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OK... So I didn't really get a clear answer as to whether or not a LP special has a neck angle... I got contrasting answers anyway. So, this is what I want to do specifically:

I have a walnut body. No top. I want it to be FLAT. Let's say i just install one of these bridges:


Meaning one of these... with NO tune - o- matic. This looks like how the original Specials and Jr's were done.

If I do this... do I still need a neck angle?

The reason why I am so concerned with this is because I want the top to be flat... then I can't hide the neck angle. So I would like to avoid one if I can...

OK so to reiterate: If I install just a stop bar tailpiece, do I still need a neck angle?

Second Question(s):

What are the drawbacks of using just the tailpiece without the second tuneomatic part?

Is the tuneomatic part what gives it the height that a neck angle compinsates?

Last one:

Do I just install the tailpiece in the same location as the Tune o matic would be installed... with the same slanted angle?

Thanks guys!


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I'm sure that you'll need both pieces (although I have a funny feeling that you can get combines ones - but could be wrong on that one).

If you use the stop piece only, you'll be asking for trouble. You can't intonate the strings.

How about using just the bridge and passing the strings through the body, if that's the look you're after?

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What you've shown won't work. What you nees is something like this:

wraparound tailpiece

That is similar to what is on a Junior. They CAN be intonated properly, its just a little more involed.


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Well... I keep looking at these LP specials and thinking to myself that they look so cool... and seemingly easily constructed. As someone said on one of my earlier posts, they thought that the bridges that were used then were different than the tuneomatic setup that we use now. I don't want to carve the top... and I don't know of another way of angling the neck.. and to me it looks like neck and fretboard sits flush on top of the flat guitar top. I want to do the same thing.

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Well I didn't say you had to use THAT one, but juniors use a wrap around tailpiece instead of the "normal" two piece TOM setup. JR wrap around On the junior i just finishhed I used a bridge from a $89 special from musicians friend. The fretboard is about 1/4" above the body. The only difference between the wraparounds on the JRs now and the vintage ones is the new ones have buil in compensation for better intonation. Jrs are elegent in their simplicity and pretty easy to build, I think you are making this MUCH harder than it needs to be

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This is the regular LP Junior bridge, it's only $19:

StewMac LP Junior Bridge

You can do one of two things:

1. Angle the neck


2. Raise the neck so that you don't have to angle it.

Each design has its advantages and disadvantages. By angling the neck, the strings will take a more natural path to the headstock off the bridge, making intonation easier and improving sustain. However, it sounds like you really don't want to do this, either from a lack of experience standpoint or you just don't want to mess with it.

If you raise the neck, the intonation will be a little more difficult and you may lose some sustain, but the construction will be easier. It's up to you.

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Original Jr's had just a plain ol' wraparound. However, they were different. 50's wrap arounds had a peak to them, so you got a nice sharp spot where the strings made their contact.

See the following picture:


You'll see the angle I'm talking about.

These actually intonated pretty well, from what I'm told. You'll notice the set screw on each side that allowed you to adjust the distance they were from the studs.

Now, this is a great history lesson and all, but I don't think I'd recommend this type of bridge to you, because although you will get "traditional" 50's Jr. tone (and 54 goldtop and special, etc, etc), however, I don't think the trade off in lack of intonatability is worth it. To me, a guitar that is in tune with itself has the best tone. :D I would recommend either of the bridges listed, and would probably point you to the cheaper option, as money seems to be a concern.

FWIW, I have the first one (the pigtail one) and it is awesome. Honestly, worth every penny. If you are building a really nice guitar, then it makes sense to not scrimp on the hardware, right? The guy who makes the pigtail bridges (Steve Rowen) is a really nice guy, a helluva guitar player, and knows his stuff when it comes to bridges and bridge materials. The pigtail bridge is also extremely low profile for this type of bridge (lowest on the market and better materials than the competition). It is suitable for a neck with no angle whatsoever (according to steve).

Last but not least, I have an epi LP Jr here and it has an angled bolt on neck. The neck is very slightly angled (probably 2 degrees, it's much less than a Standard LP). It doesn't look bad at all, by the way. I also have an SX Special copy, it has a similar neck angle, and again, looks fine with a flat top. This guitar has the pigtail bridge on it.

Edited by javacody
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Thank you thank you! This is exactly the kind of advice I am looking for. You are right about me being on a budget... It's not that I don't have the money to spend, it's just that until I have a few builds under my belt, I am not going to shoot for top notch stuff... There is no sense wasting my money... If I don't have the skills, there is no amount of hardware (expensive or cheap) that is going to make up for it.

The reason why I am shooting for the Jr/Special deal is because I have never done a set neck... and I want to first get good at making a mortise and tennon joint before I jump into neck angles and body carving... plus, I think the simplicity of Jr's/Specials is what makes them so cool!

Thanks again man!


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Guest AlexVDL

Here's a Gibson Les Paul studio which I converted into a 50's les paul with wraparound tailpiece.


another angle

You must place it under an angle because of the intonation. It sounds weird, but this guitar was intonated perfectly.. couldn't be better. But if you have problems you could also file some grooves into the tailpiece so the string fits in it. This way you can move the point of contact a bit foreward, but you wont notice the groove because the string sits in it.

By the way the stoptail can go lower than a regular TOM, but I still think you'll have to angle the neck a bit.

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Alex, the early 50's LP that you are copying would have had a very slight neck angle (not like modern LP's) and would have had p90's (so not totally historically accurate, but that's probably not what you were going for anyway, right?). I think that Gibson didn't perfect the neck angle thing until late '54 or '55 (from what my friend Steve has told me, I wasn't even born then LOL). Yours looks great though, I sure wouldn't kick it out of bed for eating crackers. What pickups do you have in it?

Edited by javacody
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