Nashville vs. ABR Tune-O-Matic

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Danley
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Nashville vs. ABR Tune-O-Matic

Post by Danley » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:11 pm

Ever since my friend ruined the tuning stability of an AVRI Jaguar with a Tune-O-Matic about two decades ago, I've had it out for that bridge. It didn't help when I later got a Les Paul with an ABR-style bridge, where the dumb wire rattled more than any Jaguar/Jazzmaster bridge I've ever owned and could not be cured. Yet I'm suddenly curious after finding it's pretty alright on my American Special Jazzmaster (Nashville-style Adjust-O-Matic.)

I've tried looking it up on other forums but it all just seems like a lot of babble: Why do people prefer the ABR-style Tune-O-Matic to the Nashville? Less range of intonation, less secure anchoring, dumb wire that makes dumb noise - Do people really only prefer this bridge because it's the 'old' style? Why would people convert otherwise?
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Re: Nashville vs. ABR Tune-O-Matic

Post by timtam » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:15 am

I am not sure that there is anything to be said for the ABR-1 other than it being 'vintage correct'. LP owners get finicky about that stuff. Amongst the new 2019 LP range, the Standard LP and Modern LP have Nashville TOMS; the 'Classic' LP has an ABR.

I changed one out for a Wilkinson-style roller TOM on my 335 copy when the retaining wire became a pain .. buzzing and/or falling out. ... which was pretty much as soon as I got it. Fortunately it already had the Nashville-style bigger posts so it was a drop-in swap. Others swap ABRs to Nashville to get needed intonation range or more stable posts.

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Re: Nashville vs. ABR Tune-O-Matic

Post by Larry Mal » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:01 am

A good ABR-1 is much better than your typical Nashville.

Notice I said "good", though... while a vintage replica ABR-1 might be more vintage accurate, I see no reason to buy one that has those wires on there. Tons of alternatives out there that don't have those.

Secondly, the travel distance of the saddles is not anywhere as important as it was when they moved away from the ABR, CNC machines put the bridge where it is supposed to be with 100% accuracy and as a whole tolerances are tighter and the problem that the harmonica and later Nashville bridge corrects is corrected in another, and better, way.

Thirdly, when you say that the Nashville bridge is tighter to the guitar I have to question that, the Nashville bridge is so full of slop it's insulting. The standard ABR-1 bridge is much better fixed to the guitar body than any Nashville is. There isn't a more poor quality or worse design than the Nashville. It's awful in every way, guided by the screaming of pinched pennies.

That being said, a stock ABR-1 is better but there are much better alternatives out there. Look to Callaham or even better yet Faber and you can see how the design of the ABR-1 has been improved on to the point where it is as good as any TOM style bridge can be- think Staytrem bridge versus a cheap Squier VM Jazzmaster bridge.

If there's any interest I'll put up some links to what I have.
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Re: Nashville vs. ABR Tune-O-Matic

Post by Danley » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:19 am

Larry Mal wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:01 am
A good ABR-1 is much better than your typical Nashville.

Notice I said "good", though... while a vintage replica ABR-1 might be more vintage accurate, I see no reason to buy one that has those wires on there. Tons of alternatives out there that don't have those.

Secondly, the travel distance of the saddles is not anywhere as important as it was when they moved away from the ABR, CNC machines put the bridge where it is supposed to be with 100% accuracy and as a whole tolerances are tighter and the problem that the harmonica and later Nashville bridge corrects is corrected in another, and better, way.

Thirdly, when you say that the Nashville bridge is tighter to the guitar I have to question that, the Nashville bridge is so full of slop it's insulting. The standard ABR-1 bridge is much better fixed to the guitar body than any Nashville is. There isn't a more poor quality or worse design than the Nashville. It's awful in every way, guided by the screaming of pinched pennies.

That being said, a stock ABR-1 is better but there are much better alternatives out there. Look to Callaham or even better yet Faber and you can see how the design of the ABR-1 has been improved on to the point where it is as good as any TOM style bridge can be- think Staytrem bridge versus a cheap Squier VM Jazzmaster bridge.

If there's any interest I'll put up some links to what I have.
I appreciate the passion :D I thought wires were a defining characteristic of ABR-style Tune-O-Matics. Understood saddle-travel range isn't super important either. As far as 'secure anchoring,' I've seen ABR-style bridges that wind up leaning due to being attached by the two small pegs rather than the metal ferrules (or at least - that's what I deemed blameworthy.) The metal anchoring would seem more secure - I was also actually pretty alarmed how little slop is in my Nashville-style AOM, it sticks on the guitar with the strings off where I figured it would just fall out. So probably just down to individual part tolerances with either bridge. Maybe I'm conflating the AOM too closely with an actual Nashville, but seems like they are close-coupled in design.
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Re: Nashville vs. ABR Tune-O-Matic

Post by Larry Mal » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:42 am

It's possible that the AOM is better built than the TOM Nashvilles that Gibson uses- I had assumed they were made in the same Indonesian factory or something but maybe not.

Here's a dumb little video I made of the slop in the Nashville on my Firebird back in the day, had I known I was going to be showing that years down the road I would have made it a good video but it does illustrate my point.

Regardless, even the most common ABR is affixed to the guitar with a longer threaded pole, which in my experience holds the bridge to the guitar on more sturdy posts than the cheap grommets used with the Nashville.

I still don't find it good enough, though, and I replace the stock ABR bridges with better made stuff. I prefer there to be no slop whatsoever, and with the Faber stuff I use nothing moves in any way at all, whether there are strings on it or not. I feel this helps the guitar to sound its best.

Also, even though it's only cosmetic, I greatly prefer the elegant look of the ABR to the gross Nashville bridges, which just look cheap to me.

Passion, though, can turn to hate, and I deeply dislike the Nashville bridges very much.
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Re: Nashville vs. ABR Tune-O-Matic

Post by Danley » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:32 am

I will give it a watch while I’m not at work - Guess whenever I want locked down/rock solid I can play one of my Saddle-Lock G&Ls anyway - can’t say the AOM/stop tailpiece is my ultimate preference as opposed to say string-through but it works well enough on this guitar.
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Re: Nashville vs. ABR Tune-O-Matic

Post by Larry Mal » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:36 am

Yeah, good point- under even the very best of situations the Tune-O-Matic bridge is my least favorite of all that I have.

A G&L bridge is a wonderful thing, honestly, of all the guitar I buy only G&L makes bridges that I don't feel I have to upgrade- how could you make them any better? I can't think of any way.
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Re: Nashville vs. ABR Tune-O-Matic

Post by Maggieo » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:38 am

For some reason, this all feels very familiar to me... :P
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Re: Nashville vs. ABR Tune-O-Matic

Post by alexpigment » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:40 am

I'm all for replacing cheap parts with better ones, but as for addressing the rattle, I used a fairly simple solution back when I had one. I just took a toothpick and applied some Vaseline to the wire and the saddle screws. Assuming you don't go crazy with it, it's pretty unnoticeable cosmetically too. Just my 2 cents for a cheap fix.

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