Still with me?
Since I wasn't going to spend $500+ on a used ABR that may or may not be in working condition, I started looking at 60's ABR's with the retaining wire and there was a significant price difference. Nickel plated ones fetch more than the chrome plated but if you look, they can be had for under $200 and even less if they don't have the original saddles. I picked up one nickel plated and two chrome plated patent number ABR's for less than $80 each and for that kind of money I was willing to take a chance. One was missing all the saddles and screws, the other two had most of the nylon saddles and some of the screws so the plan was to lift the factory saddles out of my R9's bridge and move them over. Well smack my ass and call me Mary, the video did not lie. I was happy with my R9 as is but there's definitely a difference between the Gibson Historic ABR and the vintage one. The string response is snappier with a faster attack and the overall sound is livelier. I wish I could say it was all in my head but I swapped the bridges three times and I'm stickin' to my guns, they sound different. Will you hear a difference if you swap yours out? I have no idea; your mileage may vary but for me there was mojo to be had.
Stay tuned for Part Two!