can't lower my action, saddles sitting on the bridge plate!

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Danny S, Sep 18, 2021.

  1. Danny S

    Danny S TDPRI Member

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    I have a question about my tele (62 reissue, made in Japan). I currently have the action set at 4/64, measured at the 12th fret, for all 6 strings. I have a modern tele bridge, with 6 individual saddles. My problem is, the saddles for the low and high E strings are practically sitting on the bridge plate! Is this normal? I can't experiment with lower action (say, on the b and e strings) because of this limitation. The picture below is the type of saddles I have. Is this normal? Dan

    upload_2021-9-18_9-0-13.jpeg
     
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  2. Fenderbaum

    Fenderbaum Tele-Meister

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    Shim your neck..
    Neck needs to be angled backwards so a thin shim in the bottom of the neck pocket will do the trick.
    I use the packages of empty Daddario strings or Elixir. Perfect thickness for that slight angle you need.
     
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  3. pypa

    pypa Tele-Holic

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    It happens sometimes…

    you have three options:

    Raise the neck in the pocket with a flat shim,
    Angle the neck in the pocket with a tapered shim,
    Recess the bridge.

    Doing the flat shim is easiest to make and easiest to control; making an angled shim is harder and can result in drastic alterations in where the fret plane hits the saddles. You'd only revert to that if the neck is already unsightly high in the pocket.
     
  4. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Friend of Leo's

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    First of all, interesting that your 62 reissue has that bridge and those saddles, it should have three threaded steel saddles in a vintage bridge.


    Regardless, the fix would likely be a shim on the bridge side of the neck pocket. Pretty common.
     
  5. kmckenna45

    kmckenna45 TDPRI Member

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    ++ Funny - I bought plastic shims online, but found them too thick. A piece of packaging cardboard worked perfectly.
     
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  6. Danny S

    Danny S TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the replies. My tele was gift from my dad, who actually bought it on this forum a few years ago. it has the modern bridge, and Seymour Duncan pickups, so I guess someone souped it up!. I absolutely love it. It plays and sounds wonderful, I was just wondering about this little issue. I suppose if I like the action the way it is, I don't have to do anything? Anyways, installing a shim is not something I would tackle myself. Dan
     
  7. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

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    That is an American Standard Telecaster bridge, not a MIJ/CIJ 62 (TL-62) re-issue bridge. Did your guitar arrive with that bridge installed, or did you add it in place of the original 3-saddle vintage-style bridge ?
     
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  8. Phrygian77

    Phrygian77 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    @Danny S shimming is something that is frequently done to stay within the saddle adjustment range and/or keep the string break angle over the saddles reasonable. It's not that hard. I've had to reverse shim more often than anything else. You may just want to bite the bullet and try it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2021
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  9. ChicknPickn

    ChicknPickn Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Many are calling for shims. I'd agree with them. Someone here suggested years ago that an aluminum drink can provides stable, non-rotting or compressing shim material. Easy to shape with scissors. I've used this trick several times.
     
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  10. Texicaster

    Texicaster Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Super easy to do!

    I suggest dropping the $8+/- on the StewMac tapered wood shims. When your done you can't even really see....

    Takes about 10 minutes and really no way you can mess it up unless you go wild and torque the screws to strip out the wood and that would take a tremendous effort!
     
  11. BerkshireDuncan

    BerkshireDuncan Tele-Meister

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    .
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2021
  12. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Shimming a neck is one of the most "non-invasive", easily reversible things you can do to your guitar. Do a string change and general guitar cleaning at the same time, to be a little more efficient. You don't have to worry about shim size, as long as you're within the range of your saddle adjusting screws. Good luck!
     
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  13. medownsouth

    medownsouth Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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  14. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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  15. Fenderbaum

    Fenderbaum Tele-Meister

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    Is very easy. Strings off, unbolt neck, shim, and put on neck and restring. Adjust saddles higher
     
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  16. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    Use a good quality straight edge resting (gently) on your fingerboard to gauge the relative position of the bridge+(saddles) right now. The straight edge should 'point' to a height right about the middle of the bridge or slightly higher. If it is lower, yes, you are a good candidate for a shim (at the 'back' [bridge end] of the neck pocket).


    1. Loosen strings (you should not have to take them off -- or even fully unwind from the tuner post(s).

    2. Using 'blue painter's tape', tape them together or even to the top of the fretboard (loosely -- just keep the 'together' so they don't get all jumbled and mixed up).

    3. Loosen the 4 neck screws that attach (back of) neck to the body in the heel pocket. You'll need a decent sized/tipped Philips screwdriver. Back them out far enough to give some space between the neck heel pocket and the base of the back of the neck (3/8" to 1/2" or so, IIRC).

    Some do this by removing the neck completely. I have done a shim with just loosening the screws and pulling the neck up away out of the pocket without actually removing the screws (and neck, of course) entirely. < That part is a bit subjective, if you aren't sure, try doing it with just leaving the screws in place first perhaps, then, if you have to, just remove the neck completely and re-install the screws, etc.
    Just don't try to pull the neck far away from the body as to jumble up all the strings! (move minimally, and carefully).

    4. Slide a small piece of thin cardboard (or similar) material all the way back (toward the bridge end of the neck pocket). It should sit across the far end of the pocket evenly. It should be approx. 2" wide (to fit behind the two 'back' screws and something like 1/4" to 3/8" wide. You may have to work it into place with something like a pencil, a tiny screwdriver or something similar.

    5. Then, check the fit of the shim -- you can do a quick of the fit -- put neck and screws back in place and tighten up the neck screws. If things go as expected... the headstock will angle back slightly and the bridge end of the neck will be raised ever so minutely. It is that small angular offset that gives you the ability to raise the bridge to a 'usable' height for proper action/intonation/etc.

    Luckily, most electric guitars have a pretty easy 'fix' for a neck angle issue. An acoustic guitar that is glued..? /ugh -- not so easy to deal with.

    If it doesn't work for whatever reason (or you are unhappy with the result, etc), loosen the neck screws again, hold the guitar headstock down, let the piece of cardboard slip out, and tighten everything back up. Re-tension and check your strings. (You may need/want to re-string at this point anyway) and proceed to Plan B. Also, gorilla torque is not necessary when tightening neck screws to body.

    HTH
     
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  17. medownsouth

    medownsouth Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    totally or playing cards, or another really good material is the sides of a cigarette package or the clear hard plastic in retail blister packs. I honestly bought proper wood shims cuz I'm nitpicky. I ended up with really nice, full-heel contact from the neck and pocket, and cosmetically the shim blended in very very well once the neck was reattached. Also, mine was extreme - half mil didn't get it had to go thicker
     
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  18. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Friend of Leo's

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    As stated above, the bridge you show is very different from a vintage bridge, three mounting screws instead of four and behind the strings instead of in front of. If your bridge isn’t a vintage 3 saddle, and is a more modern 6 saddle, then it must resemble one made for the Mexican made Telecasters like this:

    CAD8001D-EBDE-49A1-BA1F-240E9F1EBB64.jpeg
     
  19. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    In 50 years of bolt on necks, I've never seen that happen.
     
  20. PJ55

    PJ55 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I’ve had that issue with that same bridge. I’ve used 800 grit to sand a couple thousandths from the bottom of those saddles.
     
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