off-centre bridge and ferrules - Telecaster Guitar Forum
The Number 1 Fender Telecaster Guitar authority in the world.
   

Go Back   Telecaster Guitar Forum > Main Telecaster Forum > Telecaster Discussion Forum
Forgot Username/Password? Join Us!
Notices

Telecaster Discussion Forum The world's largest Fender Telecaster Discussion Forum. Please keep discussion limited to Telecaster topics here.


Wilde Pickups by Bill & Becky Lawrence WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Amps, Mods, Pedals dallenpickups.com Warmoth.com seymourduncan.com


Forum Jump


Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old March 14th, 2012, 01:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
Friend of Leo's
 
hemingway's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: London, UK
Posts: 2,862
off-centre bridge and ferrules

Okay, I'm new to this forum, so Hi, fellow tele-heads

Anyway, about 6 weeks ago I bought my first real tele, a Baja Classic Player. I love it, it sounds fantastic, and if I didn't have damned RSI I'd play it non-stop.

However, I'm pretty sure the ferrules are drilled about 3 mm off centre. I know that sounds like a lot, but I'm not joking. The bridge has been fitted to line up with the holes, so that it's off centre, too.

The problem is that, when the strings line up "naturally" with the saddles, they're off to one side, and the bottom E can slip off the fretboard when you hit it.

To compensate for this I attacked the bridge saddles (they're the 3 brass kind) with a little rat-tail file, to get the strings to sit where they need to. After some trial and error they are all filed to hell, but I can replace them cheaply enough.

Which is fine - except now it just looks plain wrong. The strings come up through the holes and then have to lie at an ugly angle in order to sit on the bridge saddles in the right place.

What I'd like to know is, is this a standard thing with teles, and you just have to work with it and get used to it, or is my guitar a factory runt that I need to take back to the shop and get exchanged?

If lots of teles are like this then I can live with it, but if I ever want to sell it, I can imagine that people won't want something that's so off-centre.

Thanks in advance for any replies.

hemingway is online now   Reply With Quote

Old March 14th, 2012, 01:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
Doctor of Teleocity
 
KevinB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: New Jersey
Age: 63
Posts: 10,106
Welcome to the forum!

Are you sure it's the bridge and ferrules that are off, and not the neck?

Fender's bolt-on necks are designed so they can be adjusted a little. The neck screws should pass freely through the body holes and only engage in the threads in the neck. So, if you slacken the strings a little, and loosen the neck screws, you should be able to move the neck in its pocket just a little to line up the two E strings with the edges of the fretboard. Then you just tighten up the 4 screws.

Search the forum for "neck chiropractic trick" for more info!
KevinB is offline   Reply With Quote

Old March 14th, 2012, 01:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
Friend of Leo's
 
Picton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Reading, Massachusetts
Age: 39
Posts: 2,161
Welcome!

We've all got out own notions about how perfect our guitars must be; if I owned your Tele, I'd be very puzzled by the off-center bridge... but it wouldn't bother me. I'd be VERY bothered, though, if the little E slid off the neck. I'd try to fix that by doing the following:

With the strings at pitch, loosen the neck bolts somewhat. If God's on your side, the strings themselves will pull the neck to where they want them, usually with a pronounced "pop." Then, just tighten the neck bolts; hopefully, the strings will at that point be centered over the neck

If that doesn't work, I'd loosen the strings, then wrench the neck myself in the direction I'd like it to go. Then tighten the bolts back up, tune to pitch, and see what happens.

Don't be afraid to mess with your neck alignment; it's a bolt-on guitar for a reason. You're unlikely to break it.

As for centering the ferrule holes... well, short of plugging, redrilling, and refinishing, PLUS those neck alignments I mentioned, I can't think of what you should do.

EDIT: KevinB is a faster typist than I am...
__________________
M Dixon
Reading, MA

Last edited by Picton; March 14th, 2012 at 01:54 PM. Reason: KevinB beat me to the punch...
Picton is offline   Reply With Quote

Sponsored Links   #
Sponsored posting
 

Old March 14th, 2012, 01:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
Friend of Leo's
 
hemingway's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: London, UK
Posts: 2,862
Thanks Kevin and Picton, I'll give the neck adjustment a try. It makes sense.
hemingway is online now   Reply With Quote

Old March 14th, 2012, 02:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
Doctor of Teleocity
 
KevinB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: New Jersey
Age: 63
Posts: 10,106
Picton - And I thought it was always me who posted 10 seconds after someone had already given the answer to a question

To add just a little to the neck alignment info...If the neck screws are binding in the body holes, clear the holes out. An 11/64" drill bit is the weapon of choice.

When reassembling - assuming you have totally removed the neck screws - you really don't want these screws to cut new threads in the maple neck, so start off turning them by hand counter clockwise. While doing this you'll feel them "drop" into the existing threads. You can then turn then clockwise and tighten them....but not super tight as you'll risk deforming the neck plate.

And before you put the screws back in, lubricate them with a little candle wax on the threads.
KevinB is offline   Reply With Quote

Old March 14th, 2012, 03:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
Friend of Leo's
 
hemingway's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: London, UK
Posts: 2,862
I didn't totally remove the neck, but I did remove 2 of the screws completely, as it was taking more brute force than I was comfortable with to move the neck. I could then move it into place pretty easily.

I'm not sure I followed all your instructions properly, but it seems to have done the trick - so, many thanks, guys.

The end result is looking really promising. Tele bridges are relics, they're never going to be perfect looking. But I can look at it now without wondering whether I've bought a turkey. I just need to buy new saddles now to replace the ones I vandalised.

Everyone seems to recommend the compensated ones, but as I'm not an intonation expert and the guitar sounds fine to me, I might leave that for a while. Maybe I'll buy the Tele Haynes manual and see what it says.

That vintage bridge - if someone invented it today they would be laughed out onto the street. It looks as though it was made from old bicycle parts. But it sounds great, so what do you do?

I suspect, though, that guitarists are just a nostalgic, "we-fear-change" bunch, and Fender would never sell another if they changed it for anything logical.

Anyway, many thanks once again.
hemingway is online now   Reply With Quote

Old March 14th, 2012, 03:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
Banned
Tele-Afflicted
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: self-banned
Posts: 1,147
Quote:
I suspect, though, that guitarists are just a nostalgic, "we-fear-change" bunch
I said this almost 30 years ago, after a bandmate who did not like my new axe christened my Steinberger "the AIDS bass". I had no idea how right I was. When it comes to guitars (not politics) you'll not find a more conservative bunch of people on the planet. And in fairness, how are you going to improve a Strat or Tele? Incrementally at best.

Basses, on the other hand...
Arbiter is offline   Reply With Quote

Old March 14th, 2012, 03:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
Doctor of Teleocity
 
KevinB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: New Jersey
Age: 63
Posts: 10,106
Quote:
Originally Posted by hemingway View Post
...and Fender would never sell another if they changed it for anything logical...
Have you looked at the bridge on the American Standards, or the MIM Standards? A lot more "logical" and they seem to sell a lot of them.

Many - if not most - people "swear" by Leo Fender's old "ashtray" bridge though.
KevinB is offline   Reply With Quote

Old March 14th, 2012, 03:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
Poster Extraordinaire
 
Mark V Guitars's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Southern, California
Posts: 5,846
You're going to need to post pics.
__________________
Mark V Guitars
Mark V Guitars is online now   Reply With Quote

Old March 14th, 2012, 03:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
Doctor of Teleocity
 
jefrs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Newbury, England
Age: 59
Posts: 13,031
I too had a droop-snoot Baja.

I adjusted the neck pretty much as described above.
In the end to get the neck aligned with the strings and the strings aligned with the pickups, I had to move the bridge plate over. I toothpicked the screw holes and piloted new ones just to the side, and I used a countersink very lightly on them (wood pulls up when you insert and tighten a screw, lifting the tail of the plate). I did not move the ferrules but broached the holes a trifle wider under the plate. The bridge pickup rout now shows evenly on either side of the plate. Alignment perfect.
__________________
There's two kinds of people, those that hear the music and those that don't.
jefrs is offline   Reply With Quote

Old March 15th, 2012, 09:44 AM   #11 (permalink)
Friend of Leo's
 
hemingway's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: London, UK
Posts: 2,862
I too have suffered from Steinberger prejudice. I have a Hohner G3T that, apart from the pick-ups, which I've never got round to changing (since the 80s), is a magnificent machine that plays beautifully. But people say "it doesn't look like a guitar". Well, when you think about it, 80% of electric guitars don't really look like guitars. They look like planks of wood with guitar necks.

I just don't think the Steinberger is macho enough for most guitarists. But break a string mid-gig and it's the best guitar in the world. Similarly for dragging on and off trains, in and out of taxis, etc.

I dread breaking a string on the Baja. Those vintage tuners are a nightmare.
hemingway is online now   Reply With Quote

Old March 15th, 2012, 09:51 AM   #12 (permalink)
Doctor of Teleocity
 
KevinB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: New Jersey
Age: 63
Posts: 10,106
Quote:
Originally Posted by hemingway View Post
...I dread breaking a string on the Baja. Those vintage tuners are a nightmare.
Oh come on now, split-post vintage tuners are the easiest on the planet to use. Just cut the string a little longer than the distance to the tuner, pop it in the hole and wind it neatly down the tuner shaft. No muss, no fuss, and no sharp string end to poke you in the eye
KevinB is offline   Reply With Quote

Old March 15th, 2012, 10:34 AM   #13 (permalink)
Friend of Leo's
 
teleamp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Central TX
Age: 55
Posts: 4,019
Quote:
Originally Posted by hemingway View Post
...
I dread breaking a string on the Baja. Those vintage tuners are a nightmare.
You'll be amazed how much you like them after you get accustomed to them, I can change strings on a tele with the vintage tuners in a little over a minute if I have to...
teleamp is offline   Reply With Quote

Old March 15th, 2012, 10:42 AM   #14 (permalink)
Telefied
 
boris bubbanov's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: New Orleans, LA + in the
Posts: 35,666
Quote:
Originally Posted by hemingway View Post

I dread breaking a string on the Baja. Those vintage tuners are a nightmare.
Break the nightmare and study in person how to prepare and load each string into the split shaft tuner. Once you understand how they're meant to work, you will see there's nothing better.
boris bubbanov is online now   Reply With Quote

Old March 15th, 2012, 11:27 AM   #15 (permalink)
Friend of Leo's
 
superbadj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: roanoke, va
Age: 40
Posts: 4,106
Quote:
Originally Posted by boris bubbanov View Post
Break the nightmare and study in person how to prepare and load each string into the split shaft tuner. Once you understand how they're meant to work, you will see there's nothing better.
Agreed. Split-shafts are my favorite type. Clean. Simple. Work beautifully. Easy to string. I dig'em.
__________________
___________________________________________

Rhythm is an area, not a point!
-My brother
superbadj is offline   Reply With Quote

Old March 15th, 2012, 05:14 PM   #16 (permalink)
Friend of Leo's
 
Picton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Reading, Massachusetts
Age: 39
Posts: 2,161
Quote:
Originally Posted by superbadj View Post
Agreed. Split-shafts are my favorite type. Clean. Simple. Work beautifully. Easy to string. I dig'em.
+1. There's no better bang for your buck in the world of Tele upgrades, IMHO. I love it when the best part for the job is also the cheapest part for the job, just about.
__________________
M Dixon
Reading, MA
Picton is offline   Reply With Quote

Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Forum Jump


» Random Photo for Guests
'59 Thin Skin Strat
Untitled Document



 


Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.2



IMPORTANT:Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult! No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 RC 2
© TDPRI.COM 1999 - 2014 All rights reserved.