Tune-o-matic bridge height?

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

  1. Lindell Baker

    Lindell Baker New Member

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    Recently got a new Epi Sheraton II Pro. Been attempting to do setup myself. Pretty much a rookie. Been watching a bunch of youtube set-up videos. Adjusted relief, action, intonation and pick-ups. Intonation still needs a little work. Not sure what to do about bridge and stop bar height adjustment. Pics below show how they came from the factory. The base side of the bridge seems pretty high to me but don’t really know what Im talking about. Treble side of bridge is much lower and looks reasonable I suppose. Would like some input on the height adjustment of the bridge/stop bar. The action seems to be about right the way it is but the bridge height looks kinda screwy to my uneducated eye. Is the base side of the bridge being so high a problem? Thought about adjusting bridge/stop bar to height mid points and check/redo relief and action. Not sure what to do. The bridge height just looks kinda screwy to me the way it is now. What do you think? Should I adjust the bridge? Should there be such a big difference between the bass and treble side height on the bridge? What is the relationship between bridge height and stop bar height? If the stop bar is low does that effect how the height of the bridge should be adjusted and vice versa?


    Hopefully photos will work now. Used a different hosting site. Let me know if you can see them now.



    [​IMG]
    Pic shows how high base side of bridge. Seems kinda high.
    [​IMG]
    Lower pic shows height of treble side of bridge. Seems reasonable.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2021
  2. Jeffytune

    Jeffytune Well-Known Member

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    (Note: The pictures did not come through for me, you might want to check this on your end)

    The bridge height is a function of the neck relief and the angle the neck was set into the guitar.
    On like a Fender Jazzmaster/Jaguar you can use neck pocket shims to kick the neck's setback, but on yours, it is glued in so there is nothing one can easily do to change it.
    As to the neck relief, you need to place a capo in the 1st fret, then fret the low "E" string at the neck body joint fret. (on my Les Paul, that would be the 17th fret). Now at the 7th fret, use a feeler gauge to check between the fret and bottom of the string, it should be 0.010-0.012 of and inch. It should just slip under with minimal contact.
    If it is lose, you will need to adjust the truss rod.
    (Here is Gibson's video on how to adjust a truss rod)


    If it is good, then check and the string height is right, then the bridge is where it needs to be. Just be sure to adjust the pick up height to spec and your good to go.
     
  3. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    We can't see your photos. They're maybe set to private or something.

    I don't measure when I do a set up. A friend showed me do do it by how the guitar responds. Here it is.

    First, get the neck straight. You turn the truss rod ¼ turn at a time, then check relief. If the neck is too concave, turn the truss rod nut clockwise to remove excess relief. If the neck is too convex, turn the truss rod nut counter-clockwise.

    Begin by tuning to your normal pitch, i.e. if you normally play in drop D, tune to drop D. Retune between each adjustment. Start by setting the bridge height for frets 16 to 22, so that the strings play buzz free at the lowest possible height.

    Start with low E. Plucking normally play fret 16. Lower the bass side of the bridge until it buzzes, raise until clear. Now play it from fret 16 to fret 22. Raise slightly if needed. Check A and D and raise slightly if needed to get clean notes. Remember to retune between steps. Then do the treble side. If you bend notes up here, try a few typical bends, to make sure they don't buzz out.

    When all strings play clean go to the lower frets and neck relief. Play the high E string from fret 1 to fret 15, increasing relief (loosening trussrod counter clockwise) to relieve buzz or decreasing relief (tightening trussrod clockwise) to lower the string height. So tighten, by fractional turns (1/4 of a turn), until it buzzes and back off until it doesn't. If you bend strings , do your typical bends to insure they don't buzz out. Once satisfied, check the other strings and make small adjustments as needed, loosening by the slightest amount (1/8th of a turn) to relieve buzzing.

    Once you have acceptable relief, (i.e. no buzz) and easy action, set your intonation and you're done.

    This is the opposite order of most setup directions. It is based on performance and not measurements; hence, I don't take any. It works because the neck is immobile between frets 16 and 22. The trussrod only affects lower frets. By setting the upper end first, you know any buzzes are coming from too little relief. This method works for most guitars, with truss rods.
     
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  4. Lindell Baker

    Lindell Baker New Member

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    Got no problem with setting neck relief. Just not sure about the way bridge/stop bar were set up from factory. Doesn't look right to me but dont really have enough experience to know for sure. Posted pics on a different hosting site hopefully the can be viewed now.
     
  5. Lindell Baker

    Lindell Baker New Member

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    Posted pics on a different hosting site. Hopefully they can be viewed now.
     
  6. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    It is almost impossible to explain why the bridge is adjusted as on the photos, without having the guitar in front of us. Many factors can bring it there. You say you don't have enough experience to figure it out. My suggestion would be to bring it to a good technician or luthier and have it set-upped properly. Ask what he does and why, so you can learn. It will be very well invested money.
     
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  7. Jeffytune

    Jeffytune Well-Known Member

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    I would say, it's most likely just fine. I would check the backside of the bridge to make sure the strings are clearing the rear edge.
    You can use a piece of note pad paper, if you can slip it under the strings and rear edge of the bridge. If they clear, your golden.
    If they do not clear, de=tune the strings and raise the two stopbar posts up some, then re-tune and recheck.
    You only want the string to contact the saddle of the bridge, not the saddle and the body of the bridge.
     
  8. Bonzo21

    Bonzo21 Active Member

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    If the neck is perfectly level with the plane of the body (from side to side) the two ends of the bridge will be a different heights if you followed the benchmarks for set ups. E.g. if your Low E is at 2mm and your high E 1mm the Low E would be 2mm higher than the low E because your bridge height goes up 2x the difference at the 12 fret. Now 2mm is a decent action but some go as high as 2.5mm, 1mm is low action for the high E, likely you would have set it a bit closer to 1.5mm. ANYWAYS, all that to say that if all is right, bridges are always higher at the bass side. If you set it up by feel and not measurement, then likely the difference between the bass string and the treble strings is large, and that's why you see a big difference. This is not a bad thing if it feels right, there is no tone issue or functional issue with this difference being large or small. There is also a more pronounced relief on the bass side because of the extra pull of those strings, this is minor and likely has no effect but could be contributing, unless your neck has a lot of relief, then it would amplify (a bit). Again, not a problem if it feels good.

    Now, there are two things that could also contribute to the problem that are structural. If the neck has a twist or if the neck was set at an angle relative to the plane of the body. If the neck has a twist you'll likely run into a whole bunch of weird fret buzzing issues, and the action likely has to be super high to compensate. On a brand new sheraton I am almost convinced that this is not the case--though anything can happen. The neck is a 5 piece, making it even less likely to warp. Look down the plane of the neck and look to see if the headstock looks wonky.

    If the neck was set with a bit of an angle downward on the bass side relative to the body, the bridge height would compensate for this. Unless it is also off center, this would not be a big issue UNLESS it is super pronounced, then it would not "feel" right. Again this is SUPER unlikely.

    Likely, it is a set up thing and maybe very minor and inconsequential build tolerance issue.

    This is what a huge twist looks like (use the wings of the headstock as your focal point, often the top of the nut is not level, so it looks like a twist when it's not):
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2021
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  9. Space1999

    Space1999 Well-Known Member

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    Nah your fine. I looked at your pics. Epiphone sets up their guitars according to that Gibson video a few posts back.

    They also go high on the low strings and lower on the high strings on the angle of the bridge pickup. If you look at the neck pickup height it is probably the other way around just not such a steep grade.

    One thing that seems constant when I have my guitar set up well with a straight neck is the bass side screws below the bridge usually shows three threads and the high string side usually shows one screw thread.

    But watch the video because that is how Epiphone and Gibson guitars are set up from the factory.

    If you haven’t touched the settings on everything yet, I wouldn’t. It’s setup pretty great from the factory. If you want even better action you will have to set the neck dead straight with no relief.

    At that point, you should be able to put a metric ruler down on the 12 fret’s adjoining frets and read 1mm on the high E string and 2mm on the low E string. If its needs adjusting just raise or lower the bridge till it reads right.

    Make sure your ruler starts measuring right from the beginning of the ruler and there is no gap before measurements start.
    Also hold the ruler in front of the High E and Low E. Its much easier to read.

    Hope that helps.

    Pat
     
  10. Bonzo21

    Bonzo21 Active Member

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    @Space1999 Yeah I don't think he's got a problem either, I've had guitars set up with pretty wild tilts on the bridge. I've always been a measurement kind of guy for set ups, but honestly if it feels good it is good. I'm slowly learning that ahhaha. They should have a support group for guys like me.
     
  11. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    That is far from being a constant. When I got my 2020 Epi Yellow LP Special last year, setup was so bad that I was scratching my head why the P90s sounded like crap.
    https://www.epiphonetalk.com/threads/2020-tv-yellow-lp-special-first-impressions.4894/

    In fact, you will get lower upper frets action with a tiny bit of relief.
     
  12. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    That's why I never measure. No two instruments are the same, so how can one set of measurements be good for all of them ?
     
  13. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    Double post ... damned slow internet.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2021
  14. Bonzo21

    Bonzo21 Active Member

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    I agree to an extent; I think it's just two ways to get to the same finish line. I set the relief by eye at a bit under 1mm, very low nut action, and then standard 2mm at low E and 1.5mm at high E at 12 fret on every kind of electric. It works for everything because it's fairly high. But really, I could get there without the measurements, it's just kind of a safety net for me. A) I know it's going to work, and B) if it feels off I can confirm that something moved and put it back (e.g. change of seasons). As a fellow Canadian, I'm sure you also have to make some tweaks here and there when we go from dry winter to humid summer eh!
     
  15. Space1999

    Space1999 Well-Known Member

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    Your right. And by just noting what you observe with these guitars you will see the patterns emerge.

    Pat
     
  16. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    For sure they need adjusting, but nothing drastic. Usually ¼ to ½ turn of the truss rod either way will suffice. I'm going through that in the past few days. Humidity really set in witn the house heating turned off.

    As for tweaking a setup without measuring, here's how it was showned to me by a fellow member here, Mr Biddlin. I surely posted this here before. It works for any electric guitar I have ever had.

    First, get the neck straight. You turn the truss rod ¼ turn at a time, then check relief. If the neck is too concave, turn the truss rod nut clockwise to remove excess relief. If the neck is too convex, turn the truss rod nut counter-clockwise.

    Begin by tuning to your normal pitch, i.e. if you normally play in drop D, tune to drop D. Retune between each adjustment. Start by setting the bridge height for frets 16 to 22, so that the strings play buzz free at the lowest possible height.

    Start with low E. Plucking normally play fret 16. Lower the bass side of the bridge until it buzzes, raise until clear. Now play it from fret 16 to fret 22. Raise slightly if needed. Check A and D and raise slightly if needed to get clean notes. Remember to retune between steps. Then do the treble side. If you bend notes up here, try a few typical bends, to make sure they don't buzz out.

    When all strings play clean go to the lower frets and neck relief. Play the high E string from fret 1 to fret 15, increasing relief (loosening trussrod counter clockwise) to relieve buzz or decreasing relief (tightening trussrod clockwise) to lower the string height. So tighten, by fractional turns (1/4 of a turn), until it buzzes and back off until it doesn't. If you bend strings , do your typical bends to insure they don't buzz out. Once satisfied, check the other strings and make small adjustments as needed, loosening by the slightest amount (1/8th of a turn) to relieve buzzing.

    Once you have acceptable relief, (i.e. no buzz) and easy action, set your intonation and you're done.

    This is the opposite order of most setup directions. It is based on performance and not measurements; hence, I don't take any. It works because the neck is immobile between frets 16 and 22. The trussrod only affects lower frets. By setting the upper end first, you know any buzzes are coming from too little relief. This method works for most guitars, with truss rods.
     

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