Close Up: Brown's Guitar Factory Bridge Conversion Posts

Bridge conversion posts make using an ABR-1 bridge a snap

A few years ago, I found out quite by accident that when I replaced the ABR-1 bridge on my Gibson Historic Les Paul with the same bridge from an actual 1959 Gibson, the tonal change was almost as dramatic as some pickup changes I had made. The bridge mass and material made all the difference in the tone. I noticed that a great majority of Gibsons were using the Nashville Tune-O-Matic bridge. However, as many have found out, there’s a difference in the construction of the ABR-1 and Nashville Tune-O-Matic bridges (installed on all post-1976 Les Pauls), since the holes are drilled at differing widths.

When the ABR-1 was dowelled, drilled and reset properly, the tonal change was much more pronounced. There was more chime and snap when the guitar was played with fingers. The overtones were more musical and pure, and octave sustain and pick harmonics were more readily available. The Nashville bridge was more massive, and logically should have sustained better, but this was not the case. More low end was present at certain frequencies, but these seemed to diminish low-end tightness. With the ABR-1, there was all the bass anyone could ever need. As a matter of fact, it provided much more definition to the low strings for muting and fast playing.

John Brown has created a post that screws into the existing Nashville bridge anchors— offset so that lining them up to the ABR-1 bridge is a snap. Using the ABR-1 type thumbwheels vertical adjustment is possible, and installation is simple. You have only to radius and slot the bridge and you’re ready to play. Intonation can be done at this time. I do recommend having the work done by a professional if you haven’t done this before, as spacing is critical.

Brown also cleverly inserted a locking set-screw at an angle to the post (adjustable with an included Allen wrench), so there’s no play at all in the threads of the anchors, which some have felt was an issue. The posts are now machined out of a single piece of steel for more strength. I have installed these posts on many, many guitars, and never had a dissatisfied client. Everyone felt it was well worth the price of installation, and loved their new tone.

Made in Canada, this two-voice guitar features a chambered Mahogany body, carved Swamp Ash top, 25.5” scale Mahogany neck and Rosewood Fingerboard.

Read MoreShow less

Gain is fun in all its forms, from overdrive to fuzz, but let’s talk about a great clean tone.

We’re all here for one thing. It’s the singular sound and magic of the stringed instrument called the guitar—and its various offshoots, including the bass. Okay, so maybe it’s more than one thing, but the sentiment remains. Even as I write this, my thoughts fan out and recognize how many incarnations of “guitar” there must be. It’s almost incomprehensible. Gut-string, nylon-string, steel-string, 12-string, 8-string, 10-string, flatwound, brown sound, fuzztone…. It’s almost impossible to catalog completely, so I’ll stop here and let you add your favorites. Still, there’s one thing that I keep coming back to: clean tone.

Read MoreShow less

A supreme shredder’s signature 6-string dazzles with versatility.

This immaculately built guitar sounds great and can do it all.

The more affordable price is still out of reach for many guitarists


Charvel MJ San Dimas SD24 CM


Charvel’s first Guthrie Govan signature model was released in 2014, after an arduous two-year effort to get the design just right. Since then, the guitar—now in its second edition—has become one of Charvel’s most coveted models. Unfortunately, its $3,699 price keeps the U.S.-made axe out of reach for many.

This year, though, the company released the Made-in-Japan signature MJ San Dimas SD24 CM, which sells for a slightly more manageable $2,799. Needless to say, that’s not cheap. But depending on your priorities, it’s a fair price for a very high quality, pro-level instrument.

Read MoreShow less