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Hi,
I have a Guild Starfire 12 string with “tune-o-matic” bridge and stop bar style set up.
A while ago, the stop bar ferrule’s started to lift and as they were still quite a firm fit, I re-set them in with epoxy, thinking that would be a permanent fix, I also fitted oversize washers to spread the pressure (see images).
The bass side has now started to lift again. I know this can be a common problem with stop bars.
Is this likely to get any worse and is there a permanent fix apart from a trapeze tailpiece that I absolutely don’t want?
PS.....The guitar is my gigging guitar, I am not a luthier!
Thank you.

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Looks like the wood in the guitar top is too soft. Maybe you could saturate the hole with thin superglue and glue the ferrules back again with epoxy. Even better to drill out the hole, make an oversized plug from really hard wood (ebony, bubinga..) and drill a matching hole for the ferrule in the middle of that hard wood plug.

Firstly, thank you for looking, and for your reply.

Yes, I have read of the superglue “hardening” trick.

The top however is laminated Mahogany which I have always thought of as a hard wood but you are correct, the string side of the “support washers” are indeed compressing in to the wood, raising the opposite edge causing this lifting/leaning effect.

I take on board both your fixes, but meantime, now the wood has “compressed” so far, do you think it likely it will get any worse or should it now remain stable?

I can happily live with it the way it is, the set up, playability and intonation are perfect at the moment but I am just concerned it may get worse.

Once again........thank you.......Brian.

Mahogany is not a hardwood. It's a strange one though, all the fibers in the wood are criss crossed making it pretty even in all directions. It is both soft and stays more or less straight over time even when in tension. Perfect for a neck. When sawing the dust is very fine even with a coarse saw.

I'd say that you have more of a visual than actual problem. Keep an eye on it, if it moves with time you may have to do something about it. I might add that I don't like this construction. If I would ever use it, I would make sure to anchor long ferrules in really hard wood.

Just out of curiosity - what gage strings and tuning are you using?  Also, could you please post a photo of the strings at the bridge (perhaps the tailpiece is set a bit too high).

09/09

12/12

20w/20w(pitched in unison)

26w/12

36w/20p

46/26

Standard tuning (A440}

Stop Bar is set around mid way for near perfect intonation and playability to suit all the genres I play (finger and flat picking and, strumming), but is resting firmly on spacers that I fitted to try and prevent the stop bar posts pulling forward.

As I said, my main concern is that this condition will not get any worse.

Many thanks.....Brian.

String gage is light so your total pressure on the tailpiece is pretty low.    I'd be more concerned if you were using a higher gage.   Stop piece height has minimal impact (if any) on intonation as this is more a function of the bridge, action, string height at first fret and string gage. General suggestion is to set the tail piece just high enough so the strings don't touch the rear of the bridge (use a piece of paper as a feeler gage).   Do not adjust it with full string tension as this can place a lot of downward pressure on the bridge if you lower it.  I generally make these adjustments with the strings nearly loose to avoid damage to the bridge.  The higher the tail piece - the greater the twisting moment on the bushings (i.e. the force that will tend to make them tilt). 

One measure of health is how much force it takes to remove the bushings.  If you were able to remove them with your fingers before epoxy was added, then they were pretty loose.   If you can do that now (with string tension relaxed) then you should probably find a luthier and have them evaluate the situation.

One other comment is that if you screwed the posts down tight on the washers, it is possible that the bushings are being pulled up in the same manner that I remove them (I have a tool for this), which is not ideal.   The bushings will provide the most strength when fully inserted into the body.

Cheers.

Hi Brian. 

This perceived “pulling out” of the tailpiece is completely normal. There’s nothing wrong. 

The reason it appears to be uneven is because the guitar’s top is curved and the top of the anchor is flat. It naturally makes contact with the highest point on the top and this results in a small gap at the lowest point. 

All thinline style instruments exhibit this quirk. 

Flat top instruments (SG’s, LP Specials & Jr’s, etc.) do not exhibit this gap because their flat tops accommodate the flat tops of the tailpiece anchors. 

In conclusion, the tailpiece and the guitar are completely normal and should not cause concerns for many years. 

Enjoy your guitar guitar and best of luck my friend. 

Thank you Paul.

I do hope you’re right and thanks for your reassurance that I need have no concerns.

I shall however check the gap from time to time but hope that the Stop Bar has now stabilised in its seating.

Cheers.......Brian.

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