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Thread: TOM bridge position issue

  1. #1

    Unhappy TOM bridge position issue

    I just finished my custom MBM1 kit a few days ago and noticed there are some serious intonation problems, I had to move the saddles all the way toward the neck and the intonation was still too flat at the higher octaves. So I measured the scale length (which was supposed to be 25.5" for my request) and It seems that it's missing 5mm from the 12th fret to the saddles.
    I really hope that I got it wrong 'cause if this is the case I understand that I need to redrill the holes for the bridge. I ordered a replacement for the bridge, a wilkinson roller bridge that maybe will give me more range with the saddles, but maybe someone here got another creative idea that will not involve damaging the finish. Needless to say, this is extremely frustrating, I planned it to be may main guitar and except for the intonation problem it really turned out as I wanted, so any help will be appreciated.

    12.75" from nut to 12th fret seems to be spot on:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    From the 12th fret to the bridge:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Demonstration of the issue:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k99O...hannel=SeitanY

  2. #2
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    Hi Eitan.

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but no TOM-style bridge that I know of will have enough travel to get you where you need to be.
    Relocating the bridge post holes will be the only remedy I can see, and that may have it's own set of problems in relation to the bridge pickup position. It's hard to see from the angle, but it will put the bridge unusually close to the pickup.

    Now I don't mean this in a mean way, but scale length is really something that should be checked during the mock build period.
    One reason is so if there is an issue you can approach PBG and get a replacement, and secondly, if you don't want a replacement you can fix the problem before any finish goes on.

    Maybe someone else here will have another idea(s).
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  3. #3
    I must say that I asked about the scale length before I ordered this kit because it was only my second build so I don't have much experience, anyway the answer I got was: "the scale length is spot on", so when I checked it in the mock I didn't pay to this much attention because I relied on the information I received. Not very cool given the fact the specs of this custom order was incorrect to begin with. I guess you're right, there is nothing to do except for relocating the bridge, which will not be cheap for I don't have the means do it myself. I guess now it's an expensive firewood

  4. #4
    Member Trevor Davies's Avatar
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    Not sure - but since the guitar is a bolt on neck:
    Is it possible to trim a bit off the heel of the neck (and fretboard if needed)? You may need to fill the current 4 holes and drill more.
    Most of the cut parts would not be seen once the neck is back in. There may also be a slight gap created between the neck heel and the heel pocket - but that could be shimmed.

    This would be easier than moving the bridge post (and pups)!
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  5. #5
    Yes it seems logic to me, I wonder if someone actually did it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eitan Yerushalmi View Post
    Yes it seems logic to me, I wonder if someone actually did it.
    I haven't moved one back that far but I have moved the neck back. Only thing to watch is the location of the trust rod if you do decide to trim back the heel. You could trim back the heel by cutting under the fretboard and leave as much of that as you can. Looks like you have about the same distance before the fretboard touches the neck pick-up.

    Another thought. You could pick up to 4-5mm by making sure the neck heel is sitting right back in the body. I've had that happen as well. Need to round off the heel corners more to make sure it goes all the way back..

  7. #7
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    There definitely looks to be an issue, but it really is best to use a longer metal ruler to measure scale length so all the measuring is done in one go. It's a lot more accurate.

    I'd get in contact with pit Bull and complain. As this is a custom order with a different scale length it should have been fully checked before being sent out. The best you will get is a money-back offer, but better than nothing.

    It looks like there should be enough of a gap between the neck pocket and the neck pickup that you could extend the neck pocket backwards so it meets the neck pickup. You may need to shave a bit off the end of the neck as well to gain an extra couple of mm. Fill the fixing holes in the neck and redrill. If necessary, you can cut out a section of the neck pickup ring to slot the neck into.

    If you redrill the bridge holes for the existing bridge, those large post insert holes will then be very close to the edges of the bridge pickup rout. You may not have enough strength in that area (though most of the force on the bridge is downwards). If I was going to move the bridge, rather than the neck, I'd probably change the type to a more vintage ABR-1 style with the 4mm posts that screw directly into the wood, like on an old Les Paul. This still leaves issues, such as what to do with the old post holes, and you'd also need to ground the strings via the tailpiece (as you couldn't do it using the bridge), which involves removing those inserts and drilling a hole into the control cavity with a long thin drill bit.

    Moving the neck would be easiest in my view. You could probably do it all with a sharp chisel. Just cut away that section in red, and then take off a bit from the rear end of the neck. The end of the neck will then need to be flat, which is a lot easier to do than try and match a curve.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Barden View Post
    There definitely looks to be an issue, but it really is best to use a longer metal ruler to measure scale length so all the measuring is done in one go. It's a lot more accurate.

    I'd get in contact with pit Bull and complain. As this is a custom order with a different scale length it should have been fully checked before being sent out. The best you will get is a money-back offer, but better than nothing.

    It looks like there should be enough of a gap between the neck pocket and the neck pickup that you could extend the neck pocket backwards so it meets the neck pickup. You may need to shave a bit off the end of the neck as well to gain an extra couple of mm. Fill the fixing holes in the neck and redrill. If necessary, you can cut out a section of the neck pickup ring to slot the neck into.

    If you redrill the bridge holes for the existing bridge, those large post insert holes will then be very close to the edges of the bridge pickup rout. You may not have enough strength in that area (though most of the force on the bridge is downwards). If I was going to move the bridge, rather than the neck, I'd probably change the type to a more vintage ABR-1 style with the 4mm posts that screw directly into the wood, like on an old Les Paul. This still leaves issues, such as what to do with the old post holes, and you'd also need to ground the strings via the tailpiece (as you couldn't do it using the bridge), which involves removing those inserts and drilling a hole into the control cavity with a long thin drill bit.

    Moving the neck would be easiest in my view. You could probably do it all with a sharp chisel. Just cut away that section in red, and then take off a bit from the rear end of the neck. The end of the neck will then need to be flat, which is a lot easier to do than try and match a curve.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks, I'll try it!

  9. #9
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Obviously measuring is vital. You don't want to push things too far the other way!

    I'd definitely get hold of either a 600mm or 1m metal ruler first.

    And if you are unsure, ask first before doing anything.

    Remember that the bridge is angled, so you want to measure the top E nut slot to top E saddle position, which should be set most of the way forward.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Barden View Post
    Obviously measuring is vital. You don't want to push things too far the other way!

    I'd definitely get hold of either a 600mm or 1m metal ruler first.

    And if you are unsure, ask first before doing anything.

    Remember that the bridge is angled, so you want to measure the top E nut slot to top E saddle position, which should be set most of the way forward.
    I consulted with a pro luthier, and I asked him about moving the neck instead of the bridge (actually I sent him a capture of your messege) and he thinks it could be done, I guess I'll give him to do this, I had enough of this guitar.

    I think you're right, it is a custom order and I asked them to check the scale length before they sent me the kit, I was told that it is "spot on" in these words.
    Last edited by Eitan Yerushalmi; 21-07-2021 at 05:30 PM.

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