PRS Mccarty Bridge Question

slyfox

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Jun 26, 2022
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Greetings,

I'm thinking about an S2 or SE McCarty and wanted to know, is it typical for the strings to touch the back part of the bridge on their way down to the tailpiece?

I had this problem with a Gibson Nashville bridge and although it was possible to tune the guitar, the "feel" of the string was different when doing intricate single note type picking.

I held an SE recently and looked at it and noticed it looked like the high E might have touched the back part of the bridge but I didn't spend a lot of time with it. The action was rather low and I tend to like it a little higher so I'm concerned if I raised it up, the angle would steepen and definately would be touching. In this event, should one raise the tailpiece? When I tried to correct this on the Nashville bridge Gibson SG I had, the tailpiece was way too high and changed the tension way too much...felt like I was playing a Kleenex box with rubber bands. I returned the guitar and gave up on Gibson.

I've been able to get agreeable set ups with the Gibson abr1 bridge, but the Nashville is too wide for strings to clear the back of bridge without substantially raising the tailpiece. I guess I want to know is am I going to have this problem with the McCarty bridge?
 
The obvious solution is to set the action where you want it, and if the string(s) are touching the back of the bridge, then just raise the tail piece until they're not.

I have a '23 McCarty 594 with the tail piece decked on the body i.e. as low as it will go. Only my low-E is touching the back of the bridge. Personally, I don't care as the sound/feel of the low-E isn't any different than the other strings. For me, it's not a problem.

I've wondered for a long time why no one who manufactures tune-o-matic style bridges doesn't do so with a small notch on the back of the bridge above each intonation screw to alleviate this "problem". Product idea for someone ;)

And then there's this, but geared more toward Gibson-style tail pieces:

https://lightningguitars.com/products/new-lightning-stop-bar
 
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I used to think the tailpiece should be all the way down to the body for improved sustain, etc. But I was convinced (thanks Les!) that it didn't really affect it, and by raising the bar I was also improving the feel. Think of it as similar to top-wrapping on a Gibson style stop bar. You're reducing the angle from the bridge to the bar. And it's just turning a couple of screws - try it, and if you don't like it just put it back to where it was. But that could definitely resolve the issue of the string contacting the back of the bridge
 
I recall finding a company called Faber hardware when I had a Gibson in the past that make various size spacers that go on top of the screw that goes into the body and underneath the tailpiece so if you do have to raise the tailpiece you can maintain a solid contact.

I think the word sustain gets thrown around a lot. I noticed a difference with the tailpiece down, but not in sustain but rather the strength of the note at the onset.

Not to start the whole tailpiece debate, I wouldn't take issue if i raised it a little. The SG I had to raise it a lot and it sounded and played poor.
 
The obvious solution is to set the action where you want it, and if the string(s) are touching the back of the bridge, then just raise the tail piece until they're not.

I have a '23 McCarty 594 with the tail piece decked on the body i.e. as low as it will go. Only my low-E is touching the back of the bridge. Personally, I don't care as the sound/feel of the low-E isn't any different than the other strings. For me, it's not a problem.

I've wondered for a long time why no one who manufactures tune-o-matic style bridges doesn't do so with a small notch on the back of the bridge above each intonation screw to alleviate this "problem". Product idea for someone ;)

And then there's this, but geared more toward Gibson-style tail pieces:

https://lightningguitars.com/products/new-lightning-stop-bar
I also wonder why no one manufacturers a bridge as you described. I did come across an Ibanez semi hollow with one that had half circles cut out and I thought about time someone thought of that!
 
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