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Bridge plate material - TONE?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by wabashslim, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. wabashslim

    wabashslim Tele-Meister

    426
    Nov 26, 2005
    About Bill & Becky's Noisefree p'ups...there's tons o' talk around about the bridge plate metal - ferrous vs non-ferrous - regarding squealing and the prevention thereof. I'm wanting to put my 290TL (presently in another guitar with a Gotoh chromed brass bridge) in my avatar guitar with the Bigsby so I have to use the vintage steel plate that's been dremeled for string clearance...the Gotoh won't work. Squealing isn't the issue here, I'm just wondering if I can expect a tone change for the better or worse.

    Years ago I had a Glendale stainless plate with a Broadcaster pickup and it shifted the tone spectrum upwards...lost all the low end and had to keep the tone knob way down. Replacing the old steel plate made everything right again.
     

  2. Tele-phone man

    Tele-phone man Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 11, 2006
    Asheville, NC
    In my experience with the same pickup, I found that stainless was the best option for both tone and squeal and noise. The brass bridge had no squeal or noise issues, but it didn't sound as good to me as the stainless bridge. The regular steel bridge had CRAZY microphonics, hum, and an icepick tone. Stainless solved all issues, and sounded better from an acoustic standpoint, too.
     

  3. wabashslim

    wabashslim Tele-Meister

    426
    Nov 26, 2005
    I did the switch, 290 into steel ashtray plate, and tested using the two squeal-o-meters attached to the sides of my head. Compared to the Gotoh brass (now holding a Twang King) the squeal threshhold is about the same but MUCH less hum & noise, as expected. But my 52 AVRI with original parts can take lots more gain before squealing but is a bit noisier. Tonewise the 290TL sounds fine with steel but with a scrinch less output & top end - could be attributed to different pots/wiring/shielding. I never play out anymore, all my playing is at good-neighbor level so I'm satisfied...for now. I do have a stainless plate in the junkbox but it's kind of rough around the edges - literally. Might go to work on it someday.
     
    Geo likes this.

  4. Geo

    Geo Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    68
    Mar 17, 2003
    Hendersonville, TN
    I have the L290TL in a standard stock Fender Japan plate with no issues. I have and still do occasionally played it loud room and club wise but nothing like a AC/DC - Led Zeppelin live output.
     

  5. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Jun 4, 2005
    Williamsville NY
    IIRC Bill said that it was designed around the use of a non-ferrous bridge plate. Technically, stainless steel is ferrous, but SS and brass are what he said to use.
     

  6. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    58
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    Stainless is made in both ferrous and non ferrous IME/ AFAIK, though there was a time when pretty much all stainless was non ferrous AFAIK, then higher carbon stainless was developed for harder knife steels as well as refrigerators that magnets would stick to.
    Some stainless refrigerators are ferrous on the front only, and magnets do not stick to the sides.
    Given that some very old stainless can be found with deep pitting, maybe it was more ferrous long ago, then got less so, then got specialized ferroucity!

    I had not known that squeal was associated with plate material, but I also am not versed on Lawrence pickups, too high tech for me...
     

  7. Hobs

    Hobs TDPRI Member

    63
    Sep 16, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    All steel is ferrous from a chemistry sense (contains iron). I think he's using the word more loosely to mean "ferromagnetic". Some SS is very ferromagnetic (400 series, for example), some much less so.
     

  8. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    58
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    Right, my terminology was wrong!
    Ferromagnetic was what I meant but I've used the wrong term for years it seems.

    It is interesting though, or it was to me at some point when I found out; that some stainless is ferromagnetic and some is not.
    So Bill would have meant specifically non ferromagnetic stainless and brass.
    Or aluminum as well I suppose?
     

  9. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Holic

    529
    May 28, 2008
    netherlands

  10. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Holic

    529
    May 28, 2008
    netherlands
    just some coils with hookup wire and a extra ground.
    nothing high tech, no 'magic' just the results off the ideas of an engineer that could implement all scientific data surrounding guitar pickups in very affordable pickups for us players.
    not a man that would try to empty your wallet for the 'holy grail' off copper wire and some magnets ;-)
     

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