Installed Guitar Fetish Brass Bridge and Tailpiece on my Korina Explorer

Discussion in 'Other Epiphones' started by Kong, Mar 4, 2017.

  1. Kong

    Kong Senior Member

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    About a year ago I was getting tired of the crappy buzzy pot metal bridge on my Explorer. So I purchased a solid brass bridge and tailpiece from Guitar Fetish. I ordered it with their studs and bushings. I thought the bushings were a drop in, but they are slightly larger than stock so the holes would have to be expanded. I put the project on hold for a while as I didn't feel confident to drill into my sweet Explorer. I did try to use the tailpiece and studs with the stock bushings and i managed to destroy the studs in the process. The threads just are not a match and I mangled the chrome trying to force them. I ordered a set of studs and bushings from Faber for when I was ready to do the mod correctly.

    Yesterday when I was playing the buzzing of the bridge became too much for me. So this morning I borrowed a drill and some drill bits from my father-in-law. He has a great set of drill bits that go in 1/32" increments. The holes only needed to be expanded slightly from about 11mm to 12mm. I'm sure using a drill press is recommended, but I didn't have access so I used a hand power drill. I started with a 7/16 bit (11.11mm) and had to work up to a 15/32 (11.9mm). This left the hole very snug for the bushings and I had to hammer them in with a rubber hammer. I put the stock studs into the replacement bushings to hammer them in. They screwed all the way into them bushings so I figured I wasn't hurting the threads too much. Luckily I was able to use the new studs and they screwed right in. For the tailpiece I used the Faber locking studs with the smallest spacer. and I used all the GFS parts for the bridge. I didn't get much time to play with it once I got it all set up. It doesn't buzz anymore and it seems louder but. It was pretty simple to set the action and intonation and it does feel solid as a rock. I like the look of the raw brass. The bridge locks by being screwed down onto the studs and the saddles are also individually locked onto the bridge with set screws from both directions - towards the neck and the bridge.

    I would totally do this mod again and have no regrets.

    I have GFS humbuckers in this guitar with individual volumes and a master tone pot that is also push/pull which coil splits both buckers. I also have tuners with the raw brass keys from GFS.

    Okay enough typing here are a few pics. By the way my LG G3 took some killer pics of the close up details.

    0303171708.jpg 0303171708a.jpg 0303171708c.jpg 0303171708e.jpg 0303171708f.jpg 0303171711.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
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  2. Bud Stoner

    Bud Stoner Senior Member

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    Very nice! That is a job well done! :applause::thumb:

    I've been checking out those bridges for awhile on the GFS site.

    It's great actually seeing them on a guitar like mine!

    Really does look solid as a rock.
     
  3. lord-humongous

    lord-humongous Member

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    Looks really slick. Nice choice.
     
  4. truckermde

    truckermde Senior Member

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    Kikass!

    Love the way the raw brass looks.
     
  5. Kong

    Kong Senior Member

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    This really is an awesome setup, everything is just locked down tight. The tailpiece is locked to the bushings and the bridge is locked onto the studs.

    If I ever change tune-o-matics on any of my guitars i will be going with these. I may even buy a couple as spares in case they become unavailable in the future. They have a wrap-tail model that I would consider for my Firebird, but the stock setup seems about perfect to me so not sure if there is a point to it, other than to have the individual intonation for each string. It looks pretty tall though and there is no way I'd take a router anywhere near my Firebird:eek:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Kong

    Kong Senior Member

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    Thanks for the compliments. I couldn't be happier. I got off work at midnight and played it until 3 a.m. last night!
     
  7. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Can I get any follow ups on this? I am looking at doing the same thing on my Lester because the cheezy Nashville will not hold the intonation.

    The photobucket pics above are gone, but here is what I'm looking at.

    [​IMG]

    I am more curious to see if anyone has tried the curved tailpiece...

    Can you notice any real difference?

    [​IMG]

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.
     
  8. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    Just a few questions. Are these parts brass? Are they "drop in" parts for an Epi? I have a brass TP on my Epi LP, though it is not the GFS one. It gives a bit deeper tone than the pot metal one that is stock. If the bridge is also brass, it too will result in a deeper tone. Another good bridge idea is the Gotoh from StewMac. Not pot metal and it has a wider intonation range. Really sharpens up the tone.
     
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  9. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    To answer your questions from what I've found this part is a drop in Gibson replacement, which could be why OP had to drill holes for his Epi...

    Solid machined (not cast) brass billet.

    They mount on locking studs to clamp them firmly with the body of the guitar.

    The tailpiece also won't fall off as there is no notch in the front.
    upload_2018-3-29_14-10-8.jpeg
     
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  10. Kong

    Kong Senior Member

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    Sorry for the late reply I have not logged in for a while. The spacing for the bridge and Tailpiece studs are correct for Epi, but the bushings are slightly larger than stock, so the holes had to be widened slightly. I had to use the bushings from GFS, because their studs have a slightly different thread pattern and will not just screw right into the stock bushings.

    I used the straight tailpiece on my Explorer. I was so happy with the bridge I also installed one on my Epi Les Paul Custom Silverburst (see pics below). I used the curved tailpiece on that one because I like the way it looks with the Les Paul's curves. I will try and repost some pics of the Explorer when I have some time.

    1120171749a.jpg 1120171749b.jpg 1120171750.jpg 1120171750a.jpg
     
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  11. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Thank you kindly for the reply! :cheers:

    In the meantime I bit the bullet and bought one for my '82.

    Man! Best 40 bucks I ever spent! It cured everything that was wrong with that crummy Nashville!

    Clear bell like tonez, intonation is now, finally, after months of tweaking, dead on and it STAYS THERE...

    Great design..

    I did mine a little different in that I didn't want to drill out my vintage Norlin Queen to use their bushings....

    I can post up some pics of my install if you would like...
     
  12. Kong

    Kong Senior Member

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    Would love to see some pics of yours, interested to see how you installed on your Gibby. Also, I did find the pics of the Explorer and fixed the original post at the top of the thread.
     
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  13. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    This was TOTALLY my reason too! Shame the pictures are gone!
     
  14. Kong

    Kong Senior Member

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    Pics should be back now.
     
  15. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Thank you! I appreciate the chance to share this.
    First some trivia.. when I brought my guitar to my local dealer to show this to them the owner exclaimed 'that's a Hagstrom bridge!'

    While I was scratching my head he brought an old Hagstrom out of the back office and sure enough, there it was....:wow:

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Nah, photobucket no longer works here unless you pay them to host your pics. Like 400 a year. There are some threads in here on it.

    You could upload them to here at MLP.... that's where mine are...

    just a thought.
     
  17. Kong

    Kong Senior Member

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    I did just re-upload the pics directly to MLP. Try refreshing.
     
  18. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Thank you!
    Oh, man! That IS sweet! I love how these heavy metal bridges look on a Gibson! That wrap tail model is the cheez too!
     
  19. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Yeah, THAT^^^^^^

    So I recently took the plunge for one of these too..

    Crappy, buzzy, intonation wrecking and sloppy Nashville had to go.

    I almost went for the Babitz design but at 200 dollars I wanted to be more sure it would fix the problem first!

    I see this thread after looking around on line and the engineer in me is impressed with what he sees. A very solid, well made design.. in this day and age! I was shocked! But for only 40 bucks it was a solid milled (not cast) billet of brass with solid brass saddles that locked into place! No more backlash and slop like on the TOM screws!

    Bigger stud mounts that were secured into the top, not like the tiny pins on the TOM that sat in flower pots on top of the body. Mine liked to rock a bit back and forth too, making intonation harder...
    and it all locked down. :thumb:

    Mine is a 1982 LTD Edition Candy Apple Red Standard..
    Took me 34 years to get it! LOL!

    Started with this OEM Gibson TOM pot metal POS!


    Parts came in from GF..

    I noticed right away that the bridge stud bushings were huge, the size of the tailpiece bushings! I was having reservations about drilling holes THAT big, and I didn't have a drill press... It was almost game over and buy a Babitz till my engineer brain kicked in.

    I placed the GF studs over the holes on my guitar 's top (for the Nashville bushings) and found they were only slightly smaller than the studs themselves...:hmm:

    Remembering how the ABR was mounted into the wood top, I took the studs to work the next day.

    I found out they were metric, and the size was 8 X 1.25, and luckily the mechanic there had the right size tap!:dude:


    Using candle wax for lube I then tapped the Nashville holes..

    I lubed the studs with wax and tried them out..

    Test fit for parallel and spacing was perfect! I did a rough visual on this before I started, BTW!

    Reassembled and strung up..

    This was another neat feature I discovered while trying to set the height! The thumbscrews on this are too small to get a hold of and turn, so GF put an Allen socket in the top! Brilliant!

    Finished! (for now...):dude:

     
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  20. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Part 2:

    After about a week or so of playing I was bothered by the fretting out of the center strings and the height of the two outer strings.

    I couldn't get the E strings down to where I like them without everything bottoming out.

    I started thinking about the radius of the bridge..:hmm:

    Since the studs were metric maybe it was set up for an Epi radius.

    Not sure if they are different from Gibby, but they could be...:dunno:

    Also, mine is 36 years old. Gibson may have changed the spec in the mean time so I decided to check.

    Turns out the GF bridge DID have a flatter curve when put up against the Nashville I took off. Not a lot, but it was there.:thumb:

    It was acting like a collapsed bridge making my center strings hit the fret board while my outer strings were still too high for my liking.

    If you look close you can see the small gap between the curve of the two bridges...

    Its funny because someone asked in another thread on collapsed bridges if anyone had been brave enough to take a vise to their bridge... ummm, yeah.... actually! LOL!!

    I had an old curved Grandfather clock weight laying around, so using that and the bushings that came with the GF bridge, I proceeded to re-curve it.


    The results were spectacular!

    Look at the curve of the screw ends in the Nashville and how they fall along the curve of the GF bridge now! Perfect!

    There was still the issue of the stud bosses. They were no longer flat after the bending.

    No worries! It's thick brass, so a once over with a metal file fixed that right up!

    Final result!

     
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