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SoulJazzin

H550 Upgrade Recos - Schaller

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Posted (edited)

Hello all, I just acquired a 1995 H550 and it's freaking awesome!! I have a Gibbons L5 ces and Super 400 ces and wanted a 25 1/2 laminate workhorse. 

Like some folks, I'm not too excited about the Schaller roller bridge and pickups smile.png

  • Can anyone provide insights on the tonal impacts of converting to an ABR bridge? 
    • I was thinking of going ABR with Nylon saddles, as i have em on my L5 and love the combo.
  • Im thinking of putting in some Gibbons 57's or Lollar Imperials. -Would this be a big improvement from the stock Schallers?

I know this is all subjective, but thanks in advance!

1995 Heritage H550 Guitar Body Front Full.jpg

Edited by SoulJazzin

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Posted (edited)

Well, it would have to be a Nashville TOM or an ABR conversion that sits on Nashville spaced posts.  I think more people complain about the schaller tailpiece than the bridge.  Personally, I wouldn't change the Schaller bridge on this guitar.  If you play fingerstyle the Schaller bridge is great because you can adjust the string spacing very easy. 

As far as the pickups,  many jazzers really like schaller pickups because they are darker sounding which is perfect for jazz.

My advice.... play it for a couple months and then maybe consider a pickup swap based on what tone you are after (again, it maybe perfect as is) and search for pickups that make a tonal difference if needed, don't just switch to another brand just to switch. 

Edited by Kuz
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9 hours ago, Kuz said:

My advice.... play it for a couple months and then maybe consider a pickup swap based on what tone you are after (again, it maybe perfect as is) and search for pickups that make a tonal difference if needed, don't just switch to another brand just to switch. 

A buddy has a 550 much like this one.  Give it some time.  You may like it as it is. 

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I'll endorse the Lollar Imperial idea.  I have Imperial low-winds on my 550 and they are great for that 50s-60s jazz sound that can also sustain and sing with the right settings.

 

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Thanks guys!! The more I’ve been playing it, the more I’m loving it! It’s got pretty amazing tone and sustain acoustically, so I don’t think I’m going to mess with the bridge. I didn’t realize the Schaller bridge had adjustable string spacing, which is really cool. Thanks for that note ;)

I think I will swap the pups eventually. Will def put a Lollar imperial in the bridge as thats my fav. Need to research a neck replacement.

have never tried a Seth or bare knuckle...

 

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The roller bridge saddles have different shape notches. U - Shaped from the wound strings and V - shaped for the plain strings. I think it may be backwards if the intonation screws are facing the tailpiece like on a nashville style t.o.m. I believe the screws should face the bridge pickup like an abr1. You can also pop the roller saddles out and move them around if you dont want to reset your intonation. be careful if you do, they will roll away and never be found again.

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Does anyone know what specific model the schaller bridge is? Can I get a set of backup saddles for it?

The way its setup right now the sound is a bit “pingy” and the strings ring a lot behind the bridge and the tailpiece. I have 12 Thomastiks flats on it. I wonder if an ABR would tighten up the sound a bit? The Schaller does have fantastic sustain right now though, it’s just super punchy
 

 

F5D1F31F-4905-4158-AA98-7C0FC104497C.jpeg

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6 hours ago, SoulJazzin said:

Does anyone know what specific model the schaller bridge is? Can I get a set of backup saddles for it?

The way its setup right now the sound is a bit “pingy” and the strings ring a lot behind the bridge and the tailpiece. I have 12 Thomastiks flats on it. I wonder if an ABR would tighten up the sound a bit? The Schaller does have fantastic sustain right now though, it’s just super punchy
 

 

F5D1F31F-4905-4158-AA98-7C0FC104497C.jpeg

It's a Schaller STM - https://schaller.info/en/bridges/328/stm. As ShredAndDestroy said, the rollers for the wound strings have a wider U-shaped profile and the rollers for the plain strings have a narrower V-shaped profile. I've just had a look at a Schaller bridge in my box of bits, and with the wound string rollers in the correct place, the screw heads would face the tailpiece - it would be worth checking the rollers on your bridge as it is. If you don't want to pop ot the rollers, you could just reverse the whole bridge and reset the intonation. Let us know how you get on.

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Shoot guys, so your saying the bridge is on backwards?? The screws are facing the pups. looking at the rollers, It looks like there’s open space on both sides of the high E. Hard to tell visually without taking the strings off, but seems to be backwards and rollers on wrong strings?? 

58998218-2D5A-45CB-B58B-2F7DACF37A11.jpeg

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The intonation looks to be WAY off, but maybe somehow it was set up that way.

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Have you checked the intonation on this guitar???? There is no way to tell by looking if the intonation is off.  As Kuz said, it may be setup that way to compensate for another problem (ie nut). Just like most intonatable bridges, you can mount these bridges either way, so NO, not on backwards. I for one would junk that bridge, and get the ABR you were looking at first. But if you get an ABR with Nylon saddles I wouldn't get the one from Philidelphia Luthier supply as I tried that one and it is made particularly cheap, especially the saddles. Although I'm not a huge fan of Tonepros, because I hate the little set srews they use, their replacement seems like a logical choice for you as it looks as though it would be drop in. If it would was my guitar, I would use a Faber ABR with brass saddles, which I love the tone of. If you need to know what bridge would be right for your guitar, you can contact Larry Faber directly and he will respond by e-mail lightning fast!

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Oh boy, sorry... you have to reset the intonation if you flip the bridge around.

It's not a big deal if you flip it back the way it was.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I'm pretty sure that the bridge has been reversed.   If you look closely at the saddles,  the "thicker" ones are on the wound strings, and the thinner ones are on the plain strings.

Look closely at the saddles on the left of the bridge below.  You see thinner walls on the left saddles than those on the right.   Yours look to be the reverse of that.  Look closely at the 3rd and 4th strings.

1113937109_SchallerSTM.thumb.jpg.1c0e2d85c2e7dd15b650bdc94bfc784e.jpg

Also, my guitars with trapeze type tailpieces have a "ringing" sound from the strings behind the bridge.  One is a 525,  the other is a DeArmond/Guild Starfire.   You can easily dampen the ringing by weaving a bit of felt or other material through the strings.   A hanky will work but it looks a bit funny hanging in there.   I find that the ringing is part of the unique sound on those guitars.

Edited by TalismanRich
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On 6/6/2020 at 3:09 PM, SoulJazzin said:

Will def put a Lollar imperial in the bridge as thats my fav.

I have Imperials in a custom 137 Gold Top that followed me home.  I have never heard of different barrel shapes on the Schaller bridges.  That bridge may be backwards.  I will have to take a look.

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Hey guys thanks for all the input, super helpful!

I flipped the bridge yesterday and it was indeed backwards, with the flats in the smaller saddles for the higher 3 strings.

I re-intonated it and messed with the string spacing and it's much much better now. I don't have a string spacing guide so tried to match it approx to my L-5 and it feels good :)

At this point I'll just play her for a month or two and likely upgrade the pups and possibly the bridge. It's extremely bright and kind of "pingy" sounding right now, so am wondering if going with an ABR with Nylons might mellow it out a bit. I go for a darker Wes type sound in general. There's a huge amount of sympathetic sound coming behind the bridge between saddle. Much more than on my L-5 or other archtops I've owned. Dampening with a cloth def resolves that. Thanks guys!!! Amazing guitar, just need to fine tune it...

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Glad you resolved the backwards bridge issue.  If you are still hearing a sypmpathetic pinging or sitar sound, it could be that the bridge notch needs to be cleared of metal burr or pinching. 

To remedy that issue, gently remove the string from the notch, then lightly sand the bridge slot.  Then place the string back in its slot.  Hopefully doing that a couple of times will address it.  

If you do consider a bridge replacement, your best bet is a Faber, as mentioned above.  Good luck! 

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That noise is most likely coming from the Trapeze tailpiece.  Make sure the ball ends are seated securely and not moving in the notch at the tailpiece.

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On 6/9/2020 at 1:54 PM, Gitfiddler said:

Glad you resolved the backwards bridge issue.  If you are still hearing a sypmpathetic pinging or sitar sound, it could be that the bridge notch needs to be cleared of metal burr or pinching. 

To remedy that issue, gently remove the string from the notch, then lightly sand the bridge slot.  Then place the string back in its slot.  Hopefully doing that a couple of times will address it.  

If you do consider a bridge replacement, your best bet is a Faber, as mentioned above.  Good luck! 

With an ABR or a Nashvile bridge, I would agree.  But with the roller bridge, I don't see how this could happen. 

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On 6/10/2020 at 10:57 AM, Kuz said:

That noise is most likely coming from the Trapeze tailpiece.  Make sure the ball ends are seated securely and not moving in the notch at the tailpiece.

I have had a noisy tailpiece too so that could be it.  that sound is not always easy to find or cure.  

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After research on swapping the Schaller Roller bridge, it looks like best options are:

1) Go with the Faber non-mod kit, so I don't have to replace the studs. Problem with their posts is they are threaded at the top, so Faber is saying I should get their locking bridge also, so it secures from the top:
https://faberusa.com/product/3031nsw-tone-lock-bridge-ez-gloss-nickel/

2) Convert the Studs in body: Callaham said for their ABR Nashville conversion, I'd need to have the posts swapped out.
https://www.callahamguitars.com/Gibbons_bridge_ABR1_catalog.htm

3) Install the Faber non-mod posts and just clamp down a TonePros with Nylons to it. I'm curious if the nylons would mellow the tone a bit:
https://www.stewmac.com/parts-and-hardware/all-hardware-and-parts-by-instrument/electric-guitar-parts/electric-guitar-bridges-and-tailpieces/tune-o-matic-bridges/tonepros-nvr2g-nashville-tune-o-matic-bridge-with-g-formula-saddles.html

I'm a bit apprehensive to swap the posts and risk any subsequent issues that may arise, but i suppose it's a simple job for an good luthier. Hard to decide if I should I just go full conversion, or play it safe and try to Faber non-mod kit first...

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On 6/17/2020 at 9:11 AM, SoulJazzin said:

After research on swapping the Schaller Roller bridge, it looks like best options are:

1) Go with the Faber non-mod kit, so I don't have to replace the studs. Problem with their posts is they are threaded at the top, so Faber is saying I should get their locking bridge also, so it secures from the top:
https://faberusa.com/product/3031nsw-tone-lock-bridge-ez-gloss-nickel/

2) Convert the Studs in body: Callaham said for their ABR Nashville conversion, I'd need to have the posts swapped out.
https://www.callahamguitars.com/Gibbons_bridge_ABR1_catalog.htm

3) Install the Faber non-mod posts and just clamp down a TonePros with Nylons to it. I'm curious if the nylons would mellow the tone a bit:
https://www.stewmac.com/parts-and-hardware/all-hardware-and-parts-by-instrument/electric-guitar-parts/electric-guitar-bridges-and-tailpieces/tune-o-matic-bridges/tonepros-nvr2g-nashville-tune-o-matic-bridge-with-g-formula-saddles.html

I'm a bit apprehensive to swap the posts and risk any subsequent issues that may arise, but i suppose it's a simple job for an good luthier. Hard to decide if I should I just go full conversion, or play it safe and try to Faber non-mod kit first...

All Faber bridges sound good and any post swap is a fairly easy job. I've done Faber jobs on so many guitars I would have a hard time remembering them all. I did them for a lot of friends, but I also did them on these guitars which I own... Early 90's Les Paul Special, early 2000's SG classic, 1995 Les Paul Premium Plus, 2012 Les Paul Special, 2009 Firebird, 2010 Firebird, 2010 Heritage H150, 2015 Heritage H150

 

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9 minutes ago, rockabilly69 said:

All Faber bridges sound good and any post swap is a fairly easy job. I've done Faber jobs on so many guitars I would have a hard time remembering them all. I did them for a lot of friends, but I also did them on these guitars which I own... Early 90's Les Paul Special, early 2000's SG classic, 1995 Les Paul Premium Plus, 2012 Les Paul Special, 2009 Firebird, 2010 Firebird, 2010 Heritage H150, 2015 Heritage H150

 

What’s your overall take on moving from the schaller roller to a TuneO and sound difference?

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3 minutes ago, SoulJazzin said:

What’s your overall take on moving from the schaller roller to a TuneO and sound difference?

I replaced a Schaller on a friends guitar, and aesthetically I liked it better, but since it wasn't my guitar, and I changed the strings after the bridge, I can't comment on the tone change. He says he likes it better though. He was getting rattles with his Schaller. And this was on a solid body guitar not an archtop! Personally I heard rattles from every roller bridge that I've used, and have junked them on 4 different Gretsch guitars, two of them being fully hollow Anniversary models. And on my guitars, with the stock Nashville bridges that I replaced, both Heritage and Gibbons, the Faber always sounded better!

I just installed a Faber BSWKIT (screw in bridge posts to replace Nashville style inserts) on my Heritage H150 and I really like that. I'm just a Faber fanboy. 

GOKyQUY.jpg

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2 hours ago, rockabilly69 said:

I replaced a Schaller on a friends guitar, and aesthetically I liked it better, but since it wasn't my guitar, and I changed the strings after the bridge, I can't comment on the tone change. He says he likes it better though. He was getting rattles with his Schaller. And this was on a solid body guitar not an archtop! Personally I heard rattles from every roller bridge that I've used, and have junked them on 4 different Gretsch guitars, two of them being fully hollow Anniversary models. And on my guitars, with the stock Nashville bridges that I replaced, both Heritage and Gibbons, the Faber always sounded better!

I just installed a Faber BSWKIT (screw in bridge posts to replace Nashville style inserts) on my Heritage H150 and I really like that. I'm just a Faber fanboy. 

GOKyQUY.jpg

Ok gotcha, I finally borrowed a stock Gibby Nashville bridge today to drop in for sizing, and it was a perfect match. I'm a bit confused on why everyone was talking about conversion kits and such. -Is that just if folks want to go ABR and not swap with a stock Nashville bridge?

Anyways, I'm going to go with a TonePros Nashville with G Saddles to start, and can always flip to metal saddles :)
https://store.tonepros.com/p/nvr2g-tonepros-avr2-with-standard-nashville-post-tuneomatic-g-formula-saddles

Many thanks!!!

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3 hours ago, SoulJazzin said:

Ok gotcha, I finally borrowed a stock Gibby Nashville bridge today to drop in for sizing, and it was a perfect match. I'm a bit confused on why everyone was talking about conversion kits and such. -Is that just if folks want to go ABR and not swap with a stock Nashville bridge?

Anyways, I'm going to go with a TonePros Nashville with G Saddles to start, and can always flip to metal saddles :)
https://store.tonepros.com/p/nvr2g-tonepros-avr2-with-standard-nashville-post-tuneomatic-g-formula-saddles

Many thanks!!!

That's the bridge I advised a few posts back. A perfect drop-in replacement and the I've used the Tonepros ABR with the same saddles and I liked it. Tell us what you think when you get it installed and intonated!

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