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Tune-O-Matic bridge queries

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Hawkbone, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. Hawkbone


    Mar 23, 2009
    Picked up a Epiphone LP bass, 5-string with a TOM bridge.


    During a setup I realized that the bridge was an odd design and doesn't follow the FB radius at all. In fact, the top of the bridge has curvature opposite to that of the FB.



    That would be ok if the saddles compensated, but they don't. If the top of the bridge was straight, or curved slightly upwards, then it would also be ok.

    Seems I can either:
    1.) get a taller (~1.25mm, .05") A saddle and taller (~1mm, .04") E and D saddles
    2.) get a different bridge (can't find anything)
    3.) file the other 4 saddles, but not sure there's enough meat to get me where I want to go action wise.
    4.) just live with good action on the A string and high action on the B and G

    Anyone have any knowledge of these bridges?
    Know of any replacement options?
    Anyone DIY something better? Not a lot of range for intonation either.

    Thanks in advance for any input.

  2. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    It's not as pretty as the original but you could contact Hipshot and see if their D-Style would retrofit:

  3. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    I think the shape is misleading. If you draw a line from the bottom of the B-string slot to the bottom of the G-string slot, there's definitely a proper curvature. You could file the slots in the G, D, and E-strings to bring them down a little bit - maybe even some on the B-string too (or try a tapered B-string).
    Zero Cash likes this.
  4. Hawkbone


    Mar 23, 2009
    I was looking at the D-style, but the post dimensions (4.35" post spacing vs 4.1" on the bass) don't match. I've asked Hipshot whether I could get one with the 4.1" spacing I need. If I had a chrome version that fit I think it would look ok. Not as pretty, but much more functional.

    Good idea but I've done that exercise, which is where I've got the numbers above (1.25mm etc.). I agree, filing is the obvious solution and, at the end of the day, the bass is functional as is so if I do any filing at all I will make it better. But, if I can get better ideas I'm all for it.

    Need a friend in a machine shop who could mill me some new saddles or even a new truss component.
  5. Hawkbone


    Mar 23, 2009
    Here's a shot with the Fb radius superimposed. I'm going to try some jb weld on the ead saddles just to see how it works.

    Attached Files:

  6. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    Just remember that the strings don't/can't strictly follow the radius. The heavier strings have a larger vibrational path and are therefore set slightly higher than the lighter strings. I would just raise the entire bridge by 1/8" via the posts and then re-slot each saddle until you get the desired string heights.
    Zero Cash likes this.
  7. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Still there is an arc across the saddles. Gibson design is famous for saddles in the three point bridge not being the same radius as the FB. TOM bridge apparently is no different. Correct though that the big strings need more room to vibrate. Just move the bridge up. Filing the saddles a bit it perfectly acceptable practice. The object is to make the instrument play the way you want it to. It's yours so do it. But BUT KEEP JBWELD AWAY FROM YOUR INSTRUMENT! IMHO. :eyebrow:
  8. JTE


    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    It's not uncommon for the original TOM design to collapse. John Caruthers had an article in Guitar Player magazine for one of his monthly repair columns about how to re-bend one (this was back in the very late '70s or the early '80s). He took three metal rods, put one on either side at the top and one in the middle at the bottom, and put them in a vise. The middle rod pushed the bridge up in the center. Tighten it up very slowly and carefully, and don't try to go too far.

    I've done it a few times (three or four at most) on pre-Nashville TOM guitar bridges and it worked. But I haven't done it with anything in over 20 years, and I don't know if I'd trust the metal in an Epiphone TOM ('though I suspect Epi, Gibson, cheapo knock off, really good copy, all use the same hardware these days).

  9. Hawkbone


    Mar 23, 2009
    Thought I could see brass through the chrome, so I gave JTE's idea a shot. If it's brass, it's brittle brass! No loss - if it's weak enough to sag under string tension I want something better anyway. On to plan B.