Tune-o-matic matching neck radius

Discussion in 'Sevenstring Guitars' started by hineana, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. hineana

    hineana SS.org Regular

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    The test subject is a 2014 Dean Custom 750. That's the predecessor to the 750X. Mid-level with high level features like ebony and through neck; also neck and bridge active EMG 707.
    Two troubles -
    1) Bridge radius is 15". Neck radius is 20". The outside strings buzz or the inside strings are too high. The tune-o-matic is problematic, "BH-99-7". This cheapish zinc bridge has pre-slotted saddles. Saddles can be replaced on the ABR bridge - where can replacement saddles be purchased for this generic 7 bridge? The replacement saddles could then be radiused to 20".
    2) The string through body in a V pattern but I believe for best tension feel the distance behind the bridge should be as short as possible. The 7th string sounds weak, and maybe that's part of why. EMG 707 seem to have a lot of string pull even with pickups low. I get the best tone with .056. It seems .058 and .060 present too much metal, or the long string length in combination lead to weak sustain. Then the fret buzz kills it when action is good on the middle strings. What do you think?

    Also, it seems a stoptail is a better design. This has been hashed in other threads, but the only sustain coming from string behind the bridge is sympathetic vibration. I have to weave material in to quiet that down, it's like built in reverb otherwise. As it is without modding this, I'm looking for matching tone from the seventh and sixth strings. Thank you for your reply.
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Just swap out the whole TOM, no point in Frankensteining some random saddles in, go all the way.
     
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  3. Zhysick

    Zhysick Sick of all

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    Yep, buy a new TOM with the right radius.

    By the way: I have never left any improvement with a stop tailpiece over a string-thru even if it is a V pattern...

    EMG pickups have a very weak string pull (that's the more important point of having active pickups) so I guess is more neck setup than string pull.
     
  4. cardinal

    cardinal Strat 7 Guy

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    I kinda doubt you’ll fine a tuneomatic with a 20 radius. The Hipshot has 18”. WD sells one with 14”. The TonePros appears to be 14”. ABM has 16”.

    If he wants a 20” radius, best bet would be to get the Hipshot and slightly file down the notched and such for the middle saddles etc.

    But any of the bridges’ saddles could be massaged down to 20”. Many tuneomatic saddles are sold un-notched so that you can control the spacing and such. They can be filed down to adjust the radius too.
     
  5. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    There is no need to do anything but file the saddles down so they fit the radius. Just filing the slots down would do just fine.

    I used to own a Dean EVO doubleneck that had a 7-string neck with TOM + stringthru and a 6-string neck with TOM + tailpiece for inexplicable reasons. No difference in sound, feel or sustain between the two. The tailpiece was screwed all the way down.
     
  6. hineana

    hineana SS.org Regular

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    Great to see the replies! They're helping me figure this out. Re: right radius, I'm only finding 15" is available and saddles could be filed. Better tune-o-matics are expected to be slotted/radiused to match the guitar. Trouble is some strings already hit back of bridge and they'll hit more after filing the middle ones lower. Maybe that would stiffen feel since string effectively stops there, unless they hit the front of the bridge! The saddles are 8mm tall. Stew Mac has their own brass replacement individual saddle, similar in all measurements (they include a schematic) but 1mm shorter, ugh. They are inexpensive and unslotted. Either way need radius gauge, files. Looks like I or a luthier will have to match radius on the existing saddles.

    Just arrived is a $14 "SUNG IL" MIK. It is a small improvement with 10.5mm spacing instead of 10.4 and smaller pre-slots for the unwound strings. Saddles are same size and height as the BH-99-7. Uses individual wire springs to retain intonation screws. (BH-99-7 uses nuts and locktite; Guitar Heads has one with c-clips). It is slightly bigger and (shields up!) sounds better because of that, more mass (same strings).

    Re: string pull, it's definitely a factor, even though they are active pickups, if both pickups are closer than 5mm with string depressed at 24th, the pull phasing sound is there. Measured from neck side, the neck side coils are closer for bridge and neck. It's another design trouble, they sit square in their cavities but then it is 18mm from deck to string at the tune-o-matic, the pickups can't (with two screws anyway) be leveled to the string.

    Overall Dean custom 750 sounds and plays great - at this price one should expect to fuss some. Better tune-o-matics are sold unslotted, and I like wider string spacing, so this is a chance for that. But cost is a factor. These Zinc saddles are pre-slotted near a millimeter deep, so leveling will cause string hit the back of the bridge but I don't know what difference that makes.

    SUNG IL post spacing was a match -
    7-String Tune-O-Matic Bridge BM007 Black Sung-il Korea for LP SG 335 TOM NEW
    • 7-string bridge
    • Zinc saddles
    • 10.5mm string spacing
    • Outside dimensions 95mm x 15mm
    • Center to center post spacing 84mm
    • Post holes 6.3mm
    • High quality tune-o-matic bridge manufactured in Korea
     
  7. hineana

    hineana SS.org Regular

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    At $177, the hipshot is 18" radius, but string to string is only 10.3mm. I want brass, but Zinc sounds better than you think, and at $13 for the Sung Il with 10.5mm spacing that's a better place to start filing.
     

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