Positioning the bridge on a new build

emann

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Hello all,

some assistance with bridge position in relation to scale length, saddle position for intonation and the notch in the pickguard.

In the photos below please note the line marked scale (this is 25.5" scale length from nut) and also the position of the first saddle for which I adjusted the screw to make the saddle more or less in line with the scale line.

I marked the scale length at 25.5" and placed d bridge first in d notch with about 3mm clearance from pickguard.

3mm clearance.jpeg


Then to have more space for intonation I moved saddle about 5mm from notch of pickguard. Of course the gap from the bridge to the edge of the pickguard is therefore larger.

5mm clearance.jpeg


My question: Which is the best way to place the bridge more importantly for intonation but however I do not want to loose from the aesthetics. I looked at a whole bunch of pictures on the internet and could see many different configurations.

Look forward for an advise on this.

Thanks.
 

emann

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Thanks to reply Freeman.

Just to be sure - when you say center of mounting screw hole..these are the four holes from which the bridge is screwed to the body please? (Forgive my ignorance)
 

peterg

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Attached is a pdf of Terry Downs plan for the Telecaster which shows the mounting location of the vintage bridge.
 

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guitarbuilder

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See post 425 and beyond. Saddles about 85-90 percent forward. Put the break over point on that scale length measurement. Don't drill bridge holes until you are sure everything is correct. Measure 3x drill once.

Your B and E saddle should be the one closer to the scale length measurement on a right handed guitar...assuming normal action. Larger guage strings generally need more compensation away from the nut.

 
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Freeman Keller

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Thanks to reply Freeman.

Just to be sure - when you say center of mounting screw hole..these are the four holes from which the bridge is screwed to the body please? (Forgive my ignorance)
Yes. I like to check anything as critical as this by doing it two ways. If you run the StewMac fret calculator for your neck configuration and then look down at the bottom it gives some measurements to typical bridge mounting - usually a screw or stud or something.


You have to be careful that it is the bridge that you have selected, but it looks like it from your photo.
 

emann

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ok...i m understanding this more...so i reckon effectively it is the scale length that matters most. I can also double check this position by checking dimension from front of nut to 12th fret and repeat that distance to locate the scale length. This is what will determine the bridge position and the notch in the pickguard should not really matter - correct?

Visited also the stewmac website and gives me same dimensions of 25.75 to mounting holes.

Will double check everything again tomorrow as now I am off the bench...I hope everything was done correct!

Shall revert with how it goes.

Thanks to everyone!
 

Freeman Keller

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^^^ You've got it. Remember that the fretted note will only go sharp as you fret it so you will only add length to compensate. If you start as I describe with the break at the forward limit of travel you have the maximum adjustment of the saddles, which will insure that the fatter strings have enough travel. I can point you to the math if you really want to understand it.
 

yegbert

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On my 25.5” scale teles, nut and 12th fret to string breakpoint on saddle:

1st string E, plain steel .009” on my 9-42 set: 25 1/2”; 12 3/4” from 12th fret.

6th string E, wound .042” on my 9-42 set: 25 7/8”: 12 7/8” from 12th fret.

I’d put your other two saddles farther back on the intonation screws now, like what they would look like on a typical compensated saddle Tele; to see the aesthetics and how the low E’s saddle will be placed relative to the plate mounting screw. My low E saddle often rests on that screw, and that doesn’t bother me. But depending on whether that does for you, think about that vs. how a slightly larger pickguard-to-bridgeplate gap looks.
 

emann

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ok...so started from scratch. Measured 25.5 from nut and then to double check measured half distance to 12th fret and replicated this towards the bridge...so this confirmed proper marking of the scale length

then extended two lines from edges of neck, measured the distance between and divided in two to get the centre of the bridge. I placed the bridge and with some clamps managed to secure the bridge and pass the low and high e strings. Checked for edge distance on neck and had to slightly move bridge to the right to get similar edge distances....then secured the bridge again.

then proceeded with intonation (click intonation below for video):

Intonation

This is how the saddles look for the low and high e...(hope clear enough in view of the clamp in the way)

20220606_124347.jpg


basically this puts the bridge at the 25.75 distance of mounting holes and although not sure in relation to the pickguard, seems to be mid way between the extremeties I had yesterday.

What do you think - can I proceed to mark the mounting holes of the bridge and go ahead?

@freeman - please let me know the maths of all this as that would be really interesting.

Thanks to all for your help.
 

guitarbuilder

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What's important when you are all done:

1. The bridge is centered to the neck. Some people will put strings on after the neck is mounted and move the bridge around. I prefer some nice accurate lines and measurement to the edges of the fretboard. The key here is learning how to measure and layout lines with drawing tools.

2. The saddles start at the scale length measurement and can be adjusted backwards away from the nut for intonation purposes. I say put them at 85 to 90 percent forward as that will give you a bit of wiggle room in case you drill off or the screws are not perfectly round. If the break over point of the saddles can be intonated and the strings are where you want them, then you are in good shape.

Remember that one saddle compensates two strings so one might be right on and the other a bit off. You have to compromise.

A bit of play in the neck cavity allows you to shift the neck to get the E strings where you prefer them. This can't happen if you have a snug neck to body joint.
 

Ronkirn

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Do what Freeman says... and .. ignore the center line.., use the pickguard, situated so it LOOKS correct with the margins around the lower horn and waist all even.... then using the cutout for the bridge, center it in THAT.. using Freemans suggestion... mark the mounting screw holes and drill pilot holes...

if it looks like the neck's alignment will be off a little,. no sweat it's easy tp correct on assembly day...

Oh do not forget to place the neck in the pocket and snug the pickguard up to it.... now screw the bridge in position, and drill the string through holes.... On assembly day, it'll fall together like an Ikea project...

the reason you ignore the center line .. if you place everything relative to that .. it may all go together OK but it will look wonky... get that pickguard situated so it looks correct and on assembly day it will all LOOK correct too..

r
 

Freeman Keller

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@freeman - please let me know the maths of all this as that would be really interesting.

Thanks to all for your help.

This is a pretty good discussion of why you need compensation, At the end is a little wizard that you can input information about your guitar and it will calculate the amount of compensation needed for each string. You will have to get some other information, namely the parameter for each string known as "unit weight". D'Addario has a chart on their page that gives this information for each of their strings - if you are not using D'Addario strings just find something similar.



If you have any questions let me know. I have found that each time I calculate the amount of compensation needed it is remarkably accurate. See what you think.
 

Slowtwitch

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What's important when you are all done:

1. The bridge is centered to the neck. Some people will put strings on after the neck is mounted and move the bridge around. I prefer some nice accurate lines and measurement to the edges of the fretboard. The key here is learning how to measure and layout lines with drawing tools.

2. The saddles start at the scale length measurement and can be adjusted backwards away from the nut for intonation purposes. I say put them at 85 to 90 percent forward as that will give you a bit of wiggle room in case you drill off or the screws are not perfectly round. If the break over point of the saddles can be intonated and the strings are where you want them, then you are in good shape.

Remember that one saddle compensates two strings so one might be right on and the other a bit off. You have to compromise.

A bit of play in the neck cavity allows you to shift the neck to get the E strings where you prefer them. This can't happen if you have a snug neck to body joint.
Go with this. that's how I also do it all the time.
Some websits suggest the saddle breakover should be at the halfway mark of the screw allowance, but that's a waste of intonation travel allowance of the screws , I've always done it as Marty stated above nd never had an issue
 




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