Update on my new Cabronita

Discussion in 'Squier Telecasters' started by ebidis, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. ebidis

    ebidis Squier-Nut

    655
    Oct 14, 2013
    Alabama
    I set this up and had some usual issues with the Jazzmaster/Jaguar type bridge. Namely, the strings popping off of the saddles and the saddles buzzing, and tuning issues when using the Bigsby. Also not very good sustain.
    IMG_1408.JPG IMG_1409.JPG
    Here is what I did:
    I filed notches in the saddles, set the bridge down flush on the body so it doesn't rock, raised the saddles for proper string height, put lock-tite on the saddle screws, re-cut the nut, lubed it properly and; no more strings popping off the saddles, no more saddle buzz, and the tuning stability is great.

    I then took it to band practice and gave it a try at volume. I did have a couple of dead spots, and still not terrific sustain. When I got home, I gave it a once over, and I noticed the tailpiece was sitting on four felt washers instead of actually sitting on the body.

    I pulled off the Bigsby, got rid of the washers, and now it sits about 1/8 inch lower. This gave the strings a little more break angle and a little more downforce on the bridge, and The tailpiece now has solid contact with the body. The dead spots are gone, and it now has better sustain all around. Still no tuning issues.

    I have no idea why they would use those stupid felt washers.
     
  2. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    None of that should be happening, nor any of those "fixes" needed.

    -don
     
  3. ebidis

    ebidis Squier-Nut

    655
    Oct 14, 2013
    Alabama
    Sorry, but it did happen, and the fixes were needed. These Jazz/Stang bridges are notorious for these problems.

    After the fixes, it is a superb playing guitar.
     
    Pat V. likes this.
  4. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    If you've got it working to your satisfaction, then everything is good! :)

    My own experience is that such problems and complaints is somewhat like a heavy smoker and drinker complaining about their health. -That unless there is an underlying organic problem -- one that needs to be discovered and then corrected -- what's needed is going back to base setup and doing things right.

    The sustain of a Bigsby-equipped Tele is not going to be exactly the same as that of a through-the-body model. The strings are connected to a large spring mechanism. There's a trade-off that comes with the advantages of having a trem effect. But it, too, can be quite good. And issues with the rocking bridge can be worked through without disabling it and losing it also real advantages.

    But again, making our instrument work for us is what really matters. The rest is, as they say, merely "academic."
    -don
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
    theflow likes this.
  5. wickedtools

    wickedtools Squier-holic

    May 16, 2010
    west texas
    That's a nice looking Tele:)
     
  6. Robbmonster

    Robbmonster Squier-holic

    Great to actually know your way around a guitar and be able to identify what causes such issues and how to fix them. Great job :)
     
  7. ebidis

    ebidis Squier-Nut

    655
    Oct 14, 2013
    Alabama
    It's all subjective really. I understand that a Bigsby will not be the same as a regular Tele bridge, but mounting it on felt washers is not the best way to do it IMO.

    Also, IMO the Jazzmaster type bridge is a bad design from the get go. I know my way around the mechanical workings of a guitar very well, I know what I want from a guitar, and I know how to get what I want. It may not be what anyone else wants, but I will do whatever it takes to make a guitar perform right for me. In the end, that is what matters, since I am the one playing it.

    That being said, the way I have set up this guitar now makes it (for me) a great player.

    BTW, the neck is really nice, and the fretwork is pretty good right out of the box.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
    duceditor likes this.
  8. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Double thumbs up! :)

    -don
     
    ebidis likes this.
  9. Caddy

    Caddy Dr. Squier

    Nov 29, 2010
    Indiana
    IMO being the key! That 'bad design' has worked just fine for myself and many others (as well as for many pro touring and recording musicians) for well over 50 years. But no need to get worked up over a comment. No one was questioning what is 'right for you'.
     
  10. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    That's certainly true. But then again there are all sorts of little tweaks people use to make their guitar more satisfying.

    I thought the question of 'why the felt washers?' was a good one. I know that some Bigsbys come with such affixed to the unit -- this, I expect, to prevent marring of the guitar's surface. But does this compromise the sound -- absorbing vibrations that would otherwise enter the system, possibly changing the sound or affecting sustain?

    I'm not willing to remove mine as a test. So I can only speculate.

    My expectation is that any change would be too minor to notice. This for a number of reasons.

    First the string induced tension on the Bigsby B5 (and B50) seems to be forward and upward, not downward. That puts metal against metal -- the unit against the attachment bolt and bolt heads. And the screws go into the wood and are held there by both friction and thread tension. I.e., the transfer on energy would not, it seems to me, be greatly inhibited by the felt -- if at all.

    Too, the hand of the guitarist is far more an absorber of vibrations that those highly compressed (by screw tension) felt washers are -- and yet, apart from when actually muting the string motion itself the guitarists hands on the instrument has minimal affect. This is even largely true on an acoustic guitar. On a solid electric I doubt if so would even be measurable, much less heard.

    Some Bigsby units definitely lesson the break angle, and thus the downward force of the strings on the bridge. The B5/B50, however, is one of the models with a 2nd cross bar. It, if anything, increases the tension in most settings -- making break angle as great as is possible to use with rocking bridge. Far, far greater than on, say, a Jaguar or a Jazzmaster. If less than on a string through body, at least equal to that of a tailpiece connected type such as my own Affinity Tele.

    I regularly alternate between that Tele and an American Standard with its through-body string mounting. I notice no loss of any kind with the non-string-through design. Others, of course, are free to disagree with this.

    That, however, does not mean that the Bigsby has no affect on tone or sustain. Its mass is great, and it also is by design flexible, not rigid as is a non-Bigsby Tele.

    Thus our each using our own ears and hands -- and evaluating and modifying the guitar to our own satisfaction -- makes perfect sense. An of course each of us is free to do what we want with our own guitars whether others think it "sensible" or not. We should not, and do not, have reason to answer to anyone. Be it here, there or anywhere. :)

    -don
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
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  11. ebidis

    ebidis Squier-Nut

    655
    Oct 14, 2013
    Alabama
    I wasn't getting worked up at all. Just having a conversation. ;) The key is that what works for one, may not work for another.
     
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  12. ebidis

    ebidis Squier-Nut

    655
    Oct 14, 2013
    Alabama
    Whatever factors may be in play in the total system of this guitar, I can say for sure that getting rid of the felt washers made a noticeable difference in sustain.

    The only thing that changed was that the bigsby was sitting on 4 felt washers, and then it wasn't. It went from notes dying rather quickly above the 12 fret and certain frequencies being dead (noticeably B, G, and G#), to very nice even sustain all over the neck and no dead notes.

    I guess I would equate this to the tailpiece sitting on 4 very narrow, soft, vibration dampening points, to a now much more solid material making full solid contact with the body over a much greater surface area.

    I understand psycho-acoustics, and placebo effect, but this was an immediately noticeable substantial difference that I don't think is in my head. I'm talking about the difference between literally 4 seconds of sustain, and 15 seconds.
     
    Caddy likes this.
  13. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    That is significant indeed.

    Apart from possible scaring to the finish -- only a point of interest should one want to someday remove the Bigsby -- and unlikely scenario Id' say -- that would be worth trying for anyone who finds the guitar lacking sustain.

    Thanks for sharing!

    -don
     
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