Tune-O-Matic Radius

Missing Link

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Hi guys had a qestion on what would be the best replacement TOM bridge that would have a pretty good radius to start out with and without having to file.
I am working on a complete mod to a used JA90 telecaster and what I call cheap TOM bridge as one of the parts to go.
Problem seems as when I measure the string height when all set up I would always get a the same reading three string would be low E and the others high hence what looks to be a cheap TOM bridge radius to deal with. Plus some rattle going on.
Do not know much other that I do not think I can file the saddle as the seem to just be all over the place (see attached pictures) This is 52 string spacing TOM that is suppose to have the standard 12 radius. Has no name or stamp so It may not be a fender orignal.
Also would a TOM bridge with rollers and a decent 12 radius be a better choice in replacement?



Cheers
 

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schmee

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Check radius of the grooves or just with the strings in. However, yours may still be off.

In reality, it doesn't have to match the fretboard radius at all though.
Think of a compound radius neck.. it can't match.
Or many people, like me, set the string height higher on the bass side and lower on the treble side. So even if the strings are set at a radius, they are 'tilted' in relation to the fretboard.
I suppose what IS important is that the string radius be uniform so you dont have a low one in the mix.

I would avoid a roller bridge of any sort.
 

Boreas

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Agree with the others - I believe your string radius (what I measure) will be pretty close to your target by eyeballing the string slots. Pretty close is close enough unless you are having specific issues. But you can always grind down the outside corners if they are hurting your hand.
 

Freeman Keller

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The published radius of Tune-o-matic bridges is 12 inches and I have found that to be true for the ones I have used. Here is a picture of my les paul clone with my 12 inch fretting caul sitting on the strings

20221101_123521.jpg


This guitar has a 12 inch non compound radius fretboard and minimum string grooves in the saddles.

Remember that most of the time you will set the action on the bass strings slightly higher than the treble. For example I might set them from high to low as 0.060, 0.065, 0.070, 0.075, 0.080, 0.085. The strings are still following the 12 inch radius, I've just give them a little extra room as they get phatter.

You said that your ToM is on a telecaster of some sort, most ToM's stand higher than most Fender style bridges and will require some neck angle and/or additional overstand - I hope that was taken into consideration when the geometry was laid out. I don't know what a JA90 is but very few Fender style guitar have 12 inch radii necks - they are almost always less.

You asked about using a roller bridge, I am a great believer in roller bridges used with tremolos. If you've got a Bigsby or something else then by all means use a roller bridge. If you are using a tail piece or stop bar then I see no need.

And last but far from least, if you are going to replace an existing ToM remember that there are three different style of studs or posts and they are not compatible. Be sure you get ones that will work with what you have.
 
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jrblue

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I, too, find the stock radius to be appropriate to the stock Gibson fretboard radius: both are 12". And while you can slot the saddles to varying depths to achieve a different radius, doing that gives you crap notches in your saddle as strings are not meant to rest inside grooves in a saddle. They will sometimes play cleanly, but other times you can get really ugly vibrations or muting in there. It would be easy for someone to market saddle sets for particular radii so that players don't have to fudge non-12" setups, but I'm not aware of anyone doing this. Personally, I'd love for the Tune-O-Matic to just go away forever and have it be replaced by a more modern design, fabricated better. Don't say Mastery. Those are not good enough.
 

Missing Link

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Yes the fret board is a 12" and is that from nut to the last fret.
When I had the strings on and did the radius check at the bridge from the underside and from the top side the strings should mute from contact with the radius gauge, thats when I noticed that the strings/saddles were not up to the correct radius some a hair low. I put the fret radius across the top in the picture to give so idea of the difference, I guess its not a good reference. I has a couple of low ones in the mix. yes. Rattle was the other problem and so far I still not sure if the bridge has anything to do with it as when I shake the bridge is it quiet. The neck is a fixed neck so only the T-rod is a use.
What would be the reason to stay away from a roller bridge? Is it due to the brass roller or?
This guitar is for both picking and strum.
I will have to do some leg work and see if I can find a TOM without the wire to control the movement of the screws that read can cause some rattle and hopefully a TOM with a more of a uniformed saddle radius line.

Cheers Guys
 

user name

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I've been down this road several times with mismatches tuneomatic radiuses.
Twice with Gretsch guitars and once with a Jazzmaster. You can never get the action right. If somebody was smart, they would start making Tuneomatics in various radius options instead of 12" only.
So, not sure if it would work for your guitar, but Compton and Tru Arc are the top tuneomatic replacement bridges that Gretsch guys go for, but they ain't cheap.
 

NoTeleBob

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Yes the fret board is a 12" and is that from nut to the last fret.
When I had the strings on and did the radius check at the bridge from the underside and from the top side the strings should mute from contact with the radius gauge, thats when I noticed that the strings/saddles were not up to the correct radius some a hair low. I put the fret radius across the top in the picture to give so idea of the difference, I guess its not a good reference. I has a couple of low ones in the mix. yes. Rattle was the other problem and so far I still not sure if the bridge has anything to do with it as when I shake the bridge is it quiet. The neck is a fixed neck so only the T-rod is a use.
What would be the reason to stay away from a roller bridge? Is it due to the brass roller or?
This guitar is for both picking and strum.
I will have to do some leg work and see if I can find a TOM without the wire to control the movement of the screws that read can cause some rattle and hopefully a TOM with a more of a uniformed saddle radius line.

Cheers Guys

Early ABR-1 style TOMs do not have a retainer wire. It was added to the ABR later to keep the saddles from falling out during string change. Nashville Style TOMs (the wider follow-on to the ABR-1) did not use the retaining wire. Some folks do complain that the ABR bridges have rattles.
 
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Missing Link

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I have two LPs and honestly never paid much attention to the bridge's on them as they seen to work and feel just fine for the radius and string action.
I am not sure if this bridge on this JA-90 was orignal for Fender or was a replacement that someone put on latter. As said the saddle height's for the strings are not the best.
I checked again, as I was told that TOM bridges should be checked from the underside not top side of the stings just as I have always done with my Telecasters with a radius gauge and this is a loss. When I checked my LPs they are spot on when compared, not one string higher or lower all dead even radius. One of the LPs is an Epiphone custom, so I was thinking of getting an Epiphone TOM and try.
Would maybe a ABR Wilkinson bridge be a good choice to try?
This TOM has the wire in the front to retain the screws and has no stamp or numbers on the underside.


You reply's are most welcome and appropriate that, thanks
 

Freeman Keller

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The first thing to do is determine which of the three post/stud types you have - that will determine what will fit. The wire retainer is common to ABR-1 style. Its also a good idea to check the stud spacing - I ran into an odd ball once. Then choose one you like.
 

Missing Link

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All settled bought a Wilkinson bridge and now all the strings are at a true radius of 12 and not one string is higher or lower from each other. Feels much better now while playing height wise.
 




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