General tech questions

Thoughts on stainless steel Melita saddles?

26

That's it. I'm buying one. The curiosity is killing me.

I'm not sure what everyone is doing with the extra sustain they are chasing .

27

I put a Synchro-Sonic on my Club. It looked great. Maybe be it was lack of patience, but it developed some buzzing that I got tired of trying to adjust and replaced it with first a Compton and then a Tru-Arc and have been happy since. After reading this thread, I may try it again.

28

I just noticed this on Scotty's website.

– Billy Zoom

Ha. That's been up for a few years. I used to have a picture of one on a Gretsch when I first put the page up but I replaced it when I got access to the guitar said to be the one Scotty had back in the day. Its actually one of the early aluminum Pat. Pending bridges with the wood base and double thumbwheels.

Hey, by the way, any vintage Melita thumb screws kicking around? I've got a bridge missing one (including the clip and saddle) that I replaced with contemporary Gretsch parts which is almost twice as high.

29

James, I think the screws on yours have been deliberately ground down, hence the lack of chrome on the tops (could be explained by wear, but I don't think so in this case).

I've never measured or compared them, but vintage Melita thumbscrews were pretty close in size to what Gretsch currently uses. Here's a '55 and you can see they're on the taller side:

30

Maybe this picture of a '54 is a little easier to see:

31

I got a Melita bridge with a Falcon, but one of the flat screw heads is broken off and has to be drilled out. Then I realized that the saddle piece for that string is missing. I found the flat head screws, but is there a place to get the saddle pieces? I'd also have to buy a base. Maybe it's not worth it.

32

There were two different heights of Melita thumb screws. The later ones were fatter and shorter, but nobody kept those either. The broken piece should be easy to get out...the threaded holes go all the way through. I still have around 900 of the flat stainless steel screws for sale.

34

That's good to know about the screw heights and thanks for the pix. Billy mentioned that to me in an email but I hadn't seen a difference before. There was a picture I posted in another thread that showed a varied assortment of early bridges with mostly the slotted screws and two with thumb screws. Had I looked closer I'd have noticed the different sizes then. I need to find one of the later Melita shorter ones (brass?) to match. Thanks

35

James, I think the screws on yours have been deliberately ground down, hence the lack of chrome on the tops (could be explained by wear, but I don't think so in this case).

I've never measured or compared them, but vintage Melita thumbscrews were pretty close in size to what Gretsch currently uses. Here's a '55 and you can see they're on the taller side:

– Afire

I've seen pix of an early aluminum pat pending Melita with the same shorter thumbscrews. I'm beginning to suspect that its almost impossible to more than generally date these with all the minute transitional changes, like trying to date Fender guitars by parts.

36

$6 for a set of seven.

– Billy Zoom

I'm interested in a set of those. I emailed you.

37

I didn’t get along with my White Penguin when I first got it, and decided to go with an Embie bridge. I love what this bridge did for the guitar. Before the swap the treble strings were just dead. No life absolutely no sustain. I went with the Bakelite saddles on the new Embie and absolutely love it. I’m considering ditching the aluminum tru-arc on my Jag Tan Annie for an Embie. More than just an improvement of saddle material the body of the bridge is machined from a sold piece of aluminum, which I feel gives it much of its mojo over the stock fishing weight.

38

I just saw this which is said to have been Brian Setzers' '55 roundup. Note the thumbscrews on the bridge. I'm guessing the plating on the parts were pretty thin. What is the bridge body itself, stainless?

39

After the early aluminum body, most Melita's I've found are made of "pot metal". But I have no idea what that is... can anyone offer a little more scientific description of what makes up "pot metal"?

40

From what I've read pot metal is a somewhat ambiguous term in this instance and may simply be implying "cast". It refers to an industry that took varied scraps and melted them together for casting. The result was inconsistent and depending on the ingredients sometimes weak due to air pockets in the process. To be honest, the body on mine appears to be a decent grade steel but I don't know if it was cast, milled, forged or what. I'd be interested in the opinion of someone with more metallurgical know how.

I suspect Mat Wilson of embie may know and/or someone at Gretsch now that they are both somewhat reproducing ones like the Melita era in question. I asked Mike Eldred what his is, he has the prototype Signature ES295 they gave Scotty and he said the bridge on his looks like cast aluminum.

41

Hmm, I just checked Mat Wilson's site. He had this to say:

The original Melita Synchro-Sonic design was intended for archtop guitars, and predates most standard adjustable bridges. The original Patent Pending prototype Melita was made of cast aluminum. Once in production, heavier and more cost effective metals were used, and tall thumb screws replaced flatter pan-head screws locking the saddle clips in place.

42

With Fender handling all the manufacturing for Gretsch these days, it would FMIC that would have to provide info on the current reissue bridges.

43

With Fender handling all the manufacturing for Gretsch these days, it would FMIC that would have to provide info on the current reissue bridges.

– kc_eddie_b

I messaged Joe Carducci too. On the outside chance, I emailed Mike Voltz at Gibson to see if he knew/remembers what they were when they used them in run of ES295s. Mike had no idea.


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