Bridge thickness on 1961 Martin, and modified thru-saddle

I am working on a '61 D-28(neck reset and new bridge). The original was shaved down to 1/4" thickness(with little saddle remaining, and high action). Did Martin use one standard thickness in those years, or, as in later years, use a range(5/16, or 11/32, or 3/8) depending on the set of the neck?

In replacing the saddle, I have read about(and am considering using) a modified thru saddle, which is a drop-in saddle, but with wings, to duplicate the appearance of the original. It seems to me that the drop in saddle is superior(stronger) to the thru-saddle, as it can be set deeper into the bridge, and does not need to be glued in.

Anyone with experience of installing a modified thru saddle? Pros? Cons?

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I've just done a neck reset on a '58 D-28 and it looks like the bridge is still original with the through saddle. I will be reglueing the original bridge back on( it was lifting ), and replacing the saddle (the original was notched deeply to lower the strings). The bridge thickness at the E1st. pin hole is 5/16"  and at the E6th pin hole is 11/32". Hope this helps.

I can't comment on the modified thru saddle.


Cal, thanks for those measurements.

the bridge question is a little dicey, but i am going to give my opinion.  Please do not build a drop-in through saddle for that guitar.  you need to make the bridge look exactly like the original, you can move the saddle location if needed, if the saddle is in the wrong place.  it should be pretty close from that era.  you will be helping the guitar retain value.  you need to do these repairs with historical value in mind.  although, there is nothing wrong with your idea, you just don't want to do that on a vintage guitar.  

I disagree. He's aiming to maintain the vintage correct appearance, while going for function design that poses less risk of bridge splitting, so less risk to the guitar. Its the customers call in the end but I like the idea.

Seems to me the 'through' saddle 'wings' will need to float in a very shallow slot, just deep enough to allow the wings to follow the bridge contour. This might make the little tips very delicate, or may necessitate a slot for them thats deep enough to negate the extra bridge strength of the drop in style. Perhaps consider having the wings separate from the actual saddle and gluing them in securely? Pretty sure theres something about this on

andrew, you can disagree, but Dave, i strongly suggest you build the bridge the way it was made originally.  i will not comment any further.  if you need further advice i would call Gruhn, Retrofret, Matt Umanov, Gryphon, anyone else heavily involved in the repair and sale of vintage guitars and ask their opinion and i think your answer will be clear.

I've seen both types of saddle support fail and there are a lot of thru saddle bridges out there that work just fine.  I realize that it's much harder to repair but you're making a new bridge so that's not an issue. The repair you are doing should last for decades and since this is on a middle vintage Martin which should have room to appreciate over the life of the new bridge, I would stick with the original design.

Thank you all for your replies!



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