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String Height Action...Again...

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Aztex, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. Aztex

    Aztex TDPRI Member

    Age:
    57
    72
    Mar 31, 2018
    TUCSON, AZ
    OK,

    Spent the day fine tuning my '59 AVRI Telecaster.

    String height at 17th fret both E's is about ~.0650" and no rattling so I can go lower!

    But both saddles under both E strings are bottomed out. The B and the A sides have plenty of clearance but the teeter totter effect forces me to stop at ~.0650".

    I'm using smallest diameter Rutters steel saddles.

    it's been suggested I shim the neck but why not grind off .0050"+ off the ends of the saddles? As long as they aren't touching the bridge plate it wouldn't have to be all that clean but luckily I am a jeweler with some nice diamond grinders at hand and pretty good at fine work.

    This seems like the obvious solution but so many people (not here) suggested I shim the neck I'm wanting to make sure I'm thinking right about this.

    What say you?

    Thanks,

    Warren
     

  2. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    61
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    Shim is an easier, reversible solution... Nothing wrong with a well-placed shim.

    And what's a '59 AVRI Telecaster?
     

  3. Aztex

    Aztex TDPRI Member

    Age:
    57
    72
    Mar 31, 2018
    TUCSON, AZ

    Yea but saddles are cheap too and I can't see how I'd destroy them.....

    Ideally I agree the neck angle should be better but that's a real variable. I have no clue where to start....

    '59 AVRI = 1959 American Vintage Re Issue.

    Thanks,

    Warren
     
    Owenmoney likes this.

  4. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    I'm interested. As for Moosie's questions, afaik there are 52, 58, 62 and 64 AVRI teles, and 56, 57, 59, 62 and 65 AVRI strats. Never heard of a 59 AVRI Tele? I'm guessing you mean a 58? One pic and we're all set :)
     

  5. Aztex

    Aztex TDPRI Member

    Age:
    57
    72
    Mar 31, 2018
    TUCSON, AZ

    Oh yea! '58!

    Sorry.....

    W
     

  6. Tezuka27

    Tezuka27 Tele-Meister

    471
    Apr 11, 2011
    Eastern Iowa
    1/2 to 1 degree is a decent starting point for shimming the neck. Some people use business cards, I've used aluminum cut from a soda can, and I've got a Tele that has a 1 degree wooden shim that I got from Stewmac. I don't know why grinding down the saddles wouldn't work, but it seems like a lot of extra effort, and a loss of mass, to me.

    jb
     
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  7. MickM

    MickM Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    My .02. Go get a feeler gauge (the ones that have some brass blades are easy to cut) and cut the length to fit across the bottom of the pocket notching the corners to clear the screws. Start with a .007 to .010 thick blade and go from there. Once you see how easy it is and how well it works you'll save the grinding for another job.
     
    Paul G. likes this.

  8. Aztex

    Aztex TDPRI Member

    Age:
    57
    72
    Mar 31, 2018
    TUCSON, AZ
    See!

    Everyone wants me to shim it! :D

    When I first noticed this issue I spoke with a custom builder supplier of tools and parts and they said having the saddles as low as possible better. Touching the bridge plate ideal if you can get the action.

    But how much does string break angle influence tone? Acoustics work on a different principle but a taller saddled better. (those saddles enjoy 100% contact though).

    But having these Tele saddles propped on spindly screws makes me think the closer to the deck approach better.

    To gain the .0050" max height I'd need a .0025" shim. Seems like that would just compress into the wood.....A wood shim would be more drastic but would leave me open for more options saddle wise.....

    I'll go ahead and order the thinnest least angle shim and give the saddles a couple file strokes in the meanwhile.....

    Thanks,

    W
     
    Ricky D. likes this.

  9. Synapse2k

    Synapse2k Tele-Meister

    147
    Jan 11, 2016
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ok a lot of strat saddles have shorter screws for the E strings. You can get replacement screws for the saddles that are all along - fender sells them in a pack of 12.

    Or you can cut up a business card or thin plastic rewards card and use that as a shim by the bottom of the neck pocket. That will angle the neck at the bottom end and bring the strings down at the end of the fretboard. Then just setup relief and the saddles.

    I think both of those are good options
     

  10. beninma

    beninma Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Age:
    40
    694
    Mar 17, 2017
    Massachusetts
    Maybe someone can clarify as I also got the "shim it" recommendations last week.

    In this case it sounds like the neck angle is fine, is the recommendation to shim to use a flat shim that just raises the neck relative to the bridge but does not change the angle? That would allow the saddles to be raised and have the same relationship to the neck.

    Obviously this is different depending on the model of bridge. In my case I was having trouble lowering the bridge pickup far enough. But I had a ton of adjustment left on the saddles, I could have lowered the saddles quite a bit more.

    I ended up rethinking my pickup heights and solving the problem without having to do anything crazy.. I got a good balanced position with the pickups higher that seems to work.
     
    Owenmoney likes this.

  11. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    61
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    We're giving you our best collective advice. Not just telling you what you want to hear. You're welcome :):lol:

    First, look at the Jazzmaster, where the otherwise great design badly suffers from not enough break angle. You don't wanna know the standard solution. You don't wanna know that Fender now tapers the neck pocket on the AV models. A little more break angle is better than a little (or a lot) less, IMO.

    Also, think about the pressure two strings apply to two screw feet, vs spread out across the whole saddle sitting on the body. I'd rather have the saddles up on their feet a bit. (But NOT spindly! :lol:)

    Second, there's a difference, IMO, between "propped up on spindly screws" and reasonable range of travel on those feet. Consider if you ever change string gauges, and/or if you ever desire different (higher) action for whatever reason. I'd target a max saddle height where the screws fill no less than half the saddle thickness. Perhaps a bit more. Personally, I don't mind the saddles peeping over the saddles by 1/16". Factor all this in, and determine the min and max saddle heights across all strings. Measure where you are now, and do the trig to calculate the shim thickness. If you're in AZ, you might not need to touch the truss rod much, but here in Connecticut, the humidity changes require tweaking the setup a couple times per year, minimum. While the saddle heights don't change much, it's nice that it's possible, that they're not maxed out, in either direction.

    Finally, I don't mean to derail your whole setup approach here. I think it's important to develop your setup skills to the point where you can reliably achieve very low action. Speaking from personal experience, been there, done that, and I discovered that I enjoy the guitar more with the action raised 1/64. Not coincidentally, raising by that small amount, many "issues" simply go away.
     
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  12. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    52
    Jan 23, 2007
    Denmark
    You can do it in several ways , far easiest is shimming the neck
    You could : Remove material from bottom of saddle screws
    Remove material from bottom of saddles
    Mount the bridge lower into the body
    Use smaller diameter saddles
    Rout the neck pocket at an angle
    OR , you could fabricate a humble shim from a creditcard , wood veneer , a piece of a hacksaw blade , folded aluminum foil , or whatever......AND be done in
    about eight minutes......your choice
     
    Paul G. likes this.

  13. Aztex

    Aztex TDPRI Member

    Age:
    57
    72
    Mar 31, 2018
    TUCSON, AZ
    Thanks!

    But now I DO wanna know!

    Was this an issue with early versions of the AV's? Mines a "1st 46" version.

    OK I'll shim it and see if it effect tone. Probably order a Stewmac maple shim.

    BTW How does one measure neck angle on a Tele?

    Thanks,

    W
     

  14. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

    Oct 29, 2013
    NYC
    @Aztex, I'm curious. How much relief does the neck have?
     

  15. Aztex

    Aztex TDPRI Member

    Age:
    57
    72
    Mar 31, 2018
    TUCSON, AZ

    Just about .009". The .010" gauge just raises it a hair. .009" slight gap.

    No buzzes with the 6/64"+ height so I want to bring it down a little it more....

    W
     
    LutherBurger likes this.

  16. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    61
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    The break angle issue is not about Telecasters. Just Jazzmasters (maybe Jags, Stangs...?). Completely different bridge design. Historically there's no break angle, causing tone to suffer, plus rattling, and strings popping out of saddles, etc. The standard fix that everyone - and I mean everyone - employs is a neck pocket shim. My AV65 JM doesn't have the issue, because the pocket was cut with a taper (built-in shim). I'm not sure where / when else Fender might have done this. But again, nothing to do with Teles, except to illustrate the importance of break angle (which you're trying to do away with more or less).
     
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  17. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    61
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    6/64? I thought you said 4/64 in the initial post. Big difference.
     

  18. Aztex

    Aztex TDPRI Member

    Age:
    57
    72
    Mar 31, 2018
    TUCSON, AZ
    Dang it!

    Yes 4/64" Dyslexia and lack of coffee this morning......

    :/

    W
     
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  19. gobi_grey

    gobi_grey Tele-Holic

    662
    Jun 7, 2011
    clinton, ia
    Tele saddles are just crudely shapped pieces of round stock. Slightly modifying the ends of only two of them to help give more clearance and to better accommodate the neck radius seems like a no brainer to me if the other option is a shim. If your mic stand was too high, would you modify it by lowering the stand or would you stand on a book the whole night? I guess I see a shim as an absolute last resort.
     

  20. Aztex

    Aztex TDPRI Member

    Age:
    57
    72
    Mar 31, 2018
    TUCSON, AZ
    So...

    Since I was still mid set up I went ahead and filed down the ends of the outer two saddles.

    It took a bit more time than I thought and two tries so I'd have to agree shimming may be simpler and quicker.

    Since I'm dialed in now I'm not going to sweat it much but order a couple maple shims from StewMac. This will give me options down the road to try different saddles if I get the urge.

    Over all pretty simple though. The steel Rutters comped saddles were not very hard so quick hit on diamond then file and sand. Each took ~2 minutes once I was set up.

    Tone is still magic! I just played an hour of scales watching Lost In Space!

    Thanks,

    W
     
    Peckhammer likes this.

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