Relocating a Tune-o-Matic Bridge

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Relocating a Tune-o-Matic Bridge

Post by Barry on Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:30 pm

I think I may have commented on this intonation fix in a post once before...somewhere. Thinking 2

This video by my close personal friend, Dan Erlewine, shows an elegant way to move a fixed bridge in order to correct an intonation error on a Gibson. Ordinarily, the fix would entail plugging and re-drilling mounting holes, but his solution is non destructive and does not harm the resale value on a "vintage" collector's instrument.

With a bit of planning I believe it could also be a solution to retrofitting some of our beloved Westie's bridges and tail stops whose OEM parts just cannot be found anymore. This just might make some newer off-the-shelf parts with different centre dimensions fit!


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Re: Relocating a Tune-o-Matic Bridge

Post by Westbone on Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:12 am

That's fine on a bridge which only has downforce.

A replacement bridge is not a problem on a Westone as tune o matic style bridges will fit no problem.

It's the tailpiece, you have a force pulling on it so eccentric studs will tighten on the left post as you look from the top and loosen on the right. Won't work, doubt it will stay straight.

Must say the Westone tailpiece is very stylish but a barsteward of a size from memory 73 mm post to post centers.

Can plug the stud holes and fit a 'Gibson' type tailpiece the plugged holes will be hidden under the new tailpiece being longer. You would only have moved the holes approx. 5 mm either side and could touch it in. Not ideal but a way of getting the guitar up and running.
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Re: Relocating a Tune-o-Matic Bridge

Post by Barry on Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:34 am

You're right Damian, in that, the stop tail would have a tendency to "pivot" about the offset centres. I suppose if you carefully monitor the tension on the strings when changing you could even that out. A right PITA but theoretically doable.

I'm wondering though, if a shot of something like Loctite might stabilize the moving parts enough once you've determined the bar's new location? (not between the post and bar, you still want to be able to remove that, but between the post and the new offset piece)

I'm still looking for an alternative to plugging and drilling which is not always an option for the average do it yourself owner.

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Re: Relocating a Tune-o-Matic Bridge

Post by Westbone on Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:50 am

You'd have to machine an offset stud can't be done like the bridge one's in your mates video.. Wink
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Re: Relocating a Tune-o-Matic Bridge

Post by Barry on Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:16 am

Yeah I know, it ain't an easy solution is it?
Still, I can't help but think that there's a germ of an idea in there...somewhere. It would sure solve a miserable problem.

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Re: Relocating a Tune-o-Matic Bridge

Post by Westbone on Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:42 am

Good in theory but not in practice.
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Re: Relocating a Tune-o-Matic Bridge

Post by Barry on Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:59 am

Sadly, yup. Sad

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Re: Relocating a Tune-o-Matic Bridge

Post by enaich on Thu Apr 26, 2018 2:19 pm

Not to hijack this thread, but what about those trapeze tail pieces? I've seen them on a couple of Westones and wondered how it affected the guitar. At the very least the guitar would be playable and there would be minimal to no damage done to the guitar potentiatlly.

I have 3 guitars with the unique tailpiece so I guess it's good to have a backup plan if one of them cracks.
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Re: Relocating a Tune-o-Matic Bridge

Post by Barry on Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:52 pm

A trapeze would work, and is a partial solution (sometimes the only one). 
When you don't anchor the strings to the body on a solid body guitar you lose that important downward pressure on the bridge as well as greatly sacrificing a lot of the vibrational energy that would have gone into the body for optimal sustain.

On an acoustic or acoustic electric that loss is usually made up by the amplification from the  acoustical inner space of the guitar.

You can make it look OK and it'll work, but it won't sound the way you'd like it to or the way it was intended. And you still have the post holes to deal with.

Another option might be a Bigsby vibrato, if you like the look of it.

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