Vintage Gretsch Guitars

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A 50’S AND A 60’S MELITA BRIDGE

26

I think Melitas are very cool looking. They look well engineered and I think suit the guitars they are on aesthetically

However I've never been impressed by the plastic feet and saddles, They rob a hollowbody guitar of a lot of top end and acoustic volume. This could be perceived as a good thing (maybe in high gain applications?) but I personally find it a negative feature that in my opinion seems to let down the quality of the rest of the assembly.

If they had solid fitted wooden bases and metal or bone saddles I think it would be a vast improvement. I tend to sell them whenever a guitar I want to play has one.

I still think they're very cool looking though. It might be a cool project to see if I could replace the plastic parts. Maybe an ebony base and individual bone saddles. ooooooo

27

I had to laugh at this one. I saw it on Reverb. Its a '53 Electro II. The ad said the neck was reset but I'm guess not quite enough or it needs another. They have the early Pat pending aluminum Melita with the upper thumb wheels removed to get the bridge as low as possible. I'm guessing rather than risk misplacing them they just screwed them to the top, and hopefully not thinking that's the way they belong.

28

Close up of the saddles. I tried using delrin first, but the laser melts it. I've got some bakelite coming to try, but so far I like these acrylic ones as they have a nice bright attack. Here's a close of some of the saddles.

– Mel Waldorf

Martin made some compensated acrylic bridges for their thin line archtops back in the sixties. They look very cool and sound a lot like ebony.

29

Martin made some compensated acrylic bridges for their thin line archtops back in the sixties. They look very cool and sound a lot like ebony.

– lx

Those Martin bridges look really cool and are often missing from the guitars. I figured that if at least some of those had managed to hold up over fifty some-odd years, it was worth giving it a go to make some. The first few sets are spoken for, but I can make more...

30

With the help of Ed, Billy and a few of the other folks here and another forum I put together a page about the bridges on Scotty's site. There's probably little there that you don't already know or scattered across the net but I figured it might be worth consolidating it, at least for the world Scotty's site appeals to

Link

Thanks, all Jim

31

Just read your article via the Facebook link and came here to check before posting it so good to see you beat me!

Very nostalgic. I recall fettling one on a 6193 back in the early 60s and (not then being privy to a Strat) being impressed by the more accurate intonation provided.

Nice article: thanks for sharing.

32

I just got a nice email from Mat Wilson moments ago who expanded a bit on the history. I'll append that in a couple days for a re-visit.

33

Great stuff Jim... your contact in Japan came through with some fantastic photos! I'm about to send you an email with some related into.

35

Close up of the saddles. I tried using delrin first, but the laser melts it. I've got some bakelite coming to try, but so far I like these acrylic ones as they have a nice bright attack. Here's a close of some of the saddles.

– Mel Waldorf

While communicating with Mat Wilson at Embie yesterday he mentioned that of the saddles he sells the bakelite by far is the most popular.

36

If its of interest to anyone I brought in the three Synchro-sonic bridges I have to work and weighed them. There is a considerable weight difference between the early aluminum (2.25 oz.) and the later steel Melita bridges (4.3 oz.) but the heaviest is the later Gretsch version (4.55 oz.)

note though the early Aluminum one has two steel washers I added to replicate the double thumbweels of the era the bottoms of which I don't have. Also the later Melita has a full plastic flex base and not the more common metal strip.

37

Best bridge ever. I put them on everything except my Strat, for obvious reasons.

– Billy Zoom

I agree... especially the “Embie” Gonna ditch the bar bridge on my Jag Tan Annie for one.

38

Interesting. I notice now that the thumbscrews, all kinds I've seen, are too long to fit in the vintage aluminum Pat. Pend. bridges. The slotted screws have a shorter thread. The early ones must have been shorter before they switched.

39

They're all great. They make your guitar sound better and sustain longer. Anybidy who's bothered by the plastic saddles has never actually compared them to other materials.

40

Interesting. I notice now that the thumbscrews, all kinds I've seen, are too long to fit in the vintage aluminum Pat. Pend. bridges. The slotted screws have a shorter thread. The early ones must have been shorter before they switched.

– James V Roy

For comparison sake, here is an old aluminum low profile Melita thumbscrew, the older slotted Melita screws used in the pat. pending bridge, a low profile brass Melita thumbscrew, a contemporary stainless slotted screw and a Gretsch reissue tall profile thumbscrew. Note the newer Gretsch thumbscrews are shorter than the old Melitas but still too tall to fit in the pat pending bridge

41

They're all great. They make your guitar sound better and sustain longer. Anybidy who's bothered by the plastic saddles has never actually compared them to other materials.

– Billy Zoom

After reading a million times online about the plastic saddles being tone suckers, the last time I had a Melita-equipped guitar I decided to go against my usual instinct to a.) like Melitas, and b.) keep things stock, and try out some supposedly superior, more "toneful" bridges. Nothing gave the guitar better sustain, definition, sparkle, whatever other adjectives might apply. Nothing wrong with a stock Melita. I don't know if the same is true of the new ones, but the old ones are great as-is.

42

The new ones are great. The stamped metal brackets are a little sloppy and might take some fiddling at first to keep them from buzzing, but once that's sorted, they're fine.
In the 70's, I experimented with saddles made of aluminum, brass, and steel. There was no improvement in the sound whatsoever, but the plastic ones stayed in tune better when I used the Bigsby.

43

I'm gonna ask a stupid question, as I just picked up my first Falcon with a Melita bridge..... but do you fit the base to the body in the same way you would do a Rosewood base bridge? I have a considerable gap in the middle on both sides currently and really want the bases to sit flush with the top of the Falcon.

44

I'm gonna ask a stupid question, as I just picked up my first Falcon with a Melita bridge..... but do you fit the base to the body in the same way you would do a Rosewood base bridge? I have a considerable gap in the middle on both sides currently and really want the bases to sit flush with the top of the Falcon.

– ssmorga78

This is likely more suited for someone with a Falcon but out of curiosity can you post a picture? I'm not sure I get what you mean by the gap. Are you saying the bases are too curved?

45

The base should fit flush as the thin metal connecting the bases should flex. That is the whole point of the Melita base design. If your isn't doing that, bend the metal a bit; but I've never heard of this problem. Could you post a few pics?


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