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Dave_B

Rule of Thumb for a Tom Bridge Height?

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Hi all.  I'm working on an Explorer and I'm at the point of calculating the neck angle.  I'm comfortable with that except that I can't seem to find information on the amount of downward adjustability I should allow for.  For example, would I want an 1/8" gap between the bottom of the thumbwheel and the body?  I'm using a traditional style Gotoh as pictured.

Gotoh Tune-o-matic Bridge with Standard Posts .png

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There's no rule of thumb as such, and TOM guitar owners might advocate higher bridge settings over lower ones because of reasons like downpressure. The important thing to maintain is that you have room to adjust either way. An 1/8" doesn't offer a lot of play if you need to lower the bridge, and some might say that it's too low "for good tone". Take that last bit however you will of course....

I'd calculate the minimum amount of thread that the bridge needs to be stable, then that which I would consider "too low" and aim for halfway between those two points.

How are you calculating your angle? It can either be done simply, or the complete overkill propellerhead way....you can consider all factors into it and end up with a specifically-calculated bridge height, or go simple and dial out those factors later in adjustment if the actual height is not as big a factor as it can be for some cork sniffers.

I love Explorers. You might want to discuss them with @killemall8 a bit, however I think that Luis uses Nashville or modern style units rather than ABR-1s.

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TLDR; you could go for 1/8", however you need to ensure that you're hitting the mark at all other points to ensure that you won't need to lower the bridge. Some people are weird and do the complete opposite.

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Basically what i do is measure it to where the strings are just about hitting the frets when the bridge is lowered all the way. I use the large bushing/ post style TOM bridges. should be be too different though.

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Like I said, it depends on how many factors you want to bother bringing into the calculation. You can work off the fingerboard height from the body and bridge distance from that point, which is the most basic method. You can even add in fret height, radius, string height of the frets, etc. Generally you can dial those out after the fact rather than calculate them in, so the basic method is good from that perspective, and it sounds like that's where you're going to approach it. All good.

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Off the top of my head, the basic method would be to subtract the fingerboard/neck height (crown of frets) from the desired bridge height (saddle witness point), then use that as the adjacent and opposite of basic tangent trig to derive your angle. :thumb:

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