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Thread: How to lower action - old Gibson A1. Top or bottom of bridge?

  1. #1

    Default How to lower action - old Gibson A1. Top or bottom of bridge?

    Can't find the answer anywhere online. If there's an article, please direct me there.

    Pre-trussrod A1. Straight neck, but action about 1/32" too high at 12 fret.

    The ebony bridge is non-adjustable - original, unaltered.

    Should it be adjusted for action at the bottom or top. I'm guessing the top would be easiest/best?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to lower action - old Gibson A1. Top or bottom of bridge?

    all adjustments on my one-piece bridge have been from the bottom. I drive a 1920 Gibson A3 paddlehead. No adjustable truss rod.

    f-d
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  3. #3
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to lower action - old Gibson A1. Top or bottom of bridge?

    Just make a new replica bridge. Those old one-piece bridges are a simple design and not difficult to make. The most complicated part is fitting to the top of the mandolin and cutting the steps in the top for tuning 'compensation'. If you remove wood from the original bridge you're looking at doing one or the other of those, so...
    OK, so the original bridge is not of much use as it is, but I hate to modify an original part when a new one will work just as well.

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  5. #4
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: How to lower action - old Gibson A1. Top or bottom of bridge?

    The so-called "one-piece" bridges that were made from 1915 to 1920's are actually two or three pieces laminated together: A base section, a compensated top section, and often a shim added to the bottom of the base. If you look at one very carefully in good light, you can see the glue line or the change in the wood grain.

    For a minor action adjustment, I will take it off the top, or remove the shim [if it has one].
    For a major adjustment, I will sometimes take it off the bottom, but I don't like to do it that way, because it shrinks the footprint of the bridge, and it will need to be re-fitted.
    I have made a few of these bridges. They are easier to make if you make them in two pieces, like the originals.

    The 1910-1915 bridges with removeable saddles can also be made with simple tools, but they take more time and patience to make, and you have to be clever to make the saddles well.

  6. #5

    Default Re: How to lower action - old Gibson A1. Top or bottom of bridge?

    Thanks all!

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