G&L tech resources: Bridges

 
 

The evolution of the rock-solid aluminum Locktight/Saddle-Lock bridge can be followed through the different (design) patents Leo filed over the years. It actually starts well before G&L came about with US Pat. 4,031,799 filed on January 26, 1976. This patent tries to solve several problems. First, to independently adjust the intonation and the height of the strings. And all this without ruining the players sleeve! Second, to force the saddles against each other by having the string ends past the saddle exert a lateral force due to being partially wrapped around the intonation screw. This patent claims the latter greatly improves sustain by disallowing the saddles to vibrate individually. The next step is shown in US Pat. Des. 256,804, filed on March 6, 1978. It already shows the anchor, the most important factor in the acoustic coupling between strings and body, giving G&L guitars and basses the sustain they are known for. This design still has the “string through body” design, is stubbier, and uses barrel saddles. Filed on October 29, 1979, US Pat. 4,281,576 shows the complete assembly in its next phase. Instead of wrapping the string around the intonation screw, they go over the saddle at a slight angle hence exerting a lateral force pushing all saddles together against one of the walls of the bridge. The oval recesses at the back for the intonation screws and the holes feeding the strings are not slanted yet. This gets fixed in US Pat. Des. 269,440, filed May 26, 1981, which shows the layout still in use. More importantly, this design also shows the added set screw to push saddles together, and making contact on the other side too, which of course gave the bridge its name. The saddles seen on the Locktight/Saddle-Lock bridge are covered by US Pat. Des. 268,272, filed April 18, 1980. These improved saddles have a stem for the intonation screw and 2 screws for the height-adjustment. Only a couple of months after filing, full production of the L-1000 bass started. Hence, their bridges initially have “Pat. Pend.” stamped underneath the saddles. And until 1983, the serial number appears on the bridge in front of the saddles. The same is seen on this F-100 Series I guitar which is also an exception in that its “Pat. Pend.” bridge is for a “string through body” design. The saddles are differently shaped than described in US Pat. Des. 268,272 and more akin to those found on the Dual Fulcrum Vibrato (DFV) but with a higher front end. This is well illustrated in the picture below where the guitar still has such a modern DFV saddle for the high-E. As can be seen on its page, that saddle has since been replaced by a correct one provided by Gabe Dellevigne, shown in more detail below. A similar bridge is also found on this 1982 F-100 Series II. For the Will Ray Signature model, the Saddle-Lock was modified by drilling a hole and inserting a teflon tube for the B-string to travel through for proper operation of the Hipshot Will Ray ‘Helle-Bender’ B-bender.


These bridges have been available as aftermarket units ever since they appeared on the August 1, 1983 price list. The black powder-coated Locktight bridge had part number BB 20 for a bass and BG 20 for a guitar and remained listed up to and including the January 1, 1991 price list. In 1992 the Locktight name was changed to Saddle-Lock to avoid confusion with a common and popular super glue. The Saddle-Lock units are still available in the G&L Online Store, both bridges as well as saddles.

 

G&L Locktight/Saddle-Lock bridge