Hello everyone, I am new to this forum and have a question. Has anyone worked on or built a copy of the Gibson SST Chet Atkins? If so, how did they attach the bridge to the face? There are no braces due to the top being glued to the mahogany body. It is a mystery to me. How did they attach the neck? Did they plan an angle into the neck set? I have several questions on this and would hope someone has worked on one before.
First off welcome to the forum bud. and second judgeing by me looking it up ( never build or repaired one yet) its glued on and if its an electric acoustic theres a pick up in the bridge to catch its vibrations. but also since its gibson its probally attached by a dovetail joint and there is braces since its acoustic or is it a solid body?.
It is a solid body based on the LP Jr. shape. Thing is it has a 10"diameter piece of chromyte (balsa) in the center under the bridge. I have found out that they only glued the sides of the disc to the mahogany body, not the back and top. The bridge is a standard pin style so there has to be some kind of "cavity" underneath for the string ends and pins to fit. Since it is balsa under the spruce top why doesn't the bridge pull off? I am pretty sure it has a standard LP style neck joint, but not 100% sure. All the pro musicians around Atl. love this thing because it sounds acoustic but can be played really loud without feedback.
I've repaired several of these instruments but have never encountered a 10" balsa under the bridge. I don't understand that anomaly! The units I've worked on are solid Spruce tops with thick Mahogany backs, hence no braces required. The neck is glued using the usual Gibson dove tail method (as mentioned by Ian). I do not believe an angle was planed into the body or neck. The bridge is glued to the top utilizing a method employed on most .... Underneath the bone or polymer bridge is a piezo element which is connected to a Gibson propriety pre-amp. Using the guitars with tube amplification can produce a fair amount of ambient noise (60 cycle hum so call it). The pre-amps are fussy over time as the units I've worked with are about 25 years old. The balsa is a mystery to me and I am wondering how you determined the wood genealogy if you haven't taken the bridge off? Could it be that you have peered through the string anchor peg holes and mistaken spruce for balsa? Or has this guitar been modified? Your description thus seems a little extraordinary to me - Please cite your method for determining the balsa content of this guitar for I am perplexed? Regards, Scott
The info on the balsa came from an old Gibson brochure. The SST is the steel string version. The classical version, according to the brochure, was a chambered mahogany body with the spruce glued on top. This I understand.
"Unlike the Gibson Chet Atdins CE classical with special sound chambers, the SST has a 10"disk of South American Chromyte wood centered under the bridge. With a high strength-to-weight ration and a transparent acoustic tome, this exclusive chromyte insert improves the acoustic response of the SST wile eliminating any chance of feedback, even at stadium volume levels."
That is a quote from the brochure. I am not repairing the instrument, a customer wants a new build like the SST, so I haven't seen underneath the bridge. The brochure goes on to state,
"special design pin bridge"
whatever that means. I have found out that chromyte is the same as balsa wood. My main concern would be the pins going through the bridge, did they just make the peghole larger underneath to make clearance for the ball ends and end of the pins? Was it a tapered pin hole since it was going into solid wood?
I googled the guitar and found multiple references to the balsa insert and as to why they did that. I am not very concerned about the electronics at this point, just attempting to figure out how to quote this to my customer. From the photos I have seen it looks as though the neck is a LP type joint, A set neck in other words. Just my observation from photos.