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Thread: The SC245, And Why I Love 2 Piece Bridges For SCs

  1. #1

    The SC245, And Why I Love 2 Piece Bridges For SCs

    First off, I'd like to say that my SC245 is a phenomenal guitar, absolutely full of tone, fabulous looking, etc. I'll bet it'd sound great with any bridge. But I think the 2 piece brings out the best in this design.

    I know, you're thinking that since every guitar sounds a little bit different from the next one in the line, how do you attribute the difference in tone to this bridge design? To answer, I'll set my personal Wayback Machine to 1971...

    Back then, I was primarily a keyboard player in college bands (yes, I'm freaking old). But I doubled on guitar, and my axe was an uninspiring sounding SG Special with a wrap tailpiece. It had been my brother's guitar, and I wasn't going to buy a new guitar, my money went into my keyboard rig. Still, I wanted the instrument to sound better. I wasn't unhappy with the pickups, it was the basic tone of the thing that kind of bothered me. It seemed...not very distinctive, insert "meh" adjective here, etc.

    The bass player in our band was also a very fine guitar player, and he'd gotten a new Les Paul Custom, one of the black ones. I absolutely loved the sound of that thing. But he was working and I was still in school. I couldn't remotely afford an LP.

    So I went to the repair shop that had the big reputation in town, and brought the SG Special along. I asked the guy, who was about my age, "Is there anything I can do to make this thing sound really good?" And I told him I loved my friend's LP.

    He looked the guitar over, and strummed it, played for a few minutes, and said, "The best thing you can do for this guitar is replace this bridge with a Tune-O-Matic 2 piece. But it'll result in some holes I'll have to fill with dowel rods, and unless you want to refinish it, it won't be pretty."

    How many of us have swapped a wrap tailpiece for a 2 piece bridge on the a guitar that you're very, very familiar with in terms of tone, and changed nothing else, no tuner swap, no pickup swap, no refinish? In other words, the different tailpiece installation was the only variable.

    Well, I'm that guy. I wanted to find out the difference.

    "Do it," I said.

    "Do you want me to refinish it?"

    "Nah, I don't care how it looks. I want it to sound good." Hey, I didn't have the money for a refin anyway. So the only change made to the guitar was the installation of the 2-piece bridge. Everything else was the same.

    It was a good test to hear the impact of a different bridge, though I didn't realize it at the time. And I'll cut to the chase:

    The tone changed considerably, it became very different (in a good way) indeed, and I while it's difficult to put the difference between a 1-piece wrap and a 2-piece into words, I certainly know it when I hear it. In fact, the guitar is still in my family, here's a shot of it, the 1971 mods are still the only changes to the guitar, even the pickups and frets are original:



    For the next 20 years this was my main guitar. For most of that time, it was my only guitar. Its sound is ingrained into my brain. I believe that I know what happens when you slap a 2 piece bridge on a guitar. There's a certain "woody" change to the midrange that I really like.

    This is my SC245. As you can see, the bridge is different in a lot of design details, but the four attachment points are similar (BTW, it's not quite this honey colored in person):



    This guitar has a gorgeous, present, woody tone. I'm absolutely in love with it, and from the first note I played before even plugging it in, I knew that it had that elusive "it factor."

    I'm not saying that the PRS 2-piece is somehow a "better" tone than the wrap. It's different, however, and you can hear it. My own preference is borne out in how this one sounds. I've had two very fine PRS SC250s, and in addition to this SC245 a couple others with the 2 piece. To my ear, this design is perfection. I also have to say that string changes are an absolute snap with this tailpiece, but that's another matter, of course!

    I love this guitar!
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
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  2. #2
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    Les, I also Love your new guitar!! Thanks for sharing your story. BTW, what is the color on that?

  3. #3
    Good story and very sweet looking guitar you have there. Enjoy!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by TAJ View Post
    Les, I also Love your new guitar!! Thanks for sharing your story. BTW, what is the color on that?
    Thanks, guys! Taj, the color is Burnt Almond. One of my faves!
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  5. #5
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    Thanks for sharing your tonal discovery, Les and also for sharing one more picture of that great guitar…It truly looks like a special one.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Michael B's Avatar
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    That's sweet man, bet that 2 piece definitely has its own feel...Super Sweet Singlecut !!!!
    2010 Black cherry 10 Top Tremonti-signed by Tremonti Modded by PTC DGT frets
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  7. #7
    Occasionally Onery Member CantankerousCarl's Avatar
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    Last year @ GC I almost bought a Stripper...it sounded better to me than the SC245 they also had. A-B'ed them for awhile. I suspect also that the bridge had a lot to do with what my ears liked about it.

    Les, anxious to hear how your first project with her goes!
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  8. #8
    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    I'm convinced more and more that bridges have a huge influence on tone. Unfortunately, they're not the kind of thing that you just change out to a totally different type, at least not easily. I've found that I'm definitely a fixed bridge type, because their tone is deeper and fuller.

    Even going between the plain PRS stoptail and the adjustable type makes a difference to my ear. Something about the break angle of the strings I think. I recently cheated a bit and picked up this somewhat rare gem, and I have to say, the TOM bridge makes it sustain like crazy.

    Strangely familiar to your SG Les... it's not a Les Paul Jr., whaddya think, can I just call it the Les Jr.?

    Anyways, Les, I'm sure the 2 piece on that new axe is killer, along with the rest of the guitar. Didn't mention it in your other thread, but congratulations on that beauty, it's got to be one of the best bursts I've ever seen. Nice transition but with lots of figure even in the darker areas. That color is officially on my favorite list! What pickups did you have put in?
    -I'm no expert, but it seems to work and I haven't electrocuted myself yet. Which is pretty much the standard I live by.

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  9. #9
    Member Whitecat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy474x View Post
    I'm convinced more and more that bridges have a huge influence on tone. Unfortunately, they're not the kind of thing that you just change out to a totally different type, at least not easily. I've found that I'm definitely a fixed bridge type, because their tone is deeper and fuller.
    Swapping out a bridge/trem assembly on an old Strat a few years ago proved to me that it's major, major, major. Tone, sustain, all of it. I will usually spout off to anyone who will listen that the quality of the hardware makes a way bigger difference than the type of wood used. But yeah, on a lot of guitars, it's just not possible to change the bridge.

    I never really bonded with the older PRS singlecuts... love the look but the tone wasn't quite what I expected from a singlecut. Then the SC58s/Stripped 58s came out with that two-piece bridge and they got it right.

    I still love the PRS stoptail design, just not on that style of guitar! Old habits die hard.
    HBII (faded gray black 'double' 10-top), HB12 (black gold), NF3 (antique white/birds), 25th ann. Mira 245 (frost blue metallic), KL1812, Starla (vintage cherry, IRW neck, birds), 2 x 2011 'Stripped' 58 (blue crab blue & goldtop)

  10. #10
    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    have to say I prefer the 'look' of a two piece bridge on that type of guitar, particularly the PRS two piece. I can't comment about tone as I haven't done the comparison myself but I'd certainly expect some kind of difference. Love to see two piece bridges on some SE models.
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by andy474x View Post
    I'm convinced more and more that bridges have a huge influence on tone. Unfortunately, they're not the kind of thing that you just change out to a totally different type, at least not easily. I've found that I'm definitely a fixed bridge type, because their tone is deeper and fuller.

    Even going between the plain PRS stoptail and the adjustable type makes a difference to my ear. Something about the break angle of the strings I think. I recently cheated a bit and picked up this somewhat rare gem, and I have to say, the TOM bridge makes it sustain like crazy.

    Strangely familiar to your SG Les... it's not a Les Paul Jr., whaddya think, can I just call it the Les Jr.?

    Anyways, Les, I'm sure the 2 piece on that new axe is killer, along with the rest of the guitar. Didn't mention it in your other thread, but congratulations on that beauty, it's got to be one of the best bursts I've ever seen. Nice transition but with lots of figure even in the darker areas. That color is officially on my favorite list! What pickups did you have put in?
    It does remind me of my '65! Definitely a Les Jr.

    Thanks for the kind words on my newbie! The pickups are 57/08s, I think they work great with this model. I thought about the 59/09s, but my Stripper had the 57/08s and I really like them. Since I couldn't get 53/10s, I figured what I had and liked would be a good choice.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  12. #12
    So, Les, all due respect and all, but I've got to tell you, on that SG Special, the last thing in the world *I* would do would be to swap out that one-piece bridge. I think an SG Special in that SG-type guise, with the wrap-around bridge/TP is one of the BEST SOUNDING GUITARS EVER.

    Exhibit A: Dave Gregory of XTC showing off his:


    A World of Tone, indeed.

    YMMV. Of course.

  13. #13
    Senior Member 11top's Avatar
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    Les, your 245 is a beauty. I'm a big fan of that color, too.
    Sh*tter's full

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by 11top View Post
    Les, your 245 is a beauty. I'm a big fan of that color, too.
    Thanks, appreciate it!
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    Thanks, appreciate it!
    Quote Originally Posted by kingsleyd View Post
    So, Les, all due respect and all, but I've got to tell you, on that SG Special, the last thing in the world *I* would do would be to swap out that one-piece bridge. I think an SG Special in that SG-type guise, with the wrap-around bridge/TP is one of the BEST SOUNDING GUITARS EVER.
    YMMV. Of course.
    Gee, Kingsley,, thanks for the sage advice on a change I made 43 years ago! You're just a teensy weensy bit late to the party...

    But if you ever get back to 1971 and you find yourself in Ann Arbor, look me up, I'm in the U of M student directory. I was very open-minded, and I'm sure I'd have appreciated your advice! I'd say I would have bought you a beer, but the drinking age in Michigan was 21 and I was too young to get you a beer.

    How about a toke?

    I mentioned my old '65 to say that I changed the bridge on a guitar, made no other changes, and heard a significant difference in how it sounded. The intent was to explain to folks that the 2 piece bridge isn't just for grins or looks.

    And that the two kinds of bridges sound different. Which they indeed do.

    My guitar is nothing like the one in that video, by the way. That one has an ebony board, humbuckers, and is much higher-spec'd. Plus mine was a dud, not a great one. I got it from my brother. The bridge helped its tone out quite a bit.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 02-05-2014 at 10:34 PM.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    My guitar is nothing like the one in that video, by the way. That one has an ebony board, humbuckers, and is much higher-spec'd. Plus mine was a dud, not a great one. I got it from my brother. The bridge helped its tone out quite a bit.
    I was talking about the first guitar he played in the video, Les. The one that is a LOT like yours, except that Dave's still has the wraparound one-piece bridge. Well, at least by how it sounds to me (and Dave seems pretty chuffed with it as well) it's also not a "dud," LOL!

    Of course that guitar would sound different with the two-piece bridge, which I realize was your point. I'm sure it's "different/better" to some folks. Just not to me, at least not in that particular case. Also not in the particular case of the SG Special Pete Townshend used on Live at Leeds.

    I also think that, in general, wraparound bridge/tailpiece units feel better. As in, how the guitar responds to my pick attack. But again, that's just me, and I'm pretty sure it's a minority opinion.

    Nice new SC, btw.
    Last edited by kingsleyd; 02-05-2014 at 10:33 PM.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by kingsleyd View Post
    I was talking about the first guitar he played in the video, Les. The one that is a LOT like yours, except that Dave's still has the wraparound one-piece bridge. Well, at least by how it sounds to me (and Dave seems pretty chuffed with it as well) it's also not a "dud," LOL!
    Well that's funny...on my screen, what was visible was the white one, and I wanted to hear that and started in the middle. LOL. I didn't even see the other one. My bad.

    Yeah, that's a really good sounding SG Special. It's far more articulate than mine was, which is one reason why I wanted a change. But that guitar has aged for 53 years, and at the time I changed mine it was a 6 year old dud.

    And I was a kid. So there's that. Maybe it would be great now, maybe it would just be an old guitar, know what I mean? A friend has a zillion dollar D'Aquisto that I think absolutely is "just an old guitar," it does nothing for me. So maybe I just have bad taste.

    As I said, get in your time machine and talk me out of it. Also if you do go back in time, please do me a favor and talk me out of selling my '91 PRS, my Artist II, my 2000 SC, my 2003 McCarty Soap, my 2010 CU22 SH Ltd, and quite a few others...
    Last edited by LSchefman; 02-05-2014 at 10:51 PM.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  18. #18
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    So, I was playing my Mira over my lunch break as usual and then the idea popped in my head about the two piece bridge, and how it might look and sound on my Mira. That's really an idea I didn't need to have.
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  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by John Beef View Post
    So, I was playing my Mira over my lunch break as usual and then the idea popped in my head about the two piece bridge, and how it might look and sound on my Mira. That's really an idea I didn't need to have.
    My madness is contagious.

    Don't feel bad. I am seriously thinking about a PS JA-15 size guitar with a slimline body and the 2 piece bridge. Because I'm literally insane.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  20. #20
    Happy Egads's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    My madness is contagious.

    Don't feel bad. I am seriously thinking about a PS JA-15 size guitar with a slimline body and the 2 piece bridge. Because I'm literally insane.
    DO IT! I love that body and can't wait to figure out why I can't live without one.

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