The problem lay in the Multiplex adjustable bridge. The unit itself is made of metal, but the original saddles are made of nylon 6-6, a material used in bearings and gears due to its abrasion resistance and self-lubricating properties.
1. A 1971 Gibson SB 300 bass with embossed script logo single-coil pickups. 2. Hurray! All original solder joints and components. 3. The bridge cover with Gibson’s nostalgic script logo. 4. The original nylon saddles have collapsed on this Multiplex adjustable bridge.
Recently, a client brought in a cool 1971 Gibson SB 300 for me to inspect and prepare for sale. The SB 300 is a double-cutaway bass with a nitrocellulose-finished alder body, a set 3-piece maple neck, and 30.5"-scale rosewood fretboard. As I played this short-scale bass acoustically, I was treated to a very clear, even tone with no dead spots or resonating hot spots. When it comes to bass construction, you just can’t go wrong with this combination of alder, maple, and rosewood.
The SB 300 was Gibson’s first bass to have single-coil pickups, and it sounds great amplified, too. The controls are simple—a master volume, tone control, and an on/off slider switch for each script-embossed pickup.
Peering under the metal control plate, I was delighted to see all-original solder joints. The Centralab 250k volume and tone pots had a code of 1346607, which indicated they were manufactured in 1966. Fortunately, no one had pirated these parts for a ’66 restoration. Checking the electronics, I found everything to be in excellent working order.
The problem lay in the Multiplex adjustable bridge. The unit itself is made of metal, but the original saddles are made of nylon 6-6, a material used in bearings and gears due to its abrasion resistance and self-lubricating properties. Though nylon 6-6 can be successfully used in many applications, bass saddles isn’t one of them—at least over the long term. On this bass, the saddles had collapsed from supporting medium-gauge strings for years.
After removing the collapsed saddles from their intonation screws, I was able to construct a model of the original saddle from various broken saddle pieces. This was a crucial first step in finding replacement saddles.
5. Comparing a reconstructed nylon saddle (left) to the Graph Tech Tusq replacement. To make it fit in the Gibson bridge, I’ll need to remove a little material from below the new saddle’s “shoulders.” 6. Shaping the replacement Tusq saddle. 7. Slotting the low-E saddle with a .105” nut-slotting file.
Examining the reconstructed saddle, I realized that with some fabrication I could use traditional Nashville Tune-o-matic metal saddles. I was reluctant to do this, however, because I wanted to stay as close as possible to the original design. At the same time, I really didn’t want to craft new saddles from nylon material. I had to assume this bass was going to be played hard, and I wanted it to be completely roadworthy after leaving our shop.
After weighing our options, the owner and I decided to go with Graph Tech Tusq saddles. Billed as “man-made ivory,” Tusq is a synthetic material with both the strength and visual appearance we were looking for. I selected Graph Tech’s #8501- 00 model, which is a replacement for the post-2000 Gibson Nashville Tune-o-matic bridge saddles. With a little modification, these saddles would fit in the SB 300’s Multiplex bridge.
Gripping each saddle in a nut and saddle vise (item #1816 from stewmac. com), I trimmed away the required material with nut and saddle-shaping files (item #4556). With some careful work, the modified saddles perfectly fit the vintage Gibson bridge. The last step was to use gauged nut-slotting files (#5313) to cut string slots that were sized to securely hold each string and match the fretboard radius. With that done, this bass was ready to provide many more years of toneful service.
John Brown is the inventor of the Fretted/Less bass. He owns and operates Brown’s Guitar Factory, a guitar manufacturing, repair, and restoration facility staffed by a team of talented luthiers. His guitar-tool and accessory designs are used by builders all over the world. Visit brownsguitarfactory.com or email John at email@example.com.
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
Adding to the company’s line of premium-quality effects pedals, Missing Link Audio has unleashed the new AC/Overdrive pedal. This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal – the only Angus & Malcom all-in-one stompbox on the market – brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
The AC/OD layout has three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone. That user-friendly format is perfect for quickly getting your ideal tone, and it also offers a ton of versatility. MLA’s new AC/OD absolutely nails the Angus tone from the days of “High Voltage” to "Back in Black”. You can also easily dial inMalcom with the turn of a knob. The pedal covers a broad range of sonic terrain, from boost to hot overdrive to complete tube-like saturation. The pedal is designed to leave on all the time and is very touch responsive. You can get everything from fat rhythm tones to a perfect lead tone just by using your guitar’s volume knob and your right-hand attack.
- Three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone
- Die-cast aluminum cases for gig-worthy durability
- Limited lifetime warranty
- True bypass on/off switch
- 9-volt DC input
- Made in the USA
MLA Pedals AC/OD - Music & Demo by A. Barrero
Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials