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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / 1964 Gibson Hummingbird

Contributing Member

Toronto, Canada

Oct 26th, 2018 04:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

I had the good fortune to play one yesterday that belonged to a friend of a friend. Gorgeous instrument. I don't normally go for dreadnaught bodies, but I loved this guitar from head to toe. One of the most balanced and rich-sounding acoustics I've ever played.

Just one thing... there were these funny screws at either end of the bridge. I thought it was a cheap, improvised fix for some issue. But I looked at some pictures online today and saw other Hummingbirds. Can anybody tell me what they are?

Contributing Member

Washington DC

Oct 26th, 2018 04:39 PM   Edit   Profile  

Adjustable saddle.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Oct 27th, 2018 09:41 AM   Edit   Profile  

Yes, many 60s Gibson acoustics had those. Some were wood saddles, some were ceramic. The bridges themselves were sometimes plastic. There were threaded inserts in the body that the adjustment screws threaded into.

I had a wood bridge with adjustable ceramic saddle on my '62 B-25. When the bridge started to come unglued, I scrapped the whole thing and made a new rosewood bridge with solid bone saddle. That's still in there today.

Many purists say those saddles were abominations, hideous tone-killers, but to tell the truth, I never noticed any difference when I replaced it. And it was pretty convenient to be able to tweak the action with a screwdriver.

Here's an example with a wood bridge:


(This message was last edited by Te 52 at 11:44 AM, Oct 27th, 2018)

Contributing Member

Satan gave me

a taco
Oct 27th, 2018 10:21 AM   Edit   Profile  

Several makers have tried this adjustable saddle scheme over the years.

I recently did a mod on a Gibson J45 that came stock with a tune-o-matic bridge (very similar to what's on a typical Les Paul). The TOM bridge was why this model didn't sell, so they were blowing 'em out for a stupid good price.

The strings' downforce on the bridge was causing it to cave in, dropping the action and losing the radius of the strings over the frets.

I contacted Gibson about this problem and they sent me a replacement bridge, which was the exact same piece as the one that was caving in.

I scrapped that idea and made an insert and saddle, and it's been perfect ever since.

Pics here

Contributing Member

Toronto, Canada

Oct 27th, 2018 01:34 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for the info guys.

Contributing Member

The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Oct 31st, 2018 04:39 AM   Edit   Profile  

Peegoo, nice work, looks great!

My old '74 Alvarez 5023 has an adjustable bridge. I last messed with it sometime in the '80s, probably. That guitar actually sounds great, although I don't play it anymore.

FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / 1964 Gibson Hummingbird

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