Jerry Garcia Alligator Build


Hey all,
I'm working on my own garcia alligator build and am about to work on the bridge. I purchased these parts below (and some rosewood) and am curious what the best way to go about this is? I've never done this before and am not sure how I secure the bridge to the body, how high the bridge has to be, etc. Would love some bridge specific tips/tricks. Thanks all!


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Since you are using an Alembic-style bridge with the sustain block (the final version of Alligator, I believe), I would route it so the sustain block sits flush with the top of the guitar. One issue is that Jerry liked his action VERY high. Prior to adding the sustain block, Alligator had the bridge mounted on top of the wood tailpiece. In this configuration, it was impossible to get the action low enough for most players. On my Alligator build, (without the sustain block … my next Alligator will have the sustain block), I trimmed the wood piece to butt up against the bridge instead of going underneath it, thus allowing for low action. I plan on doing the same with the sustain block.

Bill, tgo
thanks Bill yeah i gave it a shot last night and it turned out to be tougher than i planned. I ended up putting the old bridge back on. Being a luthier is tougher than it looks, could't get everything to line up properly, i even hollowed out the bridge cavity a bit more with no luck, decided to quit while i was ahead lol. I'll probably just add a gold fender strat bridge to complete the bronze look and call it a day. In the end i love the way this thing looks and plays, very inspirational


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You can always use the brass rail bridge without the sustain block. Here’s the one I built without the sustain block and with the modded wooden riser.

Bill, tgo

According to Mike wald's website, the wood tailpiece riser butts up against the sustain block which leads me to believe the block sits slightly proud of the body. The rest of the cavity was filled with a piece of mahogany epoxied in place. For the sustain block, was it screwed in place? Epoxied? I don't know. I may use a little hot glue in mine when the time comes, it's secure but less permanent than epoxy in case the block needs to come out. It seems the neck was shimmed at some point with mahogany but I don't have specs for that.

Also, on Europe 72 there was no blaster installed, again according to Mike wald. I've been doing a lot of research for my own build, I will probably include one and use a push pull pot to switch it on or off.