Bridge and tailpiece replacement question

Discussion in 'Other Single-Cuts' started by hordy43, Oct 27, 2017.

  1. hordy43

    hordy43 Member

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    Has anyone replaced the bridge & tailpiece on an import with US replacements from either tonpros, GFS, or faber?

    I am having an issue finding spacing on the bridge and stop tailpiece (stud to stud), and the stock bushing insert OD. The bushings in my guitar are loose, so they need to be replaced. If I replace them with US (inch thread), they come in slightly larger OD so they will fit snug (may require light drilling). This means I will need US studs, and probably a US tailpiece to fit the studs. What I am worried about is the stud spacing not being interchangeable between the US and metrics..

    anyone done this?
     
  2. Uncle Salty

    Uncle Salty Senior Member

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    What guitar are you talking about? What type of bridge is on your guitar now?

    I put a Faber Master Tone Kit on my Tokai Reborn Old. The locking bridge comes with inserts for USA and metric. The bridge itself is universal.
    If your worried about the tailpiece

    This link should help you with your questions. I'm not affiliated. I just use their parts. https://www.faberusa.com/
     
  3. hordy43

    hordy43 Member

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    No worries. That is pricey tho..
     
  4. what?

    what? Member

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    Im in similar situation. Ive got a 1980 greco ss500 sg special model with compensated wraparound bridge. Not sure if its replacement or the original.

    Does anyone know if i want to get a faber ot a pigtail replacement which measurement would fit right in?
     
  5. hordy43

    hordy43 Member

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    OK so I fixed my problem. I had metric inserts installed in the guitar which were very loose and racking (tilting) in the hole. A lot of people here suggested I drill the hole out, install a dowel (glue) then re-drill the hole for the existing bushings. In my opinion this would have been a much worse fix than what I did, as it would involve a lot more operations.

    What I did is took everything out, and measured it with a caliper. It was clear that the holes I had were too big for the existing bushings, so I researched new larger (US / Inch size bushings). Basically, the US guitars use bushings for a 0.500 inch hole, where the import guitars use bushings for a 11 mm hole (0.433 inch). Additionally, the US use 5/16-24 UNF threads on the studs, and the imperial use some metric threads (can't remember the pitch). They are NOT interchangeable so you should think about just getting an entire new tailpiece.

    So I purchased new bushings and tailpiece (from Guitar Fetish) made of solid brass. The bushings were nicer as well - they did not have a flange on the top and were knurled the entire length. When I received the bushings, I measured the Outside Diameter (OD) and it measured 0.510 inch which is the same as the the pigtail or faber inserts (and pretty much any US inch inserts). I found a piece of hardwood, and used a 1/2" bottoming drill bit to do a trial fit. The fit was perfect. So I fixtured my guitar into a drill press (actually a Bridgeport milling machine) and opened the holes up with the 1/2" bit. I set the depth of the hole to just about 0.900", as the bushings were 0.875" and I didn't want them to bottom in the hole. It cleaned the holes up to 'virgin wood' if that makes sense. Note that you need to partially pull out the ground wire that is stuck in one of the tailpiece holes to prevent that from getting cut.

    Next, for installation of the bushings, I first used a hydraulic press. Don't do this. It started to go in crooked, so I pulled it out (using a long bolt to press the bushing up out of the guitar). The press is too powerful - it is strong enough to press something in crooked... there is no 'feel' with the press. What worked VERY VERY well is a deadblow hammer (rubber hammer). Just set your guitar up flat, with the neck hanging off of a table. Then I lightly tapped each bushing in to the desired depth (flush with the guitar poly finish).

    The results? It is absolutely perfect. Cost me $25 bucks to fix myself rather than ~$150-200. Granted, I had a very nice drill press (bridgeport milling machine) and the skill and balls to try this on a nice guitar. But i expect if you wanted a luthier to do this for you, it should cost maybe 50-80 bucks with a setup.

    Good luck
     
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  6. DarrellV

    DarrellV Derl Ver.... ERMAHGERD!.........It's a Nerlin! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Way to go Hordy! Machinists are a dying breed these days, but for those of us with the know how they can help solve a lot of issues that would be un-doable with basic hand tools!

    Sounds like something i would have tried myself! Good job, mate! :cheers:

    Some :photos: of the operation would have been the bomb, but at least show us the finished work, maybe?:hmm:
     
  7. hordy43

    hordy43 Member

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    No photos of the operation unfortunately.. I was too nervous that I was going destroying my guitar to pull out my phone and take pictures.. The hard part was I had NO idea if the flat bottom of the guitar was the reference - but I used a gauge pin and indicator to assure myself that the holes are pretty much perpendicular to the bottom of the guitar (close enough). And furthermore figuring a way to clamp a guitar to a milling machine is difficult. I used the T-slot grooves and hardware with LOTS of padding.
     
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  8. DarrellV

    DarrellV Derl Ver.... ERMAHGERD!.........It's a Nerlin! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    As far as I know from looking at mine the holes are longer than the bushings and they are just pressed in to sunk a little under the top. The sides of the bushings are taking the pull, not the bottom on the tailpiece.
    Yeah, props on the clamping part. Like a round peg in a square hole, if you know what I mean.

    The Les Paul isn't the flatest thing to work on....
     

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