Bolts as Bridge Saddles in a 1967 Domino Californian Bridge

1967 Domino Californian Body
1967 Domino Californian Body

I’m working on a 1967 Domino Californian right now. Interesting vintage Japanese guitar, made by Kawai (one of the four major Japanese OEMs). As you can see from the body shape, it’s based on the Vox Phantom.

There’s a good deal more grassroots innovation in the Domino Californian than I’d expect to find in a Vox Phantom, though. In fact, there are things that a redneck engineer would be proud of.

1967 Domino Californian bridge
1967 Domino Californian bridge

Case in point: the bridge saddles. Take a close look, and you’ll notice something interesting. They’re not carefully machined, purpose-built saddles as you might expect to find on even a cheap Fender. They’re nothing more than short lengths cut from threaded rods or, more likely, spare bolts. Notice that they don’t even all have the same thread.

You could call it cheap, low-rent guitar manufacture. Or you could call it a creative recycling of existing materials. Either would be accurate and accounts for the 1960’s-wood-paneling pickguard as well.

1967 Domino Californian Ground
1967 Domino Californian Ground

The makeshift bridge saddles actually work pretty well. Believe it or not, I have the action and intonation set spot-on now. After setting that and fixing a broken ground wire (photo to the left), it plays easily and sounds great now. I’m waiting on a replacement tremolo arm and a couple of knobs, then I’ll have this one up for sale on┬áthe Vintage Soul Guitars Reverb.com store.

 

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