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Epi T-bird 3 point bridge replacement (on a budget)

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by fictionuk, Dec 15, 2017.


  1. fictionuk

    fictionuk

    Feb 15, 2013
    Hello All, firstly I know this has been discussed before in one form or another but I could do with a bit of info regarding a bit of tech info on replacing the 3 point bridge on my T-bird

    We all know the problems with the 3 point bridges on TB's etc but i've got to the point where i'm sick or it. Reasons...

    1. No real fine height adjustment which (to me) is no more than a general adjustment

    2.The thing falls to pieces if your not careful

    3. The bushes that insert into the body (at the bridge) pull themselves out

    The third point is probably the real killer for me (and anyone else I guess). If I lower the bridge to low etc the bushes pull out. Now this is real crap is it not ? I did fix the problem by removing the original bushes and replaced them with a pair with slightly different sized splines. This seems to of worked but my confidence with the fix isn't close to 100%.

    So, I want to replace it with a NON 3 Point bridge. I'm a fairly skint bassist and simply want a different bridge, NOT what is the best (at a price), simply something off ebay that will do the job. Something that screws to the body with individual height adjustment OR a 1-piece wrap-a-round (see pix for exmples). I like the idea of the wrap-a-round bridge and the fact that I don't have to get destructive.

    fitting isn't a problem as i'm good on the tools

    I could of just said 'what type of cheapo bridge can I replace a 3-point bridge with'. :)

    Thanx in advance

    Dean (The Tea Project)
    bridge_1. bridge_2.
     
  2. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    I don't have a bridge recommendation for you. I would epoxy the inserts in place so they can't pull out; and I'd be tempted to add a tailpiece to remove tension form the top loading bridge. I don't know how that would work out though. IMO that is an adequate bridge, much more adjustable than the floating bridge on my Hofner.
     
    96tbird likes this.
  3. fictionuk

    fictionuk

    Feb 15, 2013
    Thanx for the reply. I did think about using resin but I thought i'll go with what I've done and use the epoxy as a last result.

    Thanx

    Dean
     
  4. Axstar

    Axstar SUSPENDED

    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    As long as the saddles match the radius of the fretboard you don't really need to adjust the height of them individually.
     
  5. fictionuk

    fictionuk

    Feb 15, 2013
    Thanx, yes I did think about that but I simply like the individual adjustment. Besides, the the bushes I swapped out and replaced seem to be doing the job.

    Thanx for the reply :)

    Dean
     
  6. beate_r

    beate_r

    Jan 25, 2012
    Germany
    If You talk about the 3-point bridges Gibson has been using since the 70s: the bushings can be fully pulled out and entirely glued in with epoxy. Even old fashioned NC glue will do the job fine (i have sucessfully used Uhu Hart which is NC based for that).

    You'll have to do this as well if You want to install a Hipshot Supertone or a Babicz Full Contact bridge alternatively because these depend on firmly mounted bushings. And these two bridges are the only viable alternatives because they provide both both the correct height as well as the correct string spacing. Nearly all other bridges are built for a MUCH wider string spacing and won't fit!!!

    (Mhmm, as far as i remember, somer Warwick bridges also come with a Gibsonesque string spacing of 16.5 mm, but they are two piece bridges).

    In contrast to Gibson, Epiphone uses metrical screws. So You can always replace a bushing by a suitable threaded insert ("Rampamuffe") with a thread size of M8. Maybe Yo'll have to fill the hole with a dowel and redrill. I would do this only on new installations because re-glueing the old bushing will usually solve that problem.


    There are a few workarounds on the intonation issue. By far the easiest and cheapest is to fiddle one or (rarely) two screws of size M5 or similar on the A and E strings.


    The "problem" of the bridge falling into pieces. Well occasionally it is a bit annoying. But if You change strings one by another and leave the remaining three under tension (which is recommendable anyway because the instrument will stay in tune after a string chance almost immediately) this is hardly an issue.


    The is, however another issue of the 3-point bridge many people are not aware of: its lack of stiffness. That's the main reason for the tonal advantages of the Supertone and possibly also the Babicz. The reason can be seen here:

    file.


    Just 2.5 mm in the baseplate, i would suspect zink diecasting. On the Supertone this is more than 6 mm of massive Aluminum.

    There is a simple fix for that: just glue a plate of aluminum or brass underneath the base plate. There must be full conact of the surfaces so that forces are transferred into the plate. There is sufficient space for another 3, maybe even 4 mm. In order to test this i just glued three stripes of brass, 2.5 mm thick, under the baseplate - that's what i had available:

    file.

    You also see the intonation workaround, and You see that i still need to pull and re-glue the bushings. But the tonal improvement was more or less the same as with the Hipshot Supertone on the "twin" of that bass (two 1960s-reissue EB-3 by Epiphone).

    I am pretty happy with that easy mod and am going to apply it to the 3-point bridge of my son's Epi EB-0 as well over Christmas.

    So, imho, there exist simple and easy workarounds on most of the issues with the 3-point bridge which can be applied at least on the cheap Epiphone basses where the hipshot is overkill (or to improve basses like the Rumblecat...)
     
    BamaBird and dmt like this.
  7. dmt

    dmt

    Apr 19, 2003
    Orbiting Sol
    You mean to put nuts around the E and A strings? Well, thread each [of the two] strings through a nut so that the nut is resting on the ball end and then use that as a spacer to hold the ball end back out farther than the rear of the bridge?
     
    fictionuk likes this.
  8. beate_r

    beate_r

    Jan 25, 2012
    Germany
    Yes, exactly.
     
    BamaBird, fictionuk and dmt like this.
  9. dmt

    dmt

    Apr 19, 2003
    Orbiting Sol
    Okay, thanks. I’ll have to try that next time I re-string. I’m new to the whole 3-point bridge world
     
    fictionuk likes this.
  10. fictionuk

    fictionuk

    Feb 15, 2013

    Many thanx for the wealth of info. Theres a couple of good ideas there I think. I like the idea of glueing a plate under the bridge. Thanx again for the info. And sorry for the late reply....benn away...
     

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