Taller Gibson 3 point saddles?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by 57Octane, Apr 24, 2021.

  1. 57Octane

    57Octane

    Apr 24, 2021
    New here. I'm trying to restore a friend's Vantage bass. It's got the notorious Gibson 3 point bridge. We both want to keep it original. Just buy new saddles right? Simple.

    No.

    The 1 original saddle we have for the 4th string is a skyscraper compared to the replacements I've gotten. It's almost 3/4" tall. The biggest replacement is barely over 1/2".

    The replacements (from allparts and amazon) don't even contact the bridge, they just flop around and rattle on the intonation screws. So, the action kinda sucks and it doesn't sound very good, aside from the 1 original, which sounds great.

    I've seen some 70's Gibson/Epiphone bridges that appear to have similar saddles but, the guys want $200/$300 for the whole bridge and that seems pricey.

    I'm at a bit of a loss. Does anyone have any ideas?
     
  2. MisterUbu

    MisterUbu

    Feb 25, 2020
    Toronto, Canada
    Fill the 3 holes for the ferrules and replace it with a fender 4 saddle! :D

    ...the big issues with these vantages is that the bridge radius does not match the radius of the fingerboard. The other thing you can do is grind down the troublesome G saddle if you have the tools for it, finding a replacement is troublesome due to the bridge being unique to these vantages
     
  3. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    One word... Hipshot.
     
    LP Custom likes this.
  4. 57Octane

    57Octane

    Apr 24, 2021
    The Hipshot looks a little too modern for my taste. I know it's the go-to replacement. The Babicz looks nice, but, it's not cheap.

    Here's a pic of the saddles I've got. These are for the big E string, and they're all labeled with a 4.

    Allparts on the left, Amazon center, and the original Vantage to the right. You can see how tall it is.

    bridgesaddles.jpg

    Allparts and Amazon just don't work, the side cuts are too high. They just ride on the screws and flop around in the bridge plate.

    I'm pretty sure the same saddles are on 70's Gibson/Epiphone basses like Rippers and EBs, I just can't seem to find them on their own.
     
  5. Make some out of brass or aluminum? They’re not too much more difficult to work then wood, you can even use most of the same tools.
     
    sissy kathy likes this.
  6. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    ... or have them made at a machine shop; also, have you tried contacting Gibson to get the correct saddles?
    Contact
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2021
  7. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    Hipshot makes really good stuff. The looks of a piece of gear that works will grow on you over time. The 3 point bridge, will, assuming you cobble it together so that it sorta works, become uglier over time.


    Buy the Hipshot; you'll thank us later. Or the Babicz - buying a piece of gear that really works is the cheap way to go - you only have to buy one.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2021
  8. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    He is attempting to RESTORE, not modify, 'upgrade', or mutilate.
     
  9. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    Silly me - I thought he was trying to restore a bass to working condition. I didn't realize Vantage made rare, collectible basses.
     
    Lownote38 likes this.
  10. MisterUbu

    MisterUbu

    Feb 25, 2020
    Toronto, Canada
    You'd be surprised what people do to these vantages to get into working/playable condition. Unless its a top of the line VP900b “Devil Bass”, these basses as stated before are cheap lower end instruments that were often pawn shop stocked. The fender bridge was half a joke as there are vantage basses with the proper bridge depending on the model.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2021
    Lownote38 likes this.
  11. 57Octane

    57Octane

    Apr 24, 2021
    It seems a bit on the rare side. I've only seen two X-99 basses on the internet. A red one, and an exact copy of this one that sold for $800 about a month ago.

    This was kind of a budget project based on that info. My friend was seriously considering tossing it in the trash before I did some research on it.

    If I'm honest, I want to keep it as close to original as possible because its kind of unique and because it's probably not worth a $100+ new bridge. That would be an absolute last resort.

    I may just end up trying to make some.
     
  12. MisterUbu

    MisterUbu

    Feb 25, 2020
    Toronto, Canada
    you shouldn't be afraid of grinding down the saddle on a poorly designed bridge. No vantage owner has ever cared about the condition of the stock 3 point as long as it works and the string height is proper.

    Are you sure its an x-99? Ill post some resources that catalog different vantage basses to check if you haven't already,
    Vantage Guitars MIJ (vantage-guitars.com)
    Vantage Catalogs – The Guitar Gallery (matsumoku.org) (look under the "catalog")


    BTW, could you post pics of the bass in question?
     
  13. 57Octane

    57Octane

    Apr 24, 2021
    It's not that the original saddle needs work, it's that it's the only one that fits. The Allparts saddles are loose in the bridge slots so they rattle, even under tension and intonated. They're too low and they seem to have a more circular radius as well. Same story with the saddles I got from an Amazon 3 point bridge.

    Why not use the whole Amazon bridge? Too low. Reading the Vantage thread, it looks like you really need the original height saddles.

    It's absolutely an X-99. I know it's not listed on those sites.

    I'll take a picture later but, this one here is identical:
    Used Vantage X-99 4 String Electric Bass with Gig Bag- Sunburst | ADK Guitar | Reverb
     
  14. MisterUbu

    MisterUbu

    Feb 25, 2020
    Toronto, Canada
    Although personally i think reverb prices for MIJ 80s guits are grossly overinflated, your only other option would be to scour the net for 3 point bridges that cane off other vantages as the ones with the 3 points have all the same dimensions (and usually saddles with uneven height). The challenge would be finding anybody that hasnt thrown them away or even has them on sale of course
     
  15. 57Octane

    57Octane

    Apr 24, 2021
    Upon close inspection, I may need a new bridge anyway. I'd heard that these bridges "bend" over time but I admittedly thought that wasn't possible and that they were supposed to have an arc.

    The cracks in the metal around the A and D saddles holes tells me I may have been wrong.

    I guess I'll see if I can make this aftermarket bridge I've got work and maybe save up for a better bridge.
     
    MisterUbu likes this.