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Maya J-200 Bridge Saddle Modification

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Hi folks,

first time I am positing here, so if you see anything inappropriate, let me know.

I recently had the chance to obtain a vintage (1970s) Maya MJ-200, a really nice Gibson J-200 copy. Since it was really cheap, and looks great, I am intending to keep this and to make some modifications to it. First it will need a new nut, as the old one was not original and did not fit.

But the modification that I am trying to gather your input on is a change of the bridge setup. Right now it has one of these infamous adjustable brige saddles, where a brass rod carries the saddle. This rod rests on the bridge only via two thumb screws, and I guess this setup is responsible for the sound of the guitar, which is loud and powerful, but lacks clarity and definition.

My first question is for options to install a regular style bridge saddle without completely making a new bridge (which is beyond my ability for the time being). I know that there is a TUSQ saddle for such guitars, anyone have any experiences with such a saddle? Also, I was thinking of inserting a piece of roeswood with the appropriate slot for a blade saddle, and glueing this in for optimal transer.

My second question is about installing a pickup in this guitar. Coincidentally it has a large ding where the preamp would sit, and it would not hurt so much cutting an opening for the preamp box. And as I am installing a new saddle anyway, this would be a good opportunity. The guitar is X-braced, so I could even install a Fishman iBeam on the bridge plate.

Any input in this project is greatly appreciated.

Thanks - LP


Some pictures of that guitar:


Edited by LP Linus
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If that slot's about 1/4" wide, I'd be tempted to do the easier thing and 'simply' fit (snug) a bone saddle, shaped appropriately. I know some suppliers sell blanks oversized, but I can't seem to find any right now. Otherwise I'd glue a tight-fitting rosewood fillet in place and re-route the saddle slot.

In terms of pickups, I like K&K's pure system for simplicity and sound.

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I agree with Mattia. I would pick up an oversized saddle and fit it in the existing slot(very easy to do, and leaves the guitar in tact). Woodenspoke(a member of this forum) sells bone nut and saddle blanks, and I am sure he could set you up with just what you need. Be sure you dig in and research how to properly set up and adjust your ned blank for intonation. Reversable upgrades are a very senable approach(don't lose those original parts).



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