Unhappy with 12-string bridge - should I be?

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by Slim60, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. Slim60

    Slim60 TDPRI Member

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    Put together a kit guitar - a twelve-string discussed here:

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/first-time-build-t-style-12-string.979507/

    After getting advice that perhaps some of the problems I was facing might be addressed by looking at the neck (possibly needing a shim in the neck pocket and adjusting the nut to help with too-high action) I decided to take it into a shop in town as I didn't think I had adequate tools for the job.

    Got the guitar back last night and the issues with the action seem to have been resolved, but I'm still unhappy with the bridge. The octave strings still do not want to sit securely in the notches in the saddle. It could be that I have no idea how it should be. But I can't get over the idea this bridge is cheap and poorly designed.

    The path for the main strings is pretty much in a straight line - through the body, over the saddle, then up the neck to the nut.

    Using that as a model, the path for the octave strings has a couple of extra factors. The strings are threaded through the end of the bridge and the holes are slightly out of line from there to the saddle. This is not a very great misalignment, but would seem to exert a certain amount of force pulling the strings out of the notches in the saddle.

    The other complication is that the Phillips head screws for adjusting the intonation of the octave strings are in the path between the ball-end of the string and the saddles, and every octave string rubs against the heads of those screws. Going around these screw heads also exerts pressure in the string pulling them out of alignment.

    DSCN5234.JPG

    In this photo the ball end of the octave string is just below the screw for adjusting the intonation of the main string (thus aligned with the main string) then has to angle 'down' in relation to this photo (or 'up' if you were holding the guitar) to get to the saddle. But on the way to the saddle the string is in contact with the screw for adjusting the intonation for the octave string.

    It's difficult for me to believe this is the way it's supposed to work.

    It's been suggested that perhaps the octave string in meant to go under the adjustment screw, come up through that hole between the screw and the saddle. That seems weird to me as that would necessitate two 90 degree bends in that short distance. It would seem to solve the screw head issue but seems counter-intuitive to me.

    Am I in the market for another bridge, or all they all this way?
     
  2. POS Guitars

    POS Guitars Tele-Meister

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    I would amount the problem to the poor bridge design (read: knock off). I think that shimming the neck would have solved the problem, which is what I assume the shop did. They should have shimmed it more, and raised your saddles to clear the intonation screws on the high strings. Another remedy might be raising the saddles and grooving them a bit deeper to compensate for action, while clearing the screw. In fact, I think that this might be the best course of action, as high strings tend to slip off these Chinese bridges, and you could kill two birds with one stone.

    And of course, you could get better saddles, such as Gotoh.

    But all of this depends on the overall build. I would start with a screwdriver and a set of small files (read: free).
     
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  3. Slim60

    Slim60 TDPRI Member

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    I'd like to see a Tele 12-string in person and might need to go to a major metropolitan area to seek out one that actually functions.

    I don't think any of the techs who handled my guitar have ever seen one either.
     
  4. Smylight

    Smylight TDPRI Member

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    Fender recently issued a run of Strats XII, go have a look at one. The bridge looks like this one from Gotoh. Yours looks like a very cheap knockoff.

    Edit : link was missing.

    https://www.allparts.com/products/sb-5108-12-string-non-tremolo-bridge


    Pierre
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
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  5. Smylight

    Smylight TDPRI Member

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  6. Slim60

    Slim60 TDPRI Member

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    It appears there are a couple of differences between the Gotoh bridge and the unit that came with this kit.

    I immediately noticed that the holes in the Gotoh for the main strings coming through the body are staggered and the holes in the kit body are in a straight line.

    DSCN5275.JPG

    On closer inspection it appears these holes through the kit body are not offset as would seem to be optimal for a twelve-string set up. So it looks like this is a body designed for a regular six-string thrown into the kit with a twelve string bridge and neck.

    I expect to properly install the Gotoh bridge I will want to fill in these holes and drill new ones in the pattern suggested by the Gotoh specs.
     
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  7. Slim60

    Slim60 TDPRI Member

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    Thinking about the guitar body - maybe I should look for a new body to drill new holes in to fit a Gotoh 12-string bridge and save this kit body for a six-string guitar project.
     
  8. milocj

    milocj Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Does that Gotoh bridge have the same distance from the back of the bridge to the mounting holes as yours does and the same three holes? As long as it covers your old bridge holes you may be able to simply drill an angled hole from the location where the string goes through the bridge and have it intersect your existing through holes. There would be no lip of any type so feeding the strings through from the back shouldn't really be any problem.

    If it didn't work out all of the holes would still be hidden if you decided to replace the body and use it for another project.
     
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