Official Luthiers Forum!

Radical Change
Page 1 of 1

Author:  Tom Wolf [ Tue Dec 25, 2018 11:55 am ]
Post subject:  Radical Change

First, I'd like to wish all my new-found forum friends a blessed Christmas....After
60 yrs of playing, the arthritis prob in my left hand has brought about a change-
I'm going to learn to play slide.I'll have to leave my comfort zone and start something
I know very little about...kinda scary, but exciting too. Anything I ever wanted to do
badly enough, I've always been able to do it brag, just's just going to
take time and effort.
I'd like to set up one of my strat clones with a Gibson style bridge, and make a new
nut., I'm ok with the nut, made 'em before, but curious about how to line up the tom bridge
on the strat body...I'm open for any suggestions you fellas may care to throw my way.
Thanks guys, and enjoy the day.......Tom
After posting, I realized the neck angle thing would enter into it..guess I should have
said, "a tom style bridge that sits lower" could prob make one, as my metal working
skills are much better than my woodworking abilities...the line-up thing is the problem,

Author:  Pmaj7 [ Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Radical Change

Tape off the area where the studs will go and use a straightedge down each side of the neck and mark lines on the tape. (Sans pickguard) Use those to Center your studs side to side.

If it's too high, you could recess the whole Bridge Assembly down into the body with a router, or more easily you could use a shim and set the neck back a little. I guess your pickups would need to be higher. I've never done it though...

New username, same Pat Mac

Author:  Freeman [ Wed Dec 26, 2018 8:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Radical Change

Tom, there are several things to consider here. First, a tune o matic bridge really isn't optimized to work with Fender geometry. First, they typically are higher from the top of the guitar to the mean adjustment for the strings - a typical Fender bridge is about 1/2 inch high, a ToM is 5/8 or even 3/4 off the top of the guitar. That would be a disaster on a fretted guitar but might work on a slide guitar (I'll come back to that). Second thing is that most ToM's are 12 inch string radius and are fixed, most Fenders are 9 or 10 or often less. Once again, if you put a ToM on a Fender neck the middle strings will be closer that you would normally like, again, a disaster for fretted play but possibly OK for slide.

Lets talk about slide for a minute. I play lots of slide on acoustic guitar and a tiny bit on electrics. There are basically two approaches - you can tune the guitar to an open chord (D or G on an acoustic, usually E or A on an electric). By barreing all the strings with your slide you can play chords anywhere on the fretboard, at 5 you get the blues IV chord, at 7 the V, at 12 the root again. This suits Delta blues, blue grass dobro, Hawaiian style music.

The other way to play is single notes in standard tuning, much as you would play leads with a minor pentatonic scale - instead of fretting the note you play them with the slide. I don't play this style, I've fooled around with it a bit and find it very difficult, but the important thing here is you really don't need to do anything to your guitar. Maybe jump the string gauges up a step or two to get a little more tension so you don't "fret out" with your slide, but otherwise you somewhat rely on the pickups to not be sensitive to all the string rattle and buzzes.

When I set up an acoustic for slide I like to start with the flattest fretboard possible - 20 inch works good, 16 is marginal. Dedicated slide guitars like Nationals and old Dobros and weissenbors often have dead flat fretboard. Second thing is to have the strings a little higher than normal so your slide won't be banging on frets. Since most people mix fretted and slide notes you don't want it too high. I might go another 10 thousands over my normal setup specs. You also want the minimum radius on the strings since you are trying to put pressure on all six of them with your cylindrical slide. The third thing I do on my slide guitars is run slightly heavier strings - I like lights on my fingerstyle guitars but I put mediums on the slider and tune down to D or G. On an electric slide guitar I would probably run 11's and tune to E or A.

You should be able to do all of that with a standard Fender bridge (I would block a trem). You'll have far more fretboard radius than I like but at least you can experiment with learning slide. If you decide to pursue the ToM I've got some pictures of geometry on a Fender that might help - the easiest would be to shim the neck at enough of an angle to get the string plane high enough. You'll also need to add the stop bar or use one of the wrap around ToM's

I was asked about it once and fooled around, but could see no compelling reason to pursue it




Author:  Tom Wolf [ Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Radical Change

Hi Freeman, yeah, I can see what you'[re saying here.Thanks for the pics and reply...I'll
get busy today, and let you know what I come up with.Pmaj7 gave me a great tip on lining up a bridge
but like you say, I didn't consider the width of the t-o-m.
I do know that I'll have to play with my earphones on (or get divorced)..gonna sound like
two tomcats fightin' over the only good-lookin' female on the block!

Author:  Freeman [ Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Radical Change

So, quick question, do you want to play Delta or some other style in an open tuning or are you going to play the single note stuff in standard? It makes a big difference in how I think about the setup (and playing) of a slide guitar.

As far as locating a tune o matic, the StewMac calculator says that for a 25.5 scale "25.562" (± 0.030") from nut to center of treble-side post. Mount bass-side post 1/16"-1/8" further from the nut" Pmaj7 told you how to center it - lay a straight edge on each side of the neck and measure the center at the scale length. My little rule of thumb is that if the fret plane just touches the tops of the saddles at their very lowest setting (which is equivalent to those wooden blocks in the pictures) then I will have enough adjustment in the ToM posts to get reasonable playing action (0.060 to 0.090 at the 12th fret). For slide you may want to go a bit higher but that should be attainable. However it is a good idea to have your bridge in hand before you start any of this and take actual measurements off of it.

Here are a couple of pictures of locating a ToM on another guitar. This has a mild arch to to the top, not as much as a Les Paul but not flat like a Strat either. The neck is set at a small angle (2 or 3 degrees, I don't remember). It does not stand proud of the top like a Fender - the fretboard basically sits on the top. Again, I have set the bridge on blocks simulating the studs while I double (triple) check the neck angle - this is a set neck guitar and I can't change it later. Also locating the studs relative to the scale length.



Author:  Tom Wolf [ Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Radical Change

those pics explain it pretty good...I been out in the shop, and here's what I have so far...
nailed the strat bridge down solid with all six screws, screwed the spring hanger all the way
to the firewall, and blocked it with a walnut's something different-I cut a piece
of 416 stainless i/8 thick, about the size of a popsicle stick...buffed it to a mirror finish,and put it under the adjusting screws(which I removed, first.) That gave me a perfectly flat string height all the way across.The height is just right-plus I don't have those little allen-head screws digging into my hand.
I'm not gonna say,but it may help the sustain, 'cause more mass?
Just about got the nut done,again equal depths on the playing style will be light touch
stuff like ballads, delta blues and gospel, prob in open D. having played fingerstyle all my life will
be an asset, I'm sure.My dad used to tune guitar like a banjo and he passed what he knew on to me.
sometime I'll learn how to post pics, and I'll show you a B-Bender I designed and put on my tele clone......well, I've had my sandwich, so back to the shop...catch you later, amigo

Author:  Tom Wolf [ Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Radical Change

good morning, folks
Time for an update on the continuing saga of T-Wolf versus the the axe setup
great-played for three hrs last night, although "playing" would not be entirely correct...
sounded like a cross between a scalded dog and a dry wheel bearing.
I'm probably the only one on the planet still recording with Cool-Edit pro,but I finally
got a song from the movie"Crossroads" where it is almost recognizable-"almost".I've
started a folder where I'll play this song for 7 days,and record it...check my progress
that way,In between,I'm learning turnarounds and 7ths.Also working on "Amazing Grace".
What can I say,? I'm having fun again...last year, my main axe stayed in the case for
almost 4 months, 'cause I was just bored with it...seems funny doesn't it? Spend your
whole life learning something, and grow tired of it.Guess we all suffer from burnout once
in awhile.Now I can remember how I felt when I got my first guitar,a square-neck Stella
when I was nine yrs old......I'm rambling again, you know old men do that....

Author:  MythicGuitars [ Fri Dec 28, 2018 6:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Radical Change

I have to admit that I didn't read everyone else's posts, I am very short on time but i do plan to go back and read.

But... strats and gibsons have different sized pickups as well, if this hasn't been mentioned.

You can put Gibson pickups in a strat if you re-route the body for them, but them the neck side gives you trouble, even with the tune-o-matic bridge. We also have to assume that you are filling in the rear pocket where the floating tremor goes in order to put the Gibson bridge where it needs to go in order to entonate correctly..

I feel like a lot of this will have been covered above.

It isnt impossible to do, but it comes down to the "do you want a project that you are simply doing because you want to or are you trying to save money" question. It wont save time or money, but could be a fun project

Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC - 5 hours
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group