Tele Bridge Setup...........

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by gainiac, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. gainiac

    gainiac Senior Member

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    Hello,

    Anyhow, I finally have a "tele" although mine is certainly a bastard. I have an ashtray bridge on it and my neck radii is 15". When setting up the action what are some things I may need to be aware of that are particular to this style of bridge?
     
  2. Mike9

    Mike9 Supporting Member

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    Make a radius template from some thick paper, or chip board (stuff that comes with shirts) measure back 7-1/2" and strike an arc, cut it out, leave something to hold on to, etc. Set your string hights on the two E strings at the 17th fret then using your newly made 15" template over the bridge adjust the remaining four to that radius and you should be good to go.
     
  3. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Measure the height from the bottom of the string to the top of the fret. Shoot for something like 5/64" for the bottom strings and 4/64" for the top strings at the 12th fret.

    These specs are just a place to start. The action is a very subtle adjustment, IMHO. You may like it a little lower or a little higher, but that's an OK place to start. You'll need a small ruler calibrated in 1/32 of an inch increments.

    You wanna try to get the action gradually lower from the bass side through the treble side - highest on the low "E" (5/64"), lowest on the high "E" (4/64"). Gradually is the key - that's what makes the guitar feel great, IMHO.

    A 15" radius is pretty flat .... low action shouldn't be a problem. Use new strings. Make sure you adjust the truss rod first, then the nut slots, then the action. Some folks capo at the 1st fret to take the nut out of the "action equation". There's nothing inherent in a 15" radius that you have to "watch out for".

    Ashtray bridge - 3 saddle or 6? If it's a 6 saddle, make sure each individual saddles is resting equally on both adjusting screws; in other words, make sure they're flat, parallel to the bridge plate, not arced like the fretboard is radiused. On a 3 saddle, the saddles adjust in pairs - 1&2, 3&4, 5&6. Raising one can slightly raise the other, so go through it a couple times to make sure.

    Sorry this is so long.

    Dana O.
     
  4. gainiac

    gainiac Senior Member

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    Nah, don't be sorry, good stuff in there, I've never owned a T style before so every bit of info helps. It is a "vintage" style 3 saddle bridge. A Glendale Bridge:

    www.glendaleguitars.com

    Thanks for the info!
     
  5. gainiac

    gainiac Senior Member

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    Thanks, what do you mean by "measure back and stirke an arc" measure what back to where?
     
  6. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Do what Dana said, other then that if it has little frets believe it or not I like high action; it just sounds better to me that way. You want it it high enough so bent notes don't fret out but you still get that snap if you pull the strings.
     
  7. Mike9

    Mike9 Supporting Member

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    When I don't have my radius gauges handy I make one like this:

    With a ruler, or tape measure I measure back half the diameter of the fretboard then while holding the rule I strike an arc with a pencil like you would with a compass. I cut that out and voila - instant radius gauge. As long as what you are cutting out is stiff you should be quite accurate.
     

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