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  1. #1

    Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    The only (and most significant) change to my 2006 lefty lester standards is this component. Where do I get one that fits without drilling the guitar?

  2. #2

    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    I converted my recently acquired 1966 335 from a Nashville bridge back to an ABR. Somebody had previously converted the guitar to a stoptail and in the process, replaced the original ABR with a chrome Nashville bridge (with bushed studs) and tailpiece. I hate the look of a Nashville bridge and chrome both. I thought about drilling out an ABR to fit the Nashville studs, but then I decided to do the job right and plug the holes and install 6-32 threaded studs for the ABR. I had never done such a mod before, but I'm skilled at woodworking and this looked like a job well within my abilities. Here is the guitar's bridge setup before any mods:



    The first step was to pull the bushings. Whoever did the stoptail conversion, I must give them credit, because the bushing holes were cleanly cut and perpendicular to the top of the guitar.





    I turned down the diameter on the end of a piece of maple dowel rod to be an exact fit in the old bushing holes. I pre-drilled holes in the dowels so that I could double check the alignment before gluing them in place.



    I then cut the plug to length and sanded the end of the dowel to match the contour of the body. I experimented with some stains I had, but what I found was the perfect match happened to be a simple red magic marker.



    The plugs were glued in and once they were dry, I tapped the threads and touched up the end of the dowels with lacquer.





    The guitar now sports a proper ABR bridge and all nickel parts. The appearance is greatly improved over the chrome Nashville setup:





    If you don't want to tackle the job of plugging the bushing holes, you can still add an ABR by making a slight mod to the bridge itself. The post holes on a Nashville measure about .165" diameter. The holes on an ABR measure about .157". The hole spacing is the same. If you drill out the holes in the ABR to .165", the bridge should fit onto the Nashville studs.

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member JDPS150's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Wow you did a great job!

    Besides the look, is there any benefit to ABR?
    Joe
    <><

  4. #4

    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Yeah, the saddle screws are on the correct side

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Nope there aren't really. But this is a really great thread. If it were my forum I'd have it made into a sticky :P.
    "Music is the only thing that you can share with a million million people and you don't lose, you gain. It helps you to get energy and to live long, because when your soul is very happy then you don't want to die." - Ali Akbar Khan

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member Lindgren's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Very nice job Danelectro.
    I'm impressed.

  7. #7
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Very impressive job you did
    but isn't there a ABR-1 replacement bridge with the holes already drilled and correct space between the screws?just thought I've seen that at StewMac ...?not sure though....
    IMO the saddle-screws ARE in the right direction...
    Burst & Flame - never the same

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    NICE job Danolectro..


    Opportunity knocks
    Karma hunts you down

  9. #9
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    NICE job. I am impressed. I know the Nashville bridge is supposed to be "better", but I've always favored the ABR-1, myself. Maybe it's because it's the bridge Gibson used back when I was a mere lad. To me, it just looks "right". I've done a few conversions, but yours is one of the neatest I've seen.

  10. #10
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    IMHO the Nashville bridge is inferior to the ABR-1 bridge for the simple reason that the body of the bridge is not solid, it is hollowed out all the way through it's full height clear through to the bottom under each saddle. You should notice a significant improvement in tone with the ABR-1 compared to the Nashville. Every guitar that I have ever coverted back to an ABR-1 bridge has had a dramatic improvemnt in tone afterward.

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member kharrison's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    I've talked with RS, they are working on an ABR with bigger holes to fit the Nashville lugs. Keep checking their site.

  12. #12
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    DANELECTRO........


    "If you think you can find a way,you can surely try"

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Danelectro, how did you put the pole pieces into the maple drowels? You meantioned "tapping the threads", is that what you're talking about?

    And how do you know how far to put the poles into the drowel?
    "Music is the only thing that you can share with a million million people and you don't lose, you gain. It helps you to get energy and to live long, because when your soul is very happy then you don't want to die." - Ali Akbar Khan

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member tom wu's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    A forum member sometime ago told me that Stewmac carried one of those posts to retro the abr into a nashville opening. I bought it for my H80 and it works great.
    -" Best guitar player in my house "-

  15. #15
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Last year I put a tone pros ABR on my Les Paul Standard and used the StewMac conversion posts. They worked great.

    then

    about a month ago I bought a gold tone pros ABR to do the same thing to my Les Paul Studio but when I went to the StewMac site I noticed they no longer carried the conversion posts and in an email to StewMac they advised they discontinued that part. I decided I would wait to go over to my buddies house to use his drill press and bore out the holes a little but I couldn't wait. I grabbed my Black and Decker batterey powered drill and the right sized bit and went to work. I removed the allen head screws from the tone pros so nothing would happen to them, held the bridge in my hand (probably should have used my vice but oh well) and bored out both holes. The bridge then fit right onto the orignal posts, I tightened the allen head screws and it was good to go. The whole process took less than a minute. It took me longer to find the right bit than to drill out the holes.

    So, if you were looking for those conversion posts, don't bother, it's much easier / cheaper to just drill it out yourself. I spent $12 plus shipping on the con. posts for my standard and it took me less than a minute of work on my LP Studio

  16. #16
    Les Paul Forum Member tom wu's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Wow badco..never thunkadat! That's great.
    I really need to get off the couch more..
    So.. Do you think I should do that same drilling procedure to a real 59 abr I want to put on my 06 standard?
    -" Best guitar player in my house "-

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member AndyC's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Nice work, Danelectro!

  18. #18

    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Quote Originally Posted by Musicinmysoul View Post
    Danelectro, how did you put the pole pieces into the maple drowels? You meantioned "tapping the threads", is that what you're talking about?

    And how do you know how far to put the poles into the drowel?
    The stud height isn't real consistant on Gibson guitars from what I've seen, and I don't really think its that critical. Typically, the stud height is set so that it slightly below the top of the bridge when it is set for normal action height. When I assembled the studs in my 335, I set screwed them in such that they would end up being 1/16" below the top of the bridge.


    I tapped the threads into the maple dowels using a regular 6-32 machine tap. You can find taps at any good hardware store. The tap fits into a handle and is screwed into a pre-drilled hole by hand, cutting the threads as it enters. The size of the pre-drilled hole is critical for the threads to cut correctly. The tap drill size for 6-32 threads is a #36 drill (.1065").


    NEVER use a pair of pliers to install or remove studs. I don't know how the pros install studs, but here the method I use and it works very well. Below is an example of how to remove studs. Installation is the same process. First, you need two 6-32 hexnuts.


    Thread both nuts on to the stud and use two 5/16" wrenches to tighten them against each other. This locks them onto the stud and they won't slip when turned.


    You can now use a socket or nutdriver to remove or install the stud. When you have the stud set to the height you want, use the two wrenches to break the nuts loose from each other and remove them. The threads of the stud are not damaged in any way.

  19. #19

    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Quote Originally Posted by tom wu View Post
    A forum member sometime ago told me that Stewmac carried one of those posts to retro the abr into a nashville opening. I bought it for my H80 and it works great.
    Yup. I used them on my Standard, and they worked just fine. I would have liked to have the correct size studs, but at the time I wasn't confident in my ability to do the work correctly and didn't want to pay to have it done. The conversion post's worked fine for me...and you can't tell once the thumbscrews are over the holes.
    03' Standard Lightburst (59'/APH)
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  20. #20
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Danelectros way is great but I just don't want to mess up my guitar in a way it would a lot to fix! I'm thinking I'll just drill out an ABR-1.
    "Music is the only thing that you can share with a million million people and you don't lose, you gain. It helps you to get energy and to live long, because when your soul is very happy then you don't want to die." - Ali Akbar Khan

  21. #21
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Quote Originally Posted by tom wu View Post
    Wow badco..never thunkadat! That's great.
    I really need to get off the couch more..
    So.. Do you think I should do that same drilling procedure to a real 59 abr I want to put on my 06 standard?
    Sure, what tha hell, drill away.

  22. #22
    Les Paul Forum Member schlacker's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    I've never drilled plated guitar parts before. But I have drilled other plated objects like on my motorcycle & I've sometimes had issues with chipping & peeling. Could this be an issue when drilling out a bridge post? If so, how can I safeguard against this?
    I'm obviously thinking about doing this mod also.

    Thanks,
    schlacker

  23. #23
    Jeff
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Quote Originally Posted by Musicinmysoul View Post
    Danelectros way is great but I just don't want to mess up my guitar in a way it would a lot to fix! I'm thinking I'll just drill out an ABR-1.
    That does work, I have done it myself. No big deal and the metal is pretty soft, so it's easy to drill. When done, it looked fine.

    DANELECTRO: Very nice work! When the thumbwheels are in place, you can't even see the touchups. Well done!

  24. #24
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    I was afraid of that as well, especially with the gold bridge, but I just flipped it over and drilled from the bottom to the top and was a little carefull when the bit moved through and reached the top area that would be visible. You really aren't increasing the size that much so the process goes pretty quick and doesn't require a lot of work from the drill. If you have a good drill and a good bit you should be all set.

  25. #25

    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    I recently changed the Nashville bridge on my Les Paul faded standard to an ABR-1. All I did was buy a repro new Gibson ARB-1, and ream out the holes ever so slightly with a drill from the back side. I then still use the Nashville posts and adjusters. The stock inserts lean just a tiny bit right at the top, but the guitar stays in tune fine just as well as before. The sustain is better, ESPECIALLY when trying for high gain controlled feedback. The tone is a little warmer, and more "vintage" like.

  26. #26
    Les Paul Forum Member badform's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Conversion studs/bushings are available here:

    http://store.guitarfetish.com/nabstforusag.html (chrome)
    http://store.guitarfetish.com/ngostforabus.html (gold)
    http://store.guitarfetish.com/nblabstforus.html (black - currently out of stock)

    I found that today looking for other bridge stuff. Since the first one I'm converting is wearing black hardware, I might just ream out the holes slightly to get the job done.

  27. #27
    Les Paul Forum Member 44deluxe's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    *applauds DANELECTRO's photos and methods*




  28. #28
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Quote Originally Posted by geetarpicker View Post
    IThe tone is a little warmer, and more "vintage" like.
    Not to mention the "joy" of the tinging sound of the rattling wire.

    FiveG
    FiveG

    "I hope you succeed, but no matter what happens, Godzilla will live."

  29. #29
    Les Paul Forum Member MikeScalf's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Quote Originally Posted by badform View Post
    Conversion studs/bushings are available here:

    http://store.guitarfetish.com/nabstforusag.html (chrome)
    http://store.guitarfetish.com/ngostforabus.html (gold)
    http://store.guitarfetish.com/nblabstforus.html (black - currently out of stock)

    I found that today looking for other bridge stuff. Since the first one I'm converting is wearing black hardware, I might just ream out the holes slightly to get the job done.
    Thank God for being able to search old threads. Also thanks badform for the links. I have been wondering how to convert the Nashville bridge to ABR-1 since I picked up my Standard Saturday. Just ordered a set.
    -


    I'm not a pessimist, I'm an optimist with a reality check!

  30. #30
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Just an FYI guys - I thought it was well known the the Gotoh ABR-1 bridge is a direct fit onto Nashville studs. I have a gold Gotoh to use on my 1977 Custom and have tried it and it fits. I think Stew Mac sells the Gotoh ABR-1.

  31. #31
    Les Paul Forum Member zeplin's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    I used a #19 drill bit to enlarge the holes for mine. Very good fit and no damage. Using a drill press at low speed an securing the bridge in a vise while drilling is recommended.
    ...upon us all a little rain must fall....

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  32. #32
    Les Paul Forum Member 1978Deluxe's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Danelectro,

    Great pictures and loads of info. Thanks a lot!

    Gibson Collector's Choice #1 Gary Moore Aged 1959 Les Paul
    Mesa-Boogie 5/50 Express

  33. #33
    Les Paul Forum Member MikeScalf's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    I'm planning on using a TonePros AVR-II and lightweight tail peice, so that's why I ordered the stud convertion. As little as the kit costs, I couldn't go wrong.
    -


    I'm not a pessimist, I'm an optimist with a reality check!

  34. #34
    Les Paul Forum Member Don's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    I mentioned in another thread on the subject that I used a tapered ream to open up the holes on an ABR-1 so it would fit my Nasshveiile studs.
    I did the reaming from the bottom. The hole ended up almost exactly the same size and taper as the holse on the Nashville.
    I did not enlarge the hole at the top of the ABr-1 bridge at all and the exposed plating was not affected at all.

  35. #35
    Les Paul Forum Member Schneidas15's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Quote Originally Posted by badform View Post
    Conversion studs/bushings are available here:

    http://store.guitarfetish.com/nabstforusag.html (chrome)
    http://store.guitarfetish.com/ngostforabus.html (gold)
    http://store.guitarfetish.com/nblabstforus.html (black - currently out of stock)

    I found that today looking for other bridge stuff. Since the first one I'm converting is wearing black hardware, I might just ream out the holes slightly to get the job done.

    Thanks for that info!

    Btw, I just recieved those studs and the Tonepros ABR bridge to replace the Nashville bridge on my LP Standard Faded.
    Question for ya:
    Do I have to slot/notch the saddles (as they have come unslotted) on the Tonepros ABR or doesn't it matter?
    I mean, I have a Strat with a Callaham steel vintage trem and the saddles on the Callaham are not slotted either (and according to Callaham, they don't need to be slotted).

    Thanks

  36. #36
    Les Paul Forum Member Don's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Quote Originally Posted by Schneidas15 View Post
    Thanks for that info!

    Btw, I just recieved those studs and the Tonepros ABR bridge to replace the Nashville bridge on my LP Standard Faded.
    Question for ya:
    Do I have to slot/notch the saddles (as they have come unslotted) on the Tonepros ABR or doesn't it matter?
    I mean, I have a Strat with a Callaham steel vintage trem and the saddles on the Callaham are not slotted either (and according to Callaham, they don't need to be slotted).

    Thanks
    Strat saddles don't need slots.
    I slotted my ABR-1 saddles very slightly with nut files. They're not very deep though.
    1/2 the string's thickness would be way too deep.

  37. #37
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Take your guitar to your most trusted luthier/tec and he'll cut the slots for 15 bucks, probably even less.
    "Music is the only thing that you can share with a million million people and you don't lose, you gain. It helps you to get energy and to live long, because when your soul is very happy then you don't want to die." - Ali Akbar Khan

  38. #38
    Les Paul Forum Member Schneidas15's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Ok thanks guys.
    Btw, how come Fender saddles don't need to be slotted and Gibson ones need to be?

  39. #39
    Les Paul Forum Member Iplay4JC's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Quote Originally Posted by 1978Deluxe View Post
    Danelectro,

    Great pictures and loads of info. Thanks a lot!
    +1. This is, by far, the best BBS I've been on!
    Nice to meet you!

  40. #40
    Les Paul Forum Member BobV's Avatar
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    Re: Retro Fit From Nashville to ABR-1

    Quote Originally Posted by Schneidas15 View Post
    Ok thanks guys.
    Btw, how come Fender saddles don't need to be slotted and Gibson ones need to be?
    The strat bridge controls the string spacing and location by simply having the string pull from a nearby hole in the baseplate. On a Gibson the string spacing at the stop tailpiece is slightly narrower so the strings splay out a bit and have to be held in place with notches or they'll slide across the saddles into wierd positions.

    When a luthier slots the saddles, he or she is going to space the outer two strings so they sit just right in comparison to where the edges of the frets are (to do that on a Fender you loosen the neck bolts and shove the neck into alignment before retightening the screws - hard to do with a set-neck Gibson). Then they can space the rest of the strings proportionally so the plain strings aren't too far apart and the wound strings aren't too crowded. It's a hallmark of a Gibson setup that you don't find on the imports. If you want notches dead center on each saddle, then just get an import bridge with pre-notched saddles.

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