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  1. #1

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    In a full size archtop, how much difference is there in acoustic and amplified sound?

    The reduced inertia of the wood saddle may dampen the vibration transmission to the top less than a TOM.




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  3. #2

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    Acoustic, big difference.

    Electric, not so much.

  4. #3

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    I find it to be a but different than Jeff does on this matter. I've got 2 L5s and L5CES and a Wesmo. They both came with TOM bridges. I swapped them both out for ebony compensated saddles. I did notice a difference bot acoustically and through an amp. I also notice a difference in a TOM with nylon saddles, from one with metal saddles. I'd like to think that it's all in my head. But, I really do find a difference.

  5. #4

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    I swapped out the wood bridge on my heritage h575 custom for a metal bridge and I hear the difference in that the metal bridge seems to have a faster attack and the notes are a little bit more bright( not tele bright) just more bright...

  6. #5

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    I'm wondering whether a wooden bridge saddle is still used because it's traditional and cheap.

    It doesn't allow good intonation adjustment, but that really is not a deal breaker.

    It isn't as bright. Much of that may be due to the longer string contact area on a wooden saddle than in a TOM. The same may be true for the decreased sustain.


  7. #6

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    ToM- better sustain and metalic sound.
    wooden bridge-nice wooden sound and better feel.

  8. #7

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    I've had both, and I prefer the tone and feel associated with wood, but intonation can be an issue.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris
    ToM- better sustain and metalic sound.
    wooden bridge-nice wooden sound and better feel.
    I have many rosewood or ebony bridge saddles available.These fit the standard Gibson spacing and will drop right on to the base.I sell the complete bridges with the option of a T-O-M saddle,so I always have plenty of the wood saddles available in new,unused condition.A cheap way to experiment on your tone.
    Last edited by gtr_5155; 12-10-2012 at 08:00 PM.

  10. #9

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    hi 5155 - can you share some details re: the saddles you have? ie: where to find more info about them? thx

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    The reduced inertia of the wood saddle may dampen the vibration transmission to the top less than a TOM.
    I think wood dampens vibration transmission MORE than a TOM, not less.

  12. #11

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    It doesn't allow good intonation adjustment, but that really is not a deal breaker.

    Not true; a good luthier can strobe cut a wood saddle to intonate properly. They'll cut out little bits of wood under the strings where needed. You don't want to have this done until you're sure of the string gauge you want to use. Beware that sets made by different manufacturers won't always have the same gauge on every string. D'Addario .13 and TI .13 are very different; you can't swap out sets once you do this, but it is better intonated when you do.

  13. #12

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    I have replaced tone-o-matics with Sadowsky on my L5 Wesmo.........and changed it back again.
    Now this is contentious and I have absolutely no measurements or proof to back up my claim so shoot me down if you will.
    I think the profile of the Sadowsky is not 100% the same as the Gibson.
    The arc of the strings is different.
    It was bugging me so after 6 weeks I changed back and was happy to have the old profile back. It really feels different and more importantly, better to me.

    I reckon the strings are flatter or closer to the radius of the board. The Sadowky seems higher on the middle strings.

    So if you do change to a wooden bridge, just make sure the profile is EXACT.

    For the record I did prefer the wood sound.....although the Sadowky did develop a sitar buzz on the first string.

    Funnily enough I put a Sadowky (a different one....I have 3) on my Gibson 125.
    Sounded great but man the profile was way out of whack. The guitar felt bad to me.
    Changed it back and I'm happy again.

    I think you have to be careful when you swap these things out. Even if the makers of the wood bridge claim compatibility with your model of instrument.

    But as I said.....I have no measurements to prove my claim.

  14. #13

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    It is usually the bridge base that will give you problems,as they must be fitted to the curvature (arch) of the individual instrument's top.This is time consuming,as the arch may change when string tension is applied.The saddle can be reshaped to conform to the radius of the fretboard with little effort.Do not use deep string slots as they can pinch or mute the strings.Same is true for headnut slots.They should be about half the depth of the string diameter.To lower the action further than what is possible with the thumbwheels,I first trim the complete underside of the saddle,then recut the notches for the thumbwheels.If using a closed top bridge,or if the adjuster posts protrude through the holes of an open top bridge,you must trim the adjuster posts to the proper length.

  15. #14

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    The Sadowsky bridges are tops only. They come with pre cut slots and this could be where the radius inaccuracy comes from.

  16. #15

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    Hi all,

    I just got my used Guild A-150 savoy in the mail, and it came with a spare bridge saddle!

    Wood vs Steel Bridge Saddle-img_20200715_221444-jpg

    I got a small file to make some string notches, and I was planning to space the strings slightly further apart as I have quite large fingers, then experiment to see if the new saddle makes a difference.

    I wondered if anyone could explain why the saddle is a different shape, and if there are any tips to do this properly, so the intonation is right. Also... am I holding it the right way around?


  17. #16

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    The spare saddle looks to be over-compensated for the G string and also too long to fit the bridge base. Does it have its own base?

  18. #17

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    That's the way it goes on. It may or may not fit on the base, it's impossible to tell from the photo, because of perspective. I try to get the strings directly over the center of the neck pickup polepieces, but it will still work if the spacing is slightly wider. The unmounted saddle is a little more compensated than the one on the guitar. It might work sor some strings, not so well for others. Nothing to do but try it. For intonation, get a good tuner, a strobe is best, and move the bridge until the fretted note at the 12th fret exactly matches the harmonic when at pitch. That location should be close to where the bridge is now, but perhaps slightly closer to, or further from, that. Intonation usually needs to be adjusted when changing string gauge and type, and action height. It's good to learn to do it yourself to avoid paying someone money for a simple adjustment.

  19. #18

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    the saddle in your hand is for a wound g string...they require the saddle to be closer to the fingerboard...a plain g string has the saddle back towards the tailpiece side


  20. #19

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    Both saddles are for wound G strings.

    Stick with the currently mounted saddle.

    The airborne saddle (held aloft in your hand) is absurdly over-compensated (you have it oriented correctly) despite being used for decades by Guild.

    The stagger on the saddle positions on the airborne saddle is a cartoon exaggeration of the actual stagger that is optimal for the overwhelming majority of string sets.

    Again, BOTH saddles are for a wound G. One is just a ridiculous caricature.

  21. #20

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    Thanks very much for the advice everyone, I learnt a lot from this short thread

    To answer citizenk74 and sgosnell, yes it does appear to fit the base, i just didn't show it clearly.

    OK, I will stick with the original saddle!