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Screw holes in bridge P/U base plate too big for screws(?)

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by effzee, Mar 4, 2021.

  1. effzee

    effzee Tele-Meister

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    Hi all

    Feeling quite dumb here but can not figure this out. I'm trying to re-install the original pickups in my Hwy1 "Texas" Tele and can't mount the bridge pickup because the holes in the baseplate are bigger than the screws. The screws just pass right through the holes; they don't thread in to the baseplate.

    I thought maybe I had misplaced the original screws, so actually bought a set of original Fennder pickup mounting screws, but they're the exact ones I've already got.

    The neck pickup went in fine, just as it's supposed to.

    I'm sure (I hope) I'm just overseeing something very obvious here but I'm afraid I'll need someone else to point it out to me. I can send pics but not sure they would make any difference. The baseplate is smooth copper, no type of threaded nut attached.

    Very appreciative of any assistance offered! I kind of need this thing ready this weekend :/
     
  2. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    You have mixed up the screws at some point...

    Generally, non-US pickups have smaller screws, and US-sourced pickups use larger screws.
     
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  3. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

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    Someone installed larger screws or tightened the right size ones too much. Maybe a somewhat softer than typical body wood? Toothpicks and superglue to decrease hole size?
     
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  4. Danb541

    Danb541 Friend of Leo's

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    I'm guessing the base plate is brass not copper.
    I don't see how this is possible unless you stripped the screw holes when you removed the screws.
    I think the OP is talking about the brass base plate on a tele bridge pickup.
     
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  5. effzee

    effzee Tele-Meister

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    Woah, thanks for the quick reply! The screws that I bought are for USA guitars (or at least, I specifically ordered US screws, maybe that's not what I got - I'll attach a pic of the package label). I only have two electric guitars and this is the only one that I've had taken apart, there's not much chance of mixing things up. But it's certainly not impossible.

    Edit: I searched and these are definitely the USA screws. The size 6-32 x 3/4" is correct.

    I'm wondering if maybe there were nuts on the bottom of the baseplate that I managed to lose (?). It's been about nine or ten years since I swapped the pups out.
     

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    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
  6. effzee

    effzee Tele-Meister

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    yes, I mean the metal the baseplate that the screws are supposed to thread into. It looks like copper to me (?). The holes are completely original and all three exactly the same, so the chance of having stripped all three like that are pretty close to nil, even for me. The pups were only removed once and put in a ziplock baggie, years ago.
     

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    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
  7. effzee

    effzee Tele-Meister

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    no, no, I'm talking about the floating bridge pickup. The screws don't thread into the wood. But thanks, every little bit helps :)
     
  8. Danb541

    Danb541 Friend of Leo's

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    wow, those holes are blown out.
    I've done this before with blown out humbuckers screw holes.
    Find a screw/bolt with a nut that fits the hole. Mount the pickups using the bolts/nuts and springs. Then mix up some JB weld and put some around the nut so it sticks to the base plate. Be careful not to get any on the the threads of the bolt/screw. If you don't want to use JB weld you could also try putting a dab of solder on there to hold the screw in place.

    I hope this made sense.... basically there will be a nut welded to the base plate that will hold the screw/bolt.
     
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  9. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Poster Extraordinaire

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    I know this won't help the OP (unless there was a major switcheroo at some point in time) but I have two non-US bridge pickups that take M4 screws.
     
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  10. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

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    On the ones I have seen, the thin copper baseplates themselves were threaded (except some Classic ‘50s and ‘69 Thinline Fender pickups which didn’t have baseplates). But maybe a fix could be made by using something like JBWeld to attach 6/32 nuts to the baseplate?
     
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  11. effzee

    effzee Tele-Meister

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  12. Nightclub Dwight

    Nightclub Dwight Tele-Afflicted

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    Its winter and the air is dry. If you are using wood screws they may have shrunk? ;) I'll just quietly find the door and let myself out....
     
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  13. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    6-32 is the correct size and should fit...but it appears someone has re-tapped (or driven in) a larger size screw. Are there threads visible in the holes? 6-32 is the biggest threadform I've seen for pickups. If you have access to a hardware store, take the pickup with you and try an 8-32 screw to see if it threads in. That's what it looks like to me. If they work, get 8-32 x 3/4" in stainless steel so they'll match the hardware on your Telecaster.

    The only types of pickups that have nuts on the bottom plate are sometimes threaded brass inserts molded into the thermoplastic housing of active units such as EMG, etc. I've never seen nuts on the bottom of a traditional stock Telecaster-type pickup.
     
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  14. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

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    Before you commit to using larger diameter screws, consider whether those screws will fit also fit easily through the hole in the bridgeplate, and if not and you end up enlarging them to compensate, consider whether you really want to do that, or somehow restore 6/32 threads at the baseplate.
     
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  15. effzee

    effzee Tele-Meister

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    Yeah, I have to think about a few things. I'm in Europe, so running down to the hardware store for some imperial sized screws isn't really an option anyway. I think I might try soldering nuts to the baseplate, should be doable :cool:I just have to get some metric screws/nuts that are close in size. Stainless screws and brass nuts would be perfect.

    Still very confused as to what went wrong with the pickup in the first placeo_O

    And if this all goes south, I'm just buying a new bridge pickup. The reason I'm doing this is I had installed high output (Zhangbucker Super Paul Bunyons) when I got the guitar, because I wanted a heavy blues axe. But now I'm doing pop songs with my daughter and the PB's are too harsh. It was supposed to be a little project for an hour but it's turning into a can of worms.

    Thank you all foe the great feedback! What a great forum this is!
     
  16. effzee

    effzee Tele-Meister

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    Well, it looks like a happy ending to this saga. And maybe a little cheat that could be useful to someone else in the future.

    I was cheking the usual spots to see if I could score a decent set of pickups cheap and came across a guy selling a bridge pickup that he had to drill the mounting holes out on for another project. In his description, he wrote that all you have to do is insert a thin plastic zip tie with the screw, to act like a thread shim, and use the original screws. He's even including a zip tie with the pickup :)

    I gave his fix a try and it seems it'll really work well! See pic :)
     

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  17. Telecentric

    Telecentric Tele-Holic

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    A better alternative in my opinion would be to press in some PEM nuts.

    https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf...hUKEwjOpcXi75nvAhUSKH0KHVr3CAgQ4dUDCAk&uact=5
     
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  18. effzee

    effzee Tele-Meister

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    That's a great tip, thanks. But the zip ties worked out perfectly, very simple and I had some in the kitchen drawer. I'm done with this one for now :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2021
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