You are here:

Guitar - General/Flipping the bridge on a new Les Paul

Advertisement


Question
QUESTION: Hi, recently I've been experimenting alot with various Gibson Les Paul's to purchase for the first time, but I just can't passed the way the bridge causes my wrist to arch. I was really disappointed until I heard the bridge can be flipped.
I like the idea, but I'm hesitant because it seems involved, and I don't think a store will flip it for me to test it out before buying one. Do you have any insight or advice as to how to go about this? That is, if flipping the bridge is even worth it.

Thanks,

Gene

ANSWER: Hey Gene, I'm not sure that will help your wrist from arching any & as far as I know there are only 2 reasons to flip the bridge:

1. So that the strings don't get caught on the screws (So you would turn the bridge so that the screws face the pickups)

2. Intonation - sometime you flip just a saddle so that it can cover a bit more ground.

Now to be honest with you, all I play are Gibsons & if your wrist is arching cause of the bridge, I'd have to say you're holding the guitar wrong.

So, first off, what you want to do is set your strap height. I never play without a strap & I recommend the same to everyone.

Start by standing up with the guitar strapped on in front of you & check the height. It will vary depending on how long your arms are. I'd say the best place to start would be to set the guitar up so that the very bottom of if just covers your belt buckle. (When you play you should also wear your belt buckle to the side so you don't chew away the finish on the guitar - that's called buckle rash) If you can climb the whole neck with your fret hand without bending  your wrist more than 45 degrees then it's set good. Your picking arm should be resting on the top edge of the guitar & your hand should rest just behind the neck pickup with your wrist just barely touching the top corner of the bridge. most of your picking will be done between the two pickups, but there are plenty of occasions where you want to play right where the strings meet the bridge & there are some occasions where you'll want to play the stings up on the fretboard as well. Especially for soft ballads etc. Anyways, I hope that helps somewhat. Let me know how it goes & good luck!
Peace - J.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks, I'm thinking you may be right about making some adjustments to a Gibson. Maybe, it just a matter of getting used to. Guess its what makes it a Les Paul. I would, however, like to know more about your tip/tips on intonation. Which strings do you prefer, and just how low can the action be adjusted?

Answer
Hey Gene, I'm the wrong guy to ask for that bro! I play with my action pretty high compared to most guys, and I also use 2 different string types of differing gauges, so not too consistent there either. I only play D'Addario strings, for Rock & Blues I use either 10-46 Nickel Wound or 10 - 48 Chromes. If I want to play strict jazz, I'll load up on much heavier strings (11's or 12's) to remind myself not to bend the strings too much. As for intonation, it takes some practice to get it right, but in essence what you want to do is match the fretted note & the harmonic at the 12th fret. If they're both in unison, you're usually good to go if your neck is good. Hope that helps bro, if you need anything else, just drop me a line1
Peace - J.

Guitar - General

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Jason Fryer

Expertise

Jason Fryer is a Canadian musician, producer, recording engineer & music instructor. Born in Montreal, Quebec, he attended the Musician's Professional Workshop on scholarship from Montreal radio station CHOM FM, studied Classical Music & Art at Vanier College, & holds a degree from Herzing Institute in Micro Computer Electronics. A veteran of the Canadian Music Scene, Jason has had the honour of playing with some of Canada’s finest musicians. Juno & Maple Blues award winning artists such as Jerome Godboo, Eric Shenkman, Jerry Mercer, Steve Marriner & Matt Sobb, Al Wood, Murray Kinsley, Leigh-Anne Stanton, Rod Williams, Thomas Starwalker Clair, David Maracle, Greg Morency, Scott Price, Simon Meilleur & Bobby Watt are but a few of the many Canadian greats Jason has enjoyed sharing the stage with. He has also had the rare & esteemed privilege to work with & study under legendary producer/engineer & former V.P. of Island Records Rob Fraboni. (Bob Dylan, The Band, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Joe Cocker, Bonnie Raitt) Rob's generosity in sharing his vast & expansive degree of knowledge & expertise in the field of sound recording has been an invaluable asset to Jason's development as a producer & recording engineer.

Experience

I have been playing guitar for over 30 years & tour regularly with my band River City Junction. We play a mix of Blues, Jazz, Funk, Motown, R&B & Classic Rock so I can help answer any questions related to these genres as well. I also have extensive experience using many different brands of guitars, amplifiers & effects. I do most of my own work on my guitars, & I also build & repair my own pedals & tube amps, so I can help with questions of a technical nature with regards to these subjects as well.

Organizations
River CIty Junction Tone King Records

Education/Credentials
Musician's Professional Workshop Scholarship (CHOM FM)
Vanier College (Classical Music - Guitar)
Herzing Institute (Micro-Computer Electronics)
Have taken numerous online courses in recording/engineering

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.