Botched ABR retro-fit, need advice please

Discussion in 'Epiphone Guitars' started by Space1999, Jun 16, 2021.

  1. Space1999

    Space1999 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    432
    Likes Received:
    298
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2021
    Ok so this is my 2015 Ebony Sheraton II. I bought it second hand on Reverb and the guy who had it before me put all Gibson hardware on the guitar, Barenuckle pickups and the deluxe wiring, pots and caps. (I replaced the bridge and left the Gibson bridge post hardware alone)

    IMG_1188.jpeg

    Only one problemo. The ABR tail piece has now started to lean forward posts and all.
    This is the best shot I could get to give you an idea of what is going on here…

    IMG_1189.jpeg

    You can see the back of the posts coming out from the guitar, but from this angle the tilt of the actual screws does not look as slanted as they really are.

    So I had this problem when I put Tape Wounds on my Hofner Community bass.
    They pulled much harder on the tail piece and the same thing happened.

    So I shored up the bridge side post holder holes with toothpicks and glue.
    Reinstalled the post holder, put it back together and it is still good 2 years later.

    What I am really looking for here is advice from those that are familiar with this situation and ABR hardware so I can do the best possible repair job for this bad boy.

    Edit: I can live with it like this, it doesn’t really bother me but I fear that the situation may get worse over time.

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2021
  2. Norton

    Norton Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    399
    Likes Received:
    304
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2018
    Sounds like the bushing holes are too big for the bushings.

    outside of plugging them fully and re-drilling? Your glue and toothpicks is a smart solution.
     
  3. Darkness

    Darkness Active Member

    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    181
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2021
    Almost seems like the bolts might be not in far enough and are leveraging from string tension. Is it feasible to drive them deeper into the body to reduce the leverage?
     
  4. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,157
    Likes Received:
    4,769
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2015
    Common problem with tailpieces adjusted that high. Why does it need to be that high ? As long as strings are clearing the back of the bridge by a paper thin space, the tailpiece doesn't need to go higher.

    If it was mine (I have done it on several guitars), I would pull the bushings out and generously dab the walls of the holes with wood glue. With the studs screwed all the way in, I would push the bushings in. Then with a strong elastic band or rope, I would tie both posts to the back strap button, to make sure there is no forward lean on those posts. You might want to protect the top edge there with something if much tension is needed. Wait 24 hours (or more) for the glue to completely dry and VOILÀ !

    Now, you either get the tailpiece as low as possible without strings touching the back of the bridge, or like me you deck it and topwrap that tailpiece.

    2019.jpg
     
    Josef, vomer, Norton and 1 other person like this.
  5. Space1999

    Space1999 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    432
    Likes Received:
    298
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2021

    This is the only guitar I have had to deck the strings like that.
    I usually adjust the tail piece so that I can grab a 3 step bend.
    On my other Epi’s that is about 2 full revolutions of the screws up.

    But not on this one. I fear from what you said that by having the screws that high and my higher gauge strings that I have actually created more space in the post holes.

    Thanks for the idea about tying the tail piece to the strap button to ensure the glue dries with the posts in the right position.

    I am going to use that idea.

    Do you think that the difference of the screw heights is due to the ABR hardware?

    Pat
     
    vomer and BGood like this.
  6. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,157
    Likes Received:
    4,769
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2015
    I don't understand the question. If screws are high it's because you put them there for unknown reasons to me :)
     
  7. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,129
    Likes Received:
    5,225
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2017
    Forgive me being a bit pedantic for a minute, but I'm not seeing Gibson or ABR hardware in your pictures. The first picture has what appears to be metric Tune-o-matic (T.O.M) hardware and the second confirms that it's at least Nashville based on the the bushings. ABR bridges have skinny posts sunk directly into the wood.
    @BGood has a pretty decent idea there and should be considered. While your tailpiece is higher than I'd have it, it isn't out of the realm of possibility and should be no problem for the bushings if set properly in a solid section. It's also possible, that as you said, the guy before you replaced the hardware and gooched the hole. That's why I try not to remove bushings at all if feasable. I'd rather screw a nice bridge stud into a well set bushing than "complete the set" and cause stuff like this. That said, it ain't so bad. I'd monitor it for sure, but I've seen far worse.

    I'm going to preface the following by stating that I am NOT a woodworker. My talents with carbohydrate foam are lacking, however I do pay attention to others more knowledgeable than myself. YMMV, see your dealer, fine print yadda yadda.

    What you're seeing there is soft endgrain being compressed by leverage. This occasionally happens in setups like this especially after someone pulls a bushing (improperly or not). What I would do if it were perhaps a bit more severe is get some nice thin veneer strips to fit in there and possibly hit the soft wood with some CA (aka Super Glue) to toughen up the endgrain a bit.
    Of course protect your surfaces etc. usual disclaimers etc.
    </woodworking>

    One thing I'm taking note of aside from the tilting bushing though:

    Can we talk about what in the world have you got going on with your pickup height?
    IMG_1189.jpg

    Those screws ain't supposed to be touching the strings!

    PU height is set by fretting the last note and measuring off the pole screw / piece / whatever is higher.
     
    vomer likes this.
  8. Kostas Kritsilas

    Kostas Kritsilas Member

    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    51
    Joined:
    May 7, 2020
    I would seriously reconsider all of this. Do what you have to do to fix the anchors so they are not leaning, but no matter what you do, you will have the same sort of problem in the future (unknown when, but at some point). You have a ton of clearance between the strings and the back edge of the bridge. That doesn't need to be there, and having the tailpiece up that high, along with the heavier gauge strings, is what is distorting the anchor holes. You will have to lower the tailpiece to reduce the leverage of the tailpiece studs on the anchor. If you do not, the leverage of the tailpiece studs will eventually cause the holes to enlarge again.

    You have to decide to:

    1. Accept that you can't do 3 step bends, and only do 2.5 or 2 step ends;

    or

    2. Use lower tension (i.e. smaller gauge) strings.

    or

    3. Plan on buying a newer guitar, at some point in the future. And that guitar will also have the same issue unless you resolve points 1 and 2 above.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2021
    Supersonic and Belle like this.
  9. Supersonic

    Supersonic Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,513
    Likes Received:
    2,150
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    I must be missing something. I don't understand why you don't just lower the tailpiece some. Why would you want it that high? Seems like it would have no choice but to lean forward when it's barely screwed into the guitar.
     
    vomer and Zero like this.
  10. Zero

    Zero Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    275
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2020
    Why does everyone make this way harder than what it is...

     
    Raiyn and Supersonic like this.
  11. Space1999

    Space1999 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    432
    Likes Received:
    298
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2021
    Thanks to all who replied. I made an error when I said 3 step bends. I meant a minor third, 3 frets or 3 half steps, whatever you like.

    Raiyn, thank you for clearing up my misconception of what ABR hardware is…
    I seriously thought that just meant Gibson hardware.

    BTW the picture was took at a weird angle. The bridge pickup is no where near the strings.
    This is the last guitar that I have to put the Dunlop hardware on and check the pu heights. I will double check the heights.

    So I play in open G a lot which doesn’t require a lot of serious bending, so I have decided to make this guitar my main open G guitar.

    After weighing what you all have said, I am going to pull the bushings and shore it up with toothpicks and then bring the tailpiece way down and leave it in open G which should work out nicely with the reduced tension on the strings.

    I will report back with pics etc…
    I plan to do this tomorrow.

    BTW I did not put this Gibson hardware in and I have no idea why it took all that length to set my tension right.

    I have 5 other Epi’s and 2 other Sheraton II’s and all of them just have a few screw threads showing at the tailpiece using the exact string gauge and I can bend easily.

    So I have no idea why this guitar is this way.
    I can only adapt to the problem. But I wish it was Epiphone hardware instead of Gibson if not for the sheer weight of the hardware.

    But in hindsight I should never have raised the screws that far up.

    Thanks again guys.

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2021
  12. Zero

    Zero Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    275
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2020
    Did you at least watch the video I posted? Phil knows his shit and I’ve actually used this method several times on imports, domestic, projects and builds.

    also, if you sell the guitar, the next guy isn’t going to be heart broken finding a tooth pick glued into the bridge.


    Tooth picks belong in Strat pickguard screw holes, not an Epiphone.
     
    Supersonic likes this.
  13. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,157
    Likes Received:
    4,769
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2015
    He says he also uses Teflon ? I remember Teflon for its anti stick properties, why would you want that in there ?

    About the glued paper ... why the paper if as you tap, all it does is curl out. You noticed he doesn't explain how to deal with the mess you end up with. Glue by itself should give you the same result without the mess.
     
    nemesis0710 likes this.
  14. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,129
    Likes Received:
    5,225
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2017
    @Space1999 I can endorse this method. The method I described above is essentially his old method. You do want to make sure that the paper sits down in the flutes or as Bgood pointedly mentioned it'll be more likely to push out. It might not seem like a lot of "structure" but it's stronger than glue alone.

    Different necks have different needs. It's all in how the neck was set. My G400 is decked to the point of absurdity while other guitars with the T.O.M. system are skyscrapers. It is what it is.
    Decked.jpg
    Flat-side-of-what-big-2.jpg

    The only *rule* is that you don't want the strings touching the back of the bridge. If you can slip a standard piece of paper (printer stock, envelope scrap, old bill) under the strings you're good. You do need to ensure that there's *some* break angle, but @Biddlin can show you some pretty high tailpieces that work fine.
     
    nemesis0710 and Zero like this.
  15. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    930
    Likes Received:
    979
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2015
    @Raiyn is right. I setup all my guitars for the lightest lowest buzz free action.
    DSCN1736.JPG
    Epiphone Les Paul Custom 9-42 strings stupb.jpg
    Gibson SG Classic Gotoh bridge 9-42 strings
    DSCN1368.JPG DSCN1120.JPG
    Gibson SG Special stock 9-42 strings Gibson SG stock 9-42 strings

    smwrapover.jpg
    Even this guy needs a little elevation to clear those upper frets.
    One of the few complaints I have about lyre vibrolas and Bigsbys is that you have to shim the front of the mounting if you want to decrease the break angle at the bridge. (or run the the strings over the Bigsby's tension bar)
     
    Raiyn and Darkness like this.
  16. Kostas Kritsilas

    Kostas Kritsilas Member

    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    51
    Joined:
    May 7, 2020
    A minor point that may have some bearing on this problem:

    In the video, he states that this is due to the wood shrinking due to the wood drying out. That may be true for the guitar he was working on, but it is questionable for the original poster's Sheraton.The Sheraton has a plywood top, and plywood doesn't shrink due to moisture loss. I am not sure if a Sheraton has a center block or not. If it doesn't, then this is probably not a good solution due to the very small gluing surface between the wood and the anchors.
     
  17. grinwer

    grinwer Active Member

    Messages:
    232
    Likes Received:
    178
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2017
    I don't use paper, toothpicks, nails. This is NOT for guitars.

    Remove the bushings.
    Drill holes in the housing up to Ф = 14-15mm.
    Glue hard wood dowel.
    Drill new mounting holes for the bushings 0.5mm less than Ф along the knurling of the bushing.
    Press the bushings into place.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2021
    nemesis0710, DigitalDreams and Zero like this.
  18. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,157
    Likes Received:
    4,769
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2015
    That would greatly surprise me. Wouldn't make any sense.
     
  19. grinwer

    grinwer Active Member

    Messages:
    232
    Likes Received:
    178
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2017
    There is a block there. Bushing are not installed in plywood.
     
    BGood likes this.
  20. Space1999

    Space1999 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    432
    Likes Received:
    298
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2021
    Sheratons have a layered maple body, top, sides and back along with a hard maple/walnut neck.

    Maple, like toothpicks…:shock:

    There is no plywood in a Sheraton.

    I still haven’t worked on the Sheraton yet. Probably today.

    Pat
     

Share This Page