Chuck that stock Gitane bridge

drollingdrolling New
edited February 2005 in Gypsy Jazz 101 Posts: 153
I'd been thinking about this for some time, but you guys really got me going. If this has been covered before, please delete it. If it should be in the equipment section, please move it - but it seems to me to be as much about technique and tone as it is about materials.

I've been up all night filing and sanding a taller bridge for my 250M and I am astonished at the difference it has made in the guitar's tone and playability. As far as I'm concered this is a 'must do' modification. I had no conception what a difference a few millimeters could make, and quite frankly was afraid I wouldn't be able to play it at all with the action jacked up.

It's actually EASIER to play now. I can really whack the strings as hard as I want, and even play faster than before. I do not understand the physics and mechanical principles - it just feels right.

The sound really projects - brighter, more open and resonant - and these are old strings!

I am so grateful for all the info I've soaked up here in the last 48 hours.
Thank you all very much.


  • CynekulCynekul New
    Posts: 38
    If I were to order a blank bridge would most guitar techs know how to shave it and put string grooves in it? I'm not handy at all with tools or woodworking and I really don't trust myself to do something like that.

  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,752
    When it comes to bridges, the best advice I can give is to drop a line to Mike Collins. You can reach him via his site:

    Once he's got the measurements from your guitar, he'll craft a bridge specifically for you, and you won't have to worry about screwing around with it too much on your own. The replacement he made for me made a huge difference on my guitar, and all without shimming, shaving, etc. For thirty or forty US$, I can't imagine what would have helped more. And for Gitanes, especially, I'm with David-it's a must do modification.

    Hope that helps,
  • drollingdrolling New
    Posts: 153
    I'm no luthier, either, but I was too impatient to leave the guitar with my guy as he takes forever to do the simplest things. And it is quite simple - a qualified tech could do this kind of thing easily, and probably cheaply too. It's well worth doing and if you don't like it you can always put the old bridge back in again.

    I ordered all three bridges that were available from
    although there are probably better ones out there, maybe even right here somewhere on this site.

    I used the lowest one which is plenty tall enough for the 250M. They're a bit too long to fit between the moustache ends, so those edges have to be filed off first, then the top curved to match the fretboard radius, then slotted and that's it.

    Good luck with this little project. Let us know how it turns out. For me, it's like having a brand new guitar - I can't put the dang thing down!
  • CynekulCynekul New
    Posts: 38
    ok, I've decided to order a Collins bridge for my Gitane but what should I raise the action to? I know its too low now, do I want to go ahead and raise it to 4mm above the top of the 12th fret? From what I've read that is a standard GJ action. Or should I go all the way to 4.5mm above the top of the 12th fret? Also I've considered getting a Miller and they suggest you have at least 11mm between the strings and the soundboard to use their pickups. Would 4mm above the top of the 12th fret give me the 11mm necessary above the soundboard?
  • PaganiniPaganini New
    Posts: 74

    Don't buy a Miller for your Gitane, it does not work well. I have a Miller and it doesn't work with the Gitane. even if it fits under your strings without the strings hitting the pick-up it doesn't sound good. The B-string is far to loud and the whole balance is terrible. It does work with guitars that have a lot of space between de top en the strings, I'd say about two centimeter. I tried it for example on a woodland and that works ok, but still the sound wasn't satisfying to me.. :?


  • djangologydjangology Portland, OregonModerator
    Posts: 1,018
    A higher bridge is good but my advice, if you have a Gitane, is to play the guitar for a while (100+ hours) before you decide to start tweaking it. I think most people will eventually find that a higher bridge is better but they might not realize this until they start developing their rest stroke technique.
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    I posted some info on fitting a bridge here: ... c&start=15
    (Scroll down and you'll see it)

    Also look as the Dupont bridges. I have used them many times and they are really close to the original Selmer bridge and sound great. I have been building my own bridges lately from the Selmer plans. It is a fun project but if you don't have a good wood shop it will take you way more time then it is worth.

  • Craig BumgarnerCraig Bumgarner Drayden, MarylandVirtuoso Bumgarner S/N 001
    Posts: 795

    I've been thinking about making a bridge ala the Selmer plans. Cutting the blank and the profiles looks easy enough, but how do you machine the hollow areas either side of the string contact edge, i.e. the upper faces of the bridge? And the carved out areas on the underside (a gouge chisel?). How do you fit the "feet" to the (slightly curved) top?

  • CynekulCynekul New
    Posts: 38
    Well I'm going to go with the Collins bridge because someone said that he will cut it to the dimensions of your guitar. I have no woodworking skill whatsoever and I would just destroy a blank bridge if I tried to do something like that. I'm really not handy with my hands at all when it comes to things like that.

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