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 Post subject: Gibson J45 bridge
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:39 pm 
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Koa
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First name: Freeman
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I've been asked to reglue a bridge on a 1961 (probably) Gibson J45. Interestingly the bridge is plastic and is kind of hollow inside. It has some little nibs that locate it on the top and at one time the owner had run some screws thru it before asking me to fix it right.

Attachment:
IMG_4732-1.jpg


I see two options - reglue the original bridge or remove the finish from the footprint and replace it with a wood bridge. If I decide to reglue it what would the best glue be - I would think maybe epoxy but that wouldn't be correct to the period. And I guess a second question - was this common and why did they do it?


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson J45 bridge
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:39 pm 
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Koa
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State: Texas
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Freeman wrote:
I've been asked to reglue a bridge on a 1961 (probably) Gibson J45. Interestingly the bridge is plastic and is kind of hollow inside. It has some little nibs that locate it on the top and at one time the owner had run some screws thru it before asking me to fix it right.

Attachment:
IMG_4732-1.jpg


I see two options - reglue the original bridge or remove the finish from the footprint and replace it with a wood bridge. If I decide to reglue it what would the best glue be - I would think maybe epoxy but that wouldn't be correct to the period. And I guess a second question - was this common and why did they do it?


******************do not use epoxy on this guitar*****************************

Yes this was common. They did it because it made building guitars alot easier (cheaper). usually this is common on B25s LG's and a few rando models through the years. VERY odd that it was on a J45. I don't have this guitar in hand so I can't date it but I doubt this is a 61 that's a different discussion though.

Before you do any bridge work can you send a picture of the bridge plate?


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson J45 bridge
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:42 am 
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First name: Chris
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Somewhere on the internet is a video of Dan Erlewine working on one of these. He glued on a wooden bridge to replace the plastic one... If the client is interested?

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 Post subject: Re: Gibson J45 bridge
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:53 am 
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Cocobolo
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Freeman wrote:
I see two options - reglue the original bridge or remove the finish from the footprint and replace it with a wood bridge. If I decide to reglue it what would the best glue be - I would think maybe epoxy but that wouldn't be correct to the period. And I guess a second question - was this common and why did they do it?


No point in trying to reglue that which was never glued in the first place. It was fastened down with four sheet metal screws from the inside. As a point of humor, Gibson actually packed a note with each guitar touting the superior method of "mechanical" bridge attachment, also mentioning not to worry about the gap seen between the bridge and the top.

Cheapness at its best.

Jettison that old piece of _____________ and make a nice wood replacement, scrape the finish, glue it properly. Quite often the plastic fails at the screw holes anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Gibson J45 bridge
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:42 am 
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^^^ If anyone would know, Frank would know. ^^^

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 Post subject: Re: Gibson J45 bridge
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:47 pm 
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Koa
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First name: Freeman
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Thanks everyone. New wood replacement it will be. I had suggested this to the owner but also told him that I would seek the advice of this forum.

Dan, I'm not really set up to take pictures inside the box. Some wear on the bridge plate but not terrible. The owner thought that his folks had bought the guitar for him in about 1961 but he is about my age and frankly I don't remember too many things that happened in 1961.


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson J45 bridge
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:17 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Use ebony and it will look like the original plastic crappy bridge but it will sound so much better.


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson J45 bridge
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:49 pm 
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FYI, I believe Gibson used this bridge on a J-45 in 1963 and reverted to the wooden bridge in 1964.

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 Post subject: Re: Gibson J45 bridge
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:59 pm 
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Slightly different screw/bolt configuration, but here is how I approached a B-25. I made a wide bone bridge to look like the original and give me more play for compensation.
One thing to consider is that the move from a plastic bridge on that J45 to Ebony is going to increase bridge mass, which has an effect on tone. The net benefit is there, as a well-glued wood bridge is superior to the bolted plastic, but its good to discuss.

In the case of the B-25, it was bolted wood with an adjustable ceramic bridge—a lot of dead weight. Making the switch actually cut the weight considerably.


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson J45 bridge
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:06 pm 
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Also Dave Collins and Hesh Breakstone have a great video about repairs like this over at Ann Arbor Guitars:

https://youtu.be/HgkcA9ikHFQ

[youtube]https://youtu.be/HgkcA9ikHFQ[/youtube]



These users thanked the author dpetrzelka for the post: Clinchriver (Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:56 am)
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 Post subject: Re: Gibson J45 bridge
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:58 am 
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Replace with wood, I have a 1963 L-OO coming in to replace the plastic bridge.


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson J45 bridge
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 8:12 pm 
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Koa
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First name: Freeman
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Clinchriver wrote:
Replace with wood, I have a 1963 L-OO coming in to replace the plastic bridge.


I ordered a premade reverse belly bridge from Allparts #GB-0859-0R0 that looks like its going to work. The pins are in the right place and spacing and the saddle slot is within a 32nd of the same (doesn't have quite as much compensation on the bass end but I think its going to be OK. I'm working on the bridge plate and filling some holes right now, will post pictures (and I can send you some measurements if that would help). Obviously making one from scratch is another option but my setup for routing the slot on the guitar is a bit shaky (its the StewMac thing with a dremel).


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson J45 bridge
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 8:32 pm 
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Koa
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Freeman wrote:

I ordered a premade reverse belly bridge from Allparts #GB-0859-0R0 that looks like its going to work. The pins are in the right place and spacing and the saddle slot is within a 32nd of the same (doesn't have quite as much compensation on the bass end but I think its going to be OK. I'm working on the bridge plate and filling some holes right now, will post pictures (and I can send you some measurements if that would help). Obviously making one from scratch is another option but my setup for routing the slot on the guitar is a bit shaky (its the StewMac thing with a dremel).


The allparts bridges can have issues with runout so double check it. And from experience you should probably give it a little finish sanding too, they can be a little rough.

I'll be honest with some of these making a scratch one can help you get a better result in being able to cover the exact footprint of the original piece. It's up to you though, either way it'll be a major upgrade.


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson J45 bridge
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:45 pm 
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Koa
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First name: Freeman
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Follow up. First, this guitar is not a J45 - thats what the owner called it but a quick look inside told me that its an LG-1 or similar. Its ladder braced, but I certainly won't hold that against it.

I did order the Allparts bridge, it had the correct footprint, pin hole spacing was correct and in the right place. The saddle slot was not so I filled it. The bridge plate was a little rough so I laminate a thin piece of maple over it, plugged the various extra holes with hardwood dowels and cleaned up the bridge area as best I could. Here is the new bridge and the guitar getting ready for the glue up

Attachment:
IMG_4782.JPG


Glued it on with hide glue

Attachment:
IMG_4783.JPG


Routed a new saddle slot with the right compensation

Attachment:
IMG_4785.JPG


Here it is

Attachment:
IMG_4788.JPG


Called the owner and told him its done but I need to keep it for a few more days.....


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 Post subject: Re: Gibson J45 bridge
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:48 am 
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Well done! Looks like it grew there.

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