JLD Bridge System - an installation report

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JLD Bridge System - an installation report

Postby WeirdOlAndrew » Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:40 pm

My beloved old Conrad dreadnought has needed some work for awhile now, especially as the face has pulled up some. Not uncommon for a guitar from the late '60s, that's a long time with the strings pulling on it. I didn't want to spring several hundred for a neck reset, and that's beyond my capabilities or equipment at present. Hunting around, I discovered:


Bascily, you've U-shaped wood block with the legs of the U resting on the bridgeplate, and a hardwood rod running back and pressing on the tailblock of the guitar. There's an adjustment screw that presses the rod on the tailblock.

There's two ways to attach the block, you can use some trick brass bridge pins, or just run a screw down through the bridge. I used the screw method, and with the pearl dot over the screwhead it looks quite nice.

JLD claims their system will true and level a warped top, and add to the tone of the guitar. I screwed the adjustment screw as far as I dared, let the guitar sit for a few days, and cranked it up some more. Then I strung it up with the old strings to see how it turned out.

A straight edge laid on the frets used to point to the bottom of the bridge, now it points about halfway up the face of the bridge. The bridge is level in the same plane as the fingerboard, rather than being tilted or rolled as it had been. The strings press on the saddle at a better angle than they did before, even with string ramps cut in front of the bridge pins. Oddly, though, the face didn't return to flat, it seems to be a uniform dome with the bridge at the high point, rather than a wave shape as it was before.

I had doubted the claims of improved tone, however the guitar is much louder, has a greater sustain, and much greater depth and resonance to the sound. I tried the old dead strings first, to be sure it was the Bridge System that made a change, not just better strings.

In conclusion, in my limited experience, the System was a worthwhile installation. It would have been nice if the top had returned to flat, maybe on some instruments it would, mine may have been too far gone. The tone improvement is impressive. I'll be trying this system on my other guitars. For a total of about $25 and an hour's tinkering, not bad.
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Postby Mississippi John » Fri Jan 26, 2007 4:33 pm

Something like this is also available at Stewart McDonald http://www.stewmac.com.
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