Why are my barrels so far back on the bridge?

timeconsumer

TDPRI Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2020
Posts
43
Location
London, UK
I don't agree that the current position is normal. While it might not be totally uncommon, it's not the norm and these are getting close to end of the adjustment range.

First thing to do is make sure your neck is straight. It needs far less relief than most people think it does, and for these purposes, start with it dead flat. If it takes a big truss rod adjustment to get it flat, redo the intonation and see where the saddles fall.

Next, measure from the nut to the break point of the saddle. On the high E, that distance will be 25 1/2" plus about 3/32" of compensation. The low E gets about an extra 3/32" of compensation. So 25 19/32". On the low E, that distance is about 25 11/16".

It's rare for a modern CNC-made guitar to have a bridge that's that far off the norm, but it happens, especially with aftermarket bodies.
Do you mean that the neck should be as straight as possible? It’s currently set up almost perfectly straight, which is why I’m puzzled as to why the saddles are so far back.
 

Si G X

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Posts
2,702
Location
England
I started googling shimming and it might be an idea for this guitar. Just curious: could shimming the neck also help lower the action? It’s currently set up nicely, but I’m always up for lowering the action a smidge more.

It's quite hard to see in that single picture you shared, some close ups of the bridge at different angles will help.

Shimming the neck will alter the angle so you can get a lower action with higher saddles... that can be good or bad, if your saddles are down very close to the bottom then it probably would benefit from a shim, if however your saddles are high already (which it looks like they might be) then shimming the neck will probably mean they will end up too high.

can you take a side on picture so we can see what's going on a bit better?
 

KokoTele

Doctor of Teleocity
Vendor Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Posts
14,719
Age
47
Location
albany, ny [not chicago]
Do you mean that the neck should be as straight as possible? It’s currently set up almost perfectly straight, which is why I’m puzzled as to why the saddles are so far back.

Yes.

Don't do anything else before you measure. How high is the action? Measure that as well.

Shimming won't do much to affect the saddle position for intonation.
 

hamerfan

Tele-Holic
Silver Supporter
Joined
Dec 8, 2018
Posts
588
Age
60
Location
Germany, Bavaria
Shimming won't do much to affect the saddle position for intonation.
It does. The saddle gets higher, so the distance to nut gets higher and with the same tension the string sound lower. Then you have to compensate with saddle position nearer to the nut. It's just a matter of millimeters.
 

KokoTele

Doctor of Teleocity
Vendor Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Posts
14,719
Age
47
Location
albany, ny [not chicago]
It does. The saddle gets higher, so the distance to nut gets higher and with the same tension the string sound lower. Then you have to compensate with saddle position nearer to the nut. It's just a matter of millimeters.

It's a matter of way less than millimeters. It's about a half a millimeter.

I'm not arguing that it won't require that the saddles shift to get the notes to intonate properly. I'm saying that it won't shift them far enough to matter for this guitar, where the saddles are almost 1/4" farther back than they are on most Telecasters.

And what I'm really arguing is that before changing anything, he needs to measure and diagnose the problem.
 

timeconsumer

TDPRI Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2020
Posts
43
Location
London, UK
Sorry, I realised
It's quite hard to see in that single picture you shared, some close ups of the bridge at different angles will help.

Shimming the neck will alter the angle so you can get a lower action with higher saddles... that can be good or bad, if your saddles are down very close to the bottom then it probably would benefit from a shim, if however your saddles are high already (which it looks like they might be) then shimming the neck will probably mean they will end up too high.

can you take a side on picture so we can see what's going on a bit better?

Sorry, I realised that the first picture doesn't help that much. Here are some close-ups of the bridge and how it's currently set up.

IMG_7717.jpg IMG_7718.jpg IMG_7719.jpg IMG_7721.jpg

The action is around 2mm across all strings and the intonation is perfect across the entire fretboard. It does look odd though, especially since the EB-saddle is so wonky.

I completely forgot that the brass saddles ARE compensated, sorry for the confusion. The compensation grooves are mostly toward the edge of the bridge though, so the saddles shouldn't make much difference. (If anything they'd alleviate this issue slightly.)
 

netgear69

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Posts
2,065
Location
england
I can't see any issues with that was expecting to see the hight screws actually on top of the bridge plate mounting screws
maybe you should get a 2nd opinion on what you was planning to do
 

Si G X

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Posts
2,702
Location
England
I can't see any issues with that was expecting to see the hight screws actually on top of the bridge plate mounting screws
maybe you should get a 2nd opinion on what you was planning to do

I feel the same, it doesn't look like there's anything to be overly concerned about with it the way it is, especially if it's good action and intonation.

@timeconsumer So the only question is if there's enough room to fit the rolling bender thing. I'm tempted to say F it, just order one and see... if you buy online you have the right to send it back if it doesn't fit. (distance selling laws and all that)
 

cousinpaul

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 19, 2009
Posts
4,038
Location
Nashville TN
High action will cause the guitar to intonate with the saddles farther back. It looks high to me in the pix. The sharp screws are a seperate issue.
 

Dostradamas

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Apr 23, 2021
Posts
1,102
Age
49
Location
Oregon
Just curious, what is the measurement on the low E from bridge edge of nut to point of contact with string on saddle?
 

somebodyelseuk

Tele-Holic
Joined
Nov 24, 2020
Posts
542
Age
55
Location
Birmingham UK
I want to install a Rolling Bender on my Tele and sent them a photo to assess whether it would would work on my Japanese Paisley. They got back to me and said that my barrel saddles were too far back and they couldn’t guarantee that the Rolling Bender would fit.

I’ve noticed before that the saddles were screwed on too tight. I adjust my own instruments and the intonation is bang on perfect, but I can’t help but think that I’m missing something that requires the saddles to be so far back for proper intonation. (The bridge is the original Japanese ashtray, but I’ve replaced the saddles with brass barrels.)

I’ve previously snagged my hand because the long screw holding the barrel was protruding from between the strings. This got better with lighter string gauges, but it still boggles my mind why it’s so far back. The springs are currently almost fully tightened.

Any ideas? TIA!
Because since the 70s, Fender has been putting the bridge units on Teles and Strats about 2 mm closer to the neck so they look neater.
If you play anything heavier than a 0.042 E, it's impossible to get the intonation right.
It's why I won't buy production Fenders anymore.
 

kuch

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 30, 2011
Posts
495
Location
Great Northwest
I want to install a Rolling Bender on my Tele and sent them a photo to assess whether it would would work on my Japanese Paisley. They got back to me and said that my barrel saddles were too far back and they couldn’t guarantee that the Rolling Bender would fit.

I’ve noticed before that the saddles were screwed on too tight. I adjust my own instruments and the intonation is bang on perfect, but I can’t help but think that I’m missing something that requires the saddles to be so far back for proper intonation. (The bridge is the original Japanese ashtray, but I’ve replaced the saddles with brass barrels.)

I’ve previously snagged my hand because the long screw holding the barrel was protruding from between the strings. This got better with lighter string gauges, but it still boggles my mind why it’s so far back. The springs are currently almost fully tightened.

Any ideas? TIA!

This is my second reply to your post. Again, if you haven't looked at the pdf i posted earlier, please do. It's from Fender and explains how to measure from the nut to the saddle to attain the proper string length. If you haven't done this, it's a good place to start. If it's redundant, just ignore .... again good luck.
 

Attachments

  • Fender Tele Set up.pdf
    217.4 KB · Views: 19

Sea Devil

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Sep 23, 2006
Posts
3,480
Age
59
Location
Brooklyn, NY
The saddles do indeed look odd. Sometimes funky angles happen, but those angles combine with the notched saddles to make the string spacing seriously off, to the point that I would consider the guitar unplayable.

If that were my guitar, I would start over from scratch. First I'd try to get the saddles more parallel, even to the point of having no radius to speak of, and push them as close together as possible. Then I'd set the height of the high and low E strings with the saddles flat/parallel to the bridge plate. Then I'd raise the D/G saddle much too high in order to get it out of the way, and use an under-string radius gauge to set the height of the A and B strings. Then drop the D/G saddle down, preferably as close to parallel to the plate as you can get it without completely disregarding what the radius gauge is telling you. See where the intonation needs to be from there; you may be surprised. (Alternate method: start by setting the heights of the D and G strings, compromising slightly by trying to keep the saddle parallel to the bridge plate)

The fact that you have consistent string height now is irrelevant when the string spacing is that wrong. It needs to be fixed.

The way that those saddles are constructed suggests that the string spacing might be better with a flatter radius. Sometimes a saddle radius flatter than the radius of the board works; it's worth a try. (That's a hotly debated issue, btw!)
 
Last edited:

jaxjaxon

Tele-Holic
Joined
Apr 4, 2020
Posts
551
Age
68
Location
SanluisObispo CA.
I can tell you how to get the saddles moved forward more. Loosen the neck put a shim in at the heel of the neck this will move the neck further away from the end of the body pocket, and you will need to move the saddles forward more to intonate. Now you could move the neck with out the shim but you might loose some resonation due to the neck not being set firm against the pocket hence the use of a wooden shim.
 

timeconsumer

TDPRI Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2020
Posts
43
Location
London, UK
High action will cause the guitar to intonate with the saddles farther back. It looks high to me in the pix. The sharp screws are a seperate issue.
The action is actually as low as I could get it: around 2mm.
This is my second reply to your post. Again, if you haven't looked at the pdf i posted earlier, please do. It's from Fender and explains how to measure from the nut to the saddle to attain the proper string length. If you haven't done this, it's a good place to start. If it's redundant, just ignore .... again good luck.
Sorry, didn’t mean to ignore your post. This is the exact guide I’ve been following when adjusting my Telecaster. (And the bass equivalent for my Blue Flower Precision bass.) However, I definitely missed the section on measuring the string length to rough out the saddle location. Is the “first” saddle the BE strings? If so, it’s currently set to 25.9 inches when it seems it should be 25.5.
 

timeconsumer

TDPRI Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2020
Posts
43
Location
London, UK
I can tell you how to get the saddles moved forward more. Loosen the neck put a shim in at the heel of the neck this will move the neck further away from the end of the body pocket, and you will need to move the saddles forward more to intonate. Now you could move the neck with out the shim but you might loose some resonation due to the neck not being set firm against the pocket hence the use of a wooden shim.
Thanks, might be the way to go if I decide the Rolling Bender is still worth it. The saddles look a bit wonky, but it plays great.
 




Top