Here are some common questions about Faber® Parts selection and installation.
The importance of Bridge Identification
Identifying the type of bridge system on your guitar is essential to knowing what Faber® bridges you can use with your guitar and if your guitar will require conversion studs to use a Faber® bridge. There are only a few guitar models that will not need conversion posts: Gibson® guitars with ABR-1 bridges, and imported guitars with 4mm bridge studs mounted directly into the wood.
Gibson® guitars with Nashville bridges, Heritage® guitars with Schaller bridges, and Epiphone®, Tokai, Ibanez and other imported guitars that use bridge posts which screw into bushings in the guitar body require conversion bridge studs to use Faber® bridges.
Furthermore, many other U.S.A. made guitar brands use imported parts. If the guitar uses threaded bushings for the bridge posts, it will require conversion posts. Some use Schaller parts and others use the same type asian parts used on Epiphone® and most other imports.
We invite you see our “Bridge Identification” page, which has photos and descriptions which will help you identify your bridge, and links to the proper category of all bridges and other parts that will work for your guitar.
How do I tell if I have a Nashville or ABR-1 bridge on my Gibson® guitar?
For someone familiar with both ABR-1 and Nashville Bridge System bridges, just seeing the bridge is all that is necessary.
Which ABR-1 style bridge is right for my guitar?
We have three different models of ABR-1 style bridges (not including the Tone-Lock™ bridge), to suit almost every need, as follows:
ABRH: The ABRH bridge is designed as a “drop on” replacement for ABR-1 sized bridge posts. The Gibson® Historic series, early Les Paul Classics, and virtually all Gibson® guitars with a separate bridge prior to the introduction of the Nashville bridge, have ABR-1 (6-32) bridge posts. The diameter of the ABRH post holes is 3.65mm, post hole spacing is 73.6mm and the saddle radius is 12″.
ABRM: The ABRM bridge is a drop on replacement for many imported guitars using 4mm bridge posts with standard spacing of 2-29/32″ (73.82mm). This bridge can also be used when building a guitar using the BSWKIT for the bridge studs, using 2-29/32″ post spacing. The diameter of the ABRM post holes is 4.2mm and the saddle radius is 12″. You could also use this bridge after installing the Faber® E-Sert™ bridge posts, in most cases.
ABRN: The ABRN bridge is a drop on replacement for original Nashville bridge posts/thumbwheels, in most cases (see below). If your guitar has the original Nashville inserts and posts, this is the bridge you need. It is also the correct bridge for use with the Faber® BSWKIT, NSWKIT or iNsert when these parts are used in an original Nashville bridge equipped guitar. Post hole diameter is 4.35mm, post spacing is 74.4mm and the saddle radius is 12″. Note about NEW (post 2012) Gibson® guitars: We have found that some newer Gibson guitars use a bridge that looks like a typical Nashville bridge, but the diameter of the thumbwheel posts is larger (5mm). The ABRN bridge will not fit on those bridge posts. The only solution for those guitars is to replace the original bridge posts, either by using the Faber® NSWKIT, BSWKIT or iNsert.
Which Tone-Lock™ (locking) Bridge is right for my guitar?
The Tone-Lock™ Bridge is “universal,” because we provide a pair of the two most common sizes of locking collars with each bridge. As long as your guitar has either ABR-1 bridge posts (6-32 thread, as used on Gibson® Historics, early Classics, and most Gibson® guitars before the introduction of the Nashville bridge system) or 4mm bridge posts (many imports, and the Faber® BSWKIT/iNsert/NSWKIT or E-Sert™), the Tone-Lock™ Bridge will work for you. Guitars with the Nashville bridge system will need either the BSWKIT, NSWKIT or iNsert to use the Tone-Lock™ Bridge. Bacchus guitars have non standard thread pitch on their 4mm bridge posts, so they cannot use the Tone-Lock™ bridge. Most Epiphone, and many other non USA made guitars using the same bridge system, can use the Faber® E-Sert™ to enable the installation of the Tone-Lock™ bridge.
Which Tone-Lock™ MASTER KIT is right for my guitar?
The “INCH” or “METRIC” designation for the MASTER KIT applies strictly to the type of TAILPIECE STUDS on your guitar and has nothing to do with the bridge. Generally, if your guitar is made in the U.S.A., you will need an “INCH” kit. The Tone-Lock™ MASTER KIT includes Tone-Lock™ studs/spacers, a TP-59 tailpiece, and a Tone-Lock™ Bridge. Basically, you choose between the INCH and METRIC KITS, depending upon the criteria listed under the FAQ item, “Explaining the INCH and MERTIC Designations.”
Which Faber® Bridge Posts should I use?
For guitars with Nashville bridge systems, you must convert your bridges studs to Faber® in order to use the Tone-Lock™ Bridge. This is true, because the lock nuts used by the bridge need to have threaded posts to lock onto. If you don’t intend to use a Faber® Tone-Lock Bridge, it is not an absolute requirement to convert your bridge studs. You can use the Faber® ABRN model bridge with your existing Nashville bridge system.
If you do plan on using a Faber® Tone-Lock bridge, or are just interested in replacing the tone-robbing alloy Nashville body inserts with sustain enhancing German steel, there are two Faber® bridge conversion posts you can use for that purpose: BSWKIT™ or iNsert™. There is a third choice, with the Faber® NSWKIT™, as well. You can use the latter if you would like to use a Faber® Tone-Lock™ bridge or ABRN bridge without making any modifications to your guitar. Use the following list as a guide to determine which of the three types of Faber® Bridge posts to fit your particular circumstances.
- Faber® BSWKIT™: The BSWKIT™ is the most difficult of all Faber® Bridge Studs to install, but it is also the most desirable from the standpoint of maximum sustain and the vintage look. In order to install the BSWKIT™, the exitisting Nashville body inserts need to be removed (a 5mm bolt is included for easy removal of the inserts) and the holes in the body need to be tapped using an 8M x 1.25 metric tap. It is important that the new threads are tapped perfectly straight. Most problem BSWKIT™ installations are caused by tapping and installing the BSWKIT™ crooked. Another thing that can cause problems is warpage of the guitar body. If the body is warped, even if the BSWKIT™ kit is installed perfectly straight, the posts themselves can either point inward or outward at the tops. You can determine if the body is warped by laying a perfect straigtedge across the back of the guitar at its widest point. If there is space under the middle of the straightedge, most likely the tops of the bridge studs will be further apart than they should be. If there are spaces at the ends of the straightedge, most likely the tops of the bridge posts will be closer together than they should be. This warpage can be compensated for by a skilled technician, so we recommend that the BSWKIT™ only be installed by persons with the skills necessary to complete the project successfully. People sometimes say, “My Nashville fits properly, but not after installation of the BSWKIT™.” This can very well be the case, because the Nashville sytem is designed to compensate for a lot of different problems, such as warpage and slightly out of spec placement of the inserts. The post holes of a Nashville bridge are conical: larger diameter at the bottom than at the top. It is a “sloppy” system by design to compensate for some of the irregularities mentioned. Please note that Faber® Germany and/or FaberUSA cannot be held responsible for any damages caused by installation of the BSWKIT™
- Faber® iNsert™: The iNsert is a much easier installation, providing virtually the same sustain benefits as the BSWKIT™, without the vintage look. A 5mm bolt is included to easily remove the existing inserts (simply screw the 5mm bold into the insert until the insert rises out of the body), and a plastic installation tool is provided to install the Faber® iNsert™ (see the installation video when viewing the product, or under the “HOW-TO Videos” menu tab). Care must be taken prior to installation to determine that the depth of the holes in the body are deep enough so that the iNsert™ will fit flush to the body when installed. Also, we recommend checking for warpage of the body before ordering and installing the iNsert™. Unlike the BSWKIT™, there is no way to compensate for warpage with the iNsert™. Usually, however, slight warpage doesn’t present a problem and the vast majority of iNsert™ installations are successful. Can the iNsert™ be removed to revert back to the original Nashville inserts? Yes, but, depending upon how tight the iNsert™ is in the body, it can be easy or more difficult. Most times, the iNsert™ fits snug, but is not overly tight, and can be removed by hand just by screwing on a thumbwheel for grip and pulling straight up. If the iNsert™ is too tight for that procedure, the best and safest way to remove it is using a puller, such as the Schatten Design stud puller. That is what we use. If no such puller is available, it is possible to remove the iNsert™ by screwing on a thumbwheel and using a pair of pliers or Vise grips on the thumbwheel and pulling straight up. Please note that this procedure will likely mar the thumbwheel. Faber® Germany and/or FaberUSA cannot be held liable for any damages caused by installation or removal of the iNsert™.
- Faber® NSWKIT™: This replacement bridge post is straightforward and requires no modifications to your guitar. While any tone enhancement is minimal from this part (it is made from the finest German steel, as opposed to the original Nashville zinc alloy posts, so some benefit will be noticeable), it will allow the use the original Nashville bridge, or the Faber® Tone-Lock™ or ABRN bridges.
For most Epiphone guitars and many other non USA made guitars using a bridge system with large body insertswe have the Faber® E-Sert and ESWKIT™, the former of which is very much like the Faber® iNsert™, and the latter very much like the NSWKIT for Nashville conversions. All information about the Faber® iNsert™ applies to the selection, removal, installation and other considerations listed for the iNsert™, above. Please see the E-Sert™ product description for an image of the type of bridge system the E-Sert is intended to replace.
Do you have bridges without Pre-Notched saddles? And, what is the HYBRIDge™ Option?
Faber® installs saddles with small “starter” notches dead center as standard because they believe this is the best overall solution for the majority of applications. Generally, it is a myth that strings must be directly over the center of a pickup’s pole pieces. In fact, Faber® maintains it is virtually impossible to hear any difference in tone or volume whether the string passes directly over the center of a pole piece, or near the ends of the pole pieces. However, to accommodate those who, for whatever reason, would rather cut their own saddles notches, FaberUSA will install unnotched saddles on any Faber® bridge. The option, “Non Pre-Notched” Saddles Option” is available on the product details page of all bridges.
How to order bridges with Non Pre-Notched saddles:
- For all bridges, you must choose the Finish color (i.e., Gloss Nickel) and the Saddle Type (i.e., nickel plated brass)
- If you want the bridge with the standard, pre-notched saddles, simply add the bridge to the cart and you’re done
- If you would rather have the saddles without notches, click the dropdown box below “Non Pre-Notched Saddles Option” and click on “Non Pre-Notched Saddles Option – $10” so that it appears as the selection in the dropdown box
- Simply click the “ADD TO CART” button and you are done
- Please note that bridges to be converted to non pre-notched saddles may delay shipment of the entire order for 1-2 days
The Faber® HYBRIDge™ Option :
The Faber® HYBRIDge™ Option takes guitar bridges to the next level! While a bridge with all titanium saddles is a great option for some guitars, the HYBRIDge™ will dramatically improve virtually ANY guitar. How? By using titanium saddles for the wound E-A-D strings. Titanium removes all the muddiness from the wound strings, and makes those strings sound much cleaner, clearer and more articulate than brass saddles. More balanced and focused. The HYBRIDge™ is used exclusively on the premium Corsa Manalishi guitars. Many sound clips of the HYBRIDge™ can be heard on the Corsa Guitars website.
How to order bridges with the HYBRIDge™ Option:
- Use the same procedure as described above, first selecting the Finish color and Saddle Type
- Select or bypass the “Non Pre-Notched Saddles Option”
- Click the dropdown box below “HYBRIDge™ Option” and click on “HYBRIDge™ Option – $23” so that it appears as the selection in the dropdown box
- Simply click the “ADD TO CART” button and you are done
- Please note that bridges to be converted to Non Pre-Notched Saddles and/or the HYBRODge™ Option may delay shipment of the entire order for 1-2 days
What are the tone differences between natural brass, nickel plated brass, and titanium saddles?
We have found virtually no difference in tone between the natural brass and the nickel plated brass saddles. Titanium, however, produces a much brighter tone than brass. For guitars that are too dark sounding, titanium saddles are the way to go. Obviously, if your guitar sounds bright with brass saddles, we would not recommend a switch to titanium. On the other hand, we have found that virtually all guitars will find benefit using titatnium for the wound strings. Of course, those strings will sound brighter than normal with titanium, but the difference in clarity using titanium saddles is remarkable. Any “muddiness” is gone and clear, articulate tones are easily noticeable. That is the reason Faber® invented the HYBRIDge™. If you already have a Faber® bridge with brass saddles, titanium saddles (with or without starter notches) are available for you to retrofit to your bridge.
How do I know which Faber® parts to choose?
First, be sure to look under the “Shop By Guitar” tab within the “Products” tab on the menu bar. Select the type of guitar you have and that will take you to a menu of the parts that are for your guitar. Because we make parts in both Imperial (designated as “INCH” in our descriptions) and Metric sizes, parts selection can cause some confusion. In general, ALL Gibson® guitars made in the USA use INCH tailpiece studs, which means any Gibson® guitar with “Gibson” on the headstock. “Orville by Gibson,” on the other hand, are imported and use METRIC tailpiece studs. Epiphone, another Gibson® “import” also uses METRIC tailpiece studs. Other guitars made in the USA which use a standard style “Stop” tailpiece need to be examined further, as the builder may use either INCH or METRIC stud inserts. Consult with the guitar maker for information on your guitar’s hardware. There are some other exceptions, or “anomalies,” so please look further into the FAQ for information on specific Faber® parts.
Which Tone-Lock™ (tailpiece studs and spacers) is right for my guitar?
If your guitar is a USA made Gibson®, you definitely need the INCH Tone-Lock™. If your guitar is made anywhere other than the USA, you need METRIC Tone-Lock™. For other guitars made in USA, there is always the possibility that the builder used METRIC studs/inserts on the guitar, as both INCH and METRIC studs and inserts are readily available in the U.S. For any guitar other than a USA made Gibson®, or an imported guitar, please consult the builder about the thread size of the tailpiece inserts. Faber® Tone-Lock™ studs sizes are: for Gibson® guitars, 5/16-24; for imported guitars, 8Mx1.25. If you are interested in a Tone-Lock™ KIT or a Tone-Lock™ MASTER KIT, the same information applies, as only the Tone-Lock™ stud type is used to determine whether you need an INCH or METRIC kit.
Explaining the INCH and METRIC designations
Many people get confused by the INCH and METRIC designations used on some Faber® products. We use these designations ONLY when referring to the type of TAILPIECE STUDS your guitar uses. It has nothing to do with the type of bridge system on your guitar. It is true that the Nashville bridge system used on USA made Gibson, Heritage and some other guitars are METRIC, because those parts are imported. This fact leads some to become confused, thinking they would need METRIC parts for their USA made guitars with METRIC Nashville bridge systems. Understanding that we use the METRIC and INCH designations only for determining the type of tailpiece studs on guitar, what type of bridge system you have is irrelevent. Here are some examples:
- Faber® Tone-Lock studs are used for USA made guitars (INCH) or non USA made guitars (METRIC)
- Faber® Tone-Lock™ Master Kits contain the Tone-Lock® bridge, which includes metric and inch lock nuts to secure the bridge to threaded bridge posts (either 6-32 for ABR-1 style bridge studs, such as used on the Gibson Historic series, or 4mm for many non USA made guitars using threaded bridge studs directly into the body). When considering a Master Kit, you choose either the INCH or METRIC model based solely on the type of tailpiece studs on your guitar: INCH, for all Gibson guitars using stop tailpieces and many other USA made guitars; METRIC, for virtually all non USA made guitars, such as Epiphone, Tokai, Ibazez, etc.
Which direction should the saddle screw heads face?
The saddle screw heads on Faber® bridges are set up to face the pickups, just like the Gibson® ABR-1 and many other bridges. If you are converting from a Nashville or Schaller bridge, you will notice that their screw heads face the tailpiece. Please be sure to install your Faber® bridge opposite the Nashville/Schaller, with the screw heads facing the pickups. The saddle orientation on the Faber® bridge is set to give proper intonation with the screw heads facing the pickups. Do not be concerned! You can easily turn the screws to set your intonation even though the screws seem close to the pickup mounting ring.
How do I install a Tone-Lock™ Bridge?
Under the “HOW-To Videos” menu item, you will find a YouTube Video showing the installation procedure for the Tone-Lock™ bridge. It is a simple and straightforward procedure for guitars which are already equipped with ABR-1 or 4mm bridge studs. The exception is Nashville equipped guitars, most Epiphone, and many other non USA made guitars, all of which require Faber® replacement bridge studs to use the Tone-Lock™ bridge. See the FAQ item, “Which Faber® Bridge Studs Should I Use,” for complete information.
How do I install the Tone-Lock™ studs and spacers?
Tone-Lock™ is a simple “drop in” replacement for your guitar. Simply remove all the strings, remove the old tailpiece and studs, place the included spacers over the tailpiece inserts, screw in each Tone-Lock™ stud approximately until the threads are no longer visible above the spacers, place your tailpiece between the top of the spacer and the bottom of the stud head, and tighten. That’s it! Be careful when tightening the studs, particularly if you are not using a very large screwdriver, as it is possible to damage the tops of the studs and cause some of the plating to flake off, if you get too aggressive when tightening. If you don’t have a large screwdriver, a U.S. quarter dollar coin actually makes for a better installation tool. Overtightening is not necessary!
You are not limited to using just one spacer for each tailpiece stud. Spacer selection is determined by two factors: personal preference and string angle. With the former, as long as the angle doesn’t cause the strings to contact the back of your bridge, choose the height you like best. With the latter, you should choose your spacers which will place the tailpiece high enough that the strings do not contact the back of the tailpiece. One consideration is the use of two spacers on each stud. Personally, I always use two: the medium size, which I install, flange side down, on the insert, and the small size, which i stack on top of the medium spacer, with the flange side contacting the bottom of the tailpiece. This combination produces a good tailpiece height AND gives better contact at both contact points – the body inserts and the tailpiece. Experiment and choose the best combination for your needs!
How do I adjust the intonation of my Faber® bridge?
Intonation is adjusted by turning the saddle screw clockwise or counter clockwise until the intonation is correct. DO NOT force the screw when it is at the end of its travel, in either direction. Forcing the screw when the saddle is at the end of its travel on either side can cause the screw’s retaining clip to pop out or deform, and the screw could snap. If you are at the end of travel and the intonation is still not correct, you should remove the saddle and turn it around to get the proper intonation.
How do I remove/replace the saddles on my Faber® bridge?
Please look in the “HOW-TO Videos” section for the video showing the removal and reinstallation of Faber® bridge saddles. You can either replace a saddle, or turn it around for better intonation. For best results, it is recommended that you use new retaining clips for the reinstallation process, as it is possible to deform the original retaining clip during removal. If you have purchased replacement saddles or saddle screws, new retaining clips are included.
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