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 Post subject: X-120 Bridge Questions
PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:11 am
Posts: 6
Hi guys,

I've been slowly restoring an X-120 Leslie West that I got for free a few years back. It's in pretty good shape but was missing the Tailpiece/Bridge/Nut. I've made a nut for it and slapped on some cheap aftermarket stuff I had lying around for the time being but I'd like to get it back to original.

Can anyone tell me what brand the original bridge is? Also is the original bridge/tailpiece chrome or nickel plated brass with raw brass saddles? Some of the X-120's I've seen have brass saddles and others don't so I'm not sure what the original was. I saw an X930 with a Gotoe (not Gotoh) Bridge with raw brass saddles but have not been able to find any more information on this brand. From what I read on Gotoh's website they began in the mid/late 80's so it seems unlikely to me that they simply changed the spelling of their brand name. I'd like to get the original hardware or at least as close to the original look as possible.


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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2019 6:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2003 4:58 am
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Location: Southern Indiana
I am pretty sure Gotoh is still around if you look for them. But I don't think the exact original bridge is available, unless you find one pulled of another one. Honestly, if it is just a matter of playing it a current aftermarket one will look really close to original and likely perform better. The original bridges corroded so badly and look bad, but also the screws would seize up in the saddles and break. My Eliv was beat to hell and back, so it was missing all of that hardware when I got it. I believe I got a gotoh copy from GFS or a similar company (wide tunomatic, in chrome in my case) and it worked and looked close but not exactly as stock. They may sell one with brass saddles too - you have to check. You will have to get the metric ones and use the posts with it and mount those to the bushings already in the body.

I also got another tailpiece I believe, but I don't recall if I had to put in the bushings or not (has been several years since I have done this). There were some various sizes, and I keep parts in a box like that and sometimes I find an old one that will fit the stock bushings - sometimes I don't.

I would also like to know what model pickups came in that, because I put aftermarket ones in mine because my guitar was just a carcass when I got it. It looks like a non-matsumoku build, so it may have had the same pickups as some of the vulcans that were more vintage in output (such as those in my X940 and x950 models). But the ulitima and dickey betts were from the same vulcan series and those were matsumoku with MMKs in them. I don't know for the LW model because I never remembered to ask anyone or check it out when I played others, so that is why I ask.

I have to say though, it plays and sounds like a million bucks now. I just put in some PRS SE pickups I had sitting that I had sitting here. It sounds and plays so well I don't want to mess with it! I really like the neck on that guitar, and despite its rough condition and generic parts - it is one of my favorites. Since it was brought back from the dead, and plays so well, it has more sentimental value than collector value to me. Of course they all are fairly rare, so even with aftermarket parts they will still have value. It is kind of like a car, this would definitely be a driver not numbers matching original.

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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2019 1:36 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:11 am
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Thanks. I wouldn't have thought to make sure I got a wide saddle. I have it all together with generic blacked out parts I bought a few years back. It looks and plays pretty good but I'm not sure if the camber of the current saddle is correct, it's at least pretty close but I'm not sure if it's perfect. I'm considering Nickel parts, to match the color of the tuners, with brass saddles to match the nut. Though a big part of me just wants to put raw brass hardware on it and just make it look cool and add to the already decent sustain.

I'm not sure about the brand of the pickups, they are original tho. I took both out to take a look but I can't find any identifying marks on the bottom side of either pickup, except the number 280624, which is on both pickups. The pickups are just black with allen head screws. They kinda remind me of the DiMarzio humbucker in my Washburn but they only have 2 wires each. I'm trying to figure out how to add pics but I'm not having much luck. If they don't show up just check the link.

Image - https://1drv.ms/u/s!AtkNxZd1W0nThmradWRd-FvsP78F


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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2019 9:59 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:32 pm
Posts: 54
Location: San Rafael, CA
According to the page for the x120, they came with Super Magnaflux black pickups.
I thought I should share what may be a cautionary tale.
I bought a Gotoh stop tailpiece for my 2245 Super Rock at Guitar Fetish.
The posts screwed into the original sockets okay. However, the threaded part of the posts were shorter than the originals. So, to get the bridge height necessary, there was what I thought was too much post showing above the body, and not threaded in deep enough in the socket. It didn't look right. And I am pretty sure it caused the maple top to come loose from the body at the bottom. In other words, it created too big a lever arm and pried the top loose over time, from the string tension. I glued the top back, and put the old bridge back on.

It may be that the Super Rock is more vulnerable to this, because of the hollow sound chambers under the maple cap.


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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2019 9:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:11 am
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Thanks for the heads up, I've never seen that before but it totally makes sense. The X-120's body is one solid piece of mahogany with a brass sustain block built in. The bridge posts screw directly into that brass block so I won't have to worry about it pulling the top off, but it does have an incredibly thick (nitro?) clear coat finish that I suppose could crack if there were too much pressure around it. Considering the finish on my X-120 already has a pretty thick crack in the clear coat around the bridge I'll definitely keep that in mind. I don't want to make it any worse than it already is. Is the original bridge and tuners on your 2245 nickel or chrome? It's probably different than mine but I'm thinking the X-120's are supposed to be nickel, because of the nickel tuners, but I have no way of knowing for sure whether they originally matched or not.

As for the pickups; I've tried looking up the "Super Magaflux" Pickups but haven't found much info about them. I haven't taken any measurements in a while. I think I remember reading 16k-18k ohms on the bridge and around 8k on the neck, but I'll have to check to make sure. I thought about throwing some Duncans in it but I actually like the stock pickups, for the most part, even though I have to completely readjust my pedals and amp every time I use the X-120. There is chrome Neck Pickup from a 75 Electra on Reverb right now for $35 if anyone is looking for a replacement.


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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2019 2:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:52 am
Posts: 1935
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
I've owned 2 X120 Leslie West models and they are rare! I think Tom Presley said that they got a single shipping container of that model, and estimated that the complete production run was around 330. The hardware is all chrome (maybe nickel) the saddles were curiously brass, and the tuners were Grover lookalikes, the only Electra model I've ever seen them on.

The body is actually 4 or 5 planks of Mahogany glued together, the grain is tight but if you look closely you can tell. And the neck is also 5 or 6 strips of Mahogany glued together. I couldn't find any photos of mine apart, but I don't think the pickups were MMK's if memory serves. They do have allen head pole pieces for adjustment, so I'm not sure they are Maxon pickups either. In any case they sound pretty snarly, and I like them. The terms 'MagnaFlux' and 'Super MagnaFlux' are just marketing terms, and Electra used a number of different pickups over the years. The thing is that the MMK's were easily identified and much more consistent sounding than the Maxon's they used in the 70's, so at least when you see one, you know what you're getting.

The finish is very brittle, I sold the really clean example I used to have and kept the beater for myself (it actually played better, was a little lighter, and I don't have to worry about dinging it up!). The finish seems to chip off in big chunks, like the size of a dime or bigger.

When you consider that a current manufacturer may call a 1200 unit run a "Limited Edition", these truly were a rare and totally unique offering from SLM Electra. They should be worth a lot more than they sell for, but nobody of note ever used them. I only have one picture of Leslie West holding one, he did use a Vulcan MPC often, but his signature guitar, not so much. Hold on to it, and if you do replace the pickups, keep the old ones in the case! Cheers, Mike.

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