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A Free Bridge Upgrade

Just before Christmas (2018) I was fortunate enough to be given a brand-new Fender Japan Traditional series Jaguar. What a beauty it is, but plagued by the problems of the infamous bridge.

 

I kept tweaking the setup here and there for the next few weeks, but for every buzz I managed to stop another one started somewhere else.

I didn’t want to change to a heavier string gauge (from the standard 9 – 42 set), despite the fact that this is an effective way to help with the tension/rattling problems on the bridge.

The reason mainly being because I buy strings in bulk and it is much easier if all my guitars just use the same strings.

Without the budget for an expensive bridge upgrade I thought about getting a cheap Tunomatic bridge. The issue to remember with the Tunomatic would be that it doesn’t rock back and forth, so I figured the friction on the saddles may be problematic.

Well it just so happened that I already had an unused (unbranded) Tunomatic with roller saddles with the exact-same post spacing as the original bridge in my spares box!

Easiest Modification Ever

Within about 3 or 4 minutes I had a new bridge on my Jaguar. The threaded posts that came with the roller bridge just dropped right into the existing bushings with a snug fit and the bridge, sitting flush on the body was at the perfect height for the action to be exactly as I want it. I must say though that I usually set the action on the higher side, but not extremely so.

Lucky really because there’s no way to adjust the height of the bridge or the saddles. The radius of the roller bridge is 12″ I believe, so it’s not a great match for a guitar with a 7.25″ radius as this Jag is. However, it feels perfectly fine to me, although it looks a bit weird on close inspection both ‘E’ strings being higher than the rest.

I suppose I could try filing the bottom of the ‘E’ saddles to bring them down if I really felt it necessary, but so far it plays well enough and everything is setup nicely.

What’s Changed?

I still plan to try a Buzz-Stop to compare the increase in break angle and it’s affect on playability and tone (there’s also a hint of buzz from the roller saddles).

So far the tone has changed with the new bridge, but for the better in my opinion – it’s lost some shrillness, which is a good thing to my ears.

I put that down mainly to the fact that the roller saddles are made of what looks like brass. Whatever the metal, they are different to the stock saddle material, which I believe is steel.

It was just a cheap bridge from Ebay for about £10 or so I think that I got last year in preparation for a guitar building project that had yet to get off the ground.

The icing on the cake is that I think this bridge looks better than the original one.

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Published by RobC

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