1930’s Style “Belly” Bridge

Replica of bridge CF Martin Co used from the late ’20’s to mid 1938

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Product Description

Martin began using this bridge in April 1930 and changed to the “40’s” style bridge (also available from us) in mid-1938 (the exact date varies a bit from model to model). If the original bridge is missing or altered beyond recognition, you’ll be safe choosing the 30’s style up until mid-1938.
True to the original form, the radii of the wings are asymmetrical. Oddly, the asymmetry of the footprint remained throughout both decades, but the carving changes significantly. The belly begins to curve off at the bridge pins holes on the ’30’s bridges, making it significantly lighter than it’s 40’s offspring (belly doesn’t begin to curve off until a full 1/4″ behind the pin holes).
Bridges are made of Gaboon and Macassar ebony that was sawn over 50 years ago. Grain is correctly oriented to minimize any chance of checking through pin holes. Ebony is black with no streaking. I finish each bridge by hand.
Make a note on your order if you’d like bridge slightly lower or higher than the stock 11/32″.

Most of the bridges from this period used either a 2 5/16″ or 2 3/8” hole spacing. The neck angle was set first and then workers chose from three different height bridges: 5/16″, 11/32″ and 3/8”. I’ve chosen to manufacture these replacement bridges in the middle range (roughly 11/32”) as the default height (and the height I shoot for when resetting a neck). For an additional fee I can make a custom height for your particular project.

The 1930 versions of this bridge barely had any detectable saddle compensation. By early 1931, we see nearly a 1/16″ compensation and by the end of 1932, a full 1/16″, which is the vintage option available above. The guitar won’t play in tune as well as the “modern” or fully compensated option (nearly 3/16″), but if you’re restoring a clean Martin guitar made in the late ’20’s early 1930’s, this is the correct saddle configuration. If you are restoring a Martin guitar built between 1934 through mid 1938, the guitar and your client will likely prefer the fully-compensated ‘modern” saddle slot. I’ve included the (last) picture of two bridges side by side so you can see the difference between the vintage (bridge on left) and “modern” (bridge on right) compensation.