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Music City Bridge "The Savvy" - Can't get the low E intonated on LP Special

Son-of-a-Gib

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Joined
Nov 8, 2022
Messages
10
I received the Music City Bridge Savvy tailpiece and installed it yesterday on my new Gibson Les Paul Special. After tuning, checking the relief, and having it at the right action, I'm trying to intonate it now. The high E is pretty much there but the low E is still sharp, even after really pushing the bridge out with the screw (as pictured). I can't imagine it needs to be this far out from the post, let alone even more since it's still sharp. Am I doing something wrong?


IMG_2870.jpg
 

Danb541

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Joined
Aug 10, 2022
Messages
24
you sure they sent you the right one? If you're having to angle it that much, maybe you were sent the "Stud Finder" version which is the most offset/angled one?
 

Son-of-a-Gib

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Nov 8, 2022
Messages
10
you sure they sent you the right one? If you're having to angle it that much, maybe you were sent the "Stud Finder" version which is the most offset/angled one?
I just double checked on their website since you mentioned it and it does look to be the Savvy. The Stud Finder has a much bigger high E side and this one is more symmetrical. So thankfully it's the right one.
 

Son-of-a-Gib

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Nov 8, 2022
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Actually, it might be a tuner issue. I went ahead and reset it back to a more normal distance and tested the intonation with a harmonic on the 12th instead of fretted at the 12th and it was actually a little bit flat. I'm using a Peterson strobe headstock tuner so it might just be going haywire when testing fretted strings as opposed to just open ones.
 

garagemonkey

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Joined
Jun 8, 2019
Messages
37
Rather than post a link I just copied/pasted a thread I started on a different forum. Subsequently I read somebody's theory that Gibson actually installed the bass-side post hole about 4-5mm too close to the bridge pickup on the '19-'22 Specials. I have no idea if that's true or not but perhaps that's why some of us can't intonate these things easily. Anyway, post starts here:


No earth shaking differences, but here's a short trip down wraptail avenue just to share. As a car/truck guy I can't leave anything alone no matter how perfectly adequate it seems. Bought a 2019 Original Collection Les Paul Special from Sweetwater when they first released them. Guitar is great, stays in tune, sounds awesome, and the intonation with the stock Gibson wraptail was always good enough for Rock N Roll.


Stock Gibson Wraptail above


Like many I got hooked on Uncle Larry's YouTube channel during COVID and perked up when Tom Bukovac talked about the Music City bridges he helped create with Nick Glaser. After hearing Tom talk about how good the Music City Stud Finder was on vintage guitars and then seeing a couple newly released Savvy bridges for newer wraptail Gibsons on Instagram I figured what the heck and bought one.


Now this is NOT a knock on the Music City Savvy. It's super nice and I realize not every guitar is built the same or responds the same to similar products. It just happens for this particular application to get the intonation with the Music City Savvy even close to where it was with the stock Gibson bridge I had to sock in the set screws an uncomfortable amount. I still needed to go backwards on the bass side as shown here so I threw in the towel. To their credit, they offered to take the bridge back no questions and give me a refund, but it's a really nice piece so I'm just gonna keep it for a rainy day. (It's a great excuse to buy another wraptail Gibson, right?)


At this point I was about to simply reinstall the Gibson bridge, but a year or two ago I installed a Faber '59 Style bridge and studs in my Melody Maker and it made a huge, huge difference in that guitar, so I went ahead and ordered another for this Special along with Faber's Vintage TP studs.


The stock Gibson studs (left) are steel, but they're shorter than the Fabers (right) and more critically the tolerance on the Faber where the bridge indexes the studs is tighter, allowing almost no bridge tilt (at least with the Faber bridge). Note, I coulda done their locking studs but I didn't really want those on this one.


And here's the new Faber studs and bridge installed and adjusted for intonation. More consistent across all six on this particular guitar than I could achieve with the Music City and a bit better than the factory Gibson bridge.

This isn't saying Faber is better than Music City or Gibson - just what these particular parts did on this particular guitar in the particular manner in which I installed them, which arguably may or may not have been done ideally. I probably could've swapped to these studs or Faber's locking studs with either the Gibson or Music City and gotten better results with less bridge tilt on either bridge.

As for the sound, I was all set to hear this game-changing acoustic improvement and some otherworldly sustain when plugged in. In short, it's pretty much the same. No huge improvement or difference between any of the parts maybe with the exception of the Music City being a bit acoustically quieter (maybe because there was less bridge-to-stud engagement). However, I think these particular guitars already have some pretty good parts in these areas already, so any actual improvement is beyond my feeble ability to discern.

Anyway, that's the 1 Special, 3 Bridges story. Tip your waitress and thanks for coming.
 

Son-of-a-Gib

New member
Joined
Nov 8, 2022
Messages
10
Rather than post a link I just copied/pasted a thread I started on a different forum. Subsequently I read somebody's theory that Gibson actually installed the bass-side post hole about 4-5mm too close to the bridge pickup on the '19-'22 Specials. I have no idea if that's true or not but perhaps that's why some of us can't intonate these things easily. Anyway, post starts here:


No earth shaking differences, but here's a short trip down wraptail avenue just to share. As a car/truck guy I can't leave anything alone no matter how perfectly adequate it seems. Bought a 2019 Original Collection Les Paul Special from Sweetwater when they first released them. Guitar is great, stays in tune, sounds awesome, and the intonation with the stock Gibson wraptail was always good enough for Rock N Roll.

...

Anyway, that's the 1 Special, 3 Bridges story. Tip your waitress and thanks for coming.
Thanks for posting this. Honestly, that's very in line with what I did. There wasn't anything really wrong with the original tailpiece. I just kinda had the itch to "improve" the guitar when it was just fine to begin with. I was mainly trying to get rid of the bridge tilt because it just looks odd but didn't realize I also needed the locking studs. So I kind of created my own problem. If I go back to the original bridge, I'll just keep this MCB one as well because like you said. You never know what guitar will come down the pipeline that could use it!
 

rockabilly69

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 29, 2001
Messages
2,897
Actually, it might be a tuner issue. I went ahead and reset it back to a more normal distance and tested the intonation with a harmonic on the 12th instead of fretted at the 12th and it was actually a little bit flat. I'm using a Peterson strobe headstock tuner so it might just be going haywire when testing fretted strings as opposed to just open ones.
headstock tuners blow!
 

Big Al

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,547
The 12th fret harmonic is set by tuning the string to pitch. The pitch of the tuned open string AND the 12th fret harmonic should match. If not, how the heck does that work? The harmonic is the octave node of the sounding string? The only time I found this not true was with single coil or humbuckers with magnet in the coil pole pieces. A staple magnet soapbar too close to the strings had me drooling and crosseyed stupefied once because the polepiece magnets were set so high they pulled the string out of tune, like on a Strat.
A bad string will have the same issue. I use rack mounted Korg tuners set on strobe setting in my shop and have used stobe Korg Sledgehammer Pro clip ons with no issues.


Then it's just a matter of adjusting the harmonic to the fretted 12th fret so the adjusted fretted pitch matches the harmonic.
 
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