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gardo

Roller Bridge Rattles

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Rattles and roller bridges seem to go together. I'm a retired mechanic so maybe I look at things a little differently. The sound from the rollers reminds me of the sound a dry bearing

So what would I do with dry bearing ? lubricate it of course.. Well I'm just crazy enough to try the same thing with the rollers and it worked. Now whether this would affect the tone I don't know but on an es-335 clone I think it sounds fine.. I pulled the bridge off and sprayed some red grease on it then wiped off the excess. It was still a little messy looking so I shot it with some WD 40 and wiped it clean

The WD may have even helped carry the grease inside the rollers, May not be the recommended method and I wouldn't do this to a Gibson but I can always clean it off if I should want to

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Like you I was an engineer. I love the idea of roller bridges. The only quirk is that the string departs a round surface rather than a sharp edge like say a tunomatic. Initially you think that doesn't matter because the wave on the string is almost zero at that point.

But that thinking is wrong because the string is getting longer and shorter along it's whole length uniformly at frequency just as when you bend. So any play in the roller (which is a moving component not actually an end stop like a normal bridge) will respond to that. Adding a drop of oil acts as a hydraulic damper and discourages rattling.

 

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Like you I was an engineer. I love the idea of roller bridges. The only quirk is that the string departs a round surface rather than a sharp edge like say a tunomatic. Initially you think that doesn't matter because the wave on the string is almost zero at that point.

But that thinking is wrong because the string is getting longer and shorter along it's whole length uniformly at frequency just as when you bend. So any play in the roller (which is a moving component not actually an end stop like a normal bridge) will respond to that. Adding a drop of oil acts as a hydraulic damper and discourages rattling.

 

You are right, and dampening is not always a bad thing. This is why some people use a rosewood saddle on a hollowbody . Rosewood is softer than steel and will dampen the vibrations . Even brass will slightly dampen the vibrations compared to steel

To my ears the guitar has more of a "wood" tone compared to the tune-o matic and stop bar

 

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Maybe graphite on the axles.

 

I even considered a dry chain lube which is probably similar

 

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I tried several different roller bridges. Some rattle much worse then others. Not allot you can do about it besides use heavier strings.

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I tried several different roller bridges. Some rattle much worse then others. Not allot you can do about it besides use heavier strings.

 

This is another thing going on . I actually went lighter to 9s because I like the sound and yes they are more prone to roller rattle

 

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I had/have a bit of a crazier bridge rattle issue on a Fender Jaguarillo. It has a Jazzmaster style trem, but the bridge is a tune-o-matic style. It had one saddle that rocked side to side when the string was vibrating. This not only caused a noticeable buzz sound, but was also a significant sustain killer. I talked to Sweetwater and Fender about it. Fender said they'd send me a new one when they had one in stock, but they never followed through. Bastids.

 

Sweetwater took a bridge off a Jaguarillo they had in stock and sent it to me, but it had even more saddles with the wiggles. So far I've given it a "high-tech" solution of shoving a bit of common staple wire on the side of the saddle so it has no room for movement. Not a great solution at all. It will probably eventually fall out and I'll find it some day stuck in my foot, but it's working for now.

 

I occasionally look for replacement bridges, but I have this conundrum of wanting to find a replacement bridge that has a 9.5" radius to match the neck radius. I don't know what the radius is on the stock bridge, possibly it's also a 12" like the replacements I see, but for right now, the staple wire is working. LOL

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I ordered a Wilkinson roller bridge for a 2007 Epiphone LPC and found that the roller saddle was too wide for my 10 gauged high E string .... Even an 11 gauge was too small.

I ordered a GFS copy of the Wilkinson roller bridge, it was a perfect fit or no rattle .

Only negative was that I have to drop in some lube every once in a while so my sweat and dirt from hand don't clog up the the roller saddle from rolling.

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Allot of the TOM style bridges use a ball end of a guitar string as grooved roller. The problem with that is, the roller has a square groove cut into it which produces poor string contact and poor string tone because the string either rests on the flat spot at the bottom of the groove or the two top corners with heavier strings.

 

I have a Moserite style roller bridge which has V slots which seem to have better string contact and tone but the rollers are larger then the TOM style and rattle even worse. I used to have a vintage Moserite and it didn't seem to rattle at all. I suspect its because I got it when it was over 20 years old and whatever lubricant in there has hardened up to remove schlock in the rollers. It may have been the fact they used different metals too. I think the Moserite combine nickel and steel. I tried greasing the generic Moserite I bought but the grease absorbs vibration and makes for dead strings I had to degrease it to get my sustain back.

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