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Brass barrel touching bridge plate?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by dscottyg, Jan 24, 2021.

  1. dscottyg

    dscottyg Tele-Meister

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    353AB4D0-3303-44C7-BDB8-A540BE623155.jpeg ED3D3392-9A6B-4883-88C0-AFBCA03F5FF7.jpeg
    I recently got a 2011 vintage hot rod 52. It’s great, except one thing is odd, and that is the brass barrel for the low E side is all the way down to the bridge plate. The string is at 4/64 action, which is what Fender recommends, but it is troubling that barrel is touching the plate. It’s a tilted compensating barrel. Why is this, and is there a remedy?
    Added later: It’s not the screw height that is bothersome, it’s the idea that there is something wrong with the guitar. If I make the screw shorter, the barrel will still be in the same low place. I’m also wondering if it might be due to the tilt of the compensated saddles.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
  2. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    Put a small shim under the neck nearest to the body. A piece of old credit card , or a strip of sand paper or thin veneer.
    Should get the saddle up , and less of the screws will stick out
     
  3. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Same as the other current thread...

    Grind down the underside of the grub screw of the barrel or buy shorter. They're cheap.
    I'd do this before I go sticking a shim in, especially if you're happy with the action.

    I've got an SX that I did the 3 barrel mod/modern sled bridge. I ground down the underside of the barrel themselves to get it lower.
     
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  4. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'd say first determine the neck relief.
    Saddles that low on a proper Fender suggest the neck has a lot of relief.
    If the relief is minimal you can add the shim as @viking suggested, I use a strip of ordinary business card cut fit behind the screws in the heel end of the neck pocket.
    Cutting a little off the bottom of the low E string height screw isgood too but you don't want any saddle so low it sits on the bridge plate, and in general you want the saddles high enough that the A, D and G screws are below the saddle tops.
     
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  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Here’s a reasonable setup.

    34BE4B87-1C93-45F1-8B54-AF322C527FB8.jpeg
     
  6. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Poster Extraordinaire

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    Most Fenders benefit from a neck shim, IME. I have personally never once taken the neck off an old one that didn’t have a factory shim in there. Even many FMIC era ones have them IME (a white card stock).

    You definitely need one. Probably at least 1/2 degree. Ideally, you want your saddle height screws inside, or at least close to inside, the saddles. This is harder to achieve with the later style narrow threaded saddles than it is with simple barrel saddles like yours.

    Fender shims in the CBS and earlier eras ranged from the thickness of fine grained sandpaper to the thickness of 1/16 inch fiberboard.

    This is why Micro Tilt was such a great feature that was a shame to lose, IMO. I love it on my early Music Mans and G&Ls. Easiest to set up instruments I own.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
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  7. WingedWords

    WingedWords Friend of Leo's

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    A shim is reversible. Shortening screws isn't. I'd always try the reversible option first.
     
  8. ricardo1912

    ricardo1912 Friend of Leo's

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    If it plays well and you're happy with the way it feels, I'd be tempted to just buy some shorter saddle screws.
     
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  9. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Before you start removing necks and sticking old credit cards in the neck pockets, check the other elements which form a basic set up.
    1. Action or height of the strings at the nut
    2. Neck relief achieved by adjusting the truss rod
    3. String height; you mentioned you've set this. I've set it at the 15th fret; others the 12th.
    4. Tuning & Intonation
    Removing the neck and shimming is at least stage 5.

    Is this a new guitar to you?

    Let us know how it turns out and good luck. :)
     
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  10. Wrighty

    Wrighty Friend of Leo's

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    Often wondered about using a business, i.e., cardboard. It’s a soft material and I would think it would absorb vibrations. I’ve used a credit card in the neck pocket before now and not noticed any difference sustain-wise.
     
  11. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Donut shim, no need. Over doing it!

    As state of above, grind it down or file it down.
    No biggie.

    .
     
  12. dscottyg

    dscottyg Tele-Meister

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    I just got it used. It’s from 2011. I set the relief at .010 just like Fender recommends. Measuring the action at the 17th is also from fender. I intonated it too. Maybe it is time for the shim. Another thing I was thinking was to leave it since technically it does work as long as I don’t need to lower the string any more. Or maybe put a tiny shim under the barrel screw. It’s just that one low E string. .
     
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  13. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    You've answered your own question - if it ain't broke don't fix it.

    In the future if it becomes an issue you could try notch saddles like Joe Barden and Marc Rutter supplies to give you more clearance.

    Good luck and enjoy playing it. :)
     

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    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
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  14. Wallaby

    Wallaby Friend of Leo's

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    I would first play it for a while and continue to perfect the setup.

    If the frets are level you could try reducing the relief, for instance.

    If you end up needing to address the neck angle, I'd go for a shim. Shims can be really elaborate, but I like a small piece of printer paper myself, just folded over however many times are needed. Paper doesn't compress, is very inexpensive and easy to find, and is basically wood in convenient format.
     
  15. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    Agree 100% with PeterUK. If you like the way it plays now, don't mess with it, but if you just don't want the saddle touching the plate, that's exactly what the saddles shown in his post are made to address.
     
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  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    My thoughts/ peoples thoughts, don't always match up with physics, I use business card stock because it's the right thickness and I find a great setup and good woods nets me great sustain and attack. If it compresses a little, it stops once it's been compressed, as in it doesn't squeeze out or become thinner and thinner after use.

    A credit card is indeed a harder material, but way too thick.
     
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  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Fender is nuts with the relief recommendations.
    The spec is suited for shipping and hanging in shops.
    Also fine for cowboy chord players who stay below the sixth fret.
    As I guessed in my earlier post, low saddles are a sign of too much relief.
    I may sound like a nut to say Fender is nuts, but I worked for years as a guitar tech and also here most players who set up their own guitars state that they prefer anywhere from zero relief to a range of numbers from .002- .006.
    Where .006 would help with hard strumming open position chords into a squeaky clean amp that makes the smallest fret buzz audible, in general the bigger the relief the worse the upper fret action.
    Many of us actually like no relief at all, as in a dead straight neck.

    Reduce the relief adjustment and your saddles can come up!
     
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  18. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Frankly, the low E just looks like it is set too low! Have you checked it with a radius gauge? That should be part of your set-up. Even if it is spot-on with the radius gauge, there is no real harm in bumping up that last screw 1/2 turn if you don't want it on the plate. It won't make much of a difference in playability, if any.

    I would recommend REPLACING the screws before changing the neck angle. Buy shorter screws for a few bucks and SAVE the originals in your case.

    Keep in mind, changing the neck angle necessitates raising and resetting all of your saddles AND your pickups to match. Possibly adjusting the nut slots. Nothing terribly difficult, but certainly more involved than simply raising your saddle 1/2 turn!
     
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  19. Wrighty

    Wrighty Friend of Leo's

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    Good points. In the end it’s really a case of if it sounds OK and dies the job all is well.
     
  20. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    Is it actually touching? a thin clearance is fine. actually touching is probably fine. But if you want to change it, yeah, shim the neck at the heel end.
     
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