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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Do you think this will work as tremolo bridge?

Tinkerer
Contributing Member
*****

San Diego, CA USA

Apr 21st, 2019 11:29 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have a tremolos on a couple of my guitars- a modified Bigsby on one, and several with GFS' solid body Extrem. I have been using Schaller's adjustable roller bridge on all of them, and it works well EXCEPT that occasionally the strings will pop off of the high E or high B string saddles under bends or hard picking.

Some of this is bad, (ah- overly enthusiastic bull in a china shop, or more aptly, hitting/bending the strings like they owe me money) technique on my part, but I have been wondering about a solution that would provide good tuning stability and prevent the strings from popping off the saddle given the limits of my technique.

I literally woke up in the middle of last night with the idea to take a inexpensive top loader bridge plate, and cut a slot under the saddle screw holes. I like using Graphtech saddles with these inexpensive bridge plates, and thought that cutting the slot to allow string movement, and the slipperiness of the saddle material might just accomplish what I'm looking for. I probably won't know for sure without trying it, but would appreciate feedback form the collective wisdom on the forum. I might be missing something obvious in the string geometry that would make this not work for example.

I had an extra bridge so I modified it this morning with the slot, and an adding angled ramp (to parallel the string angle going into the saddle) on the bottom lip that screws to the body.

Please excuse the "beat up" look of the plate- if I take the next steps with this, I will strip the paint of it, sand out the scratches and polish the bare metal.

Possible tremolo bridge idea?

Cal-Woody

USA/California

Why do I keep fixing things that work?
Apr 21st, 2019 12:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

The problem seems like it would take more string angle before the saddles. By increasing the amount of pressure on the saddles, the strings should retain their position on the saddles. I'm not sure of exactly what you are doing here but with the bottom portion of the bridge plate removed, I think you have lost the opportunity to lower the string angle before the saddles and have now caused the strings to apply less downward pressure on the saddles. So I would either get a new top loader bridge or better yet, use a string through body arrangement which would give you the greatest amount of pressure to the saddles.
If this were a stop bar and bridge issue (Les Paul) then I would lower the stop bar to increase the string angle over the saddles.

Tinkerer
Contributing Member
*****

San Diego, CA USA

Apr 21st, 2019 02:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

I pulled one of the GFS tremolos I have on a guitar that is out of my current neck rotation (I have a couple of more bodies than I have necks for), and can see that this could work IF I either make a 1/4" to 3/8" spacer to elevate the bridge plate height, though that would mean shimming the neck, and would put the pickups too far from the strings. Or option 2- I could recess the tremolo into the guitar body by routing a recess for it- maybe a recess that slopes down towards the bridge, so that the front roller end of the trem is lower into the body than the back end of it.


This is one of those choice dilemmas- I'm really curious to see if this could work, but it could end up being an unsuccessful experiment, and then I have to come up with something to undo/cover up the routing surgery.

I'm adding this paragraph about 20 minutes after the preceding paragraphs- Option 3 would be to elevate that back end of the bridge plate so that the slot lines up with the angle of the strings coming off of the tremolo roller bar. This would mean that the saddles would be sloped downward. My thinking is that I could use the saddle height adjusting screws to lower them and keep the action and pickup height where I want it. What I don't know is if the sloping saddle would mess up the contact point with the string and mess up intonation????

(This message was last edited by Tinkerer at 04:53 PM, Apr 21st, 2019)

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Planet Peegoo

Lewd guitar player
Apr 21st, 2019 04:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

I think you're working too hard. A Strat-type bridge plate is problematic for stringing through for a separate vibrato unit.

It's easier and more effective to install two threaded sleeves in the body and mount a Gibson-style tune-o-matic bridge with roller saddles.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Planet Peegoo

Lewd guitar player
Apr 21st, 2019 06:46 PM   Edit   Profile  

For more ideas, look online at Bigsby Telecasters--especially the type with the cutout rear flange on the bridge plate. It's sort of what you're doing, but a three-saddle Tele bridge is a lot easier to implement because of how the saddles are shaped.

Tinkerer
Contributing Member
*****

San Diego, CA USA

Apr 21st, 2019 09:07 PM   Edit   Profile  

Well my impulsiveness got the best of me. I played around a bit trying to figure out if I could tilt the bridge plate, and saw that would not work, so decided to do a sloped routed tremolo mounting area in the guitar body. I can't tell yet if it will all line up such that the strings go off the roller bar and into the graph tech saddle without rubbing on anything else, but I made the mounting pad large enough such that I can adjust the angle by moving the tremolo closer or farther from the bridge plate, to see where it should be permanently mounted. I've got the newly routed area stained, and will get a couple of coats of wipe on poly on, and hope to do the assembly tomorrow.

We shall see! If this experiment fails, I'll go back to the bridge I had on the guitar in the first place, and will try to come up with something to make the tremolo mounting area look like it was intentionally a part of the design from day one. But you all will know better!!

Tinkerer
Contributing Member
*****

San Diego, CA USA

Apr 22nd, 2019 11:30 AM   Edit   Profile  

Well I did the assembly this morning, and I think this just might work! The strings are new and still stretching, but it seems to work smoothly and return to tune as good if not better than I have had with the Schaller Tune-O-Matic style roller bridges that I have been using. Again, the purpose of this was to see if I could come up with a bridge/saddle system that would keep the B and high E strings from popping out, the way that would occasionally happen to me with the Schaller bridge under bends or hard picking.

Close up of string angle through slot in modified Strat bridge.

Tinkerer
Contributing Member
*****

San Diego, CA USA

Apr 22nd, 2019 11:32 AM   Edit   Profile  

Here's the way the tremolo is mounted to the body.

Sloped tremolo mounting pad

Tinkerer
Contributing Member
*****

San Diego, CA USA

Apr 22nd, 2019 11:34 AM   Edit   Profile  

And a front view of the guitar now. This is a guitar that I have been working on the last few days, and that has been the subject of another thread several days ago. I think that the tremolo and the pickups make this a very versatile guitar now.

The tremolo added about 1/2 pound, but even with that it still only weighs just 6lbs, 2oz!

The "patient" recovering well after surgery.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Apr 22nd, 2019 12:15 PM   Edit   Profile  

People have been modifying Telecaster bridges along those lines for quite a while. Now Gotoh makes one just for that purpose (link).

click

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
Apr 22nd, 2019 12:40 PM   Edit   Profile  

Tinkerer, your ramp is a practical and simply ingenious method of overcoming the problematic Strat saddle geometry to allow for a straight pull over the saddles.

Even if you have to move the saddles for intonation, you still have total control over saddle height for proper action over the frets.

Impressive solution, brother!

Tinkerer
Contributing Member
*****

San Diego, CA USA

Apr 22nd, 2019 01:19 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thank you very much Peegoo!!!!!

Tinkerer
Contributing Member
*****

San Diego, CA USA

Apr 22nd, 2019 06:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

Last photos I promise! I decided that the tremolo arm I had made for a previous build was not quite the look I wanted for this guitar, so I made a telescoping arm out of a cheapie selfie stick that I had picked up and was playing around with as a guitar strap mount.

Tremolo arm in, dare I say, flaccid state.

Tinkerer
Contributing Member
*****

San Diego, CA USA

Apr 22nd, 2019 06:03 PM   Edit   Profile  

and with the tremolo arm fully extended.

One less than ideal aspect of using a saddle that has the intonation screw in the center of the saddle, is that the screw contacts the string if the screw is long enough to protrude into the string channel. I remedied this by getting the intonation set, and then measuring and cutting the intonation screw for each saddle so that none of the screw protruded beyond the saddle material and contacted the string.

And tremolo arm in, dare I say, "fully aroused" state.

(This message was last edited by Tinkerer at 01:32 AM, Apr 23rd, 2019)

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Do you think this will work as tremolo bridge?




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