Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Aluminum saddle on vintage Gibson ovals

  1. #1

    Default Aluminum saddle on vintage Gibson ovals

    I've seen a few 1919-1920 era A3's with an aluminum saddle, and was wondering how and if these saddles effect the tone of the instrument.

    I imagine it would accentuate the high end, but I could be wrong.

    Anybody have an A or F with one of these saddles?
    Last edited by oliverkollar; Nov-12-2019 at 11:25am.

  2. #2
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    2,667
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Aluminum saddle on vintage Gibson ovals

    It brightens up the sound a bit, I have one on an F-5 mandolin my Gramps made back in 86. And with the aluminum saddle it sounds great-I've never changed it out as he made the saddle also so I've never compared the same mandolin with another bridge/saddle top.

  3. The following members say thank you to William Smith for this post:


  4. #3

    Default Re: Aluminum saddle on vintage Gibson ovals

    I made a batch of reproductions a few years ago. I still have some. I think the biggest benefit is probably that it will never crack!

    Doesn't Evan Marshall have an aluminum saddle on his Gil?

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Marty Jacobson For This Useful Post:


  6. #4
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    2,667
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Aluminum saddle on vintage Gibson ovals

    Great point Marty! I like how you mentioned that, as there was a recent thread about fixing cracked saddles!

    I forgot but Dave Appolon sure liked them, I believe he had them on all his personal F-5's right? Maybe other mandolins he owned? I'm not any authority on him though.
    Last edited by William Smith; Nov-12-2019 at 1:45pm.

  7. #5
    Registered User tree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    1,365

    Default Re: Aluminum saddle on vintage Gibson ovals

    My 1921 A2 came with the adjustable bridge/aluminum saddle, I didn't like the tone at all - kind of quacky/bright and distracting. I switched it out to Cumberland Acoustic, which to my ears is a huge improvement. I've saved it to go with the mandolin if/when we part ways.
    Clark Beavans

  8. #6

    Default Re: Aluminum saddle on vintage Gibson ovals

    I would think that Dave Appollon would have accepted it cutting through and be heard above all the rest of the band even if it did mean forsaking a bit of the tone.

    He's always been my favourite mandolin player.

  9. The following members say thank you to jimmy powells for this post:


  10. #7
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,240

    Default Re: Aluminum saddle on vintage Gibson ovals

    I have a 'teens A model set up with one. It works well on this particular mandolin, and sounds considerably better than it did with the original one-piece bridge.
    It increased the mandolin's sustain considerably.

    I have tried aluminum saddles on other mandolins. The results varied. It seems that some mandolins benefit from them and some do not.

    They can be made by hand if you have good files and use cutting fluid or oil.

  11. #8
    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Bellingham, WA
    Posts
    2,636

    Default Re: Aluminum saddle on vintage Gibson ovals

    I had a Cremona brown Gibson F4 with an original aluminum saddle and it sounded fantastic... I also tried it with a vintage Gibson ebony saddle as well, but the aluminum one sounded even better.

  12. #9
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,081

    Default Re: Aluminum saddle on vintage Gibson ovals

    My mandolin has an aluminum saddle and it has fantastic tone. YMMV, but it works very well with my A1.
    --------------------------------
    1920 Lyon & Healy bowlback
    1923 Gibson A-1 snakehead
    1952 Strad-o-lin
    1983 Giannini ABSM1 bandolim
    2009 Giannini GBSM3 bandolim
    2011 Eastman MD305

  13. #10
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Salisbury,NC
    Posts
    6,393

    Default Re: Aluminum saddle on vintage Gibson ovals

    yeap, ole Dave hoarded those Alum. bridges and usually kept them on his top two F5s. Like Monroe, Apollon got his tone from his right hand technique. He stood up with no strap and could be heard above his little band. I know someone else who has a personal stash of them, but he won't sell them.

  14. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to f5loar For This Useful Post:


  15. #11
    Registered User mandolinstew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Warwick,New York
    Posts
    399

    Default Re: Aluminum saddle on vintage Gibson ovals

    Been thinking about a brass saddle.

  16. #12

    Default Re: Aluminum saddle on vintage Gibson ovals

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolinstew View Post
    Been thinking about a brass saddle.
    That would be pretty. It's double the mass of aluminum, so would effectively be a mute, or at least a low-pass filter (rolling off the high frequencies) relative to the same structure made out of aluminum.
    If it could be made light enough by hollowing it out or making it a thin ribbon, it would work well.

  17. #13
    Registered User tree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    1,365

    Default Re: Aluminum saddle on vintage Gibson ovals

    Hmm. Maybe the next time I change strings I'll try the aluminum saddle on my F5G . . .
    Clark Beavans

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •