Botched ABR retro-fit, need advice please

Space1999

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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
 
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Norton

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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.
 

Darkness

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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?
 

BGood

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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
 

Space1999

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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.

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
 

BGood

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

Pat
I don't understand the question. If screws are high it's because you put them there for unknown reasons to me :)
 

Raiyn

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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)

View attachment 14894
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.
Only one problemo. The ABR T.O.M. 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…

View attachment 14895

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
@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.
 
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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.
 
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Supersonic

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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.
 

Space1999

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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
 
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Zero

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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.
 

BGood

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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.
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.
 

Raiyn

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Why does everyone make this way harder than what it is...


@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.

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.
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.
 

Biddlin

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@Biddlin can show you some pretty high tailpieces that work fine.
@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)
 
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Why does everyone make this way harder than what it is...



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.
 

grinwer

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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.
 
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BGood

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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.
That would greatly surprise me. Wouldn't make any sense.
 

Space1999

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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
 


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