String Spacing

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Wrighty, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. Wrighty

    Wrighty Tele-Afflicted

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    So, posted not long ago that I’d done my first set up on my AmPro Tele and was pleased with the result. Today I did some minor tweaks to stop the higher strings choking out on bends and then set about putting on fresh strings. Same size and make as the ones it’d been set up with.
    Noticed that the string spacing at the bridge end is all over the place, B - G and D - A are much wider apart. As I posted last time, I am a novice at doing set ups and have no idea how to wrestle the strings into the right positions and get them to stay there. First time on a three brass set up.
    Your help appreciated, I’ll start the restring again with new strings so as I can do what you advise from the ground up.
    Sure with you guys’ help I can sort it.
     
  2. fasteddie42

    fasteddie42 Tele-Holic

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    partially loosen the string until slack.

    move the string at the bridge to where you want it.

    tighten the tuners up.
     
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  3. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    ^^^ THIS ^^^
     
  4. Wrighty

    Wrighty Tele-Afflicted

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    That simple? So, if the spacing is correct it doesn’t matter where it sits on the saddle and, more importantly, it’ll stay where it’s put?

    I’ll give it a go in the morning and report back. Sure you guys are right!
     
  5. LKB3rd

    LKB3rd Friend of Leo's

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    Start by making sure the saddles are straight, looking at the screws that attach to the back of the bridge. Then like they said above, put the strings in place while loose enough to move easily, space them out evenly and over the pickup polepieces, tighten back up. Ideally they will come out of the body through hole, in a straight line over the saddle. But if they are close, it should be fine.
    If everything is straight(ish :p ) they shouldn't want to move, but you can tap on the strings with a hammer or hammer like object very gently on the top of the saddle to make a tiny notch to hold the string. You don't need much and as you play the guitar it should "settle in" to the notch and stay secure.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
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  6. Wrighty

    Wrighty Tele-Afflicted

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    Well, can’t seem to get all parameters lined up. Bottom E woukd be off the board if it went over the centre point of its pole piece. Spacing now seems much better though all but the bottom E string seem to be very close to the adjustment screw rather than well onto the compensated contour of the barrel.

    Plays OK so perhaps it’s just my OCD coming to the fore! Six saddles are easy!
     

    Attached Files:

  7. kbold

    kbold Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Are they after market saddles?
    A few strings are riding to close to the grub screws (off the compensation), as you mentioned. A and B strings look the worst.

    If it were me, I'd be looking for suitable saddle replacements.

    It's not OCD: to me it looks wrong also.
     
  8. Wrighty

    Wrighty Tele-Afflicted

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    They are the original saddles fitted when I bought it new in late 2017. It’s weird, looking at it it seems that the A and E could do with moving ‘down’ the bridge but there’s no space between it and the G D saddle. Then the E and B could do with moving ‘up’ but, again, no space. It’s like the middle saddle is too wide. If I push the strings fully into the compensated part, the spacing goes to pot...........which is where we came in................
    Playing and sounding OK, think I’ll just get over it!
     
  9. Wrighty

    Wrighty Tele-Afflicted

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    Just been looking at pictures of three-piece Tele bridges on Google. Seems most of them look exactly like mine, i.e. wrong!
     
  10. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    DON'T DO THIS WITH NEW STRINGS, ONLY WITH OLD BEFORE REMOVING THEM. It could distort, and could likely flatten, some of the strings where you tap and they may be more likely to break. Brass is softer than steel...you won't have a chance of making a groove in a steel bridge saddle with this technique. Also, when you 'tap down", you are exerting force on the tow bridge height adjustment screws, and that could distort their threads which are very fine.

    Some have suggested lining up your strings to exactly where you want them, and then take a black Sharpie and mark over the strings. Where the strings lie will be free of the Sharpie ink. Remove the strings and saddles and use a very fine file or saw blade to etch a very slight groove where the stings were set to,,,between the Sharpie marks.

    Strings dont have to be EXACTLY aligned over the pickup pole pieces. Fender only makes a few pickups with pole piece spacing specially adjusted for the narrower "modern"
    string spacing. It's common, particularly on Stratocasters , to have the strings not perfectly aligned over the pole pieces if you have the modern , narrower string spacing. Here is a $2500 Eric Johnson Strat...zoom in on the neck pickup...
    https://shop.fender.com/en-US/elect...top-stratocaster-hss-thinline/0176501833.html
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  11. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Holic

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    I used to always end up with strings moving to a « wrong » position (ie often directly against the head of the height adjustment screws).
    So I changed to threaded steel saddles: problem solved for me.
     
  12. bluzkat

    bluzkat Tele-Holic

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    You mentioned the E string being too close to the edge of the neck if centered over the pole pieces. The neck might need a minor adjustment, a picture would help with this.
     
  13. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    The pictures from the OP only show the bridge. The problem may not be the bridge at all. It may be the way the neck is set into the pocket. Look at how the strings pass over the double dots at the 12th fret. Do the A and D strings exactly mirror the B and G strings relative to the double dots? If not, loosen the strings a little and loosen the screws holding the neck about half a turn and reset it. Do this by shifting the headstock left or right so the strings pass over the dots symmetrically. Then check how the strings pass over the saddles. If OK, tighten the neck screws. Move the strings over the saddles for even spacing and check the 12th fret again. If any further adjustment is needed it should be slight. If this doesn’t solve the problem, you money may be better spent in s pro setup than a new bridge or saddles.
     
  14. Wrighty

    Wrighty Tele-Afflicted

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    Off to work now but I’ll definitely check the above tonight. Too and bottom Es seem OK so far as distance from the edge of the neck is concerned, but, again, I’ll leave it ‘til I can spend the time. Post some pics as well. Appreciate your help so far guys.
     
  15. Wrighty

    Wrighty Tele-Afflicted

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    1F241323-346A-42EC-9131-3F4319D94EC0.jpeg 62643C80-34ED-41B9-8B10-8EA7C1A3A106.jpeg So, neck did seem the tiniest bit out of line on the ‘double dot’ test so I slackened off the strings and neck bolts and gave the neck a couple of thumps in the right direction with my hand. Put gentle pressure in Tge right direction as I retightened the bolts. Results shown in the attached pics. B and A still seem a tad close to the screws but overall better with string spacing still IK.
    Just had a quick look at my old MIM and it looks to be the same, with a six saddle bridge.
    Small improvement so I reckon on leaving it there.
    Thinking about it we’re aiming for precision engineering tolerances from two bits of wood screwed together and six bits of stretched wire. Leo’s design was for something simple, tough and cheap, in comparison with the competition. Stepping back my Tele ticks most of the boxes..................not too sure in the cheap one!
    Thanks again to all that pitched in to help, I’ve learned a lot.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
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