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Putting notches into the ashtray bridge

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by EsquireBoy, Apr 11, 2021.

  1. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    I’m planning to install a palm bender on my Esquire. Most probably the one from Certano since it seems quite an elegant design and it’s practical for me since it’s made in France:
    https://certano.fr/produit/palm-bender-le-carre-low-for-telecaster-type-guitars/

    I’m posting this right here rather than on the b-bender forum since my question is not really about the palm bender per se, but rather about notching the ashtray bridge.

    I’ll have to put 2 notches to accommodate the G and B strings: how should I do it properly?
    Should I invest into a Dremel, or could I be fine with a file (and if so, what kind of file should I buy?).

    Thanks!
     
  2. Lowerleftcoast

    Lowerleftcoast Friend of Leo's

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    A triangle shaped mill type file could get you there. Ime more care must be taken to keep from damaging the surrounding area (guitar finish). A mill file has less aggressive teeth which will take longer to make the notch. It will be less likely to chip the plating on the bridge than a more aggressive file.

    Ime you would be better served with a rotary tool. Dremel is nice but a cheaper brand should do. I see kits for around $20 US which should supply the abrasive discs you would use for notching the bridge. Rotary tools are nice to have for doing small work on guitar related projects.
     
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  3. YYZman

    YYZman TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    IMHO I would take the bridge off the guitar before doing any work like that on it.

    1. You don't risk hurting the rest of the guitar

    2. Whatever tool(s) you use, you will generate metal filings which will gravitate right to the bridge pickup.

    As there isn't much material to remove, and the Fender steel is fairly soft, I'd use the edge of a regular metal file to get the notch placed exactly where you want it, then finish it out with a rat-tail (round) file. A chainsaw sharpening file would work nicely too.
     
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  4. tritonwolf

    tritonwolf TDPRI Member

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    Been there, done that, because I owned 2 Tellies with later added Parsons White B-benders. Like YYZman said: Take the bride off to protect the finish of your guitar. The rest is fairly easy and a good file will do the trick.
     
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  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Depends on the exact height the strings come off the bender unit and pass through or over the bridge.
    If fairly low a hacksaw would be better, but if up high then a triangle file might be fine.
    The deeper you go with a triangle the more it looks like a hack job, as it ends up as wide as it is deep.
    A hacksaw can be a precision tool, get I forget what maybe 32tpi which is fine enough, just be careful starting the cut.
    Makes a nice narrow slot.
     
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  6. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks guys, reading all your posts it seems really manageable. I haven't got any appropriate file, so I'll have to go to the store to get what I need.
    Indeed. I might catch the opportunity to buy a rotary tool. I keep thinking I would make good use of one at home.

    After putting the marks exactly where I need the notches to be, I was planning to remove the bridge and screw it to a sacrificial board. The metal filings were worrying me too.

    It's exactly what I was afraid of. I'll wait until I get the palm bender unit to be sure of what I'll need.

    To sum it up, here are the steps I'm planning to follow. Does it sound good to you?
    1. With the bridge still on, I'll screw the bender unit onto the guitar's top, using the strings to make sure the alignment is correct.
    2. Put small marks onto the rear lip of the ashtray bridge where the 2 strings rest.
    3. Remove the bridge entirely and file the notches according to those marks.
     
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  7. Lowerleftcoast

    Lowerleftcoast Friend of Leo's

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    That sounds like a plan. It may be difficult to determine exactly how deep the cut needs to be without test fitting a time or two. The idea of bolting to a jig may be the best way to proceed.
     
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  8. Lowerleftcoast

    Lowerleftcoast Friend of Leo's

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    Painters tape and light weight cardboard protect surfaces and magnets pretty well. To make the tape less sticky, apply the tape to your clothes, trouser leg, etc to remove some of the stickum.;)
     
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  9. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    I was thinking about that too. I guess I can also make the groove deeper than needed from the start since it won’t hurt anything.
     
  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Full mockup or dry fit, yes.
    Mark it once you see the alignment, but consider the possibility that after assembly you might want to change the neck angle and break angle. I'm not familiar with your guitar of that palm bender!

    One option is to drill holes in the plate if the bender unit is low, and you can use a small round file to move them higheror lower as you tweak the setup.

    It would suck to cut the top then discover you need to cut way down, or maybe you don't want to thread strings through holes.
    Just things to consider.
    Also a new Fender pat pend plate is like 12 bucks if you cut wrong.
     
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  11. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for the advice!

    I’ve thought of drilling holes instead of putting notches, but since I’ve got no vice, I don’t really see how I can hold the bridge tight enough to drill.

    With a very reasonable action, my saddles are quite high so I should get away without having to shim the neck I think.

    When I’ve got the bender unit and it’s done, I’ll open a thread in the b-bender forum, so you guys can see how it has worked out.
     
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  12. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    I've just ordered the Certano palm bender unit.
    I've talked to David, the maker, through emails, and he personally recommends to use a small rat tail file to put the notches into the bridge.
    I'll keep you posted when it's done!
     
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  13. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    Your plan sounds like a winner :).

    I've got a Dremel and a Foredom as well, but when I need to make a fine accurate contour or remove a bit of metal, I'll usually grab a file.

    I can be more accurate and controlled with a file compared to a Dremel or Foredom, and a nice new file cuts quickly.

    With power tools, it's almost too easy to remove more than you intend to.

    You'll be able to make your cut-out and then use progressively finer grits of sand paper and polish the cut edge so it looks like the bridge plate was made that way.

    Wrap the sandpaper around the file ;).


    .
     
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  14. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    Good idea, thanks!
     
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  15. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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