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Design flaw in PRS SE wraparound bridge

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  • Design flaw in PRS SE wraparound bridge

    The problem with the PRS SE wraparound bridge is that the slot in the mounting stud is slightly larger than the thickness of the bridge so it leans forward several degrees, a problem that might be made worse with time (I did not notice it when I bought my SE Custom in 2007.) For the Gibson style wraparound bridge this would not be a problem since it uses rounded saddles which are fixed. However with the PRS style bridge there are no saddles- there are grooves up to an inch long which hold the strings. With a perfectly flat bridge these grooves slope up however if the bridge is tilted forward the slope for the high E string is not steep enough to prevent the banjo/sitar effect like with an open string if the nut slot is too flat. As a temporary fix I tried filing the back end of the string slot which helped to some extent.



    Many people recommended that I get a new wraparound bridge with adjustable saddle but the price starts around $100 and it is hard to tell from the limited specs whether one would work on a PRS SE with metric threads. "Just replace the threaded bushings and the bridge will work." However the diameter and depth of the holes for these bushings vary- the US PRS bushings are thinner and deeper than those on the PRS SE. "Then fill the existing holesd with hardwood dowels and redrill them for the proper diameter." Geez- I really don't want to go to all of that trouble and end up with a bridge that doesn't match the simple beauty of my PRS SE Custom. Besides the stock bridge is well-intonated for the .010 strings that I use.



    Solution: TonePros metric locking studs for the PRS SE wraparound bridge. While many of the TonePros products are fairly expensive upgrades that aren't really necessary, these locking studs are a very intelligent solution to a definite problem. I ordered a pair for $31.95 (w/ free shipping) and my PRS SE Custom is happier than it has ever been. The sustain is better but more important to me the slight squishiness when bending strings is gone- something that I hadn't really noticed until it was gone. Just like that voice in my head- Peace and quiet at last!

    Here is the link to these locking studs at Stew-Mac...

    STEWMAC.COM : TonePros Locking Studs

    ...which even has specifications for them including drawings with all of the critical dimensions.



    I read that PRS is including the TonePros locking studs on some of their SE models. I had looked at a brand new SE Custom and the bridge was as snug as a bug in a rug.
    BTW does anyone have a source for the setscrews? I believe that they are M3 .5 x 8.0mm which was not stocked at the local Ace Hdwr.

    Respectfully submitted by

    Steve Ahola

    P.S. Check eBay- here is one seller that I recommend highly offering them for $31.95 including free shipping.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/TonePros-Vin...-/370803275481
    Last edited by Steve A.; 05-03-2013, 12:15 AM.
    The Blue Guitar
    www.blueguitar.org
    Some recordings:
    https://soundcloud.com/sssteeve/sets...e-blue-guitar/
    .

  • #2
    I was going to suggest cutting slots in washers (to make u-shaped shims) to place in the mounting stud slots, but that is a much nicer solution.
    "Everything is better with a tube. I have a customer with an all-tube pacemaker. His heartbeat is steady, reassuring and dependable, not like a modern heartbeat. And if it goes wrong he can fix it himself. You can't do that with SMD." - Mick Bailey

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    • #3
      Originally posted by g-one View Post
      I was going to suggest cutting slots in washers (to make u-shaped shims) to place in the mounting stud slots, but that is a much nicer solution.
      I was thinking along those lines and even ordered a set of hollow punchs from Amazon which finally arrived on Tuesday. As I recall I was going cut a 5/16" hole in the middle of a 5/8" circle and then use a Dremel to cut the slot in it. I'm not sure how thin I could get the brass sheet but if necessary I could grind a little bit off the bottom of the bridge. I'm glad I learned about the locking studs- a much more permanent solution. The bridge is rock solid now.

      BTW do you know where I might set screws? It looks like they are M3 .5 x 8mm. I will see if I can find them locally- preferrably in stainless steel. I wasn't thinking when I was at the hardware store- I should have bought two pan head screws to use temporarily until I can get the right ones so that I can get my PRS SE Soapbar II flying again (I had borrowed the bridge from it hoping that it would solve the problem with the SE Custom but no such luck. I had ordered two sets of the TonePros locking studs to fix both of those guitars.)

      Steve

      P.S. I wrote down the thickness needed for the brass sheet somewhere. As I recall there were two 0's and a digit- something like .005" (I think that could vary from one guitar to another.)
      The Blue Guitar
      www.blueguitar.org
      Some recordings:
      https://soundcloud.com/sssteeve/sets...e-blue-guitar/
      .

      Comment


      • #4
        Since they opened a location near me I get all those kind of specific screws etc. from Fastenal. Here's their set screws: Set Screws | Fastenal
        As far as the shim thickness, automotive feeler gauges (for valve adjustment) would probably work well for measurement.
        "Everything is better with a tube. I have a customer with an all-tube pacemaker. His heartbeat is steady, reassuring and dependable, not like a modern heartbeat. And if it goes wrong he can fix it himself. You can't do that with SMD." - Mick Bailey

        Comment


        • #5
          Interesting! I recently posted a thread in The PRS Forum which shows my mod of the stock SE bridge by means of split washers. The washers are the kind that come from vol and tone pots, which I have a drawer of!
          The washers
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          Scored with cutters
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          One wiggled and split
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          Persuaded to wrap around bridge post
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          Posts back in guitar
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          Side view
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          Top view
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          I'm happy with the result. No more forward lean and the bridge stays put when I change strings. Didn't cost a penny.
          Great forum by the way. I wish I'd found it sooner!
          Regards.
          Ian

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ibis View Post
            Interesting! I recently posted a thread in The PRS Forum which shows my mod of the stock SE bridge by means of split washers. The washers are the kind that come from vol and tone pots, which I have a drawer of!
            I had thought of doing that first but I didn't know where to find washers that thin. I never thought of using the washers that come with volume pots. D'oh!

            If someone has a Dremel tool I think that a cutoff wheel would make a cleaner cut.

            Thanks

            Steve

            P.S. Besides dealing with the forward tilt it seems like the locking studs make the bridge a lot more solid (I usually rest my palm on the bridge and I have noticed a big improvement.)
            The Blue Guitar
            www.blueguitar.org
            Some recordings:
            https://soundcloud.com/sssteeve/sets...e-blue-guitar/
            .

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ibis View Post
              Interesting! I recently posted a thread in....
              Cool trick! I bought an adjustable wraparound of Asian origin for my current guitar project. The fit on the post's was sloppy. Shipping it back to china wasn't really an option. This worked great, and didn't blow the budget.

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              • #8
                Do you know where I can find those washers selling for cheap? Maybe on ebay or something? I can't find them anywhere.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by HikaruGunner View Post
                  Do you know where I can find those washers selling for cheap? Maybe on ebay or something? I can't find them anywhere.
                  I found the brass washers in a local hardware store but could not match up numbers to anything on-line. If you have access to to grinder I guess you could make thicker washers thinner (use 7" needle nose Vise Grips holding half of washer against side of wheel, rotating washer until it is even.)

                  Have you tried the washers that come with assorted pots and switches?

                  Steve Ahola

                  NOTE: My original diagnosis on PRS SE Custom Semi-hollow was WRONG! Although bridge did lean forward buzzing sound was actually coming from the flat tops of worn frets, not the bridge. Mea culpa and my bad!
                  The Blue Guitar
                  www.blueguitar.org
                  Some recordings:
                  https://soundcloud.com/sssteeve/sets...e-blue-guitar/
                  .

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Have the strings up to pitch before you tighten the locks, otherwise the bridge may creep away from the studs.

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