As some of you know, I recently did the softest of soft launches of a new vibrato via the Descendant Vibrato Instagram page. I’ll eventually do a full blown launch but for this pilot run I want to stay hands on with the first customers. I’ve also got several guitars in the mix so I’m trying to find a balance for the short term where I can get these first units out into the wild while not completely disrupting my time on my own bench. Website maintenance has never been my greatest strength but the need for this on the website is obvious so here we go…
When the Jazzmaster was introduced in 1958, players used heavy gauge strings, typically flatwounds. String bending really wasn’t much of a thing at the time, certainly not among masters of jazz. Playing styles were not aggressive. No one was doing windmills. Nobody played behind the bridge. And even then the design was flawed. Over the decades Jazzmaster and Jaguar lovers have had to embrace all of the idiosyncrasies that came with the design and they’ve used a wide variety of set-up band-aids. (shim the neck, raise the bridge higher, switch to a mustang bridge, wrap the legs of the bridge with plumbers tape, etc.). In the last decade there have been a couple of bridge designs that have been a huge benefit to us all but I’ve always felt the bigger design problem was with the vibrato. Leo essentially took the idea of an archtop guitar’s bridge and trapeze tailpiece and put it on a slab body and we’ve been wrestling with it ever since.
The Descendant Vibrato is designed to provide a steeper break angle of the strings behind the bridge. Unlike the past solution of the addition of an after market roller bar, the Descendant doesn’t add an extra friction point and it increases the downward pressure at the bridge in a manner that maintains the integrity of Leo’s original design so you still get the full pantheon of overtones that a trapeze bridge provides. As each guitar is different and each player’s needs are different, the Descendant allows the player to determine the depth that the vibrato is set beneath the top plate. Some players want increased sustain. Others just want the strings to stay in the saddles. Strings are front loaded through a keyhole design. This allows for easy string installation as the ball ends now rest at or below the plane of the body. Also new to the Descendant design is a top adjusting tension screw for the vibrato arm. Accessed through the arm hole in the top plate, you can take your arm out after every gig, adjust it to be free swinging or set to stay where you put it. No problem.
If you are interested in learning more, I’d like you to watch these two painfully long videos https://youtu.be/
UPDATE: Good news! I’ve made another boring video. This one concerns a couple of locking options for those who desire such features. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55G5VC59EOs&feature=youtu.be This one clocks in at under 5 minutes, which is a personal best for me.