Filing slots in new bridge

mptaylor

New member
Messages
3
I am in the middle of planning my first Warmoth build, but as I was getting into the whole DIY frame of mind I took it upon myself to replace the bridge on my '79 Les Paul Custom.

Of course, it never occurred to me in my newbie exuberance that when you purchase a brand spanking new (and expensive) Schaller tune-o-matic bridge, the saddles do not come pre-notched.

I assume the Gotohs that Warmoth sells (and which I was planning on using in my project guitar) are also un-notched, so I imagine that actually investing in a set of files would probably be worthwhile.  From what I can tell, the same sets of files that are sold for use on nuts are the correct tools for this job.  Is this true?  Is such a set of hardware a worthy investment?  And are the sets available from Warmoth or Stewmac the way to go, or are there cheaper/more local alternatives to be had at the hardware store?

Any insight on this topic would be much appreciated - I'm still finding my way through the intricacies of guitar building and maintenance!
 

dbw

Senior member
Messages
4,531
Warmoth's Gotoh bridges are notched very slightly.  You may have to deepen them.  I just bought a fine triangular needle file at a hardware store... a few strokes and it was done.

Edit: Oh, and welcome :)
 

mptaylor

New member
Messages
3
Update: I went to my local hardware store and picked up the finest triangular file they had.

Installed the virgin Schaller on my Les Paul, then following some handy tips at Stewmac (http://www.stewmac.com/freeinfo/Bridges/Installation/i-4557.html) positioned each string on its respective saddle so that it was lined up over the pickup poles and gave them a little tappy-tap with a rubber-tipped mallet to make a guide-mark.  Then a little fine work with the file, and I appear to have a fully functioning tune-o-matic (and one that I can adjust the intonation on now!).  I'll see how it plays for a while, and then next time I change strings I might take a couple of extra passes on some of the slots with the file.

Thanks again for the advice!
 

dbw

Senior member
Messages
4,531
Cool... thought I should clarify something though... the slots in the Gotoh were deep enough except on the low E string, which kept popping out.  I only deepened that one (and I deepened the A slot a bit while I was at it).  I use pretty heavy strings, too (12s) so you shouldn't need to deepen more than 1 or 2 slots.
 

DocNrock

Senior member
Messages
4,295
Informative thread.  I have been thinking about changing out the TOM on my LP Studio, but have avoided it since it required filing.  I might actually do it now.
 

erogenousjones17

Senior member
Messages
1,709
dbw: I installed a Gotoh TOM on my LPS and had the exact same problem...the slots were deep enough, except for the low E. At least I know how to fix it now! Off to the hardware store to get a super-fine triangular file.
 

Keyser Soze

Senior member
Messages
206
You can help reduce string breakage by every so slightly rounding off the front edge of each saddle notch.  I use 600 grit paper folded over twice and then use it just like you would a file.  Nothing drastic, just try to soften the hard edge left by the file cut. 
 

blue313

Senior member
Messages
2,824
A little roll filing before the sandpaper helps, itll work a bit faster than sandpaper alone and will round out the slot.  Try to make them so they're as round as the nut slot bottom once you get to the depth you want.
 
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