Any solutions for string spacing with Bigsby B5/50 bridge?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Alcohen, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. Alcohen

    Alcohen Tele-Meister

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    The problem: the string spacing on the stock threaded saddles that come with the Squier Cabronita with Bigsby is too wide for the pickups and neck. Bringing the strings into the appropriate position leaves the high strings, especially the high E, sitting over the adjustment screw hole. Tone and sustain are poor:

    IMG_1923.jpg

    There's been a lot of discussion about replacing this bridge on B5-equipped Teles and Jaguars and Jazzmasters. While I've seen plenty of other suggestions, the only real solution I've seen is to get a Mastery bridge ($150+) or Staytrem (unavailable in the U.S.). It seems to me the simplest solution would be to find saddles that were a little narrower, but I haven't been able to find any. I think the screw holes are too close to the sides to grind the barrel down. You could also ditch the B5 plate and install some variation of a Tele bridge but I don't think I want to do that. Any other ideas?
     
  2. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Afflicted

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  3. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    Mustang bridges have very wide string spacing and definitely won't solve this problem.
     
  4. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    The current production Johnny Marr Jag bridge has the correct 52mm spacing and is basically an unbranded Staytrem. Expensive, but guaranteed to work far better than a Mustang bridge, as long as the radius is right. I'd check post hole spacing first as well.
     
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  5. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Looks just like my Esquire. It started like as a Squier Tele someone then slapped a Bigsby onto, and I think that, along with the bridge being a little wide for the neck, it was also aligned somewhat less than perfectly.

    unnamed.jpg

    I don't notice my tone or sustain suffering for it, though. Have you tried raising the bridge/relevant saddles a touch? Could be that the strings' sitting over the hole makes the break angle a touch too shallow. If raising the strings helps but then takes them too far from the neck, you can always shim the neck to bring it closer to the strings.
     
  6. Alcohen

    Alcohen Tele-Meister

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    Already shimmed the neck, raised the bridge and radiused the saddles. I didn't know about the Johnny Marr bridge, that's interesting but with a non-adjustable 7.25 radius it won't work. Does look like a Staytrem, doesn't it? I hope they got some licensing money for that.

    I was thinking about trying these saddles from Allparts:

    [​IMG]

    They're height adjustable though with only two options for horizontal spacing (I'm assuming they can be reversed). Allparts says they're designed for a 2-3/16" tele bridge but are 2-1/16" (52mm) when pushed up against each other. For $30 it's a cheaper solution by far than the Mastery. Any opinions about whether this is a good or bad idea?
     
  7. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    It’s a bad idea in the sense you can’t push the saddles together on such a short intonation screw. It will be 2-3/16”. On the other hand you won’t have string bumps, but I’m guessing that’s not a problem with a B5. Why don’t you compromise and bring the high E out to the last usable notch/thread? Bump the neck over by oversizing the body screw holes, and live with a little bit of offset string over the bridge pickup.

    Mastery or Straytrem will not fix a bad bridge thimble alignment, only a bump over from the neck mount area can do that. But if you want to try it anyway, get an American Professional Mustang-style bridge. It’s just like the J-Marr but 9.5” radius. The latest model has a 52mm string spacing.

    https://darrenriley.com/store/fender-american-pro-jaguar-jazzmaster-bridge-7709942000/
     
  8. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    With my Hipshot benders, which have some strings mounted in the bender and some in the body, there is the same issue. On one of them I have a Hipshot tele bridge which has both string-through and top loading holes. the strings that anchor in the Hipshot go through the top loader holes with little lengths of bicycle brake tubing to ease friction in that area. It works perfectly. On the other I have a Gotoh bridge, the kind with six saddles that looks like an American Standard bridge. On that one I used a grinder on the back of the bridge plate to grind down gaps for the strings to go through on their way to the Hipshot. Also works perfectly. Again these are both with pretty standard tele bridges, not that Bigsby kind. I can post pics if this doesn't make any sense.
     
  9. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Oops never mind I see you have rejected the idea to use some kind of regular tele bridge.
     
  10. Alcohen

    Alcohen Tele-Meister

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    Yah, I think I'm running into the limits of QC on these Squier Cabronitas. Thanks, BorderRadio, that's helpful. It might be mitigated to some extent by a 52mm string spacing bridge, tho unfortunately it looks like that American Pro bridge is out of stock everywhere. I don't know that the bridge thimbles are misaligned as much as the guitar has some basic incompatibilities. The Fidelitron wants one string spacing and the bridge pickup in the B50 mount another (it would benefit from a slightly greater angle on the bridge pickup to line up the two pickups' screws/magnets). The bridge is kind of shoehorned in there and should be narrower. Tfarny, this experience suggests a modified Tele bridge is superior to the B5/50 rocker. I mean, why commit to a bridge that's the subject of a thousand internet posts searching for a better alternative?
     
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