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Unwind until the saddle is against the far wall

Replacing the Saddles in a Schaller Nashville Bridge

NOTE This applies only to the original Schaller bridge and exact copies.

I often read that people find it difficult to change the saddles in a Gibson “Nashville” bridge.

This bridge was introduced in the mid 70s, replacing the original ABR-1 Tune-o-matic bridge which had been designed at Gibson in the early 1950s by Ted McCarty. This newer design had more travel for intonation and was more robust than the ABR-1. It was designed and made in Germany by Schaller and its introduction coincided with the Gibson factory’s move from Kalamazoo Michigan to Nashville Tennessee, hence the colloquial name. The Gibson designation for this bridge is BR-030.

Rather than the saddles being secured by a single wire as in the second generation ABR-1, each saddle is held in place using its own small circlip. There is no obvious way to easily remove the saddle but it’s really quite easy if you know how.

You don’t need to use an electric screwdriver but it does speed up the process.

Click on the pictures for a bigger version or watch the video at the end of this post.

Removing a saddle

To remove, turn the intonation screw anticlockwise as if to remove it.

Unwind until the saddle is against the far wall

Once the saddle touches the wall of the bridge, keep unscrewing. The screw will withdraw and allow the saddle to drop out.

Keep winding so the screw withdraws slighty

Leave the screw in the bridge unless you are replacing it or the circlip (I’ll cover this next time).

Remove the saddle

Fitting a saddle

To replace, drop the saddle into the bridge and push the screw forward into its hole in the saddle.

Drop in the new saddle

Apply a bit of pressure on the screw

Push the screw forward to locate it in the saddle

and turn clockwise to engage with the saddle.

Turn the screw clockwise until it engages in the saddle.

Keep turning until the saddle is hard against the near wall of the bridge as this locates the circlip in its groove.

Keep turning until the saddle is hard against the near wall

Rough out the intonation before refitting the bridge to the guitar.

Rough out the intonation before refitting the bridge to the guitar

All the steps are shown in this video.

5 Comments on “Replacing the Saddles in a Schaller Nashville Bridge

  1. Really helpful article, thanks!
    One question, I need to change the saddles on my nashville bridge, but I’m not sure of I have a pre or post 2000 nashville bridge as my guitar was made in 2000. It seems like they take different saddles. So the question is, do you know how to tell which one it is?

    Thanks!

    • This article refers to those bridges where the saddle retaining clip is shaped like these.

      Nashville bridge saddles

      • so your article is pretty dangerous, because now there are different clips, and it can be damage
        and you said no word about it

  2. Hi, finally – information about the old schaller nashville bridge! Thank you. However, one of the saddles on my old bridge lost its retainer circlip. Would you know where I can get one, or how one can fabricate such a piece? Thanks!

    • I’ve got lots here, email me with your address and I’ll send you one.

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