Tune-o-matic bridge on a Rickenbacker

Setup, repair and restoration of Rickenbacker Instruments

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Re: Tune-o-matic bridge on a Rickenbacker

Postby (collin) » Sun Jul 15, 2012 1:01 am

Nicely done, Ben! I totally forgot about this, I'll make one for one of my upcoming projects!

This is a really easy, non-invasive mod for anybody with a drill press and a tap/die kit. 8)
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Re: Tune-o-matic bridge on a Rickenbacker

Postby (ken_j) » Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:29 am

Are you using GraphTech saddles?
I would think the key to doing this mod is getting a the bridge mounted at the proper angle to ensure enough intonation adjusment.
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Re: Tune-o-matic bridge on a Rickenbacker

Postby (collin) » Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:13 pm

ken_j wrote:Are you using GraphTech saddles?
I would think the key to doing this mod is getting a the bridge mounted at the proper angle to ensure enough intonation adjusment.



The Rickenbacker bridge is straight across, so the ToM bridge works as long as your guitar is within normal intonation range, from my experience.
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Re: Tune-o-matic bridge on a Rickenbacker

Postby (admin) » Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:52 pm

A very nice modification. John has commented on the Fab Gear mod taking the tone up a notch. Can anyone comment on the difference in tone between the stock and modified bridges?
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Re: Tune-o-matic bridge on a Rickenbacker

Postby (paologregorio) » Sun Jul 15, 2012 4:50 pm

John's and Ben's bridges are opposite from each other wrt the screw adjustment and angled saddle-edge. Does it matter which side faces the front of the guitar and which faces the back?
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Re: Tune-o-matic bridge on a Rickenbacker

Postby (aceonbass) » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:03 pm

paologregorio wrote: Does it matter which side faces the front of the guitar and which faces the back?


It shouldn't, but it looks a heck of a lot harder to adjust with the screws facing forward, so I'd flip it around. Incidentally, I'll bet the reason Ledbye was breaking strings is that the string notches in the original saddles weren't done properly, resulting in sharp edges that dug into the strings till they broke. Plastic saddles would be much more forgiving in this respect.
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Re: Tune-o-matic bridge on a Rickenbacker

Postby (ken_j) » Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:18 pm

collin wrote:
ken_j wrote:Are you using GraphTech saddles?
I would think the key to doing this mod is getting a the bridge mounted at the proper angle to ensure enough intonation adjusment.



The Rickenbacker bridge is straight across, so the ToM bridge works as long as your guitar is within normal intonation range, from my experience.

A RIC bridge has more travel but since you have done this you have experience with it whereas I don't. I know when installed on a Gibson a ToM is set at an angle. I have had Gibsons where the saddles where at the extremes. The low E to the rear and the high E to the front.
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Re: Tune-o-matic bridge on a Rickenbacker

Postby (ledbye) » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:33 pm

I'll bet the reason Ledbye was breaking strings is that the string notches in the original saddles weren't done properly, resulting in sharp edges that dug into the strings till they broke.

This is what I thought and I why I think I was breaking strings originally. So I bought the Ric replacement, had the saddles cut on that and it was great for about six months, then the breaks started happening again. I pretty much broke E A and D strings and when I looked real close at the saddle, you could see the imprint from the string, so I would use real fine wet and dry sandpaper to get rid of them, but then they seemed to cut back in again and 'ping' the string would break!

I'd tried many different brands of strings and finally settles on ZOGs. As I understand it, there aren't actually that many string winding factories and a lot of brands are simply packaged different, but I went through a stage where I would study each ball end for differences!! A shorter 'double wind' (I'm making terms up here!) at the ball end seemed better. There is probably no science behind this though! :lol:

A very nice modification. John has commented on the Fab Gear mod taking the tone up a notch. Can anyone comment on the difference in tone between the stock and modified bridges?

In terms of normal strumming I couldn't hear much difference. Acoustically, I felt that it added a touch more bottom end. Whether this translates through the lead, through pedals and into the amp and speakers...perhaps a bit. In terms of me being able to dig in a bit harder, then I can get a more aggressive tone. It's really hard to describe. I think the notes may sing out a little longer and holding a note seems a bit easier.

Are you using GraphTech saddles?

Yup, I was going for no breakage and these seemed to be getting good feedback in forums like this, etc. The bridge is on an ever-so-slight angle, a-la Gibson, and I believe Matt installed it with the screws facing up because I think that's how they are on Gibsons. I could be wrong!

I think it's such a worthwhile mod. No damage to the Ric and (in my case) everything to gain!
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Re: Tune-o-matic bridge on a Rickenbacker

Postby (ken_j) » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:44 pm

ledbye wrote: ... and I believe Matt installed it with the screws facing up because I think that's how they are on Gibsons. I could be wrong!


Some Gibsons face the nut, SGs come to mind. Some face the stop bar as in a Les Paul.
I know that the Nashville (Schaller) bridge has more adjutment for intonation than the ABR bridge.
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Re: Tune-o-matic bridge on a Rickenbacker

Postby (admin) » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:04 pm

Ben thanks for your appraisal regarding tone and playability.
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Re: Tune-o-matic bridge on a Rickenbacker

Postby (gudwyn) » Mon Dec 30, 2019 9:30 pm

Hi all, Happy New Year. Newbie here resurrecting an old post.
As someone who has owned (and suffered with the idiosyncrasies of) no less than ten Rick 12-strings over the years, including (5) 360/12s, (1) 360/12CW, (3) 381/12V69s and (1) 660/12, I have finally landed on what I feel to be the best configuration I have ever tried (and believe me I've tried a bunch.) First off, I'll begin with why I prefer 6-saddle bridges on Rick 12-strings. Though clearly you can achieve far more accurate intonation with a 12-saddle bridge, nonetheless I have found you can also achieve very reasonable and pleasant-sounding intonation with a standard 6-saddle bridge. The reason I prefer them on most RICs (660/12 exempted) is because of narrow string spacing available on the traditional neck, both at the bridge and at the nut. On close inspection of most of my 6-saddle Ricks, the bridge string slots are offset to both extremes allowing a wider range of string spacing at the bridge. There is very little leeway on the 12-saddle bridge, the string slots must be placed very close to the centerline of each pair of saddles, resulting in an overall narrower spacing at the bridge. Secondly, I have never been a fan of the Rick 4-poster bridges. Unless you use some sort of loctite, invariably the little screws have a way of working themselves loose, eventually causing the bridge to tilt--usually toward the pickups, throwing off the setup and intonation. I have always considered tune-o-matics to be a superior design. So-- in the attached photo you can view what I have arrived at, and consider to be as close to the holy-grail of hardware configurations as any I have ever tried on a Rickenbacker. The Winfield Vintage tailpiece lacks the stylish R embellishment, but the advantage gained is far easier string changes. Next, there is a Winfield Vintage drop-in bridge plate with tune-o-matic mounting posts. This upgrade requires no drilling or routing, it simply screws in where the RIC bridge plate was removed. Lastly, the icing on the cake is a Schroeder tune-o-matic bridge. This requires offset string slots to stay within the narrow real-estate available on the RIC, but also allows adequate and ample string spacing. The Schroeder bridge leaves the factory with an 11-inch radius curve, which is easily custom-slotted to achieve the RIC 10-inch neck radius. All in all, the modification has transformed this blueburst 360/12 into a far more playable and enjoyable guitar.

Keep on janglin' in the free world, and Happy-Happy 20-20 !!

Best,
-Steve G
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Re: Tune-o-matic bridge on a Rickenbacker

Postby (admin) » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:13 pm

Stephen: Welcome to the RRF. I love to see old posts resurrected and you have done a fine job on this one. It is interesting how we have become fairly rigid in our ways and hesitate at times accepting the new when the old serves us less well. I read with interest your solutions as I have been there myself over the years on more occasions that I can count. For a first post you knocked this one out of the park. Stringing, intonation, spacing, radius and adjustment have been well thought out. I confess that I am still trying to accept the look of the tailpiece but all in all I could live with this look for improvements in functionality. Of course, it is all reversible which is the nice part of the changes you have make. Love the finish too.
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Re: Tune-o-matic bridge on a Rickenbacker

Postby (electrofaro) » Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:22 pm

ken_j wrote:
ledbye wrote: ... and I believe Matt installed it with the screws facing up because I think that's how they are on Gibsons. I could be wrong!


Some Gibsons face the nut, SGs come to mind. Some face the stop bar as in a Les Paul.
I know that the Nashville (Schaller) bridge has more adjutment for intonation than the ABR bridge.

Historic models have the screws face the pick-up, modern models have the screws way from it. If it's not like that it is wrong... :lol:

I use the Winfield Vintage plate but it has a Gibson Custom ABR on it that came to me correctly intonated and slotted (yes screws face the pickup). I liked the look of the ABR a bit more than the bulkier ToM (mine was a Gibson USA on a Winfield Vintage plate with screws facing away from the p/u).
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