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fender bridge ouch!

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  • fender bridge ouch!

    i like a nice low action, so when i set up a guitar with a fender style tremelo, often times the screws are sticking up out of the saddles. then when i play, these small somewhat sharp screw heads get to bother the heel of the palm after a while of playing.

    is there any secret/trick/remedy that ppl use for this? i dont want to file them down and ruin the hex head in case i ever need to adjust it again. i suppose finding shorter screws/grinding down long screws would be an option, but a hell of a lot of work and would require a lot of taking off, putting back on and adjusting, taking off again trial and error. ive thought of painting some plasti-dip over them, but not sure how long that would last, if at all. i cant be the only one with this problem, what have others done??

  • #2
    Have you considered shimming the neck?
    "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."
    - Yogi Berra

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    • #3
      Just get shorter screws, at the hardware store.
      Allen head set screws are available all over. They come in all different lengths.

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      • #4
        Shorter screws would be the first option, if you just want to smooth these off a little carefully use a jewelers file and some fine sandpaper. Be careful and don't trash the heads, as you already noted you may need to readjust at some point. Check around at hardware stores, and if you have a Fastenal close they would probably have them. Bring one to match it to.

        Shimming the neck might also work, I didn't think of that till it was mentioned, use something solid and be really careful you don't over tighten it. But it will have to be a nice flat shim, you don't want to introduce an angle. I've seen it done with folded paper on a cheap off brand guitar but I wouldn't like that too much. Something like brass shim stock or some sort of plastic might be workable.
        Why do I drive way out here to view the wildlife when all the animals live in town?

        My Photography - http://billy-griffis-jr.artistwebsites.com/

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        • #5
          Get shorter screws. That way your saddles will be close to the bridge plate. If you shim the neck your saddles will be jacked up higher off the bridge plate. This gives the strings more leverage over the position of the bridge. You'll compensate by tightening the springs, but then when you bend notes that extra leverage from the saddles being higher will cause the bridge to pull forward more than it would with the saddles low. It's a small thing, but why not do it right? IMHO the lowest saddles (E) should be just slightly off the plate.
          Vote like your future depends on it.

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          • #6
            put a strip of aircraft aluminum speed tape over the screws........so U can save your original screws in case you might???
            it's a really thick aluminum foil like tape so I don't think the screws would poke through for a long time...
            and I lined my pickup boxes with it and it gave me more sustain ..
            good for 600mph....
            try sportys aircraft, or aircraft spruce, or if you know a aircraft mechanic is best as it's quite expensive.... it's used to patch small holes on jets so they can fly back to home base...
            it's quite good for all kinds of stuff... the best sticky side I've ever come across...
            someone told me about lining the pickup holes with it to improve stuff like sustain and ? maybe like static sounds or sounds you pick up from nearby electrical sources...
            way better than plastic-dip and U can try lining your pickup holes and see how U like the sound??? I didn't believe till I tried it..

            aloha, popoahi

            aloha, popoahi

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            • #7
              If it were mine, I'd shim the pocket. You definitely do want to create an angle here. Just cut a strip off of a business card and put it deep in the pocket.

              I have an Epi Les Paul 100 with the opposite problem, it set up perfectly with the bridge roughly a mile in the air. Opened up the neck pocket to find a veneer shim already present! Thanks, factory. Tried it without the shim, but ultimately it needed the shim on the outside end of the pocket to get the bridge a reasonable height over the body.

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              • #8
                I would make 6 depth gauges out of tooth picks or something, then I would screw the Allen head screws flush and grind the screws to the proper length from the back with the bridge disassembled. Leave a little extra! But it back together and set it up. No one the wiser.
                Last edited by olddawg; 05-09-2014, 06:27 AM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by olddawg View Post
                  I would make 6 depth gauges out of tooth picks or something, then I would screw the Allen head screws flush and grind the screws to the proper length from the back did with the bridge disassemble. Leave a little extra! But it back together and set it up. No one the wiser.
                  You people are deranged. There is no need to grind the screws down.
                  Go to the hardware store and buy some shorter screws.
                  Probably any Fender dealer has short screws too.
                  I mean, really?

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                  • #10
                    weren't u looking for just a quick fix like during a gig?
                    simple is best.

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                    • #11
                      Not that I think anyone in this thread is deranged, because they're all viable fixes... I vote for getting new screws, length irrrelevant, and cut the NEW ones if you have to. Cut/grind them from the underside, not the adjustment part. If you have a small saw or file & a vise, make your own! Machine screws are dirt cheap, cut off the heads, cut a slot, cut to length, grind the bottoms nice. Leave the originals alone. One of my pairs of wire cutters has a built-in small screw/bolt cutter.

                      The issue with buying the screws from a Fender dealer is, usually the set will have 4 short ones for the E strings, and the rest will be longer, for the neck radius. I had to get a few sets before I had enough. Another thing - is this a vintage style trem with the bent sheet metal saddles, or a newer style with block-style saddles? If the vintage style, you have a lot less room for error. With a newer style, you can have them a bit short, because there's a lot more thread area in the saddle itself - more wiggle room.

                      Justin
                      Last edited by Justin Thomas; 05-09-2014, 05:24 AM. Reason: krapee tablit keeboreds...
                      "Wow it's red! That doesn't look like the standard Marshall red. It's more like hooker lipstick/clown nose/poodle pecker red." - Chuck H. -
                      "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
                      "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by soundguruman View Post
                        You people are deranged. There is no need to grind the screws down.
                        Go to the hardware store and buy some shorter screws.
                        Probably any Fender dealer has short screws too.
                        I mean, really?
                        Maybe this is one time that SGM is correct, maybe not. He does seem to be a bit like a stopped clock most of the time. But I've personally never had much luck getting anything like screws for an instrument at a hardware store. The screws are usually nickel or chrome plated brass with unusual dimensions. Deranged or not, the method I suggested will resolve the problem quickly and effectively and will not look. "messed with" from the top.

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                        • #13
                          They are viable fixes, but shimming the neck to me isn't fixing the problem. The problem is with sharp screws projecting - so fix the screws. If your hat was too big, you could get a smaller hat. Or you could have collagen injected under your scalp to make your head bigger. Either way would be a viable fix for a loose hat.

                          I'm always wary of carrying out work that may affect something else, particularly if it's a customer's guitar. Take off the neck and shim it; the screws could be rusted solid, or a head break off, or when reassembling you find out it's the final straw in the thread stripping out of the neck. Or the neck is so tight in the pocket it pulls away some paint off the body as its removed. Then the pickups may need adjusting..........

                          Sharp screws seem to be more of a problem with chromed hex-heads. It's that final thread that produces a wire-edge. I just put them in a drill chuck and round them over/smooth them off with a fine swiss file. They still project, but don't cut your hand.

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                          • #14
                            McMaster-Carr....new screws....replace with stainless steel.

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                            • #15
                              Not disputing, but stainless steel because....?

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