Hipshot contour fixed bridge on Tele (way too low?)

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
473
I just mounted a Hipshot hardtail bridge I bought on StewMac to my new Tele build (incl. a Tele neck). I read some threads arguing between .125 and .175 bridge heights. The hipshot website says:

.125" floor height is designed for perfect action on guitars with non angled, low profile necks.
.175" floor height is designed for perfect action on guitars with angled, raised necks or bridge pockets.

I assume I got the .125 version. But why would a tele neck fall into the .175 category? Am I missing something? And more importantly - what can I do now (other than buying a new bridge from Hipshot)?
 

Rick

Senior member
Messages
4,321
There are some guitars that have a flat body, but have an angled neck pocket.  I once played a les paul jr like that.  If your tele body is flat, as is the neck angle you're good to go.

And worse case scenario, I wouldn't worry about it until after you've tried it and found it doesn't work.  The worst is you have the bridge for your next build.  Or you can sell it.  Believe me, there are a lot worse things in the world.
 

Sadie-f

Senior member
Messages
427
Shimming up by .050" would seem pretty feasible. 1/16" veneer would be close enough?
 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
473
rick2 said:
There are some guitars that have a flat body, but have an angled neck pocket.  I once played a les paul jr like that.  If your tele body is flat, as is the neck angle you're good to go.

And worse case scenario, I wouldn't worry about it until after you've tried it and found it doesn't work.  The worst is you have the bridge for your next build.  Or you can sell it.  Believe me, there are a lot worse things in the world.

I fully agree - this is no biggie and solvable. So yes, I've tried and can confirm: Warmoth tele replacement body + Warmoth tele replacement neck does not go with .125 Hipshot hardtail.

I guess my options are a) getting the .175 hipshot, b) shim the neck by 0.05 or c) get a 0.05 aluminum plate cut to place under the bridge.

b) seems most recommended. What's the best way to shim and what tools do I need? I've never done it before.
 

JohnnyHardtail

Senior member
Messages
319
I expect when you setup the guitar with proper neck relief and adjust the height of the saddles, the 0.125" should be close to the required height, although I have not done it.  I am just basing this from my experience with Gotoh 101 hardtail which has 3.0mm height.  However in some cases I have removed some material from the neck pocket when using the Gotoh 101 bridge on Warmoth bodies. 

 

ragamuffin

Senior member
Messages
913
I've used the Hipshot .125 bridge on a Warmoth tele body and it worked just fine, BUT the body did have the "720 mod" slightly lowered neck pocket.
 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
473
OK, so here's the summary and my questions (incl. pictures):

Setup:
Body: Telecaster Replacement (with a pickguard, i.e. no 720 mod)
Neck: Telecaster Replacement 22 Frets
Bridge: Hipshot Hardtail Contour, Floor Height 0.125 inch
Neck relief: normal (tried various truss rod adjustments)
Bridge saddle settings: tried normal to all the way up

Situation:
- bridge is significantly low vs. high frets of neck
- problem seems to be most prevalent for frets 15-22, frets 1-12 seem fine (note: the nut is Warmoth stock and has not been filed - i.e. quite high)

Questions:
Which of the following would you advise me to do:
- get the same bridge with 0.175 floor height?
- bring it to a luthier (assuming he'll know what to do)? 
- sand the neck or neck pocket down myself?
- shim/angle the neck myself?
- something else?
 

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JohnnyHardtail

Senior member
Messages
319
I noticed the saddles are not set to maximum height in your photo, that is the first point of attention.  Secondly, if you have not strung the neck up to proper tension, you should tune the guitar and leave it for a couple of days and recheck the amount of neck relief.  It will help ensure the truss rod and neck joint have settled correctly.

Looking at the comments from others, and my own experience, it may be necessary to level the neck pocket.  I'm also wondering if part of the issue may be having paint in the neck pocket that is preventing the neck from sitting flat.  Swapping the bridge for the 0.175" thick version will obviously help, but I'm not entirely confident that is the only reason you have come across this alignment issue. 

If you decide to remove material from the neck pocket, you need to realise how *little* material needs to be removed in order to change the angle of the neck.  In my case I use a 12mm wide chisel with very gentle and shallow strokes, so the its only the surface that is being trimmed, not really digging into the wood.  Alder or Swamp ash are actually very soft to work with and only needs a tiny amount of pressure.  Whenever I have done this, the Warmoth stamp is still visible after material has been removed.  In your case I believe you have a coating of paint in the neck pocket, so I think it would be better to start of with a small file and remove the layer of paint, even before attempting to use the chisel.

I sand the neck pocket with using a block of metal as a sanding block, and use the edge of a small file in the corners of the neck pocket.  The neck pocket needs to be a totally flat surface for the neck to sit perfectly flat.  Throughout the process I use a metal block to check if there are any high-points on the neck pocket, and also re-fit the neck to check how much the alignment has changed.

I'm not sure the process I use is right for you, but perhaps others can give you some more advice to help you decide the course you should take.

 

ragamuffin

Senior member
Messages
913
Your saddle height doesn't look like they're anywhere close to maxed out; you should be able to raise them higher unless the height screws are unusually short
 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
473
ragamuffin said:
Your saddle height doesn't look like they're anywhere close to maxed out; you should be able to raise them higher unless the height screws are unusually short
JohnnyHardtail said:
I noticed the saddles are not set to maximum height in your photo, that is the first point of attention. 

That's just the photo. Before taking it, I raised the saddles so high that the screws went out the other side (which can be a pain when they fall to the floor). Trust me, even maxed out, I can't get a swing out of any of the strings.

JohnnyHardtail said:
Secondly, if you have not strung the neck up to proper tension, you should tune the guitar and leave it for a couple of days and recheck the amount of neck relief.  It will help ensure the truss rod and neck joint have settled correctly.

Normally, I'd agree if we'd be talking about millimeters. But we're far away from that. I'd say, I'll probably need at least half a centimeter.

JohnnyHardtail said:
I'm also wondering if part of the issue may be having paint in the neck pocket that is preventing the neck from sitting flat.

just India ink - can't get any thinner :-/

@JohnnyHardtail - although I have the rule to minimize how much my builds are exposed to luthiers, I am contemplating letting this one be done by a pro. Your approach sounds "simple" enough but I am very worried to create more damage by trying that. WDYT?


 

ragamuffin

Senior member
Messages
913
alexreinhold said:
That's just the photo. Before taking it, I raised the saddles so high that the screws went out the other side (which can be a pain when they fall to the floor). Trust me, even maxed out, I can't get a swing out of any of the strings.

Hmm, in that case I'd say take it to a luthier to give it a look over. You may need to switch to the .175 bridge, but a luthier could tell you for sure
 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
473
just found a very good deal on a .175 in the UK with fairly OK delivery to Germany. Will probably pull the trigger and use the .125 on another guitar
 

Logrinn

Senior member
Messages
3,589
Check out Banzai Music too
https://www.banzaimusic.com/hipshot-h-41105-c.html

Also - in the last image it looks to me that the neck is angled and not parallel to the body. This would of course create these problems.
Are both the neck and body Warmoth parts?
Does the body have an angled neck pocket?
 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
473
Logrinn said:
Check out Banzai Music too
https://www.banzaimusic.com/hipshot-h-41105-c.html

Also - in the last image it looks to me that the neck is angled and not parallel to the body. This would of course create these problems.
Are both the neck and body Warmoth parts?
Does the body have an angled neck pocket?

Banzai is awesome, however they do not have the .175 version from what I can see.

From what I can tell, the neck is parallel to the body (picture might be misleading). All parts are Warmoth and the neck pocket is not angled. Also, the neck fits perfectly.
 

Logrinn

Senior member
Messages
3,589
If you click on the link you'll get the 175 model:
https://www.banzaimusic.com/hipshot-h-41105-c.html
and below is the 125 model:
https://www.banzaimusic.com/hipshot-h-41100-c.html

But check with them just to be sure.
 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,214
From the photos the neck looks angled to me also, which it should not be.

I would check two things.

1.The neck pocket, particularly in the corners for any finish or fuzzy wood left over from routing that may be stopping the neck from seating correctly...
2. The treadplate style pickguard. Is there anything in terms of its positioning or thickness that could be causing the neck from sitting correctly?

 

TBurst Std

Senior member
Messages
2,591
I agree. Take the neck off. Inspect the pocket (even over spray can cause this). Remove the pickguard to eliminate things.

Now see how it measures.  If you have one, compare a stock Tele bridge to the item of note.  Also measure the item of note, is it out of tolerance. 

Altering the dimensions of the neck or body would be the absolute last thing I’d do. If the current bridge is in spec and there’s nothing remaining in the neck pocket, I’d order the higher bridge.
 

Cagey

Senior member
Messages
24,425
If you get to the point where you feel like you have to have a different neck angle, StewMac sells some handy shims for just such an occasion...

iu


As I recall, the "shaped" parts w/ mounting holes will tilt the neck back (not what you want), while the unshaped parts w/out mounting holes can be configured either way. They come in a few different angles, depending on how much tilt you need. They're made of Maple, so they don't compress or cause losses at the neck joint, and make a much better shim than just about anything else you'd use. They're kinda pricey, but they're a good no-compromise solution.

Your other choice would be to recut the floor of the neck pocket at the appropriate angle, but the chances of less-than-stellar results are high. I've done it a couple times and can tell you how, but it's no cheaper, it takes longer, and is a lot scarier  :icon_biggrin: Finally, you could change the angle of the mounting face of the neck heel itself, but I wouldn't recommend that at all. Makes the neck useless anywhere else, and again the chances of less-than-stellar results are high.
 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
473
Guys... you are all so wonderful and I almost got angry that you were all doubting my ability to assess the situation properly. And you were RIGHT!

Here's the culprit:

IMG-20220313-191150.jpg


What happened? I first mounted the neck and was able to slip the pickguard underneath with ease. Then I took off the neck, mounted the pickguard and mounted the neck back on again. Everything SEEMED ok. But... it turns out the pickguard is a hair too long towards the neck. Contrary to what you might think, it's not the diamond but it's actually too long. So I'll sand/dremel it short a bit and then it should be level. So yeah, this tiny tiny design problem in the pickguard led the neck to lift off ever so slightly. So it's bolted in very tightly but at an angle.

Goes to show - building guitars is like writing code. It HAS to be precise. In my career as a hobby builder, this was one of those big AHA moments. What would I do without this forum? :)
 
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