compensated bridge setup tips?

Discussion in 'Tone Zone' started by jammybastard, Dec 31, 2004.

  1. jammybastard

    jammybastard New Member

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    Hey folks,
    just got a '69 Special w/ compensated tail a'la PT.
    I'm having a heck of a time dialing in the intonation on the tail.
    No surprise right?
    Any suggestions?
    Also, should I intonate first, or do the action & releif first?
    I'm new to the setup game, and whatbetter guitar to learn on eh?
    Thanks.
     
  2. CharlieB

    CharlieB Active Member

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    The thing to remember on the wrap around bridge/tail is that EITHER sides adjustment is going to effect BOTH sides intonation.

    HUH?

    Lets say you want to move the high E string up by... say... 1/8 inch. So you loosen the set screw a bit. The high E side has moved... but the low E side has moved a bit too.. just not as much.

    What I like to do generally in setups is this:

    Tune to pitch, set relief.
    Set elevation and play it a bit even if the intonation is off... just make sure the elevation is good to go.
    Then set intonation last.

    Keep in mind that moving the intonation also has this real small micro effect on elevation. Usually its not noticed as its really small, but moving a saddle back say... its whole length may end up with a saddle thats now too low in relation to the neck. Back=lower, forward=higher. When in doubt, its probablt best to stagger saddles to begin with about 1/8 inch from each other. E further back, then A then D, then G back at A's spot... then B and E. I realize that you dont have that option... just in general I'm tossing that out.
     
  3. jammybastard

    jammybastard New Member

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    Hey!
    Thanks for the prompt reply.
    I've been working on the intonation for the past hour with no luck.
    Action is fine, relief is fine, but it's still coming up sharp no matter how far back the bridge goes.
    Very weird.
    We're talking +.05 sharp, as opposed to +.13 sharp when the tail is in the normalled position.
    Is .05 sharp the best that it gets?
     
  4. CharlieB

    CharlieB Active Member

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    What string gauge are you using and which strings are sharp ?
     
  5. Voxman

    Voxman Moderator Staff Member

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    It's very possible the studs are not quite located properly, I hate to say! Not probable, but has been known to happen. Last resort then is to check if all other means fail.
     
  6. jammybastard

    jammybastard New Member

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    I'm using .11s w/ a wound 3rd (D'Addario Chrome)

    I'm concentrating on the high and low E strings, but at the moment all of the strings are out the same amount equally.

    If the studs are the problem then I'm going to be pissed!
    Was this a production gaff on Gibson's part?

    I bought this guitar last week, and the seller said nothing about it.
    Granted, he had it set up with the Lyre and not with the stop tail, so he might have known. I got a good deal on it, but I'm not putting holes in it.
    It's a '69, got plenty of miles on it, but the neck is great and the P-90's sound excellent so I'd like to make it work.

    This makes me wonder how the heck PT and other SG players handled this sort of thing back it the late 60's when buying a fancy Tone Pros replacement tail piece wasn't an option?
     
  7. CharlieB

    CharlieB Active Member

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    Ok...

    Keep in mind your guitar does not have the universal adjustability that a guitar with a tune-o-matic bridge has. Heck, even those bridges are not all that universal.

    You're running flatwound 11-50's. The G string is NOT going to intonate if your step on your saddle is further forward than the step on the B string. Gibson made those tailpieces for wound and unwound 3rd strings over the years, dunno which you have.

    This looks interesting

    [​IMG]
    (dont let voxman see those pole screws!)

    although this one has more of that brass knuckles appeal
    [​IMG]

    and this one has a nice Frankenstein look
    [​IMG]

    All available at http://www.stew-mac.com

    I like the first one, it comes in nickle, and although pricey seem like the best thought out. The last one is ok too, I'd just replace the Frankenstein bolts sticking out is behind with shorter setscrews that got turned with an allen key and were invisible in use (up the hole you might say)
     
  8. jammybastard

    jammybastard New Member

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    Hey Charlie,
    thanks, but I already knew about all those.
    As I said earlier, I'm trying to make the original equipment work. If I can't get it close enough then I'm probably going to go with one of those options, or the Tone Pros bridge w/ locking studs.

    Like I said before, Townshend played a similar setup, as did other SG players so I guess it can be done. I guess Pete just lived with improper intonation?
     
  9. skidshark

    skidshark Active Member

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    I like the brass knuckles! me and my guit can BOTH have broken noses! :p 8)
     
  10. CharlieB

    CharlieB Active Member

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    Pete played 9's roundwoud, not 11's flatwound.
     
  11. jammybastard

    jammybastard New Member

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    That's a very important detail that I did not know!
    Gracias!

    BTW - I got the 3 high strings to intonate, but the bottom 3 are still being bad and I've almost got the tail out of the studs.
    There might be a Stew Mac order in the near future if I want top use these strings.
     
  12. CharlieB

    CharlieB Active Member

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    Yeah its a big deal too - because smaller string gauges need to be closer and larger one farther back.

    You may not like em, but invest in a set of .009-.038's of your choice and see if that baby get real close on intonation. Then you'll see whats what.

    Hey its not a guitar - ITS AN ADVENTURE!
     
  13. skidshark

    skidshark Active Member

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    which would be your choice to replace that bridge CB?

    i did not know that about the string guages...thanks for that tid-bit!
     
  14. CharlieB

    CharlieB Active Member

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    Well lookit... its right there staring you in the palm!

    Low E, farther back, A a bit more forward, D even more forward, if you had a wound G then even more forward. So, given that string type... fatter=farther back.

    Take the gauge sizes, and lets just say it was the normal three wound strings.

    My strings use .026/.036/.046

    Lets take .009s. ... thery're .024/.032/.042

    Lets take .008s. ... they're .021.030/.038

    Lets take .011s. ... they're .028/.038/.048

    You can clearly see.. in the extreme example of going from 8's to 11's that for the A string of the 11's to intonate properly, its gonna have to be as far back as the E string was from the 8 set!
     
  15. skidshark

    skidshark Active Member

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    yep makes perfect sense when you explain it....so the wrap around kind of limits your string choice as we witness with Jammy here? (and me truth be told...)
     
  16. CharlieB

    CharlieB Active Member

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    Well we're ALL limited.. I mean there's only so much movement an ABR or Nashville has. Thats why they're "tilted".

    Loot at the older "Harmonica" bridge. Its not tilted, but has MUCH more movement. This makes for a bad break angle on the thin strings though. They cannot break sharper than the back of the bridge will allow.

    I know also that flatwounds and roundwouds intonate differently. Any bass player will ... wait forget that, they're tone deaf.

    Anyway... I'm sure the SG Special with wrap bridge/tail is made for mid sized strings to work best .009's and .010's.
     
  17. jammybastard

    jammybastard New Member

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    D'oh!
    That new math always gets me!

    :wink:
     
  18. dcooper

    dcooper Member

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    Charlie, I agree with you. One thing you said is real important, play it for a while before intonation. and with the cable wire thats being used for strings the neck relief is going to have to be reset a few times, and being winter with a furnace it's going to be moving until it finds itself. Then set the string lengths.
     
  19. jammybastard

    jammybastard New Member

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    so here's apic of the bridge in question...

    [​IMG]

    bought a set of super slinkys, 008 - .038 for it, and I also ordered the Pigtail tailpiece. I've got a gig on Sat., hopefully I'll have it dialed in by then.
     
  20. CharlieB

    CharlieB Active Member

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    Keep in mind that tailpiece you've got is for a wound 3rd string... so that third string is not really ever gonna intonate correctly with that particular tail. Gibson makes/offers a replacement (currently the standard wrap tail) that will intonate more correctly with a plain 3rd string.... but if you're changing anyway... just get the one that suits you fine, and keep the other in a little bag in the case in case you ever want to sell the guitar.
     

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