Tune-O-Matic Placement

dmraco

Senior member
Messages
4,651
I am in the process of drilling mounting holes for my tune-o-matic bridge.  Obviously the key component is the bridge and placement for proper intonation.  My question is the stop bar.  Warmoth shows the bar and bridge are roughly 1.5 inches apart (this is at the centerline).  This mimics Gibson Les Pauls.  I have seen other guitars with a distance closer to 2 inches which I feel is more aesthetically pleasing.  Obviously too close together and the stop bar will sit higher to create a proper string break angle.  The further away it is, the closer to the body it needs to be set (another reason why I like it further.)

Any thoughts on this?  I would rather not drill incorrect holes!!!!!! :help: :help: :help: :help: :help: :help:
 

DangerousR6

Senior member
Messages
15,470
I'd say it really doesn't matter, if you look at various tail pieces out there, it's probably more of a personal preference... :dontknow:
Billymockup.jpg

 

Cagey

Senior member
Messages
24,425
It doesn't matter. It will sound/feel/play the same even if you anchor the strings all the way down at the strap hanger. It's the bridge placement that's important. And keep in mind that once intonated the high E will be closest to the scale length of the neck. All the rest of the strings will end up somewhat longer. You don't have a lotta saddle adjustment range with a TOM, so careful plaement is important.
 

Ace Flibble

Senior member
Messages
859
It'll work wherever you place it, but it will not feel the same. The proximity of the tailpiece to the bridge dictates the maximum angle the strings can come over the saddles at and of course the length of 'spare' string beyond the saddle. The further away you place the tailpiece, the shallower the maximum angle will be and the longer the string is. This gives less resistance when bending the string (technically it also gives less resistance when fretting a note, too, but that's such a small motion you'll never feel it). Depending on the type and quality of the hardware, it may also result in slightly less sustain and less stable tuning, as the strings won't be pressing down over the saddles with as much force.

This is the same reason why you use either string retainers or staggered tuners on necks with straight-through headstocks, but don't need them on tilt-back headstocks.

Since the standard stopbar can be raised to lessen the break angle over the saddles, it usually makes most sense to keep the stopbar fairly close to the tune-o-matic. That way you can set it very low and have a really severe angle over the saddles, and you can still raise it up to get a shallow angle if you prefer that. As you move the stopbar back you're just reducing your options.

Ultimately, break angle is personal preference. Some people like it shallow. Some like it steep. I imagine Warmoth position their stopbars closer than normal specifically to maximise peoples' options.

Personally, I like the stopbar to be screwed all the way down for maximum stability and minimal loss of vibration, but also I like the stopbar to be a little further back than Warmoth does it, so the break angle isn't really extreme with the bar all the way down. But it's your choice. Anything will work. An inch, an inch and a half, two inches, three inches, it'll all work. Just think about the kind of feel you like, and place the stopbar where you can get that feel while also being visually pleasing to you.
 

dmraco

Senior member
Messages
4,651
Thanks for the comments.  I too, like ACE, like it screwed all the way down.  I think the two inch mark is good for me.  I have another guitar set like that and it looks and feels fine. 

I will Get the placement set for the high and low E intonation on the bridge.    :icon_thumright:

I want to drill BEFORE I spray lacquer.
 

amon

Active member
Messages
99
In my experience, the further away the tailpiece is from the bridge causes more sympathetic string vibrations behind the bridge.  More "chatter" or "pixie noises," which can be alleviated with one of those Velcro string wrap things, but also more constant wear on the ball end.  The guitar that breaks the most strings for me is my jazz box with a floating tailpiece that's about six inches behind the bridge, and the strings always break at the ball.  Maybe it's the brand/type of strings, though, since that's the only one that I use D'Addarios on (Ernie Ball doesn't make a flatwound).
 

Cagey

Senior member
Messages
24,425
Usually ball end breaks on metal bridges/tailpieces are due to ball retainer holes that are too narrow, have a flat bottom, or both. It overstresses the string and fails it early. Ideally, you want the string to fit something like this...

SpringPoint2_ps.JPG

But sometimes, depending on the bridge manufacturer or string gauge set you use, you can get something like this going on...

SpringPoint3_ps.JPG

SpringPoint5_ps.JPG

SpringPoint6_ps.JPG

That squeezing effect on the loop end does this to the string...

Normal_Loop2_ps.JPG
Normal_Loop8_ps.JPG

...which is clearly NFG as far string life expectancy is concerned.

Also, according to the website those images come from, you can suffer tuning inconsistencies as well. I'm not sure about that - seems like a stretch, no pun intended. Nevertheless, it's certainly a situation to be avoided.
 

Steve_Karl

Senior member
Messages
1,626
https://www.scmusic.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/EPIPHONE-BROADWAY-ELECTRIC-GUITAR-NATURAL-ETBWNAGH1.jpg?3adc31

I don't agree that it will *feel* the same ... to me ... but of course ... feelings are subjective and unmeasurable.

My *subjective perception* tells me over and over that ...
The 'feel' of stiffness is relative to the total string distance in all of my experience.

To me, a strat string will feel stiffer under a string tree that requires the string to be pulled down causing a longer length.
A stop tail piece will make strings feel stiffest when all the way down on the body, and less stiff if raised.

You can get much more of a difference in length behind the bridge.

That's the tried and true motivation behind the trail piece on the Epi. Broadway. (see link to pick above)
 
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