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Zinc alloy TOMs

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by dharmafool, Jun 4, 2006.

  1. dharmafool

    dharmafool Member

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    I gather that zinc alloy is the metal of choice for Tune o matic bridges for reasons of period-correctitude. I see that Pigtail offers an aluminum TOM -- anyone try this?

    Over the years I've heard people refer to zinc alloy products as "pot metal," as in cheap, weak, nondescript. Is this an exaggeration?

    I assume Gibson went to zinc alloy for cost reasons, is that correct? Were the late '50s TOMs aluminum alloy, like the stop tailpieces?

    I don't understand why there hasn't been a lot more experimentation with the material used for TOM bridge bodies. Seems like the different materials used to manufacature TOM saddles (and studs and bushings) prove there are toneful alternatives to zinc alloy.

    IOW, why is no one marketing TOM bodies made from stainless steel, brass or titanium? Why does the interest in the tonal effects of saddle material not extend to bridge bodies in the TOM realm?

    I know there was some experimentation done by Gibson in the '70s with brass bridges, and the results were deemed unworthy, but has anyone heard one of those instruments? I haven't.

    I'm lookin' for more tones that move me, that's all.

    Paul
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

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    All TOM's were/are cast metal. Vintage '50's stoptails were aluminum. Subsequently they cast them out of zinc as well. Pigtail have been making the stoptail out of T6 (aircraft grade) aluminum and are now making a TOM of T6 as well. I haven't tried one yet, but just give me a chance......:rolleyes:
     
  3. RobertM

    RobertM Member

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    I heard that alloying the bridge metal with zinc can KILL sustain and tone. The guitar will lose clarity.
    I have been searching the net for this kind of information myself and your post is the closest I've come so far.
    It is a cheap metal and they make cheap flashlight batteries from it. Why would anyone want to put that stuff in a guitar bridge. Provided that this info on murdering the sustain and tone is true.

    "Is this an exaggeration?" Man would I like to know that myself!
     
  4. illinimax

    illinimax Gold Supporting Member

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    I swapped the tailpiece, studs and bushings of my R7 with Pigtail parts (including the light alum tailpiece) and really brought the guitar to life. I've got his wireless abr-1 bridge on order. Can't wait. Steve makes superior stuff.
     
  5. LaXu

    LaXu Member

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    I believe the Gotoh bridge on my Fenix LP copy is made of zinc (it's an older guitar so I'm not sure, the Gotoh catalog does mention the normal TOM is zinc) and sustain is great and no problems with clarity either.
     
  6. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    my body.
    have a guitfiddle with steve's repro abr/posts/barstop. it's an extraordinary setup! no rattling/saddle popping either.
     
  7. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

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    Cool, Matte. I'm diggin' his wraparounds and look forward to trying his ABR-type. Steve's machining skills are top-notch, for sure!
     

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