Good alternative to a Melita bridge?

Pemberton

Gretschie
May 4, 2022
307
Pennsylvania, USA
I love the Melita bridge on my ‘57 Streamliner. But at first the original tall thumb screws were a pain for palm muting. But once I switched to smooth flat head screws, it feels great, with no problem palm muting.

I always say, if you don’t like something at first, just give it some time before finally deciding to make a change. I will admit, Melita bridges do take a little time getting used to. But once you get used to it, I think they’re cool, even if they look a bit monstrous and clunky.

But, yeah, get yourself some flat head screws. Makes a huge difference.

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Rusty Chops

Gretschie
Gold Supporting Member
Sep 8, 2021
259
Redding, CA
I like aluminum.
Less ping.
Softer highs (a little).
Still versatile for rocking out.

I made this one because I always like the Bigsby wiggle strip for sound. I did this to get less ping in my MIC Duo Jet.

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Then put a leather strip under some wood to make the strings think they were on an L5! o_O
 

journeyman

Synchromatic
Aug 20, 2009
586
Toronto, Ontario
The bridge base and bridge assembly of the Melita is not standard. That is the positions of the poles on the bridge are wider than most other bridge bases.

So to change the assembly, you will need to buy both bridge and bridge base. You can't just drop a new bridge in.

That said, once you have a standard 2.9 inch (74mm) bridge base, you can stick just about anything on that (these are the wooden bridge bases you see on most Gretsch guitars, for instance).

Many of us prefer bars, which are, as the name implies, just a bar of metal, though engineered for your guitar. No moving parts, no rattle, just very practical. Made by Gretsch, Compton and Tru-Arc. You cannot intonate individual strings with bars (you intonate the low and high E strings only and the rest fall into line, more or less) so if you have a need for perfect intonation, you may not want a bar. Note that almost no one can hear if a guitar is not in perfect intonation.

You can also just stick on stock a stock adjustomatic bridge, which allows for individual string intonation but cheap ones will rattle and expensive ones can rattle too.

I have a Firebird Jet that had a Synchrosonic with the low profile screws but I changed it for a bar. Just felt too bulky for me.

Here's a pic. The Gold Sparkle has a Compton, the Tennessean has a fairly flat (around 20 inch radius) Gretsch bar and the Roundup has a Gretsch bar with a more curved radius.

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Gold sparkle Jet. Ooo la la. Very nice!
 

Chmason85

Country Gent
May 1, 2018
1,206
Philadelphia
I love the Melita bridge on my ‘57 Streamliner. But at first the original tall thumb screws were a pain for palm muting. But once I switched to smooth flat head screws, it feels great, with no problem palm muting.

I always say, if you don’t like something at first, just give it some time before finally deciding to make a change. I will admit, Melita bridges do take a little time getting used to. But once you get used to it, I think they’re cool, even if they look a bit monstrous and clunky.

But, yeah, get yourself some flat head screws. Makes a huge difference.

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Monstrous and clunky?!? It’s one of the most beautiful and functional bridges ever made! I get it though, a lot of folks don’t like them but I absolutely love them, and the plastic feet and Bakelite saddles do not rob tone or resonance!! I put an old melita on my 53VS jet to replace that aluminum bigsby and it improved it so much, but I suppose what I consider an improvement could be a downgrade to someone else; good tone is in the ear of the beholder I suppose
 

speedicut

Friend of Fred
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2012
6,376
Alabama
I've had two guitars with Melita bridges and I couldn't change them quick enough to bar bridges... absolutely hated them.
I hate Bigsby bridges too.
Maybe I'm just a hateful guy 🤔
 

Pemberton

Gretschie
May 4, 2022
307
Pennsylvania, USA
Monstrous and clunky?!? It’s one of the most beautiful and functional bridges ever made! I get it though, a lot of folks don’t like them but I absolutely love them . . .
I know, but that’s how I’ve heard some people describe them, and I was just repeating that. They are a much bigger contraption than most other bridges.

But I totally agree with you, I think they’re cool looking and very functional. Once you get rid of those tall thumb screws. But I guess some people don’t rest their hand on the bridge as they play.
 

Mellowcat

Gretschie
Aug 22, 2013
268
Alexandria, VA
I like the design of those and it would fit with the overall look of my guitar. How would you characterize the sound of aluminium?
It emphasizes treble to my ears. Twangy. The 6120T-55 and Eddie Cochran model come stock with a Bigsby bridge. There are probably more demos on youtube, but one is linked below. Many of Darrel Higham's Gretsch guitars have a Bigsby bridge. There are plenty of videos of those guitars in action on youtube as well.

But at first the original tall thumb screws were a pain for palm muting. But once I switched to smooth flat head screws, it feels great, with no problem palm muting.
I have a Melita style bridge with low profile screws on my County Club.

A Bigsby bridge came stock on my Guild X-500. I like it. It is filed flat on the bottom to avoid getting stuck out of position. I have two TruArc bridges on other guitars as well. There are many choices. Best of luck.
 

Pete66

Gretschie
Nov 18, 2015
409
Wyre and Fylde
I removed the Melita style bridge off my Country Club with Bigsby as, the Melita made the guitar, not as bright as I'd like so, put a wood based aluminum Bigsby bridge on to brighten things a bit and, it worked!
If there wasn't a Bigsby on the guitar, I would have left the Melita, as I have on my Falcon. Put my, now, spare Melita and put it on a D'Angelico jazzer, sounds great.
 

Irish-Jay

Electromatic
Silver Member
Jul 2, 2015
44
Vancouver, WA
I recently got a Country Club with a bigsby and melita bridge. I love the guitar but aren't too fond of the melita bridge.
I don't have a lot of knowledge of other types of bridges for Gretsch guitars so I would appreciate if you fine folks would recommend a good replacement.
I recently got a Country Club with a bigsby and melita bridge. I love the guitar but aren't too fond of the melita bridge.

I don't have a lot of knowledge of other types of bridges for Gretsch guitars so I would appreciate if you fine folks would recommend a good replacement.
There are a bunch of good alternatives, as has been mentioned already, C9C8224F-809C-40A1-A5CE-AA25E41145E3.jpeg and most luthiers could point you in the right direction. I personally like the Compton. I put it on my Tennessee Rose and it works flawlessly. Not the same as what’s on my white falcon but definitely an upgrade (in my opinion) from what was on there originally.
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,962
Where the action is!
Bigsby bridge for plain or wound 3rd is another option. The sound of aluminum, however, isn't for everyone.

I like the design of those and it would fit with the overall look of my guitar. How would you characterize the sound of aluminium?
As a Gretsch history nerd, I'll point out that if the Gretsch factory outfitted a pre-1958 Country Club stock with a Bigsby, they would have coupled it with an aluminum Bigsby bridge.
 

gazzie

Electromatic
Nov 10, 2010
35
Frome
No one has mentioned Space Control bridges. I love them, both looks and sound, and obviously they give very easy string spacing. On my Gretsch guitars I've got Space Control (3), Tru Arc Rocking Bar (1) and adjustomatic (2) bridges. Can't really tell much difference in playing them, but just love the look of Space Control bridges - just looks right to me !
 

caliban335

Electromatic
Apr 29, 2015
24
Cleveland, Ohio
I replaced the Melita bridge on my Country Club with a Tru-Arc stainless steel bridge. It worked out well.

Embie Concepts makes a replacement Melita style btidge, but thet appear to be on a hiatus at present.
 

Lacking Talent

Country Gent
Aug 5, 2010
1,164
Los Angeles, CA
There’s a company called Aldridge that makes a VERY nice modern melita style bridge, but without knowing what you don’t like about it it’s hard to recommend something. I love melita bridges and ABR1’s.

I´ve always been curious about this version of the melita ....
might order one in the future

FYI, these are tune-o-matic sized, and made from aircraft grade aluminum and/or brass. No stainless, Bakelite, Delrin, etc., saddles available.

Capture.JPG

https://t.me/s/aldridgechannel


https://www.instagram.com/aldridgeempire/

The above is just one of the many gorgeous guitar parts this fellow -- who I believe is located in Indonesia -- designs and fabricates fellow.

No affiliation, BTW.
 

fabian1137

Electromatic
Jul 26, 2022
37
Sweden
As a Gretsch history nerd, I'll point out that if the Gretsch factory outfitted a pre-1958 Country Club stock with a Bigsby, they would have coupled it with an aluminum Bigsby bridge.
Thank you. Mine is a limited edition bamboo yellow with dynasonics. If I'm informed correctly the bamboo finish never appeared on vintage country clubs but it has the dynasonics so I guess it hints at the pre-58 Country Clubs right?. I'm thinking of maybe purchasing this set: https://guitarpartscenter.eu/en_US/p/BIGSBY-B6-Vibrato-with-bridge-for-thick-hollow-body-AL/559. Would you agree that this bigsby would fit the look better than the current V-Cut bigsby that is on mine?
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,962
Where the action is!
Thank you. Mine is a limited edition bamboo yellow with dynasonics.
Are you saying you have a vintage bamboo finish Country Club with Dynasonics? If so, you're going to need to share some pictures.
If I'm informed correctly the bamboo finish never appeared on vintage country clubs but it has the dynasonics so I guess it hints at the pre-58 Country Clubs right?.
It does, but a serial number would nail it down more firmly.
I'm thinking of maybe purchasing this set: https://guitarpartscenter.eu/en_US/p/BIGSBY-B6-Vibrato-with-bridge-for-thick-hollow-body-AL/559. Would you agree that this Bigsby would fit the look better than the current V-Cut Bigsby that is on mine?
This is the bridge I'd be looking for:
b4552594-20b0-4d37-a96e-bd855da9e75b_1.54eb50f2cdba2257ef944add5e088ae6.jpeg

Nobody seems to have the complete unit in stock but this seller has the saddle:


The base part number is 006-2782-000 but I can't seem to find any at the moment. I might have a spare complete unit, but I'm not sure.

For the Bigsby itself, this is what I'd go with:
il_794xN.4382105369_swzw.jpg


I would agree that a V-cut would look out of place on a Dynasonic Club. The cast Duane Eddy arm came out around '56-'57 and would look right with your guitar and they feel very nice compared to the flat steel arm. And the small hinge, while not historically accurate for that era, has the benefit that any extra screw holes needed would be covered up by the G-cutout tailpiece should you ever return to it.
 

Pete66

Gretschie
Nov 18, 2015
409
Wyre and Fylde
Thank you. Mine is a limited edition bamboo yellow with dynasonics. If I'm informed correctly the bamboo finish never appeared on vintage country clubs but it has the dynasonics so I guess it hints at the pre-58 Country Clubs right?. I'm thinking of maybe
There were bamboo and copper vintage clubs. Hank Garland had one and so did Roddy Frame from Aztec Camera. I have the two tone grey, these also existed in the mid 50's. Albeit, in small numbers.
 

fabian1137

Electromatic
Jul 26, 2022
37
Sweden
Are you saying you have a vintage bamboo finish Country Club with Dynasonics? If so, you're going to need to share some pictures.

It does, but a serial number would nail it down more firmly.

This is the bridge I'd be looking for:
b4552594-20b0-4d37-a96e-bd855da9e75b_1.54eb50f2cdba2257ef944add5e088ae6.jpeg

Nobody seems to have the complete unit in stock but this seller has the saddle:


The base part number is 006-2782-000 but I can't seem to find any at the moment. I might have a spare complete unit, but I'm not sure.

For the Bigsby itself, this is what I'd go with:
il_794xN.4382105369_swzw.jpg


I would agree that a V-cut would look out of place on a Dynasonic Club. The cast Duane Eddy arm came out around '56-'57 and would look right with your guitar and they feel very nice compared to the flat steel arm. And the small hinge, while not historically accurate for that era, has the benefit that any extra screw holes needed would be covered up by the G-cutout tailpiece should you ever return to it.
No mine was made in 2011 if I remember correctly!

Is there a specific reason you would go with the wooden base instead of aluminum?

If a understand you correctly the bigsby you linked is a B6 but with the same hole layout as the G-Cut B6 Right? If I buy just a regular B6 with an elongated strap strap hole I would have to drill three new holes?

Thank you for your patience with a newbie like me, I really appreciate it.
 


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