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  1. #1

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    Hi everyone,

    I’m entertaining the idea of buying a Super 400. It’s a bit of a fixer upper. One component of that being it has some horrendous ebony bridge on it. Seller says it’s original but I’m highly skeptical. Isn’t the TOM bridge a hallmark of the Super 400? The guitar in question is from 1986.

    I’d love to get opinions on the best source to find a TOM bridge. I was poking around looking for a Gibson made, but for some reason I’m finding it difficult to tell if they’re made by Gibson or are just being described as such.

    Thanks so much!
    Kevin

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  3. #2

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    Kiss my Strings KMS and Faber’s make the best TOM. They are made in Germany and come notched and a drop in replacement for Gibson’s.

  4. #3

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    I have a D’Aquisto replica, the Jazzline. It came with an ebony bridge which had problems. I replaced just the saddle with a different Ebony saddle to solve the problem, but still wasn’t 100% satisfied. I just had a Gotoh TOM installed, and I could not be happier. The guitar just blossomed.


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  5. #4
    That’s interesting. Was the original bridge floating? Did you replace the original bridge itself as well?

  6. #5

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    A 1986 Super 400CES would have had an ebony saddle originally. They stopped using a Tune-o-matic saddle on the electric versions of L5’s and Super 400’s around 1975. I have attached an excerpt from Tom Van House’s book “The Gibson Super 400” which confirms this. I have also attached a photo of an original bridge/saddle from that era.
    KeithTOM bridge-ee5dba45-f53d-4182-8575-537681248997-jpegTOM bridge-53208a8d-1791-4f0a-b0ce-ce8bf815a5c7-jpeg

  7. #6
    Well don’t that just split my biscuit!

    My poor search skills didn’t turn up any useful info that I was looking for, but here it is. Thank you so much for taking the time to show me that. I knew that L-5s went to the ebony bridge for a while, but I don’t recall ever seeing it on the Super.

    Maybe I’ll end up experimenting with ebony vs. TOM.

    Thanks again!

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by PenderJazz
    Well don’t that just split my biscuit!

    My poor search skills didn’t turn up any useful info that I was looking for, but here it is. Thank you so much for taking the time to show me that. I knew that L-5s went to the ebony bridge for a while, but I don’t recall ever seeing it on the Super.

    Maybe I’ll end up experimenting with ebony vs. TOM.

    Thanks again!
    I would really give the ebony saddle a chance. You might really like it. I have ebony saddles on all my archtops now. They produce a more traditional jazz tone in my opinion and they intonate just fine.
    Keith

  9. #8
    Hey Keith,

    That’s really interesting. I have an Eastman and Gibson ES-125T that have what I think are rosewood saddles. The guitars sound great, but I’ve never swapped anything out for comparison.

    I’ve always wondered how wooden saddles can intonate just as well as the TOMs without the benefit of adjustable saddles. I’d love to hear any insight you have on that.

    Thanks, Keith!

    Kevin

  10. #9

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    Maybe also consider a TOM with nylon saddles (my preference if using a TOM on a CES).


  11. #10

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    This is kinda off-topic but relates to TOM. I recently purchased a Tal Farlow, which had the PUs changed but was otherwise mint. The top two strings sounded shrill, and I attributed this to the PUs. Now the original PUs are back, but still the same sting from E and B strings. My ES-175 1959 VOS should have the same PUs but the top strings sound a lot mellower. Rosewood bridge. So the next suspect is the TOM bridge, but wouldn't it be a sin to replace it?

  12. #11
    Thanks for the suggestion. Do you think they sound better than brass?

  13. #12
    And also, for the Super 400, it’s the ABR-1 bridge I would need, right?

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by PenderJazz
    And also, for the Super 400, it’s the ABR-1 bridge I would need, right?
    Yes, ABR-1 would be the norm. The spacing for the Nashville is the same though. Nylon will warm the tone, certainly compared to brass. If that’s what you’re looking for, I would definitely recommend nylon.

  15. #14

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    I have used graphtech saddles on an ABR-1 before and I really liked them. I thought they were better sounding than brass or nylon saddles.
    String Saver Originals Saddles Set compatible with Tune-O-Matic ABR-1 – Graph Tech Guitar Labs Ltd.
    Keith

  16. #15
    TOMs sound more even and brighter. Wooden, especially ebony (which is about as hard as metal) makes the high frequencys kind of dance around which results in a beautiful tone.