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mastery bridge questions...

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by greysun, Aug 13, 2018.

  1. greysun

    greysun TDPRI Member

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    Hey all!

    As I find myself sourcing parts for my tele-jazzmaster hybrid, all roads lead to mastery - Pricy? Yes, but I have to buy all the parts anyway, and I wouldn't dare play my jazzmasters without their stuff.

    Originally I wanted a jazzmaster vibrato and "ashtray" (is that what you all call it?) style tele bridge. Mastery has a bridge that is routed out for a bigsby so the strings can get through it: https://masterybridge.com/product/m4-1/

    I emailed mastery to see if it would also work with the JM vibrato - he said "no" because even the modified ashtray tele bridge wouldn't allow proper height and string adjustment with the JM vibrato. He did say people on the internet have done it, but he doesn't recommend it, and I couldn't find pics in my searches. He then said I'd need the decorative plate and JM 2 post bridge: https://masterybridge.com/product/mbdc/

    I'll be honest: I'm not feeling the look of the decorative plate as much, I'm nervous that I'd need to shim the neck if the bridge needs to be higher than normal, and I kind of liked the option of going between hardtail and vibrato.

    Can anyone speak to whether they've done these kinds of setup before (either the JM vibrato with the bigsby-modified ashtray tele bridge OR the JM vibrato/bridge with the decorative plate) and what I'd need to keep in mind for setting it up?

    As always: Thank you in advance! :)
     
  2. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    @Old Tele man has done a JM trem with ashtray bridge, but he never told me the specifics, and it looks like he didn’t use a fancy Mastery either.

    I see the problem as not having enough break angle. Based on my M4.1, you’ll have max ~1/2” of saddle/bridge height, but the low profile of the JM trem means you still have a playable guitar (barely, with 1 degree of break angle). You can’t shim the neck much or you will run out of saddle screw height. You can buy longer saddle grub screws, but I think that has problems too. Here’s the deal with a 4.1/ashtray: the saddles will move with vibrato use. The height screws dig into the plate, the intonation screws move back and forth. With a low break angle, you’ll also have less string pressure on the saddle, again making the movement worse. You will need to jack up the saddle height to 0.70” (a decent height for a JM bridge). The metal intonation screw tabs on the 4.1 plate will bend back to be able to angle up to this height, but this could actually help the saddle movement. Long story short, it’s doable, but potentially craps on tuning stability. You’d have to commit to it to be sure.

    Why be nervous about shims? Shim the neck if you need to, it’s fine. No matter what bridge you use, you’re gonna need a shim. I’d get the decorative plate and M1 and be done with it, but that’s just me.
     
  3. greysun

    greysun TDPRI Member

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    Your explanation is exactly what I figured, so it makes sense and I can live with it. My issue with the decorative plate is mostly aesthetic, as that's a lot of curves with the plate and vibrato, and I kinda like the more utilitarian look of the ashtray. I can get over that easy enough, or modify / make my own more square plate.

    and I'm only nervous about shims because I don't know how to do them, and am not sure how it'll affect the feel of the guitar. It probably won't, and I'm just paranoid. ;-) I have a bass that needs a shim, though, so I can practice on that. Any particularly good link/instruction on that before I dive in on a search would be appreciated. :)

    And thanks for the rundown - I adjust better when I can get some technicals. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  4. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Apologies if you know this already, but the plate is supposed to mimic the famous cover that everyone loves but nobody uses during playing. It came with the Fender B5 Tele kit. I get it though, doesn’t look right to you.

    Ah, shims. Some heated threads here about them, especially when found on Custom Shops, etc. Doesn’t do anything your ears and hands could tell apart while blindfolded. The big metal Bigsby B16 shims probably could be detected, the neck angles back over 3 degrees. I only have one rule of thumb, and that’s a full pocket shim for anything over half a degree. People get dramatic over this full pocket stuff (it’s not needed all the time). I use slim piece of card stock or maple veneer for material on anything less than a half degree. Making a 1 degree wood full pocket shim sucks, so I suck it up and pay StewMac money for one.

    Here ya go:
    https://hazeguitars.com/how-to-shim-a-bolt-on-neck/

    I cut up a piece of file folder to make a ‘reverse’ shim for my Tele w/ Mastery 4.1. I wanted to lower the saddles, so I angled the neck down toward the bridge. The shim was placed on the headstock side of the pocket.

    C8583AB9-7177-4FF7-BA55-01E9F650A6CB.jpeg
     
  5. greysun

    greysun TDPRI Member

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    Man I love a bigsby bridge! See, THAT with the decorative plate is the good stuff kids go for, but alas, I love the chime from that JM vibrato, so I gotta follow that...

    Thanks for the link about neck shimming. The Stewmac ones seem fairly legit. If I go by neck pocket specs alone, tele's have a 5/8" depth while JMs have a 9/16" depth, but are otherwise routed the same. That's a difference of .0625" or 1.58mm flat across. A 1.0 degree shim tapers from 1.52mm to .25mm.

    However, I feel like the math cannot be that simple, LOL. I'm not accounting for the new angle - just the raised heel, although the action would be higher at the heel, so raising that should account for the angle maybe? The article doesn't go into much detail about the math. I know every guitar is different, but general neck pocket, neck thicknesses, etc. are widely known - is there a formula to figure out which shims I'd need?

    Thanks again for your help here!
     
  6. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    My next Tele is getting a Mastery bridge, Mastery trem (JM type) and a Fender mute (already have them on hand. The Mastery parts are beautifully made). The decorative plate looks good to me but since I'm adding the mute, I'd have to drill it for the mute hardware (which is not a big deal). The decorative plate is simply there to give that "Tele" look and use a standard tele style pickup. If you're going to use a different pickup, you just need to design to mount that particular pickup. There are other flat/square plates out there for mounting a tele-style pickup.

    http://thebridge-works.com/Fender-Telecaster-Tone-Ring-Plate-P2358196.aspx
     
  7. greysun

    greysun TDPRI Member

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    Currently, I have no guitars with humbuckers, so I was toying with getting normal, or even single coil sized humbuckers to maintain the look, but I'm leaning toward the novak hum cancelling tele bridge pup instead (not a humBUCKER, i know - but it's really more about noise than the sound, and he's got a good ear for JM's, so I'm working with a mix of them).

    In doing a small layout just now to see where everything mounts for the different bridge types, the post ferrule edges of the JM bridge JUST bump into those outer mounting holes of an ashtray bridge (of course!). So modding a plate/ashtray with notches for the strings and JM bridge may be out of the equation, anyway. I think I'm just overcomplicating it at this point, hehe.
     
  8. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

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    In my best "Lurch" voice: "You rang?"

    I've got close-up pictures of my JM unit & Gotoh bridge/saddles, but need somewhere to host them first.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
    BorderRadio likes this.
  9. greysun

    greysun TDPRI Member

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    Ah, i can see in your profile pic what you did there. If i'm not mistaken, though, those gotoh saddles can be raised higher than your average JM/mastery saddles, right?

    For picture posting, I usually do all my picture posting using the tapatalk app on my iPhone. They keep asking if I want to upgrade it, so I don't think I ever paid anything for it. But they could just have a bunch of levels, and I paid for one at some point? Who knows!

    How do you like the tele with JM bridge? Did you have to shim your neck? :)
     
  10. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Are you sure 9/16”? I was under the impression vintage spec’d JMs were routed to 5/8ths like any other Fender. I don’t know what kind of body you have, so you have to do the math on your specs. Formulas? Basic trig should be more than you need, but I’d just get a 1 degree, and half, and see what works best.

    I have a JM with a 5/8” deep flat pocket and a 1 degree shim, and it gives me about 0.70” saddle height on my Mastery M1 (from the body top). My action at the 17th fret is about 0.065” or so. If you want to use a M4.1 and have the same kind of break (mine is 7 degrees, yours might be more or less), you’ll need to get grub screws that are about 12mm to 15mm, maybe two of each if you have a 7.25” radius.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  11. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    30AC8CF6-27BE-4AB1-A066-3980536AA9BB.jpeg
     
  12. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Yah, I'm looking at the Mojotone "quiet coil" pickup sets (52 Quiet Coil) for the vibrato build. I've got one of their Broadcasters for the Esquire build I'm working on now.
     
  13. greysun

    greysun TDPRI Member

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    I'm pretty sure, but absolutely could be wrong - I'm about as amateur as they get, and have been outta the game for a few years! I thought the deal was that between the truss rod adjust at the neck heel, and the height of the bridge, the neck couldn't be as deep into the guitar without a shim. A quick google search also says it's 9/16", ALTHOUGH the internet, albeit a very small amount of the time, could just be wrong, hehe.

    On both my JM build and Fender JM AVRI, the neck visibly isn't as deep as my strat, nor are they shimmed, so assume my assumptions are coming from good... But I'd rather have "right" than assumed. Either way, I still need to get at least the 1 degree, and then a half or quarter as a just-in-case. :)

    Thanks again for the info, btw!
     
  14. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    You’re welcome man. Ah, gotcha—I don’t think depth matters much, since wood moves and Fender tolerances varied quite a bit back then. I did see a picture of a ‘62 that suggests 9/16” but it was measured incorrectly. The truss rod thing doesn’t make much sense to me, Teles and Strats got the ‘deep’ route all the same. Elevating the entire pocket (shallow route) seems reasonable to allow the vibrato to function better, but a small shim could be and was used all the same, or so I hear. The common build threads around here usually turn up 5/8”—I put my faith in the brain trust of builders around here :)

    AFAIK, AVs have an angled pocket, which would make a pocket look shallower. I have a Thinskin AV and the pocket is angled—I can see the truss rod adjustment nut and can adjust it without removing the neck. I used to own a Blacktop, TVL, and a 60s Lacquer, I know the BT and TVL had an angled pocket as well, don’t know about the 60s. Squier JMJMs and Deluxes have angled pockets too.
     
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