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Pesky bridge saddle screws on my strat

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by ScooterStrat, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. ScooterStrat

    ScooterStrat Strat-Talk Member

    11
    Oct 16, 2014
    Michigan
    Hello all. New here and was wondering if anyone can advise on dealing with the bridge saddles screws that stick way up on my 93 mim strat. I was considering a SuperVee bridge replacement so the screws are recessed in relation to the saddle. However they cost about $200.

    Can the screws be shaved down?

    Any advise?

    Thanks

    Scooter
     

  2. ghostwolf

    ghostwolf Mod Admin Staff Member

    Jan 5, 2009
    texas
    Admin Post
    you can either grind them down, order shorter ones from Stewart MacDonald, or shim the butt end of the neck and raise the saddles
     
    fezz parka likes this.

  3. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    58
    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    Your best bet is to buy some new, shorter screws. Are the MIM Strats metric or imperial?
     

  4. ScooterStrat

    ScooterStrat Strat-Talk Member

    11
    Oct 16, 2014
    Michigan
    Thanks for the replies. I will look into buying some shorter screws.
     

  5. stratman in va

    stratman in va Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    48
    Jul 27, 2012
    Virginia
    I had to shim the end of the neck on an Ibanez to get the action nice and low. Not only did it let me lower the strings/raise the board, but the height screws were lowered and the break angle improved as well as the sound/tone. That guitar is a toploader- old Ibanez Blazer.
     

  6. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Unless there's really something wrong with the way the body and neck address and fit each other, please don't shim the guitar. Actually though, if you haven't had the neck off, not a bad idea to check for a "front shim" and remove any you find, plus clean out all the excess crud and polishing compound and so forth, and drill the holes through the body out to 11/64ths with a typical twist bit drill bit. Then, order the following from Bill Callaham:

    a) 6 hardened bridge mount screws. So inexpensive, easy and very worthwhile upgrade;

    b) Set of 6 new saddles from him, compatible with your MIM model. The stock ones are really awful garbage, way loose tolerances and just the crummiest materials. He utilizes 4-40 premium hardware - would not hurt to order a few extra in the shorter length to be super prepared for any eventuality;

    c) get a nice fat neck plate and some slot head (vintage Tele style) neck screws. With the correctly fitting spade bit screw driver, this is a dynamite way of being able to tighten precisely these fasteners - not too firm, not too loose.

    Now you've spent just enough that shipping costs are irrelevant basically.

    You could get a replacement block and arm (imperial threads now, old arm is metric) and this is normally about the durability of the block to arm join. If you seldom use the whammy, never run it hard, hard to justify the additional cost on most guitars. However, if you still have that very tiny "joke" MIM trem block, you could get a full size steel block and have a whole new guitar in your hands.
     

  7. jpmist

    jpmist Strat-Talker

    437
    Mar 26, 2010
    Decatur
    Dunno why Boris hates shims as much as he seems to. ;) Since the factory uses them to insure the necks are within proper specs it's a mystery.

    I'm not going to get into a "Tastes Great!/Less Filling!" debate, just letting you know a pretty cheap option is to put a trimmed business card under the neck adjacent to the holes closest to the end of the neck so the nut tips down which makes you raise the saddles higher so the saddle screws don't rip the flesh off your hand.

    Yes you can shave the screws down, but you need a way to hold the screws that won't crush the screw threads and grinding bits to shorten and polish the ends.

    You can also bring your current screws to Ace Hardware or the like and they'll fix you up with shorter ones.

    Or you can order some from www.stratcat.bix/hardware-screws-saddle-height.shtml

    We just went thru this discussion a week or so if you wanna search on it. It was pretty entertaining :) . . .

    Good luck!
     

  8. smurph1

    smurph1 Senior Stratmaster

    May 29, 2013
    West Virginia
    I think you could take one to Lowes or home Depot and buys 6 shorter ones for a few bucks
     

  9. SAguitar

    SAguitar Senior Stratmaster

    Jun 28, 2014
    Oregon
    I file mine down to size. Once I have the neck, action, intonation, the whole thing set up the way I like it, the last thing I do is shorten those dang little screw. I'll back out the screws, one at a time, put it in a small vise grip and file it down, rounding the edges off a bit. Then I'll screw it back into its saddle and raise the action with it until that string is back in tune. It it's still above the saddle I just repeat the process.
     

  10. MrPoppa2

    MrPoppa2 Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    76
    Apr 5, 2011
    Sun City, Az.
    Ace and True Value both sell set screws in varius sizes, both mild steel and stainless, and in metric or U.S. Take one with you to get right thread, hold them together to see if the threads mesh. They also sell allen wrenches by the each, be sure to try them out once you find the correct set screws.

    I don't think that Home Depot or Lowes sells screws by the bulk. I worked at Ace for 25 years, and helped a lot of guitar players, most had no clue about screws.
    .....Poppa
     

  11. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    58
    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    I'm not sure that it's simply that Boris hates shims. Shims are an excellent tool for setting a guitar up & getting the neck angle correct. It just shouldn't be the first thing you try when you face a problem like the OP has. If the neck angle is already correct but the screws are too long, the best solution is to buy some new, shorter screws. Easy.

    If that doesn't resolve the problem, then you can try a shim. But it shouldn't be the first thing you try to solve a problem like this.
     

  12. pumpkin

    pumpkin Former Member

    Age:
    67
    125
    Aug 5, 2017
    Richmond VA
    ...that link is invalid in 2/2018
     

  13. jpmist

    jpmist Strat-Talker

    437
    Mar 26, 2010
    Decatur

  14. pumpkin

    pumpkin Former Member

    Age:
    67
    125
    Aug 5, 2017
    Richmond VA
    ...that link is no good
     

  15. jpmist

    jpmist Strat-Talker

    437
    Mar 26, 2010
    Decatur
    Works for me, just try www.angela.com
     

  16. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    58
    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    That's what happens when you dig up zombie threads that have been quite happily dead for four years!

    Zombie thread grave.jpg
     

  17. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    71
    May 26, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL
    lesse you're in Michigan.. rumor is there's some hardware stores up there... so...

    take one of the screws to the Helpful Hardware Man.. tell him you want a half dozen each of various lengths in stainless steel with that thread... should cost ya under 5 bux ....

    unless ya live 150 miles away. then there's the gas, the flat tire, the transmission going out, the piece of gravel bouncing outta the dump truck you're stuck behind chipping the paint on your hood, bouncing up and cracking the windshield, then the cop that stops ya a few miles down the road for driving a car with a non-conpiant windshield.. and the ticket... Oh well at least they will probably be better quality than any "specialty" screws ya buy specifically for a guitar off the internet.. :D

    rk
     

  18. Marcel

    Marcel Strat-Talk Member

    31
    Feb 15, 2009
    The Netherlands

  19. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    58
    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    Correct length screws solve the problem at a considerably lower cost.
     

  20. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 26, 2014
    LAS VEGAS , NV
    You are of course correct, but those HG saddles are pretty OK on several other levels. I especially like the longer string thru slot and the string locating grooves aren't so bad either. And even buying through $tewMac, the price is only $4 more than a set of the Callaham units! At least I would not swap them out if they came on a guitar I'd purchased! Not sure that I'd spend that much on saddles, but maybe, when/if I finally find "That Strat" that wants to be my life long keeper!

    Just My $.02,
    Gene