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Hardware Upgrading? Bridges (TOM)

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(@eadgber)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 43
Topic starter  

Ok, just asking you all that might know. This is kind of a general question, but I have a couple few electric guitars in the $300 range. I've upgraded the tuners (Gotoh & Grover),nuts(tusq) and have atleast what I think is a good self setup.

I guess right now what I'd like to know is if upgrading the TOM bridges/& or tail peices with maybe a real Gibson or TonePro type stuff is so much better? I still have stock bridges on theses cheaper models. I'm not really having troubles that I know of with them , but are they better as far as sustain or fine tuning? What's the deal? Just wondering if spending the cash is worth it.


   
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(@slejhamer)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3221
 

I've read on other forums about some people having odd noises from their bridges (e.g., the intonation screws might rattle if they are not milled to the proper specs) or intonation problems. In those cases, upgrading the bridge might make sense. You could get finer intonation, and arguably a heavier, better made bridge can increase sustain and low-end response. But will this make a notable difference on your $300 guitar? Some would have their doubts ...

FYI, Gibson is now using Tonepros in some models, and Tonepros are made by Gotoh with added set screws. The set screws keep the bridge from falling off if you remove all of the strings at once. Is that worth 3x the price? If you find you really need a new bridge, or just want to experiment, I'd suggest the Gotoh.

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


   
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(@gnease)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

I don't see how you would get finer intonation -- a screw is a continuous adjustment unless it's a really crappy or defective screw or suffering a lot of play in a trem system. maybe you can slightly wider range of adjustment. mass is not everything when choosing a bridge and tailpiece. some are plated brass (massy); some are plated aluminum (not so much). the latter can be found on very pricey guitars (check PRS for example). and sustain is not only a function of bridge/tail mass and setting, but of the whole guitar and the coupling of its components. if you choose to go very massy, you might get more sustain, and you might not. or you might get more sustain at the expense of overall timbre. this is an empirical exercise. even those with the exact same model guitar as yours may get different results when swapping for the same new bridge system as you do. just one of many factors: the woods are different. look for real reasons to make a change: you abs must have more sustain; the tone/timbre is not to your liking; the bridge is collapsing or rattling or unstable. if you are just replacing the parts on a guitar that already sounds pretty good, and there is no playability/reliability reason to do so, you are probably wasting $$$.

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@ricochet)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

if you are just replacing the parts on a guitar that already sounds pretty good, and there is no playability/reliability reason to do so, you are probably wasting $$$.
I agree with that completely!

I also think it's misguided to jump into replacing things like pickups before getting familiar with what's already there and deciding exactly what you'd like to be different in terms of output level, resonant peak frequency, and broad vs. narrow response peak. Those are the variables in pickups right there in a nutshell, and price, maker's name and reputation have little to do with them. If you know what you'd like to be different, you can pore over makers' specs and make a reasoned choice. Also, often things like pickup height adjustments or changed values of tone capacitors, tone and volume pots can make a really big difference.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@eadgber)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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Topic starter  

Thanks! I was just kind of wondering & considering it. Sence I'm not having trouble with them I'll leave them alone.Was afraid I might be missing out on some better tone.

Good info about PU's too. I been thinking about trying some GFS HB's but to tell the truth I don't mine the sound of these stock alnicos, or atleast I think so (I might think diff after I had them to compare to).They are good enough for my low skill level anyway. :cry:

I'm really not wanting higher output PUs so I'll try and read up on frequency & response. Thanks


   
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(@ricochet)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

Well, that stuff is the technical way of expressing things like "Do I want more treble, or less? Do I want more output to drive an amp into distortion more easily? Do I want fewer harmonics that can muddy up complex chords or make distortion sound mushy? Or do I want to hear a full clean response, something like an acoustic?" Some folks like the peculiar twang, quack or honk that comes from a sharp resonance peak, others don't. So what I'm saying is, don't fix what's not broken just because lots of folks on guitar boards talk about throwing out stock pickups and putting on "better quality" ones right away. As your playing skill and ear develop, you may decide you want specific tonal changes and you can be an informed researcher of what's available instead of just relying on forum recommendations that might not suit your personal taste after all. And you may just decide that the guitar maker did a pretty good job picking out pickups that sound good with their guitar!

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@eadgber)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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Topic starter  

Ricochet, Thanks . I think that may be the best most common sence thing I've ever read about PUs. Usually PU talk has alot of voodoo mixed in. I like a lil voodoo but always good to know some science behind it.

I gotta admit I'm still itching to try a set of those Guitarfetish HBs.I hear good things & looks like about $90 a set.I'll use your advice to decide which ones might be best for me. If nothing else I'll use the excuse that I need the 4 wires to coil tap mod :P


   
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(@ricochet)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

Wanna see pickup voodoo reduced to science? With some VERY interesting observations and suggestions regarding tappable humbuckers?
http://www.moore.org.au/pick001.htm

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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