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Can I move bridge to prevent neck dive?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Honza992, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. Honza992

    Honza992 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Aug 6, 2015
    Nottingham, UK
    Thanks Asmith, some real numbers I can work with. 6lb is about right. I've built a bass a tad over 6lb so a guitar of that weight should be no problem.

    When you say you have no neck dive issues, do you mean it naturally hangs (with a normal strap) at 45 degrees above horizontal? That's how I define no neck dive. You of course may define it differently:)

  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    Well as far as bridge placement I think you have to look at the evolution of the acoustic guitar evolving into the electric guitar. Many early acoustics as you know had ( have) 12 or 14 fret joints. The scale length determines where the bridge goes, so it's plonked based on the neck to body joint and scale length.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017

  3. Honza992

    Honza992 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Aug 6, 2015
    Nottingham, UK

    Ok, so given your tele naturally hangs parallel to the floor, for me that's neck dive (I like it 45 degrees above horizontal). Moving the neck a few frets into the body helps massively with neck dive. It's simply how the physics of levers works - those tuners at the end of a long neck apply lots of turning force, pushing down the headstock. Shorten the neck and the turning force is reduced proportionally.

    When you say the playing position will be off by a few frets, can you explain a bit more what you mean?

  4. Bugeater281

    Bugeater281 Tele-Meister

    Nov 30, 2016
    I've played a lot of guitars and teles. They make teles out of every wood under the sun and neck for teles out of every wood under the sun. Neck dive is not really a big issue for a tele. Basses are way more prone to neck dive due to the longer scale length and the thicker neck. You want the guitar at a 45 degree angle just move the strap on your shoulder. I feel like your making a big issue out of something that's not that big of a deal. Worst case just add some lead into the body cavity.
    ndeli55, MilwMark and Piggy Stu like this.

  5. edvard

    edvard Tele-Holic

    May 15, 2016
    Bremerton, WA
    The only reason the bridge is located where it is on an electric guitar is due to simple ergonomics; the fret-hand cutaway allows access to as many frets as possible, and the bridge is where it is due to scale length, that's it. You may notice that on a Les Paul, the scale length is shorter, so the bridge is closer to the nut than with a typical Fender-scale and so appears to have the bridge in the 'middle' of the body, but there's also a big hunk of wooden real estate below the bridge that balances it out. Some people have pointed to the Gibson SG as an example of a guitar that exhibits neck dive, and this is due to 3 things: the body is thinner, the neck is the same size as a Les Paul (i.e. hasn't been thinned to compensate), and the "butt" is flatter, which takes away from some weight below the bridge that would help balance things. On a Telecaster, you'll notice the headstock is smaller than many other guitar models, and due to scale length, the bridge is farther away from the nut. Subsequently, I have never personally heard of neck dive being a problem with Telecasters. As others have pointed out, using a thinned-down lightweight body may be a problem, but not likely if the body is heavy enough.

    My recommendation, if you want to keep it actually looking like a Telecaster rather than some weird funky-looking version of a Tele with a deeper cutaway, would be to use one of those "conversion" necks offered by Warmoth and others that have a shorter scale length, but designed to fit and intonate on a standard 25.5" scale guitar; this will bring the nut/headstock closer to the bridge/body and as others have mentioned, may be a more appropriate scale for your daughter's hands.

    But hey, it's your guitar, do what you like. Just for giggles, here's what it might look like with the scale moved down one inch:
    Compared to normal:
    Kinda 'squatty' looking, but I have CAD and PDF files for it if you're interested.
    FenderLover likes this.

  6. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's

    Nov 27, 2014
    Morley, England
    I'll get a cheap nylon strap out and give it a go!

  7. Garruchal

    Garruchal Tele-Meister

    Nov 29, 2013
    I agree with you on the parallel to the floor = neck-dive. I like a 45 degree angle, sometimes even higher. I'll take your word for it that having the neck in like that will cure the neck-dive; makes sense.
    By playing position being off, I just mean that if you put the bridge a few frets toward your right side, you will be picking a few frets more to the right. I like my pick to be right in the center, but that is just me.

  8. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    Assuming that we are on the "stop neck dive" path, this is more work that adding some lead weight in a cavity. Another option is to have the upper bout stick out a bit more, but that's hard to imagine happening in a way that doesn't frighten young girls and the TDPRI.

  9. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 19, 2006
    Gilbert, AZ (PHX)
    To me It seems you are over thinking this. I have 2 teles (6.6 and 6.8 lbs) and I have no problem with neck dive. The bodies are about 3.5 lbs on both of them. I use a leather strap so the strap does not slide on my shoulder and I don't notice any neck heavy issues when playing seated.

    The body will need to be over 1.5" thick to use a traditional tele 3way switch. Belly cuts and arm cuts have no place on a Telecaster, are you sure you don't want a Strat?

  10. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    I made a bass with a long scale and a short neck, 17 frets instead of 21. The goal was to have a 34 inch neck with a different shaped body and no neck dive. It worked too. No neck dive
    I also think you are overthinking it. I've made a series of fully hollow body teles, with no center block, just a hollow body and a 1/4 inch top plate, and only one of them, made of pine, had neck dive.

    Ash is pretty heavy, most of the time.
    MilwMark likes this.

  11. edvard

    edvard Tele-Holic

    May 15, 2016
    Bremerton, WA
    Addendum to my post above:

    The ONLY reason (as others have mentioned) that basses have a problem with neck dive is because of the scale making a lot more weight on the neck end. Guitars rarely have that problem due to less wood being needed for the neck because the scale is shorter (Gibson SG being a notable exception, but even then isn't a problem with ALL of them). This is why I prefer a jazz bass; the offset moves the upper horn even more towards the nut, and the thinner neck takes some mass off as well as being easier to play (in my opinion), so neck dive is much reduced.

    You're sensitive to neck dive BECAUSE bass guitars are prone to it (I'm looking at you, Guild B-302). I agree with most others here that you won't have a neck dive problem at all with most guitars, let alone a Telecaster, and if you do, something as simple as moving the rear strap button up further on the body or a bit more weight in the butt would take care of it quite handily. Seriously.

  12. reddesert

    reddesert Tele-Meister

    Jul 19, 2016
    Neck dive is a much smaller problem on guitars than on basses. The default starting position should be not to worry about it on a guitar build.

    Try putting a Precision bass and a Stratocaster next to each other sometime. You'll see that the P bass body is only slightly larger than the Strat body - about an inch or two. However, the neck is much longer and heavier, and a set of full size bass tuners is heavier than a set of guitar tuners. This is why the sainted Leo extended the upper horn on the P bass. The Stratocaster comes afterward and is descended from the P bass, not the other way around (ie the Strat wasn't purely an attempt to "fix" an issue with the Telecaster body).

    If you build a guitar with the bridge way at the back of the body, then when your forearm rests near or on the bout, your pick hand is at the neck, which is closer to the neck than most guitarists would play. This isn't a problem for the typical bass playing position.

    Don't let me stop you from building a guitar the way you want, but I'd suggest that it's unlikely to be an improvement, so perhaps your first guitar should be a normal shape (or if you're really worried about it, build a Strat), and reserve the innovations for the second build.
    Mr Green Genes likes this.

  13. crossroader

    crossroader Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Sep 24, 2004
    Endicott, NY
    Ah, OK - I misunderstood your earlier comment about moving things "to the left."

    Yeah, as long as you keep the scale length consistent, should be OK.

    I'd recommend going to a local guitar shop and try out some light Tele's - maybe some Thinline models - and see how they hang on you.
    Make sure this is really going to be an issue before you completely reinvent the Tele geometry for yourself.

  14. It'll work. The original Fender bass ('51?) Had a telecaster shaped body. So you can kind of think of it as building a guitar scale 51 Telecaster Bass.
    That said, I'd go to a music store and play a couple of Tele's to see what they feel like to you. If they're okay, no reason to reinvent the wheel.
    If not, I'd approach the project as a rear control route no pick guard guitar as a standard pick guard obviously won't work

    Edit: I'm wrong, the early bass did have a strat style upper horn, undoubtedly to alleviate neck dive. There is Squire Tele bass though...
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017
    reddy2300 and MilwMark like this.

  15. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

    Feb 26, 2017
    Idea: where i live classical guitars sell used for peanuts. Buy one, relocate the bridge an inch out, and realise you ruined the scale with every note intonating wrong

    Cheap strats about here too. Maybe buy one and saw a load of body off that to realise the dive implications on a solid body? For next to nothing you can have dozens of hours work achieved that you can experiment with

  16. Michael A.

    Michael A. Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Jan 12, 2013
    Virginia Beach, VA
    My modern Epi Junior is head stock heavy. I was thinking of removing the rear strap button and drilling a 1/2" diameter hole straight through the center of the body towards the neck. I have a 1/2" diameter copper grounding rod from a plumbing job that I would cut and glue into the hole, leaving space for a 1" plug. Glue the plug in and match the black paint and reinstall the strap button, which will mostly hide the fix. First I would test the length of rod that is needed by hanging sample lengths of the rod with a piece of string from the rear button.

    Of course if the weight of the guitar is already an issue, then adding weight would not be a solution.

  17. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's

    Nov 27, 2014
    Morley, England
    If I place the guitar at 45 degrees it stays unless I start jumping etc (I hope that image doesn't stick in anyone's head) and then it rests parallel to the ground. Other things that are worth noting are that I have vintage style tuners which are lighter than standard ones but I also don't have a neck pickup because it's an esquire. To be honest, if you want a guitar to naturally rest 45 degrees up it'd need to be packing a lot of weight on the body I had a strat that weighed 7.5lbs which I'd consider a medium weight that didn't have neck dive by my standards but it wouldn't rest naturally at 45 degrees though. By my standards I've had one guitar personally that had a bit of neck dive and that was an SG that probably weighed just under 6lbs.

    Another thing that might be worth considering is making a short scale tele which would shave off neck weight and reduce the turning moment further as the neck would be shorter.

  18. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    Unless your Tele body is unusually light and your Tele neck is unusually heavy, this should not be an issue and is just a matter of what strap you use and how you set the strap.

    I have a 6.75 lb SG and a 6.75 lb Flying V for goodness sake. With a Levi cotton strap and the headstock angled up (I don't know if it it is 45 degrees but certainly not parallel to the floor) and neither fights that with the neck diving. Think about how far those necks stick out and where the neck joins the body, and how far forward the bridge sits compared to a Tele.

    I too think you are boxing at shadows and your best bet is to try a bunch of Tele's at shops with your strap and see how they hang.
    Mr Green Genes and Piggy Stu like this.

  19. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    I think so too. I’ve tried Gibson SGs. Those do have a nose-dive problem. Teles? Never seen, or heard of that problem. I started with classical guitars and tend to play in the same position as you – headstock more or less at the level of my nose. All I need is a decent strap. Plus, when I am playing, my hand is on the neck.

    As a very last resort, the solution suggested above (moving the strap button) seems much better than messing with the basic parameters of what makes a tele, well, a tele.

    Whatever you choose, good luck with your build!
    Piggy Stu likes this.

  20. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    If you shift the bridge towards the butt end of the guitar body, and you then have to shift the neck further inwards to preserve the scale length, and then open up the cutaways to get access - by the time you do all that haven't you actually removed a ton of wood from the body? And wouldn't that make the body lighter compared to the same length of neck resulting in neck dive?

    I think the solution if you want it to balance more is to add MORE body behind the bridge so that there's a counterweight.

    BTW a guitar neck at 45 degrees is not very comfortable for chords although you can get away with it playing only two notes at a time (bass player dig if you didn't catch that).
    Piggy Stu likes this.

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