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Brass barrel touching bridge plate?

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

  1. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I agree in general that we should not take a hacksaw to a Telecaster the first time some nut on a forum says "Cut it off!!!".

    But the height screws in Tele saddles are to me like new strings we cut to length, or a nut blank we file slot depths in.
    If we put the new Fender bridge on a guitar with a really flat board radius neck, the height screws might all be buried in the saddles.
    But with a vintage 7.25 board radius, a setup that buries the low E height screw so your hand isn't grinding against the screw head, that overall height puts the D and G saddles so high that the height screws are almost all the way through the saddles, with not enough threads plus more chance a screwdriver will mess up the saddle threads having to go so far in to reach the screw.

    Saddle height screws need to be tailored to board radius in a good setup, but they don't come that way from the factory, because setups vary and board radius' vary.

    Many of us go to the hardware store and buy shorter "grub screws", but those are usually allen head, and may still not be just the right length.
    Anyone who has a really good tech setting up their Telecasters will probably have had some cutting done by the tech!
    But a good tech doesn't have time to call us up each time he gets out a cutting tool while setting up our guitar, so we may not know exactly what the tech did.
     
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  2. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I just use these. $5 and done. Any length/thread/color you want.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07VFKM6JQ/?tag=tdpri-20

    FWIW, I have also been known to grind off part of a saddle that sits too low. But, as I said above, it looks to me like it could be raised without issue. But if I wasn't going to use an ashtray cover, I would replace those deadly screws. Slot-head screws are the deadliest! But I WOULD save them for any purists of ca. 2011 guitars.
     
  3. dscottyg

    dscottyg Tele-Meister

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    True. I guess my question was, “Is it broken?” I’m too green to know, so asking more seasoned folks.
     
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  4. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    It is entirely possible that that the low E screw is doing nothing - I doubt it is bottomed out - just rattling around loose in the saddle and not even touching the plate. Lowering the screw WILL and MUST eventually raise the saddle - and then it won't tilt as much downward. The saddles are intentionally tilted fore and aft for compensation reasons. But the screws that adjust the saddle height are used to both adjust the radius of the bridge/saddle assembly AND adjust action height. Do you find the low E buzzes? If so, raise that side of the saddle until it doesn't. Problem solved. It will now be off of the plate. Keep in mind, you rotate the screw clockwise to raise the saddle.

    Do you have radius gauges (cheap) to set the radius at the bridge to match your neck? That is kinda important, but not absolutely necessary. You can just eyeball it to get it close. It is also not necessary that the radius at the bridge exactly match your neck radius, but is recommended as a starting point on a basic setup. Sometimes it is a compromise between overall action height and the radius that works best.

    If you have a nice, low action with no buzzing strings and minimal neck relief, I would just work on the saddle heights before I would open another can of worms with shimming the neck. Yes, it is an option, but I would set it aside and see if you can get a happy guitar with some new screws. If you don't want to change the screws, but don't appreciate blood/flesh on your bridge, you could consider an ashtray cover.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
  5. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Is that the right question?

    Does it play nicely? Are you happy with it? No buzzes or rattles? Can you live with aesthetically?

    If the answer to ALL of these questions is YES, it ain't broke.

    When I built this guitar, someone ask me about the EA saddle and suggested something was wrong. To be honest, I hadn't noticed it.

    The intonation is spot on, it plays beautifully in tune, great low action and I love to play it.

    It ain't broke and I have no intention of fixing it. :D
     

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  6. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    Such needless complexity! Get a saddle that's thinner on one side or cut off part of yours, get shorter screws or cut yours down, and everything else can stay the same. Shimming and raising the saddles changes something else that's potentially huge, and I'm not talking about break angle. It raises the strings farther away from the body, and everything about the feel of the instrument changes. So does the distance between the pickups and the strings. There's nothing wrong with shims, but in this case I wouldn't bother.
     
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  7. Geo

    Geo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had one Telecaster that had the same issue but it was never really a problem sound or function wise.
    I did later add a neck shim though which eliminated the saddle bottoming out on the plate.
     
  8. dscottyg

    dscottyg Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for all the input. Hi CE decided that since there is still about 1/16 of an inch before the barrel actually touches the body. I’ll leave it alone. And I will possibly cut the bottom of the screw so it’s not so high. Someday maybe I’ll get a new screw and try shimming it for fun.
     
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  9. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    The one operation takes 5 minutes and the other takes 45 minutes. One can buy all the short grub screws you want, at certain providers like McMaster Carr, The Bolt Depot and so forth. I wouldn't monkey with cutting down the height screws on an parts matched 1953 Telecaster, but for modern guitars, these parts are just parts.

    With kindest regards to all the guys who have Shim Fever, I realize the idea of using a shim, by itself, is not some sort of mortal sin. No, in fact it is the way people instinctively all clamor to get on this Shim Band Wagon. As if a guitar player's life is incomplete if just one of his guitars lacks a shim. Guys, get a grip on yourselves. Shims are not a wiser choice than just using a shorter saddle height screw. Keep a variety of these screws, various lengths, in your parts drawer. They're cheap, so long as to aren't paying Fed Ex to deliver them later today or something.
     
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  10. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I hear you.

    I've had a number of T styles (and other guitars with Tele style 3 barrel bridges) where the saddle ends made hard contact with the plate. I don't think it made any discernible difference in the sound or function of the guitar. However in some cases (and this is mostly true with saddles without flat spots on the bottom sides) the string needed to be lower and the saddle was in the way. I simply filed some of the offending material off the bottom of the saddle, to make room for further lowering of the saddle.

    While I like the way so many of Telemnemonic's guitars set up, I will acknowledge that some projects just refuse to set up with the saddles nice and high like that. I just accept that guitar having a different character and one just uses a little bit different technique to play it and one might simply choose to play something a bit different in nature. I'm not a fan of this "It is all good" expression, but maybe Telecasters should be seen, the way we see dogs. Each has a strength; just exploit the animal's strength and don't try to make it into something it is not.
     
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  11. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    I notice nobody mentioned full-pocket.shims. I make them from 1 mm maple veneer. That said, I would not shim a neck unless it needs it. Yours is ok for today.
     
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  12. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    This is why I recommend to folks that they not try to convert an American Standard Tele into an AV52 style guitar. What's going on at the bridge - the height of the strings above the body, the pickup showing a lot above the plane of the bridge plate, are important for the feel and the sound of this classic Clarence Leonidas design in original form.

    I just don't think most people need to use a shim to get to this result. Unless perhaps the neck and body are a "forced marriage" and aren't really well suited to one another. I admit I have a much larger "stock" of necks and bodies in development and I can cherry pick, to a remarkable extent, which neck ends up with which body and it simply is never a random thing, around my place. But this does show IMO that it CAN be done if people just make the effort. I've got something around 100 guitars (roughly) and only 2 have shims. It can be done.
     
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  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I don't want any screw heads sticking up out of my Tele saddles!

    Replacing slot heads that are too long with allen heads that are too long?
    Job half done!
    I do now and then grind the E ends saddle bottoms a little in case somebody has an emergency on the road where the neck bowed from dry winter touring etc and they need to lower the saddles in the dark with a nail file etc.

    I so much prefer slot heads to allen heads for several reasons, including the long term survival and ease of finding the right tool in a bad situation. I've even taken a tiny triangle file for saw sharpening and dulled the sharp edges on the slots, just in case they need to be adjusted above the saddles.
    But a proper setup IMO has all screws buried below the surface.
     
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  14. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    3/16" is still too long? What are you using for saddles??
     
  15. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I was only referring to your mention of the screws being deadly, which is only a concern if they stick out.
    Very true though!
    Slashers they are!

    I've shopped and only found allen head grub screws, which are just not for me.
    So far every vintage style saddle has the nice slot heads already installed, only need to cut the one low E screw shorter and set up with the ADG and B sunk, which leaves the high E screw high but my palm never rests on the high E.
     
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  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    My findings are also that I seldom need a shim to set up with my preferred high saddles.
    When for some reason the parts get me a low saddle setup, I will give it one layer of business card to get the bridge how I like it.

    Sometimes though if setting up a Tele for a singer songwriter strummer who really prefers a good amount of relief, the saddles come down lower to get a decent action height with more relief.
    Then they keep moving the strings around on the saddles due to weak break angle/ less force holding the stings against the saddles, combined with more aggressive strumming.
    I'd shim that neck without asking the customer.

    Nowadays though with internet lore, good heavens I might have an angry mob come with torches if I shimmed without permission!

    I used to often state here that a Tele shouldn't need a shim, and a Strat usually needs a shim.

    I stopped doing that as I got tired of the torch carriers...

    ...easier to please one customer than the whole dang internet!
     
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  17. Mur

    Mur Tele-Afflicted

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    I have a couple like that, lol ..Tele and P-bass ..saddles lay flat on the bridge plate.
     
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  18. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Ha ha! Ain't that the truth!

    Have you noticed that the torch carriers are also the internet "Guess Monkeys"? :confused:
     
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  19. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Dumb question - why doesn't Fender sell them? Or do they?
     
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  20. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I represent that remark! ;)
     
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