Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups darrenriley.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

My saddle height screws hex holes are too inconsistent.

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by DugT, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. DugT

    DugT Tele-Meister

    380
    Sep 22, 2017
    northern CA
    I've got three Asian made fender style guitars, (Ibanez and G&L) and one USA 1994 Peavey. The saddle height screws vary annoyingly in hex hole size, even within the same guitar. I have a hex key that measures 1.50 mm and it fits good in some and is too loose in others on the same guitar. By too loose I mean it still works but just barely and if it was looser there would be risk of it stripping the hole.

    I have a hex key that is 1.54 and it is too big for some of the holes but it fits perfectly snug for some others on the same guitar. I think my MIJ Ibanez is the most consistant and all of its screws fit the 1.54mm key best. It is the highest quality guitar of the bunch and I believe all of its screws are stainless steele. It is the most likely to be metric but why would its holes be 1.54mm instead of the standard 1.5mm? Is the standard adhered to for hex keys but the holes are made bigger within a tolerance for safety margin so that most out of tolerance too big hex keys will fit?

    If they were SAE 1/16" that would be 1.58mm and I don't think that would fit in any of my hex holes so they must all be metric but why the wide variance? Is my micrometer inaccurate? It is consistant.

    I was about to buy a high quality 1.5mm hex key but maybe I should buy better screws.
     

  2. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

    I've accumulated so many sizes over the years ..there's always one in the bundles that fits guitar stuff...

    most came with guitars or parts .. I can't remember ever buying any?....o_O

    I guess they come in two sizes.. ones that fit and ones that don't....:lol:

    Allen Keys.JPG
     
    aerhed likes this.

  3. darren7

    darren7 Tele-Meister

    163
    Jul 31, 2009
    Greater Toronto Area
    Buy better screws AND wrenches. Get some good stainless ones, and you’ll be set.
     

  4. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    63
    Apr 11, 2016
    Las Vegas, NV
    Likely the hex holes of the screws got enlarged, one way or another, or the hex keys became slightly rounded off. Maybe from trying to use a 1.5mm in one that wanted a 1.54, or, or......? I suggest that you take a bridge screw (or bridge saddle) from each guitar (they may not be the same sizes) to a real hardware/fastener store and get all new stainless screws in varying lengths for each guitar, along with a top quality hex key for each different size. You're probably looking at less than $15 for all three guitars, along with having a small pile of various length spares. Make sure you mark the storage container(s) with the correct size(s)!

    Just My $.02,
    Gene
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018

  5. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Meister

    387
    Jun 4, 2010
    Melbourne
    Tolerance specs allow for that much variation up to around 1.54, although it sounds like you have some sets with extremes. If it's a problem for you, you can buy 50 M3 grub screws on ebay for a few bucks and establish more closely matched sets.
     
    NilsZippo likes this.

  6. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Meister

    490
    Nov 14, 2010
    Santa Barbara
    Get rid of the crap -the wonky screws, the imprecise hex keys, and get decent stuff. You can probably get by futzing with worn or just plain cheesy stuff, but you can get decent saddles for cheap. Why mess around?
     

  7. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Meister

    387
    Jun 4, 2010
    Melbourne
    If you buy more expensive tools and screws, you would want to be 100% sure that they have tighter tolerances. So you'd need pubished specs, which I don't recall seeing on any gear at the hardware store. But chances are those wide tolerances are common. Here's one seller who does publish tolerances ...
    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148343&icep_item=302595756439
    That is, the common M3 grub saddle screw that the OP is talking about, with a nominal hex key size of "1.5mm", is actually spec-ed to have a hex socket size min of 1.52 to a max of 1.545, in order for a "1.5" hex key (with its own tolerances) to insert easily.
     
    DugT likes this.

  8. DugT

    DugT Tele-Meister

    380
    Sep 22, 2017
    northern CA
    Thanks for all of the excellent feedback. Life is too short for bad screws and good screws are cheap enough. The specs of the screws that TimTam found on ebay are tight enough and would be great if I could get a hex key that is actually 1.52mm. Those screws are dirt cheap too but they are from China so delivery is slow and products from China don't always meet their specs.

    Tomorrow I will try to get screw and hex key specs from USA sellers.
     

  9. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Meister

    387
    Jun 4, 2010
    Melbourne
    I've bought a lot of grub screws and regular screws (eg humbucker screws) from Asia on ebay. Always been exactly as advertised. But yes delivery can be slow.

    Good luck finding good metric stock in the USA, given its almost lone status in not having adopted the metric system (along with Burma and Liberia). ;)
    http://mentalfloss.com/article/55895/countries-havent-adopted-metric-system
     

  10. DugT

    DugT Tele-Meister

    380
    Sep 22, 2017
    northern CA
    There is lots of stock of metric parts in the USA because we import so many metric based products. These metric screws are available from several sources but I haven't found a source that details the specs as thoroughly as that Chinese site. By the way, I prefer the metric system and wish the USA would switch.
     

  11. DugT

    DugT Tele-Meister

    380
    Sep 22, 2017
    northern CA
    I solved the sloppy saddle screw socket problem. Part of the problem was the cheap hex keys that came with a couple of my guitars. The sockets in the M3 screws have 1.5mm sockets. The cheap hex keys are 1.46mm from side to opposite side and 1.59 from point to opposite point. I bought a highly rated hex key from Bondhus (12292 Set of 7 Hex L-wrenches, Short Length, sizes 1.5-6mm). Their 1.5mm hex key measures 1.48mm side to side and 1.65mm point to point. So, the good keys have .02mm longer sides and are .06mm longer from one point to the opposite point. The new bigger hex key works well in my inconsistent old (1994 Peavey) saddle screws. There is still some slop but there is no annoying risk of stripping the hole or the key.

    I also bought some new M3 saddle screws from MonsterBolts. (They are easy to find on Amazon and Ebay.) They sell stainless steel M3 screws in lots of lengths. They couldn’t provide the spec of the sockets but the new hex key fit perfectly in them. There is no slop in 11 of the twelve screws and barely noticeable slop in the 12th.


    The screws are “Set Screws” with a concave tip. I filed the tips down so a smooth flat surface would ride on the bridge. That is how the saddle screws are on my new MIJ Ibanez.

    On Ebay MonsterBolts offers a hex key with the screws but I didn’t get it. Now I wish I did for the sake of this otherwise comprehensive scientific study. :)

    I hope this helps someone else.
     

  12. beninma

    beninma Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Age:
    41
    Mar 17, 2017
    Massachusetts
    The saddle screws on my bridge (MIM Std 2016) have the same issue. I have some ball end wrenches that do fit in all of them and offer plenty of grip for doing setup on the guitar. But the non-ball end of the same wrenches don't necessarily fit in the holes.
     

  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    58
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    An awful lot of import hardware is low quality steel that distorts and strips easily, which likely accounts for the wrench being both tighter and looser in the same bridge.
    Add a bit of sweat and beer...

    Buying better quality allen screws might help.
     

  14. DugT

    DugT Tele-Meister

    380
    Sep 22, 2017
    northern CA
    In my research of hex keys I found that ball ends are not favored because they wear down too fast. Since your bridge is relatively new, I think a good quality new hex key would work much better for you.

    By the way, RC helicopter pilots are hard on their hex keys because all screws are important in a helicopter and they all have to be tight to keep from rattling loose. They don't use ball ends unless they have to and they buy keys made of or coated with harder materials like Chrome Moly, or chrome Vanadium or Protanium and they still wear them out. Our needs for guitar screws are much less demanding because they usually don't get that tight. We don't need ultra hard metal but bigger while still in spec is good for us and stainless screws are nice too.
     

  15. Ira7

    Ira7 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    61
    Jan 8, 2008
    Coral Springs, FL
    We're too stupid and lazy to figure out metric.

    And we're spending our time learning to say and spell "Myanmar." (And I don't think I even spelled it correctly there. I miss "Burma." Much easier.)
     

  16. Ira7

    Ira7 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    61
    Jan 8, 2008
    Coral Springs, FL
    How can the beer possibly hurt?
     

  17. beninma

    beninma Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Age:
    41
    Mar 17, 2017
    Massachusetts
    I actually do have a super high quality set of the vanadium ones, although they're not new. I think it's more likely to be poor quality screws on the saddles.

    Wear on my wrenches would not account for the wrench not fitting into the bolt at all.

    Relative to the tool, the bolt hex openings are not all the same size across the different saddles.

    I've never seen an actual spec from Fender as to what the bolts are supposed to be, and I bought my guitar used, so who knows.

    I used to do RC airplanes.. but I've done lots of bike/motorcycle stuff.. these guitar bolts are pretty delicate.. you shouldn't be wearing out tools on these dinky little saddle bolts that shouldn't have any torque applied.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
    boris bubbanov likes this.

  18. Ira7

    Ira7 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    61
    Jan 8, 2008
    Coral Springs, FL
    I used to CRASH RC airplanes.

    A month of building, 5 minutes of flying before they disintegrated upon landing, and other fascinating scenarios.

    I gave up on RC airplanes.
     

  19. beninma

    beninma Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Age:
    41
    Mar 17, 2017
    Massachusetts
    Actually I think I've only ever used that tiny little allen key on one other thing ever other than the saddles on my Tele. It's so rare to find bolts that small I can't remember what I actually used it on!

    So there's no way I wore out my tool.

    I do remember small stuff on the RC airplanes but not 1-1.5mm metric allen bolts.

    I find the use of anything metric on a Tele weird since it's mostly built to English/Imperial measurements, at least for MIM/MIA guitars.

    I was pretty good at crashing stuff too.
     

  20. DugT

    DugT Tele-Meister

    380
    Sep 22, 2017
    northern CA
    #4-40 is the common size saddle height screw for american bridges.

    The key to learning to flying RC planes successfully is start by flying a simulator. There are free simulators online and you can buy simulators that connect your transmitter to a simulator on your computer. The second key to success is fly slow and high at first. The third key is have an experienced flyer next to you for advice and to take the controls if necessary. The fourth key is have the sun behind you, not in your eyes. The fifth key is don't fly if it is windy. The sixth key is fly where there is lots of open space. #7 is start with a plane that is easy to fix if you crash it. #8 don't start with a helicopter. I flew stunts planes almost dailey for a few years and never lost a plane because I always followed these rules. The drones that are popular now are so programmable that they almost fly themselves.
     

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