Tune-o-matic bridge post movement solutions?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by danjcarroll, Dec 27, 2009.


  1. danjcarroll

    danjcarroll Member

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    Hi everyone.

    I have a 98 SG deluxe with firebird pickups and a bigsby. Its a fantastic guitar but I have one small problem.

    I am trying to stabilize the tuning on the guitar as much as possible. I was considering purchasing a tonepros tun-o-matic graphtech locking bridge piece for the bigsby for both the graph-tech saddles and the locking function... It then occured to me though upon prodding with the bridge, that the bridge studs that screw into the body which you can adjust the height of the whole saddle piece with have give and movement, so what is the point of a locking tun-o-matic saddle piece?? Are my bridge posts abnormal in that they have a give and movement?

    Does anyone know how I can go about solving this problem, as when the bridge posts give and move with the action of the bigsby, I believe the intonation and tuning are changing also.

    I thought about wrapping some plumbers tape around the thread on the posts that screw into the body, but then I thought that the rubbery material might soak up some of the vibration being transmitted by the strings.

    Do I need to try find some tighter fitting posts or something?

    I would really appreciate any suggestions anyone has, as most people don't seem to discuss this issue ever.

    Cheers, Dan
     
  2. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    By my lights, all tune-o-matic bridges are sloppy. But, the Tonepros bridge has set screws to hold the thing in place on the pegs, so it should be better. Still, I've found Bigsby tremolos to be inconsistent in their return points, so you're probably never going to be able to wank on the thing and have it come back into tune reliably, at least not like you can with a Kahler.
     
  3. Chris Scott

    Chris Scott Member

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    This is an issue that's been hammered pretty hard, and there's a few different ways to approach it.

    Re. the loose posts, one solution is to coat the threads in the wood with repeated applications of water-thin cyno, effectively reducing the inside diameter of the holes. Others might just epoxy the posts in. Both of these methods will tighten things up pretty nicely, however the forces that are being placed on this area will want to eventually loosen things up, and this is why I feel that properly cut string notches on the saddles are important, especially for the wound strings. Carefull shaping and polishing are what I would recommend, and I also lube the slots every string change with some graphite-based lube.

    There are those who feel that the movement of the saddles, and even that of the entire bridge, are essential to the trem working properly, so ymmv...

    There are other ABR-1 style bridges available as well that have much tighter tolerances where the saddles sit.
     
  4. Bob V

    Bob V Member

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    It sounds like a Nashville bridge with metal threaded inserts (bushings) in the top, as opposed to an ABR-1 bridge with the threaded posts going directly into the wood, so I don't think the CA glue trick would work. If it is an ABR-1 bridge and the posts are loose you definitely want to have it fixed but that's another thread.

    Part of the issue is that the Bigsby is pretty much going to require some give somewhere -whether it's the bridge rocking on the posts or the posts rocking in the inserts. Its not so much that the strings actually slide, but the change in tension behind the bridge is supposed to result in a change in tension in front of the bridge, and it's good to think of it as if the strings want to slide. If you tighten up the hardware mounting the bridge, you're just going to find the strings hanging up where they want to slide on the saddles - and graphite might be a temporary solution since the saddles could wear out that way. If you're enamored with the Bigsby (and I can see why) then think about a bridge with roller saddles. Can you post pics so we can confirm you have a Nashville bridge?
     
  5. RvChevron

    RvChevron Member

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    Is yours standard ABR bridge?

    If the threads where the studs screw into are not stripped and still holds vertically, go buy another pair of the thumb wheel nut which you turn to adjust the height.

    Have the wood screw part of the stud fully screw into the body, then use the extra thumb wheel nut to fix the entire stud into position by turning the wheel nut so it sits on top of the body and is snugly holding the stud.

    Fit the rest of the bridge as usual.

    Some people will mill the bottom of the TOM bridge itself so it rocks back and forth on the thumb wheels to facilitate better tuning. But the studs should be firm and tight and not moving.
     
  6. danjcarroll

    danjcarroll Member

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    Hi everyone, thanks for the great feedback so far. I really appreciate everyones two bobs. The bridge is a Nashville not the ABR-1. Seems as though peoples opinions are split as to weather the bridge should shift with the bigsby or not. Please keep the opinions and ideas flowing.
     
  7. VanR

    VanR Senior Member

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    Not recommended but I knew a guy who drilled small holes in dimes and stacked them on the bridge post of his old LP to keep the post stable. Then he ran the thumbscrews down to the proper height against the dimes.
     
  8. RomanS

    RomanS Member

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    That's kinda what I did for the TOM I'm using with my Bigsby, only that I used washers stacked underneath the thumbscrew (had to grind some down, to be able to acheive the perfect string height setting).
    BTW, I'm using a Duesenberg TOM, which has saddles made from stainless steel, and the strings slide across those with no hang-ups at all, the guitar stays perfectly in tune even with excessive Bigsby use...
     

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