the nut to Graphtech as well as saddles, and Planet Waves locking tuners. I used Nut Sauce as well!
    On a side note I replaced the stock 57 Classics w/ Lindy Fralin PAF's 8k & 9k
    I'm sorry I got rid of tht guitar!
     
  7. Broken Cord

    Broken Cord Member

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    I recently aquired a JA in a trade and have noticed that it staying in tune is a bit of a challenge. I don't have the Bigsby on mine, but think I may be switching to a bone nut in the very near future.
     
  8. Puckbucker

    Puckbucker Member

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    The nut and bridge on the signature are probably the same as your Standard. I'd agree the nut could be better (pinches a bit) and the bridge is ok with a stoptail (though it can add some rattle acoustically when playing unplugged). I could see how it could be trouble with a Bigsby.
     
  9. msteeln

    msteeln Member

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    For what Gibson charges for an A there should be nothing but perfection.
     

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