Don’t be Misled (ABR-1)

This is the real one. Note the sharp square edges of the indented area with has the text and also notice the funny mark after the words. That's the foundry mark and most repros don't have it. But some do.

This one is sold by "Crazy Parts" in Germany but their site says its made by Gibson. The Gibson ones I've seen on Historics don't have the foundry mark but it looks like the newer ones do. But look at the area around the text. It's rounded off. That's all I could find to tell them apart. The font looks pretty good but the top seems a bit more rounded. On the vintage one, the letters are more flat

Ever notice how the misled looks like it should be pronounced myzled (like grizzled with a sharp “i”)? It always looked wrong to me. Be that as it may, Gibson’s Historic ABR-1 bridge is so close to the original that it seems easy to be fooled and many, even those who shouldn’t be, fall for them as the real thing. I saw two Ebay listings this morning-both by reputable dealers that listed bridges as original 60’s ABR-1’s. What’s a little distressing is that this one is generally pretty easy. Most of you are aware that the earliest ABR-1 had no retainer wire and said “GIBSON ABR-1” on the underside followed by an odd shape which is the mark of the foundry who cranked these things out. By 62 or so, the wired bridges started showing up but they still had the same marking on the bottom. The switched over chrome in ’65 but there were still bridges with the same markings. Then, some time in ’65, the changed the ABR-1. They got a little beefier and they no longer said ABR-1 and they no longer had the foundry mark. They said simply “GIBSON PAT. No. 2,740,313. There are both nickel and chrome (and gold ones) which points out that the transition occurred over a pretty long period. In 65, there are actually 4 different possibilities for a 335’s ABR-1. A nickel one with foundry mark, a chrome one with the mark or nickel or chrome with the patent number. Confusing, huh. When Gibson started getting serious about the accuracy of their Historic lines, they finally reproduced the bridge to a very close approximation of the original. I personally cannot tell the difference without a magnifying glass. The only thing I see that’s different is the thickness of the metal lip that the screws fit into on the back side (not the screw head side) of the bridge. It was pretty thin on the originals and tended to get bent up a bit. It’s a very slight difference but you don’t even need to look that close. The Historics, until this year, I believe,  didn’t have the foundry mark. There was an early repro -made by Pigtail, I believe, that reproduced the foundry mark but I’ve only seen a couple of those and, apparently, they don’t make it any more. But, recently, Crazy Parts, who make a lot of repro stuff or import it from Japan (they are in Germany) sells an aged version of  the Historic ABR-1 that includes the foundry mark and pretty much nails the typeface. In this case, look at the area surrounding the words. If the left and right edges of the “surround” are squared off, it’s real. If there is a smooth downward curve on the right and left and the corners are rounded, it’s a repro. So, if you aren’t sure whether the ABR-1 you’re about to shell out $350 or more for is the real vintage deal, just look for the foundry mark. Look at it this way-it’s a $50 bridge and a $300 mark. Then, if it’s there, look at it even more closely. If you see the curves, then see yourself to the door.

This type of repro is easy-no foundry mark.

And this one is easy. This was used from '65 until they started using the Nashville type which I think was 1981 or so.

4 Responses to “Don’t be Misled (ABR-1)”

  1. paul davies says:

    i ve got that pat number on an old gibson ,, been stored away for years ,, cos i don t play music , looked at it just before this xmas ,, and no one can tell me what age the guitar is , i would appreciate some help ,, mail me if you want too see it , many thanks paul .

  2. palle says:

    I have a quistion. I just bought a Gibson ABR-1 gold pat. no. bridge it has no R trademark on the back, A lot of them I seen has a R trademark after the is mine a fake when it hasn’t got the R on it


  3. cgelber says:

    No, not a fake but it’s a later one. Not sure what year they stopped the mark but it was around 1970.

  4. Andy Nowak says:

    if you go deeper into the details of the Gibson ABR-1 production you will see that Gibson offers different ABR-1 over the years…some with the Trademark sign some without…I have 2006 ES 335 which have ABR-1 without the trademark sign…the newer ones incl. the ones we selling have the sign…also Gibson change specs Nowire ABR-1 on those bridges…some years ago..they changed specs for the screws and saddles…they goes harder into the bridge that they don’t fall out if string break…but this is killing tone!…and year the bridges we selling are all org. Gibson ones! Guaranteed! Andy

Leave a Reply

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)