Tele bridge on bare wood?

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7,754
I read somewhere that the Eric Johnson Strats have no paint under the bridge, presumably for improved mechanical coupling. Anybody tried this on a Tele? I'll be replacing the bridge on one of mine and wondered if it'd be worth trying.

What do you all think?
 

K-Line

Vendor
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8,744
Hmmm. I would never destroy a finish under a bridge. You will only hear a difference if you believe you will.
 

202dy

Member
Messages
441
Every change, such as removing the paint beneath a telecaster bridge will absolutely have an effect on the tone.

Whether or not that change can be measured with well calibrated sensors and computers, let alone the human ear, remains to be seen.

No one will hear it in the mix.
 
Messages
7,754
I appreciate that any change is likely to be subtle, and I absolutely agree nobody would hear a difference in a mix. Actually, I'm thinking the effect may be more significant in terms of liveliness than it is for tone. (I have one set-neck Tele which sustains noticeably better at volume than my bolt-on ones. And yes, I know that could be due as much to livelier wood as it is to the neck joint.)

I wouldn't take my axe apart just for the sake of trying this- the only reason I'm considering it is that I'm changing bridges anyway. Simply wondering whether it'd be worth stripping the paint under the bridgeplate when I have it off the guitar already.

Already got this reply over at TDPRI: "When I had my Fred Stuart Blackguard/Glendale Bridgeplate installed, the guitar tech took it down to bare wood. If he would have asked me I might have said no, but he didn't. He put a very skinny ground wire under part of the bridgeplate, maybe that's why he did it.I've heard that grounding it under the bridgeplate isn't necessary, but he's well thought of and sets up a lot of guitars for really good country players.So I have no finish under the bridgeplate, very neatly done (completely invisible with the bridgeplate on), and it is the best sounding Telecaster I've ever picked up! Might have nothing to do with it but I will never sell that Tele."

BTW, I also got a few comments from guys who thought I was an Eric Johnson fan trying to get his type of tone from a Tele. While I certainly do appreciate him as a player, I have no interest in making this Tele sound like his Strats. Only used the EJ model as an example because reading about it got me thinking.

What I'm wondering about is metal-to-wood contact versus metal-to-paint.
 
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walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
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40,596
"he's well thought of and sets up a lot of guitars for really good country players.So I have no finish under the bridgeplate, very neatly done (completely invisible with the bridgeplate on), and it is the best sounding Telecaster I've ever picked up!"
my guess is it's the setup overall making the guitar awesome, not any paint removal gimmick.
 
Messages
7,754
Figured the idea would be worth asking about, but I guess I'll just do a straight bridge swap.
Thanks for the comments & advice, everybody.
 

202dy

Member
Messages
441
Removing paint from the neck pocket is usually done to allow for either a flat mating surface or to allow for a more reliable seat for a shim. It's about geometry. Much more so than tone.
 




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