I'm making a replacement bridge for a 1962 Gibson LG-0. This is only the 4th bridge I've ever made so still learning a lot. Just wondering what is a min/max for bridge thickness? Do you make the bass side a bit thicker than the treble side?
Thanks for your input!
5/16" to 3/8" is what works for me but the question for you is, are you reseting the neck? If not, then your thickness needs to be set by the neck, and all the rest be damned. As to your question about tapering the thickness, only prewar Gibsons had thicker bass then treble contours, so not on a '62.
What Eric said although as for reducing the height of the treble side of the bridge in this case I would still consider tapering a viable option.
Why? Because a 62 LGO is far better at being a "player" than something of great, vintage vale. As such I would go for performance and playability which makes tapering still an option. The point of tapering is to increase the break angle of the treble strings over the saddle where once the thing is set-up at say 4/64thish and 6/64ish the treble strings may benefit from all the break angle help that we may provide to them.
These guitars are still pretty commonly found and there are a lot of them out there/here and although they are holding on to their value they are not considered, in my view, worthy maintaining anything about them that might be easily improved AND provide a benefit for the player. Case in point - we tend to pitch the genuine, imitation stinkin plastic bridge in favor of making a new wooden one (good going) instead of feeling the need to continue the plastic bridge debacle for at least another generation...
With that said it would not be difficult to make the case that the wooden bridge replacement, since the bridge is one of the largest, most important braces on a guitar (just external to view) helps to preserve the rest of the top in that it's not going to distort as the genuine, imitation stinkin plastic bridges will and do.
Set it up to be a wonderful player I say and all that this entails which to me means that if the neck geometry that you see as Eric suggested dictates some break angle assistance for the treble side I would taper the bridge.
Thanks to you both! Exactly what I was looking for. My bridge is about 5/16". The action looks like it will be just fine with that bridge height but just wanted to check with others about how low a bridge could go before needing to reset the neck.
The top has bellied a little. Do you fit the bottom of the bridge to the belly (leaving the belly as is) or clamp the top to the flat bottom of the bridge (reducing or removing the belly)?
Mark, I never use the bridge to flatten the top, the stress on the joint this would create would guarantee failure. If flattening a top is needed it should be done first using clamps and cauls and moisture and heat, then the bridge gets fitted to the new contours. Honestly though, in the case of an LG-0 a certain amount of top bellying is expected due to the ladder brace design so unless it's severe I'd leave it alone.
I've always fit the bridge to the top but wanted to make sure that is the best choice. The belly is not severe so I will not make any changes there. Thanks.
Have to second all of Hesh's points here. LGO's have been selling for quite a while now in the 600-800 range on the bay, that's with, or without, the bridge change done. And, as the years are going by, the plastic bridge models are showing the strain, so those with wood bridges installed early and Correctly will be worth way more as players come tomorrow. These are sweet sounding and playing guitars when set up, well worth the effort.
Yeah they most certainly can be cool players if you can deal with the narrow nut spacing.
Here is a link to some of the stuff that we did to an LG1, a close cousin of the LGO also with that genuine, imitation stinkin plastic bridge. Although I forgot to document some of the steps once I was on a roll... some of this info might be helpful to you Mark and others too.
We see lots of LGO's and 1's in our area since they were produced just down the interstate from us. We also have a drawer full of genuine, imitation stinkin and now distorted plastic bridges... What a horrible idea this bridge was and for the life of me, beyond cost cutting.... I can't begin to understand why Gibson ever did this. Not only do they suck sonically, have no value as a major brace as the typical bridge does, once you add in the weight of all of the associated hardware holding the thing on there is a lot of mass there too. Not to mention... the concept that bridge plates benefit from a stable surface to be glued to also one can make the case perhaps that the high rate of failed bridge plates that we see on the models with the plastic bridge may be directly related to the bridge's lack of rigidity.
I always feel better when the clamps are in place and a new, wooden bridge is installed on these cool little guitars.
Thanks for sharing that link. In addition to the new bridge, I also added a patch to the bridge plate because the pins holes were chewed up. Glued & cleated 3 cracks and glued 3 loose braces.The string spacing was skewed toward the bass side so I plugged and redrilled the holes to correct that. A lot of time spent on this guitar! Glued and clamped the bridge yesterday so will get to finish it up today and finally hear the new and improved tone!
Thanks guys for all your inputs!