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Question on replacing a Gitane D-500 bridge with a Dupont bridge

Besides the wonderful Jean Barault guitar that I purchased from Michael recently, I just acquired an older (I think 2004) but beautiful dark stained Gitane D-500 for use as a "travel-practice" guitar (I like to take a guitar along on family vacations but I don't always want to subject the Barault to the airlines' erratic policies on bringing guitars onboard).

I like the Gitane a lot but I feel that the tone could be brightened (it's very warm, but sort of flat) possibly by a "better" bridge" and feel that the guitar is worth the investment in a Dupont. I don't think the Gitane has its original bridge on it as its current bridge has compensated step ladder saddles, so clearly the previous owner experimented with bridges.

It's a nice bridge, and it makes the intonation spot on for sure, but it seems to have wooden shims under its feet (and there are extras in the case pocket) which gives me an action of about 2.4mm at the 12th fret of the low E-string and exactly the same for the high E. I think the neck has flat (0) relief though I'm not an expert at checking that. I guess that giving it some relief would raise the action height a little. However, the guitar doesn't buzz even at these low heights.

Anyway, I don't think that has as much to do with its flat tone. Of course, putting on new strings will help that a little I'm sure, but I think it needs more....

.....so primarily, my long-winded post is designed to get to the question: If I buy a Dupont bridge, does anyone have real-life experience with which size Dupont bridge to buy that might get me a string height of no more than 3.0mm, preferably around 2.8? Of course, it would be better to err on the side of starting out with slightly too much height than buying one that would get me too little height. I want to avoid using shims. I'd like it to start out as close to correct as possible.

If you have direct experience with putting a Dupont on a D-500, that would be great. If you have good general experience with these bridge issues, that's would be helpful too.

Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
    Posts: 936
    I like the Gitane a lot but I feel that the tone could be brightened (it's very warm, but sort of flat) possibly by a "better" bridge" and feel that the guitar is worth the investment in a Dupont. I don't think the Gitane has its original bridge on it as its current bridge has compensated step ladder saddles, so clearly the previous owner experimented with bridges.

    Gitane SAGA Golden Gate did use compensated stair step bridges.

    three sizes...

    F-2921 = 17mm or Low
    F-2922 = 19mm or Medium
    F-2923 = 21mm or High

    You may get some more info from RELATED DISCUSSIONS bottom right of page.

    No way to tell until you try, if you click on the following link it has a picture with a built in magnify feature to see if this matches your Bridge.



    http://www.sagamusic.com/products/product-details.aspx?item=F-2921


    Golden Gate F-2921 Compensated Django Guitar Bridge - Ebony - Low (17mm)
    BUY IT NOW
    Find a Dealer
    Golden+Gate logo
    F-2921
    thumb for F-2921
    OVERVIEW

    FEATURES

    SPECS
    This is the classic recreation of a Selmer style bridge found on most Gypsy Jazz guitars. It is hand-crafted from genuine high quality ebony with a hollowed underside for light weight—just like the 1930’s Original Bridge.

    Traditional Gypsy Jazz guitars were never designed to have an adjustable bridge of any type. This characteristic, although desirable from an aesthetic and collectable standpoint, can also be problematic to maintaining proper setup and optimal playability, year round. This “settling in,” or movement of the wood based on changes in climate conditions is quite normal for a guitar of this type.

    To remedy this and to assure that your Gypsy Jazz guitar is ready to perform at its maximum potential, Golden Gate now offers traditional design, pre-shaped bridges in three different heights to accommodate every climatic variation or extreme change in humidity and dryness.

    These replacement bridges are available in three different heights:

    F-2921 = 17mm or Low
    F-2922 = 19mm or Medium
    F-2923 = 21mm or High

    For best fit, we recommend that you visit a qualified luthier or instrument retailer in your area to discuss which options will work best for your instrument.
  • crothcroth ✭✭
    edited March 2016 Posts: 60
    Wow! This is a treasure trove of information and I'm going to take some time sorting through it. I thank you so much for it.

    I was surprised at one thing that you wrote that, "there's no way to tell...". I would think that with a given known guitar model, which has a certain specific neck angle and scale length, etc. that it could be known which size bridge would give you a specific action height. Why would this not be a constant?

    Where are those bridge heights (ie. 17, 19, 21) measured from?

    Either way, thanks for all that info and I'm going to get to reading up on it.

    p.s. I took a look at the bridge on the site you posted. Mine is very much like that except that its "steps" are not quite as distinct between them and the low E string step looks to be at about the same height as the A string. Those bridges would give my low E string a little more height especially related to the high E string, which with the current bridge, measure about the same. I'm going to look into the dealer nearest me and see if they carry them in stock.
  • Posts: 2,463
    I think John meant no way to tell what the sound will be like.
    Although if you're willing to experiment you will eventually have a winner.
    I went through several bridges and liked what I heard from each. They all gave a guitar a slightly different character. These were all cheaper bridges, mostly Chinese made I picked up on eBay and the one I have now and which I kept for a while now is made by luthier Dan Hunt. It's rosewood and rings like a bell. Has the nicest "tap" tone of all I have.
    Never got the Dupont though. I was always a chicken to spend the $ on it.

    Regarding the height, you figure whatever you want to go up or down at the 12th fret, you need to have double that at the bridge. The height of the bridge is measured at the highest distance from the top of the guitar to the top of the bridge. Some bridges are sloped from low E to high E but I don't know the formula of what slope you should be aiming for. When I was fitting this last bridge I just eyeballed it to give it a gentle slope, I don't know now but it's less than 1mm between low and high E, likely something around 0.5mm.

    As John mentioned there's a treasure trove of info regarding bridges on the forum, dig in and you'll learn a lot but don't hesitate to ask either.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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