Replacing strings on the PRS SE Custom 22 Semi-hollowbody

Discussion in 'PTC - PRS Tech Center' started by IceTre, Jan 9, 2020.

  1. IceTre

    IceTre New Member

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    Greetings,

    I just bought one of these, and it came with very skinny strings, which I don't like, so I was trying to change them. This is going to sound like a funny question, but the balls of the strings are stuck in the bridge. I was able to wiggle the two low strings around and jar them loose, but I can't get the other 4 strings to come out. I've never had this problem with other guitars. Am I missing something on this guitar?

    Thanks,
     
  2. Wakester

    Wakester Re Member

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    I use a wood tooth pick or narrow bamboo skewer to knock out the balls when they stick like that.
     
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  3. IceTre

    IceTre New Member

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    Thanks Wakester, that worked. This is my first PRS guitar, although I bought a PRS baritone last year. I've owned a lot of guitars over a lot of years, and never had this problem before. Must be something with the particular bridge they use on this model.
     
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  4. IceTre

    IceTre New Member

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    OK next problem: I put new strings on, but when I bring them to pitch, the ones I did previously all go flat. I bring them up again, and they're all flat again. Then I noticed the bridge was leaning WAY far forward; the whammy bar was parallel with the body. When I tighten the strings, it just brings the bridge forward so they all go flat again. Weirdest thing I've ever seen. PRS guitars are definitely different. What's the secret to putting new strings on and tuning with this PRS bridge?
     
  5. rbert0005

    rbert0005 New Member

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    Did you file the nut to accommidate the thicker strings?

    Bob
     
  6. Wakester

    Wakester Re Member

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    It normally takes about 3 consecutive tunings to get all the strings to stay in tune. Dont forget to gently stretch the strings between tunings. This will help reseat the ball ends in the bridge, and allows the strings to remain in tune longer. If the bridge plate is up at an angle after tuning, you will have to adjust the tensioning plate inside the trem cavity to being it back level with the body of the guitar. The plate is level to the guitar, not the bar.
     
    #6 Wakester, Jan 9, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  7. alantig

    alantig Zombie Four, DFZ

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    You went to a higher string gauge, right? You said in the first post you didn't like skinny strings, so I'm assuming you did. If so, you're going to have to adjust the trem claw to make sure the bridge sits parallel to the top of the body. And you'll probably have to adjust the truss rod a bit to keep the action low. FWIW, neither of these are difficult, just take your time and make small adjustments, then check the results.
     
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  8. Sloopy65

    Sloopy65 New Member

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    Whatever you do, DO NOT touch the screws going across the front of the bridge. You'll mess up your whole bridge. The bridge is leaning forward because thicker strings have higher tension. You'll have to tighten the screws in the back of the guitar to give them more tension so it sits level. If you went up to 10s or 11s and are staying in standard tuning, you may have to add an extra spring, which should've came with the guitar. You'll have to balance the bridge with the string tension so it sits parallel to the body of the guitar, which could take some time. If you haven't yet, a full setup done by a luthier who's worked on PRS guitars is a good idea. You may need to have the nut slots widened to account for the thicker strings, a truss rod adjustment to handle the added tension, and some action/intonation adjustments. All of this affects the trem bridge and it's angle to the body.
     
  9. IceTre

    IceTre New Member

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    Thanks for the replies. To respond to everything:
    1. After removing the stock strings, which I assume were 9's, I tried D'Addario Extra Light Gauge Chromes, Flat Wound, 10-14-20w-28-38-48. That is when I noticed the problem that it wouldn't tune and the bridge kept leaning forward. I have many guitars with tremolo bridges and never had a problem with 10 gauge strings, or even heavier. So this was new to me.
    2. The nut is fine, no need to file it for the slightly bigger strings.
    3. I realized that the other 5 strings in this set were larger than the standard 10 string set, so I tried Ernie Ball Slinky Cobalt 10-13-17-26-36-46. Still had the problem but not as bad.
    4. It occurred to me that the extra spring supplied with the adjustment tools in the gig bag might be for this purpose. I put it on (moving the middle spring to the adjacent spot so it's balanced, with the middle spring post emply) so now I have 4 springs. That seemed to solve the problem. But of course the trem bar is stiffer now. I liked how it felt with 3 springs.

    Regarding these points made in your comments:
    "...you will have to adjust the tensioning plate inside the trem cavity to being it back level with the body of the guitar. The llate is level to the guitar, not the bar."

    I see two screws in there attached to the plate with the springs; that makes sense.

    "...you're going to have to adjust the trem claw to make sure the bridge sits parallel to the top of the body..."

    I don't know what you mean by "trem claw." Do you mean the same thing as above-- the two screws in the back cavity?

    "You'll have to tighten the screws in the back of the guitar to give them more tension so it sits level"

    Do you mean the 3 allen screws? I assume you don't mean the intonation screws. How does this interact with the two screws inside the cavity? Which should I adjust first? If I adjust these two things, can I go back to 3 springs?

    Is there a written procedure somewhere? I looked all over the PRS website and couldn't find one. I wish PRS included a setup booklet with the guitar like Fender does, or at least had a procedure easy to find on the website.

    After all this is sorted out, I can adjust the neck angle; I've done that many times so I'm not worried about that. But I assume I should do the trem adjustments first. Thanks again for all your help.
     
  10. Sloopy65

    Sloopy65 New Member

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    Yeah PRS bridges are a whole different animal than classic Fender or Floyd bridges. We're all referring to the same screws when we say "trem claw" or the screws in the back I was referring to. It's the two screws attached to the plate with springs. If you tighten those you can make the bridge sit parallel to the body without having to add the 4th spring. It's more about preference, you can add the spring if you like a "tighter" feeling trem or you can just tighten the screws so it has more spring tension to combat the string tension. Both methods accomplish the desired bridge position.
     
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  11. Sloopy65

    Sloopy65 New Member

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  12. IceTre

    IceTre New Member

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    I went back to 3 springs, and then adjusted the 2 phillips screws on the "claw" and retuned, and got the bridge perfectly level. Thanks for the help!
     
  13. Wakester

    Wakester Re Member

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    We are all saying the same thing. The "tensioning plate" or "Claw" in the cavity accessed from the back of the guitar, is held by 2 screws. Conceivably, you should be able to switch back to 3 springs, adjust the two screws, retune, adjust, and retune, adjust, retune, until you get the Trem leveled again. Take little turns with the screws each time until it is level again (1/4 turn at a time on each screw) Turning the screws into the body should lower the back of the trem. turning the screws out of the body will then have the opposite effect.
     
  14. Wakester

    Wakester Re Member

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    I took too long to type my last response. You got he idea.
     
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