Wide Tune-O-Matic bridge Source

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Bob Gramann
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Wide Tune-O-Matic bridge Source

Post by Bob Gramann »

I want to build a 335-style electric with a neck width that fits my big hands. Anyone know where I can get a Tune-O-Matic style bridge wide enough to file a 2 5/16” string spread into? The standard ones don’t appear that they would even accommodate a 2 1/4” spread. My metalworking isn’t neat enough that I should even consider making it myself.

JC Whitney
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Re: Wide Tune-O-Matic bridge Source

Post by JC Whitney »

How about this: get a unslotted TOM bridge, and remove just the two E bridge pieces. At their most basic, they’re a vertical bit of rectangular brass, narrower at the bottom and shaped to fit into the groove that allows intonation adjustability, with a threaded hole for the adjustment bolt. Buy a bit of brass bar stock the right height and thickness and replicate those E bridge bits with an extra bit overhanging across the top of the bridge body towards the stud holes. Go slow, working with hand files and sandpaper. Maybe drill and tap the bolt holes first to insure that’s successfully out of the way before you put time into shaping things. You’ve got the woodworking chops for the rest of this project, these two little bits will be a piece of cake.

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Bob Gramann
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Re: Wide Tune-O-Matic bridge Source

Post by Bob Gramann »

JC, that’s brilliant! Thank you. Problem solved elegantly.

JC Whitney
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Re: Wide Tune-O-Matic bridge Source

Post by JC Whitney »

Don't forget to post a pic of your finished product!

Freeman Keller
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Re: Wide Tune-O-Matic bridge Source

Post by Freeman Keller »

Bob, I recently built a double neck guitar based on the old Gibson EDS 1275. I was able to find a 12 string TOM bridge that allowed 2-1/4 spacing (I think standard is 2-1/32 to 2-1/16. This allowed me to bump the neck width up for the 12 string side. The saddles were not notched but had very small starter grooves, I'm sure you could notch them with the spacing you want.

The bridge and 12 string stop bar were pretty cheaply made - obviously not a Gotoh or Tonepro quality but it was about all I could find. Someone has to be making better quality parts for the 12 string Gibsons and Epis.

I no longer have the guitar but I have the notes from the build somewhere, including the width at a couple of key locations. You willl want to bump up your 335 tenon width a bit.

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Bob Gramann
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Re: Wide Tune-O-Matic bridge Source

Post by Bob Gramann »

I did an online search for a 12 string bridge and haven’t found one yet that looks like it will do the job. JC’s elegant solution hasn’t kept me from considering having a machine shop make me the chassis for the bridge to my dimensions. I can drill it and install saddles.

My plates should arrive any time. I’m planning to make the body a little thicker than on a genuine 335 so that I can have enough meat in the heel block to use a bolt on neck—the tenon will be as big as it can be and still fit in the body.

Freeman Keller
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Re: Wide Tune-O-Matic bridge Source

Post by Freeman Keller »

The 12 string bridge worked fine for the 12 string neck on my double. The width of the neck at the body joint (16) was a hair over 2-1/4, 1-7/8 nut. The 6 string neck is 2-1/8 at the same place with a 1-3/4 nut.

I have built two 335 style guitars and a couple of full hollows. Your center block will be plenty big enough for a screw on neck if thats what you want. I also learned a few tricks as I was building mine - do all the wiring with the back off, use terminals or quick disconnects for the pups in the pickup cavities, and so forth. I did a conventional les paul style of tenon that extends into the neck p/u cavity and set the neck angle as you would on any arched topped guitar
IMG_3219-1.jpg

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Bob Gramann
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Re: Wide Tune-O-Matic bridge Source

Post by Bob Gramann »

Your picture answers a couple of questions I had. I know that the pickup cavities extend into the center block. It appears that the bridge and tailpiece are supported by the top, in other words, the center block doesn’t extend up to the top. My plan is to integrate a solid heel block with a box to replace the rest of the block so that the guitar won’t be so heavy. Do I see it correctly?

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Bob Gramann
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Re: Wide Tune-O-Matic bridge Source

Post by Bob Gramann »

Ah, I had forgotten about the kerfed spruce between the center block and the top. I took a tour of the Memphis factory many years ago. I’m an acoustic steel string builder. When I toured, I wasn’t considering building one. I should have paid more attention to the details.

Freeman Keller
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Re: Wide Tune-O-Matic bridge Source

Post by Freeman Keller »

Bob, I did do a build thread on a different forum that shows how I made the center block. It might help answer some questions

https://www.tdpri.com/threads/lets-buil ... 5.1057700/

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Bob Gramann
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Re: Wide Tune-O-Matic bridge Source

Post by Bob Gramann »

Freeman, thank you for that. I think it takes care of all of my current questions. Beautiful build and well documented. I got my plates today from Craig Simpson who is now Acme. They look very nice, exactly like yours. I’m going to solve all of the problems caused by making the string spread wider and accumulate all of the parts before jump into construction. (And, I have to finish the batch in process now.) And, the terminal blocks in the pickup cavity are clever and useful. Thanks.

Freeman Keller
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Re: Wide Tune-O-Matic bridge Source

Post by Freeman Keller »

Bob, that was the second semi hollow that I built and I learned a lot from the first one. I tried carving a one piece block to fit the arches of the first one kind of like how you would carve a les paul with several templates - it worked but was a lot of work. You still have to make some sort of sled for the kerfed blocks but it was still easier.

Also, as you know, if you make the string spread wider at the bridge it will be wider at the neck to body joint which is a critical dimension. Both your neck and body have to be exactly the right width and you will have binding on both to deal with. Lay that out very carefully. Using a screw on neck does make it easier to fiddle with the neck angle but I think the way the 335 sides and back flows into the heel is very elegant. Just lay it out carefully.

One last comment, I did buy a set of plans on the internet that were helpful but it turns out not very accurate to the way Gibson does things (in particular the center block). You may want to look around for something better.

I'm here if you have any questions. I've got pictures of the first one but I think the thread pretty much covers it.

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Bob Gramann
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Re: Wide Tune-O-Matic bridge Source

Post by Bob Gramann »

Thank you. I did buy a set of plans off Ebay. Like you said, they’re not exact, but for my purposes, they are close enough. I’m not trying to build a Gibson— I could buy one of those (but the neck is too small).

I’m well aware of the neck width issue. I’m going to make the neck first and build the guitar around it. I won’t even make a body mold until I have worked out the neck joint and heel block.

I have a strong temptation not to join the center block to the back beyond the heel area. The playwood back seems stiff enough to support itself, especially with the center block hilding all of the tension.

I ordered a Nashville bridge from StewMac just so I could play with it and decide how to solve the width issue. Unexpectedly, the saddles span 2 3/8”, so I have just enough room to file in my desired spacing. Life is good.

JC Whitney
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Re: Wide Tune-O-Matic bridge Source

Post by JC Whitney »

Life is indeed good - happy building.

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