So apparently TOM bridges can literally collapse if you set them up wrong

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by Nag, Jun 24, 2021.

  1. Nag

    Nag chugs and screams

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    Out of curiosity, I was wondering... just how close to a TOM bridge can you put the tailpiece/string-through-body ferrules? My idea was that too extreme of a break angle might cause tuning issues, and might shorten the string life because they'd have a higher chance of snapping directly at the bridge.

    I was reading stuff around the internet when I came across this page here : https://jacksinstrumentservices.com/setting-a-tuneomatic-tailpiece.html

    Look at the bottom left picture. That bridge is bent, man. I had never seen that before, I had no idea this is even possible. I thought the bridge was made out of nice solid material, turns out a good amount of them are actually made out of aluminium... the saddles may be brass, but that's all.

    Has anyone else seen a TOM bridge literally bend like that IRL? You can literally see in that one pic how the E strings aren't even sitting in their saddles anymore. That's crazy!
     
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  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Plenty. It takes decades though to get that bad, and I've only ever seen one (that was almost 50 years old) collapse to the point of needing replacement.
     
  3. LostTheTone

    LostTheTone Elegant Djentleman

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    I wouldn't be too worried about bending the bridge myself; yes it can happen and the positioning does impact the amount of strain on the bridge but I think that your initial concerns about tuning stability and string life are probably more reasonable. Obviously your idea would not give you much ability to change the break angle once it's all installed so I would say that you should try to reduce that angle if at all possible but I don't think that you'll end up bending bridges all too often. And, well, TOM bridge are just drop on replacements, you don't even need a screwdriver so...

    I suspect, although don't know, that you might be able to ameliorate some of the problem by setting up the middle strings with a little less tension than usual. As a matter of physics, the bridge is easier to bend in the middle (moment = force x distance, and the middle has the highest distance to the fixed points) so getting some lighter strings and letting up a bit seems like a reasonable approach.
     
  4. HeHasTheJazzHands

    HeHasTheJazzHands SS.org Regular

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    Doing the wrap around method could help as well. It doesn't exactly cause any harm (besides string grooves on the stoptail) but it also lets you have a more reasonable break angle without jacking the stoptail part too high.
     
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  5. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Those bridges are fairly cheap replacements anyway, aren't they? As long as you're not doing permanent damage to the wood somehow, just swap the bridge if it gets bad enough.
     
  6. nickgray

    nickgray SS.org Regular

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    Only a Gibson is good enough.

    But seriously, I think I've only seen this mentioned in Gibson context. No idea if Tonepros or Gotoh bridges will do that (Gotoh - probably not), but Gibson being Gibson, they're probably making their bridges out of compacted cow dung. But then it's not like anyone really uses high quality stainless steel. Afaik, zinc is by far the most common one. It just has to be good enough for production models.
     
  7. HeHasTheJazzHands

    HeHasTheJazzHands SS.org Regular

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    Hasn't Gibson switched to Tonepros bridges in the passed few years? Probably why
     
  8. Nag

    Nag chugs and screams

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    I wasn't even trying to stir up another Gibson bashfest :lol:
     
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  9. JD27

    JD27 ESP Cult Member

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    This was from a LTD H-207 I bought a few years ago. Most definitely had to be replaced.


    [​IMG]
     
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  10. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Nah, I've seen it on just about every brand to some extent. Most use aluminum (especially vintage re-pro stuff) or zinc (mostly zamak alloys), and neither are going to last forever. Depending on design, even steel and brass will flex a little over time.

    They do last longer than the wooden stuff though. :lol:

    Any bridge that's suspended between two outer posts will run into this, including Fender Jag/Jazz bridges that aren't as "boxed" in design.

    I did run into a 70's Alembic with a custom milled TOM, thing was fucking bomb-proof. Weighed the better part of a pound though.
     
  11. wheresthefbomb

    wheresthefbomb SS.org Regular

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    Wow I can't believe I've never thought of this. I hate how high I have to raise my stop bar to keep the strings from breaking over the bridge -- THANK YOU.

    I've never had one bend myself but I was aware it could happen. The Gotoh I put on my agile seems pretty sturdy but nothing is forever, and if it ever does collapse I'll replace it with another Gotoh.
     
  12. HeHasTheJazzHands

    HeHasTheJazzHands SS.org Regular

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    I've heard of people doing it because of better tone "transfer", but honestly the main reason I did it was because of string longevity. I was always under the impression that having an acute string break angle would wear down the strings at the saddle and cause more string breakage at that area.
     
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  13. InfinityCollision

    InfinityCollision SS.org Regular

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    Concave bridge radius to tesselate your picking hand :idea:
     
  14. HeHasTheJazzHands

    HeHasTheJazzHands SS.org Regular

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    Ah yeah, those lower-end LTDs probbaly had bridges made of sawdust. :lol:
     
  15. Frostod

    Frostod SS.org Regular

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    That's from a 35 year old Burny Les Paul.
    I learned that TOM can collapse not that long ago, inspected my LP and well, a lot of things suddenly made sense lol
    What didn't make sense was that it had a fretjob some years ago and the luthier didn't notice it...
    IMG_2746.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2021
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  16. nickgray

    nickgray SS.org Regular

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    Shit... I just went ahead and raised the tailstop on mine. You guys have scared me straight :lol:
     
  17. Nag

    Nag chugs and screams

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    I guess it's good practice to inspect your TOM bridge when you change strings or do a setup. Every now and then...
     
  18. angl2k

    angl2k SS.org Regular

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    Damn that's insane lol.

    Thankfully no issues yet on my TOM guitars with Gotoh bridges. On a side note, my Eclipses all have the tail piece very close to the body.. never had issues with them though. It's about the same string angle as my Horizons with string through body ferrules.
     

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