JLD Bridge System in Gibson J-200

J-200 with JLD Bridge System installed
Gibson J-200 lacquer cracks

Gibson J-200 lacquer cracks

The top on this Gibson J-200 has bellied a bit, so much so that the lacquer on the top has started to crack.

Consequently, I had trouble getting a low action and thought the guitar might be suitable for the JLD Bridge system, which can correct bowed tops.

Installing the JLD system was straightforward enough. I removed the endpin jack to be able to align the bridge system inside the guitar, with the rod contacting just below the endpin jack.

You should be able to see the body of the Bridge System in the lower photo.

The JLD bridge system won’t fix all guitars but in this case, the installation was a success and not only was the string height reduced but the guitar sounds better with an improved, tighter bass. I’m hoping that as the top responds to the tension of the bridge system, the action will come down even more in the coming weeks.

J-200 with JLD Bridge System installed

J-200 with JLD Bridge System installed



10 Comments on “JLD Bridge System in Gibson J-200”

  1. My only advise is to flatten the belly before installing the JLD rather than let the JLD bridge system do all the work when tightening to adding tension. Find all posts by Protosphere. I think a JLD would certainly devalue the instrument.

  2. Chris

    I’d recommend that you take out the bellying in stages if it is really that bad so that you don’t overstress anything. Initially perhaps 50-60% and gradually take out more over many months. It took a long time to get like that so it needs to go back slowly as well!



  3. Hi Steve,

    Got my JLD Bridge System from StewMac last week and fitted it to my Epi FR300 yesterday, a piece of cake. The most noticeable differences are that it seems quieter from a players perspective but louder from the listeners and that its intonation has been restored as the bridge/saddle is now back where it should be. I do worry that I’ve got the tension right as it had quite a serious belly bow which I’ve managed to all but remove but I’m sure all will be well in the end, any advice you might have regarding this point would be very well received.

    Best wishes,


  4. Hi

    I’ve an old Yamaha 12 string that has a bellied top. I’ve sanded the bridge insert down but…

    I saw this in Phil Balmers book recently and am wondering about having a go… I’d like to get to being able to doing these kind of repairs myself.

    Question – is this the one you screw in via the string pins? Or the one where you attach directly – I’m inclinded to go for the second one. Also is there a UK distributor? Or do you get them from the USA


    • This is the one that uses a screw through the bridge. The type with brass pins can suffer from low break angles over the saddle if the saddle is low.

      I don’t know of a UK distributor, I buy them, like a lot of things(!), from Stewart Macdonald.

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