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Thread: SE Stoptail Bridge Differences

  1. #1
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    SE Stoptail Bridge Differences

    I've got an SE Soapbar II that I picked up on a trade, and it's turned out to be the best 'bang for the buck' guitar I've ever owned. I recently picked up an SE Singlecut Soapbar to go along with it. When I removed the bridge from the Singlecut, I noticed that it was considerably lighter than the bridge on the Soapbar II. I don't have a digital scale to get the exact weights, but there is definitely a difference. Could the Soapbar II possibly have a US bridge? If so, would there be such a noticeable weight difference? The Soapbar II is a 2004 and the Singlecut is a 2008. Could the older SE models have used a different material for the bridges?

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    it's mostly pot metal, so i think there might be inconsistencies in the weight. pot metals are like, die-cast metal, unlike the US parts which are actually cut out from metal blocks. Or what you had said maybe true. The previous owner may have swapped the stock bridge for something else. You could always contact him to make sure.

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    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
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    As above, apparently the SE are cast Aluminium and the USA are milled from billet Aluminium. Yes the SEs could vary in weight due to differences in casting but would they weigh less than a milled USA one? Possibly not, as the density of die casting Aluminium alloys are pretty similar to billet (as they can be lighter or heavier). Not knowing what alloy the SE's are...

    If it's been changed a US bridge, there might be other ways to tell. Finish for one, when I look at a SE bridge I can tell it's a relatively inexpensive part, it looks like it's been chromed, and the finish isn't perfectly smooth. I haven't seen a USA bridge for a while, but in photos they look very smooth, like a high quality nickel coating. Can you take a macro pic of both and post it up?

    If someone did change it out, they may have changed the studs too, so pull them and check to see if the threads are the same (metric vs ancient).

    What's interesting is I think there's a new stoptail coming out that is all brass, and nickel coated everywhere except where the strings touch the bridge. I'd be very interested in trying one of those in my SE semi-hollow.... (paging Shawn!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by justmund View Post
    As above, apparently the SE are cast Aluminium and the USA are milled from billet Aluminium. Yes the SEs could vary in weight due to differences in casting but would they weigh less than a milled USA one? Possibly not, as the density of die casting Aluminium alloys are pretty similar to billet (as they can be lighter or heavier). Not knowing what alloy the SE's are...

    If it's been changed a US bridge, there might be other ways to tell. Finish for one, when I look at a SE bridge I can tell it's a relatively inexpensive part, it looks like it's been chromed, and the finish isn't perfectly smooth. I haven't seen a USA bridge for a while, but in photos they look very smooth, like a high quality nickel coating. Can you take a macro pic of both and post it up?

    If someone did change it out, they may have changed the studs too, so pull them and check to see if the threads are the same (metric vs ancient).

    What's interesting is I think there's a new stoptail coming out that is all brass, and nickel coated everywhere except where the strings touch the bridge. I'd be very interested in trying one of those in my SE semi-hollow.... (paging Shawn!)
    pot metal definitely has lower density compared to milled metal, so the weight could be slightly lighter. pot metals are casted from moulds while milled metals are pressed by tons of force to increase the density. and you're right about the finish. USA parts definitely look different from their SE counterparts. all we need are pics.

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    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
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    Where did you get your info from that SE bridges are pot metal and not a die cast Aluminium alloy? I think we're talking about 2 different things here.

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    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    I happen to have a spare one of each. The SE is from my SE Soapbar II. The USA one is from the 90's, snagged off eBay.

    Both weigh the same on my (relatively accurate) food scale, right around 44g or so. They both make an identical "plink" when I tap them with a pick, if that means anything.

    I think they did a good job of getting a nickel-esque finish on the SE, but there are some telling differences:

    -The SE uses metric threaded intonation screws
    -The USA has two light ridges that run lengthwise on the bottom
    -The USA has two holes drilled in the bottom
    -The holes where the strings exit the back are beveled on the SE, not beveled on the USA

    Disclaimer: Design changes to either bridge could've been made. Either could have weight variations and maybe it's just chance mine weight the same. YMMV, etc., etc.
    Last edited by garrett; 03-19-2013 at 08:00 AM.
    --Garrett--

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    Quote Originally Posted by justmund View Post
    Where did you get your info from that SE bridges are pot metal and not a die cast Aluminium alloy? I think we're talking about 2 different things here.
    idk, i've heard pot metal (die cast zinc with nickel plating) on forums somewhere else, my info could be wrong. thanks for the correction man

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    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxtuna26 View Post
    idk, i've heard pot metal (die cast zinc with nickel plating) on forums somewhere else, my info could be wrong. thanks for the correction man
    All good dude, I heard on forums somewhere else both were Aluminium, with the difference being US is milled from billet and the SE is cast. Pretty sure this was a response from PRS. I just kinda doubt PRS would use cruddy pot metal on their guitars, it'd have the tonal qualities of a marshmallow.

    Then again, there's only one way (ok 2 ways) to be sure, ask them!

    Justin

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    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    Heard both Pot Metal (Zinc alloy) and Cast aluminium for the SE bridges on various forums. Which is right I don't know other than it's some kind of casting as opposed the the US machined aluminium bridges.

    I've never compared US and SE ones but I have no issue with the bridge on My Bernie at all except for the tolerance on the posts.
    Modified SE Bernie Marsden, SE Custom 24 2012, Fender Strat
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    Wishing for a Blue Bernie!
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    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justmund View Post
    What's interesting is I think there's a new stoptail coming out that is all brass, and nickel coated everywhere except where the strings touch the bridge. I'd be very interested in trying one of those in my SE semi-hollow.... (paging Shawn!)
    Just watched the PRSh/Davy Knowles vids on the Paul's Guitar - I was wrong, it's actually brass inserts in the bridge, not a completely brass bridge

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    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    So what is the deal with these brass inserts? Are they in the string grooves?
    -I'm no expert, but it seems to work and I haven't electrocuted myself yet. Which is pretty much the standard I live by.

    SE Custom 24 25th Anniversary - SE Akesson+57/08's - SE 30 Head/Cab

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    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy474x View Post
    So what is the deal with these brass inserts? Are they in the string grooves?
    (Thanks 3-mike)


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    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justmund View Post
    (Thanks 3-mike)

    ah, I see! Thanks!
    -I'm no expert, but it seems to work and I haven't electrocuted myself yet. Which is pretty much the standard I live by.

    SE Custom 24 25th Anniversary - SE Akesson+57/08's - SE 30 Head/Cab

  14. #14
    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
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    I wonder how they make it, obviously they mill out the recess for the insert, but do they press fit it in there? Cool down the Brass bits and put them in there before they expand (or heat the Aluminium bridge)? Mill down the finished product so it's all flush, or are the tolerances that good there's no need to after insert the Brass bits? Secret squirrel stuff obviously, but it's freaking cool either way!

  15. #15
    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justmund View Post
    I wonder how they make it, obviously they mill out the recess for the insert, but do they press fit it in there? Cool down the Brass bits and put them in there before they expand (or heat the Aluminium bridge)? Mill down the finished product so it's all flush, or are the tolerances that good there's no need to after insert the Brass bits? Secret squirrel stuff obviously, but it's freaking cool either way!
    Elves.
    -I'm no expert, but it seems to work and I haven't electrocuted myself yet. Which is pretty much the standard I live by.

    SE Custom 24 25th Anniversary - SE Akesson+57/08's - SE 30 Head/Cab

  16. #16
    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy474x View Post
    Elves.
    It fits into place by using unicorn horn dust, it's got a very unique properties: When between two moving surfaces, it works much like any powder "lubricant" (such as Graphite), but once the 2 surfaces stop moving against each other, it magically increases friction so those two parts will never move again, unless acted upon by massive forces. Such as Thor's Hammer.

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