Does Fender Custom Shop use different bridge plates?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by MarkF786, May 29, 2020.

  1. MarkF786

    MarkF786 TDPRI Member

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    I have an unused "Fender Pat. Pend." + serial number bridge plate from 2011. Oddly, the packaging has a serial number for the left-handed model (0053822000), though it's right handed. I saw an old thread with someone reporting this same quirk.

    Anyway, I have a newer Custom Shop 1952 Tele also with a "Pat. Pend." bridge plate which looks much nicer. The older one has a very reflective chrome finish (though with a little "frosting" behind the cut-out) which looks kinda of cheap, whereas the new one looks more subdued and of higher quality. Without taking it off and comparing, it's hard to say if there's an actual difference.

    I need a bridge plate for another tele, and am unsure if to just use what I have or if to buy an actual Custom Shop bridge, parted by Stratosphere.

    Does anyone know if the Custom Shop indeed uses high quality bridge plates? Or is in the same as the commonly available part (0054162049)?

    Another option is to order a new one (0054162049) and see if quality improved over the years, explaining the difference.

    Mark
     
  2. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    I don't know what the CS uses, but my guess is they reach into a bin of the usual item and pull one out to use. The usual bridge plate varies a bit.

    There's no quality issue with the standard bridge plate. It's thin, stamped sheetmetal. In the plating shop the buffing wheel has a big enough radius that it doesn't reach the back half of the plate, thus the "frosted" surface we've enjoyed since 1950. The bridge cover hides every bit of that, so it all looks shiny and proper as Leo intended.
     
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  3. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I can tell you that the 2-pt trem plate on the current MIM Strat is different than the 2-pt trem plate on the current MIA Strat. Go to the Fender site, look at each (zoom in), and see if YOU can see the difference. (we're talking trem bridge PLATE, not bridge pieces).
     
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  4. clayton58

    clayton58 TDPRI Member

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    The guide at the factory tour in Corona showed us the presses. He said they’ve been used since the 50s And produce All Fender bridge plates.
    That was June 2013.
     
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  5. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    OP is talking about Telecaster plates from the CS.
     
  6. Turtleneck

    Turtleneck Tele-Meister

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    They might do a higher end chrome process on the CS plate, but like mentioned above, they are all from the same source. (supposedly)
     
  7. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    For the reissue type CS models, I believe they use the AV parts that were re-tooled in 2012. I know that's the case with my 2013 CS Strats. And I had a WW CS 52 Tele whose parts didn't look any different than those normally found on a 52 RI.
     
  8. MarkF786

    MarkF786 TDPRI Member

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    Here's a picture of both bridges in the same light. They may be stamped from the same press and sheetmetal - but undoubtedly the finish and the stamp of the text is different. The CS bridge looks to be of much higher quality.

    Measuring the sides with calipers, they are the same thickness (~0.049").

    I did order a new one just to see if the finish has changed since 2011. It's hard to tell from pictures of the bridges being sold.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  9. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Oh...nevermind.
     
  10. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    Looks to me like the plate in the first pic has had some hand polishing in the back half of the plate. It still has a bit of texture if you look closely. Same plate, some hand work, looks a little nicer.
     
  11. wildOGpizza

    wildOGpizza TDPRI Member

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    The edges look smoother on the CS one. Seems like they spend more time with it after the stamping, cleaning up the edges, polishing. The plating seems a bit nicer actually. For environmental reasons chrome plating has gotten a lot worse since back in the day. Maybe they still do small runs in the olden way. The stamping does look nicer.
     
  12. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

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  13. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Darren is solid!
     
  14. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    The non-custom shop bridge appears to have been polished differently than the custom shop one. The non-custom shop version was smoothed out behind the pickup.

    I have personally never owned one that was polished so far back as your non-custom shop example. And that’s across the board – all American reissues, not just CS. Aside from that, I don’t think there’s a difference.

    FWIW, here’s the bridge on my ‘02 CS Esquire. Any other American reissue bridge that I have seen since the ‘80s looks pretty much like this: texture behind the pickup, smooth in front of it. I can check my Page Mirror, AV ‘58, and AV ‘64 later if you want.

    8757F0D6-099F-4F33-9378-668C93C84E98.jpeg
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2020
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  15. MarkF786

    MarkF786 TDPRI Member

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    I received the new bridge plate (0054162049) and indeed it looks largely like the one on my Custom Shop, with the same satin finish behind the pickup route and the same stamp for the text. Also, the back of the plate is belt-sanded to be flat and level - a nice improvement over the old old.

    One difference with the Custom Shop one though is the inner & outer sides of the plate are polished, whereas the new one is very rough on the sides.

    For those with any perfectionist tendencies, buying parts for a guitar can be a gamble.
     
  16. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    There is no effective difference. I have a 70s bridge on my 69 Reissue, it is plated a bit better than the flash chrome of the stock one I still have but otherwise identical, except for Pat Pending stamp..

    IMG_20180808_115839.jpg
     
  17. MarkF786

    MarkF786 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the feedback, but there is an effective difference between the old & new plate, as the old one wobbles on a flat surface while the new one is belt-sanded flat.

    And that aside, the aesthetic difference might matter as well. Some people want parts to have a nice fit & finish, while others want them intentionally tarnished, rusty, and dirty.
     
  18. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    My old one is not as sanded off as the new, but when you screw it down hard it makes no nevermind. My old 78 Tele was the same.

    By the time the strings through the ferrules are cranking it down you can be guaranteed it's flat as the surface it's on.
     
  19. MarkF786

    MarkF786 TDPRI Member

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    I know many people claim plates can cause feedback if they're not flat, though I haven't personally experienced it. I figure "better safe than sorry".
     
  20. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    CS and AVRI plates I've seen are belt sanded on the back to knock down the burr from punching the pickup hole. My AVRI '62 was sanded after plating. Same bridge plate as production Teles, in every case.

    Is this all important, though? It's just a damn Telecaster. :D
     
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