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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Pinning a floating bridge: here's how I do it

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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When the Devil

starts cryin' he's lonely
May 24th, 2014 12:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I posted a comment on this the Gretsch section, but figured perhaps this would help players that don't venture into the Gretsch area. So here ya go.

Floating bridges used on archtops sound great, but can be problematic when they scoot around, especially when used with a floating Bigsby. I "pin" the bridge to hold it in place. Properly done, it's an invisible modification and can be adjusted if you later change string gauges.

I get the action and intonation set exactly where I need it to be. Next, I tape down some little cardboard squares against the bridge foot (one side and the ends...see pic). That way, once I remove the strings and bridge saddle, I can place the foot in the exact position for drilling.

Simply taping the bridge foot in place is not good enough...it can move a little.

I slacken the strings, lift the bridge out and separate the saddle from the foot, and remove the two thumb wheels from the threaded studs.

I place the foot back in place under the loose strings and drill through the bridge foot and the top in one motion using a 1/16" bit. The drill locations are about 1/4" inside each threaded stud.

Next I lift the bridge and drill out the holes in the bridge with a 3/32" bit. I add a small countersink to accommodate the small screw heads so they lay flush when installed.

The screws I prefer are the ones Gibson uses to mount pickup bezels: they're small and about 5/8" long. If they have silver tops, I color the tops with a black Sharpie. It's critical that the screws drop all the way into the holes in the bridge foot.

Before I attach the bridge with the screws, I add a very small countersink to the two holes on the guitar's top. This prevents the screws from flaking finish off the guitar's face when I drive the screws in.

I drive the screws in just until they seat. If you go too tight, the screws can split the rosewood or ebony bridge foot.

Replace the thumb wheels, place the bridge saddle on the threaded studs, string up, and adjust the action with the thumb wheels.

If you've been dealing with a slipping bridge, you will wonder why you waited to do this mod.

Here's a crime scene photo.

DrKev
Contributing Member
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Irishman in Paris

Forget Tone - go with Note Choice
May 24th, 2014 12:54 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Nicely done!


Peegoo
Contributing Member
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When the Devil

starts cryin' he's lonely
May 24th, 2014 01:03 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Cheers, DrKev!

Pinetree
Moderator Emeritus
(with many stars)

NW Pennsylvania

May 24th, 2014 01:09 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

What're them, drywall screws?




Peegoo
Contributing Member
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When the Devil

starts cryin' he's lonely
May 24th, 2014 01:23 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

No, they're 4" hardened steel deck screws.

Drywall screws are for rookies--they do not hold up under the relentless punishment of my meaty fist.



If you do this mod on a thin guitar, watch out because 4" screws poke out the back of the body, and they're pointy!

Bubbalou
Contributing Member
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USA

THE LOW END OF UPPER TEJAS
May 24th, 2014 08:19 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Where were you back when I owned a Gretsch Tennessee Rose. That is the coolest idea I have ever seen to fix a floating bridge problem. Some suggested double sided sticky tape but that would alter the sound transfer to the body.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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When the Devil

starts cryin' he's lonely
May 24th, 2014 08:32 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Go git it back, Bubbalou!

Bubbalou
Contributing Member
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USA

THE LOW END OF UPPER TEJAS
May 25th, 2014 02:25 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

There are several I would like to get back! LOL


Peegoo
Contributing Member
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When the Devil

starts cryin' he's lonely
May 25th, 2014 06:22 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Mm-hmm, just like girlfriends :0)

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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When the Devil

starts cryin' he's lonely
May 25th, 2014 11:25 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

...until you suddenly remember why you got rid of 'em in the first place

har har

FunkyKikuchiyo

Bend, OR

May 26th, 2014 07:51 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Some suggested double sided sticky tape but that would alter the sound transfer to the body."

Indeed. I knew a luthier who would glue very fine sandpaper under the feet, and that worked really well. It grips the top, and surprisingly doesn't damage the instrument - assuming you don't just move the bridge back and forth unnecessarily.

It is hardest to deal with when the centerline isn't correct or the neck angle is too shallow. If those things line up just fine, then simply fitting the bridge should do.

I was a late adopter to using tools for bridge fitting. They seemed like gimmicks, but then I tried it and I'm a believer. I feel like all the archtop setups I did before having one were inferior!

This one, for example

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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When the Devil

starts cryin' he's lonely
May 26th, 2014 08:18 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The bridge fitting jig is a real time saver. And a properly-fitted bridge really makes a guitar sing.

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Pinning a floating bridge: here's how I do it




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