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Thread: Trem/bridge question (with pic)

  1. #1
    Member jrw32's Avatar
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    Trem/bridge question (with pic)

    Hi,
    Just received this PRS, and whoever had it before me pretty much screwed down the trem screws all the way, thus tilting the trem (pic below) & making the front of the bridge pretty much rest on the top. Surprisingly, there are no intonation or tuning issues and it plays well. I know how to set up PRS trems, but have never messed with those 6 screws in front of the saddles. Do I need to worry about how it is currently set? I usually block my trems anyway, and it pretty much functions like this now anyway, though I'm a little nervous about leaving it like this as I know the bridge should be floating. Should I be concerned and raise the screws up so it's floating? Appreciate the suggestions!

    !

  2. #2
    Occasionally Onery Member CantankerousCarl's Avatar
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    I am going to be careful on how I answer...as I gave some hasty advice once and was flogged a bit.

    The danger in moving the six set screws is that the trem will fall out of the knife edge and then have intonation issues, damage the bridge, etc.

    I have bought a few used PRSi with trems, and one in particular was almost as low as yours. I don't use the trem, but prefer how trem-equipped PRS sound in general, so like you I would block, or sometimes just add a spring to stiffen in up since they stay in tune well.

    If you have the ability, send it into the PTC and have the pros do it for you - chances are the person who had it before you may have not been so careful, and it could be out of whack already...

    That being said, I did carefully "turn the screws" once, on my first SE Santana, because the bridge was crazy high off the body, and I couldn't get the saddles low enough to get the action where I wanted it. I played that one for awhile, I don't think I did any damage, but I sure as hell wouldn't have done that with a USA PRS, especially with a Mil-Com trem
    1990 CE24 MT | 1991 CU24 | 1991 CE24 | 1992 CE24 MT
    1993 STD 24 | 1997 CE24 3pc MT | 2008 SE Semi-Hollow Soapbar
    2011 SE Akesson | 2011 CU24 GC Throwback | 2012 Signature Limited
    2013 408 Brazilian | 2013 Paul's Guitar | 2013 S2 Mira | 2013 Hollowbody II
    2013 CU24 Swamp Ash Limited | 2014 SE Zach Myers (incoming)

  3. #3
    Senior Member swede71's Avatar
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    I have my trem set up like that.I have to use longer saddle height screws though.The tilt i think is from the string tension.Try to detune and see if its moves flat to body,block and tune up again.Bridge should be floating for saddles and tremolo to work as designed,however if you usually block trem and saddleheight is ok i think you should keep it this way.Personally i think this added body to my tone,just as a blocked trem resting on body on a Fender strat add alot to the strat mojo.I bet you have a good sounding PRS as it is right now .What kind of model is it.Mine is a CU22 soapbar.
    Last edited by swede71; 09-04-2013 at 09:14 PM.
    I de-modded my CU22 soapbar and made a factory spec setup.Im in love again.I very much believe now PRS guitars are perfect as they are.

  4. #4
    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    I'd have it at PTC so fast...stop tails are too much work for me.
    Plank Owner

  5. #5
    There's no way on earth I'd want my PRS trem set up like that. Seriously, it's wrong on so many levels.

    I mean, Swedes think that a herring has mojo. So you can safely ignore Swede71.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  6. #6
    Senior Member swede71's Avatar
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    You should try the fermented herring LSchefman
    I de-modded my CU22 soapbar and made a factory spec setup.Im in love again.I very much believe now PRS guitars are perfect as they are.

  7. #7
    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    http://prsguitars.com/csc/bridges.html

    The correct adjustment of the six brass screws, which act as a pivot and anchor the tremolo system, is level with each other so the bridge floats 1/16" off the body. These 6 screws are factory adjusted and you really should not have to adjust them at all. If it becomes necessary to adjust the 6 notched screws, make sure the guitar is detuned or you will ruin the knife-edge. Adjust the screws incrementally so the notches under the screw heads are fitted with the corresponding hole in the bridge. These holes serve as the knife-edge on which the tremolo unit rocks. Again, this is a very tricky adjustment and could ruin the knife-edge if done improperly.

    The Bridge saddles should be low in the range of adjustment to keep the action low and leverage of the bridge in good working order. They should be adjusted so that the height of the string at the top of the 12th fret to the bottom of the string is 2/32".

    If the tremolo bridge is not floating 1/16" off the body, remove the tremolo back plate. Adjust the claw screws about 1/4 turn at a time until the bridge floats perpendicular to and about 1/16th off the body. Tune to pitch and check, re-adjust until the bridge sits properly.
    The intonation may be adjusted by moving the 6 phillips head screws facing the tail end of the guitar in and out with a phillips head screwdriver. Match the octave (fretted) note of all six strings with their corresponding 12th fret open harmonics by shortening or lengthening the strings with the adjusting screws.

    Remember to tune and retune until the process is complete.

    If you are unfamiliar with making these adjustments, we recommend that the guitar be taken to a qualified repair center.

    Unless you're good with setups, repairs, etc, I'd take it to a trusted tech. The previous owner may well have wrecked the knife edges when they cranked it down.
    Last edited by garrett; 09-05-2013 at 08:27 AM.
    --Garrett--

  8. #8
    When you say the front of the bridge is sitting flush do you mean the front where the 6 screws are or the other (back) end of the bridge. Meaning, is it the screws that were tightened/lowered or was it just the trem spring claw that was screwed-in farther making only the rear of the bridge sitting flush/against the body.
    Hey, not trying to say that you don't know your way around a bridge and guitar...just , some people think the 6 screws need adjusting and not just the spring claw screws.

  9. #9
    Member jrw32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blaren View Post
    When you say the front of the bridge is sitting flush do you mean the front where the 6 screws are or the other (back) end of the bridge. Meaning, is it the screws that were tightened/lowered or was it just the trem spring claw that was screwed-in farther making only the rear of the bridge sitting flush/against the body.
    Hey, not trying to say that you don't know your way around a bridge and guitar...just , some people think the 6 screws need adjusting and not just the spring claw screws.
    As you can see in the pic, it's the front of the bridge. Whoever had it tightened the screws all the way down. The spring claw screws were not tightened at all. I know it's not advised, but I may try incrementally raising the screws tonight as instructed by PRS. Dumb question though: how will I know if the previous owner ruined the knife edges? Anything visible I should be looking for? Thanks again all!

  10. #10
    Yeah...I have never adjusted those 6 knife edge screws before. With all the "BE CAREFUL" warnings and the "you might damage the knife edge" posts, it seems like a dangerous prospect but after reading more and learning more about it, it's not a big deal. Just (obviously) don't do it while strings are on and tight, do all of them the same amount, keep a close eye on them and...you should be just fine. I wouldn't be scared to do it to any of my PRSs if I had to right now.

    Other than pulling it and inspecting it closely I don't know how you could tell if there's damage already but if it works as it should...well no harm no foul.

    Hey, it's an SE. One of the good things about them is that you can mod them..mess with them...and even ruin them without putting yourself in the poorhouse. The SEs are AWESOME modding and learning platforms. The very worst case scenario would be that you did damage the bridge And strip all 6 screwholes. That twould give you a great excuse to buy a new Mann bridge or if that's too pricey, I'm sure you can find SE trem bridges for peanuts on the Bay. Just make sure IT isn't damaged too...but they're probably out there for cheap from people who upgraded to a Mann. As for those stripped holes...well you can go all out and fill them all and re-drill them...or do the McGyver/Welfare fix...shove a hunk of a wooden toothpick or skewer in the hole and drive the screws home.

    Anyway...as you are doing..research how to deal with the knife edge and it's screws. There is TONS of help and info out there and...take your time, do each screw incrementally a little at a time...you and your guitar will be JUST FINE!
    Congrats on the SE. They are an AMAZING value...and just an amazing guitar at any price. Honestly, since I got the Tremonti SE Custom...my USA PRSs don't get a whole lot of use.

    Keep us posted and if you need any help...this is the place tot get it. I'm not the right member but there are many among us who have done this before with no issues and they, I'm sure, are happy and willing to help.

  11. #11
    Occasionally Onery Member CantankerousCarl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blaren View Post
    That twould give you a great excuse to buy a new Mann bridge or if that's too pricey, I'm sure you can find SE trem bridges for peanuts on the Bay. Just make sure IT isn't damaged too...but they're probably out there for cheap from people who upgraded to a Mann.
    From one of my PTC inquiries, I was told that the PRS/Mann bridge screws are in different places - so a Mann Made or PRS Trem is not a drop-in for an SE.
    1990 CE24 MT | 1991 CU24 | 1991 CE24 | 1992 CE24 MT
    1993 STD 24 | 1997 CE24 3pc MT | 2008 SE Semi-Hollow Soapbar
    2011 SE Akesson | 2011 CU24 GC Throwback | 2012 Signature Limited
    2013 408 Brazilian | 2013 Paul's Guitar | 2013 S2 Mira | 2013 Hollowbody II
    2013 CU24 Swamp Ash Limited | 2014 SE Zach Myers (incoming)

  12. #12
    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrw32 View Post
    As you can see in the pic, it's the front of the bridge. Whoever had it tightened the screws all the way down. The spring claw screws were not tightened at all. I know it's not advised, but I may try incrementally raising the screws tonight as instructed by PRS. Dumb question though: how will I know if the previous owner ruined the knife edges? Anything visible I should be looking for? Thanks again all!
    The screws should have nice smooth V's in them. The holes in the bridge plate should be nice and round. If someone tightened the screws with tension on the strings, there will be nasty gouges in the plating and probably into the brass, too.

    The edges will wear from regular use, too. It'll be a bit more gentle wear compared to cranking on the screws. Hopefully they did it right and you can get the screws back to their original position by lining up the natural wear in the grooves.
    --Garrett--

  13. #13
    Member jrw32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CantankerousCarl View Post
    From one of my PTC inquiries, I was told that the PRS/Mann bridge screws are in different places - so a Mann Made or PRS Trem is not a drop-in for an SE.
    This is not an SE, but a Hiland. Yeah I've been doing my research and will take my time with it. If anything seems outta whack, back it goes. Will keep you all posted, thanks all!

  14. #14
    Senior Member swede71's Avatar
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    So much mystery and warnings about the PRS trem.A smart and simple evolution of the Fender trem.The PRS bridgeplate pivots agaist the notched screws and balance between the tension of the strings and the tension of the springs,in other words its floating.If you want to check the tremolo screws or the knife edges take away all the tension,strings and springs(from claw).For an original setup start with the 2 outer screws and adjust til bridge sits 1/16 above body.When the 2 outer screws is adjusted you proceed with the other 4 screws and check from the side,both bass to treble and treble to bass.The notches in the screws should be an even dark line.First after all this is done you add tension again with strings and springs.Just saying,there is nothing to be worried about,if guitar sounds great and you like it like this keep it as it is.Personally,even how much i love the design of the PRS trem and how it works i think having it floating takes away from the tone.I think the same of Fender tremolos.I got the idea of my setup from Fender Eric Clapton strat.Blocked and flush with body really makes wonder for the tone.
    Last edited by swede71; 09-05-2013 at 03:24 PM.
    I de-modded my CU22 soapbar and made a factory spec setup.Im in love again.I very much believe now PRS guitars are perfect as they are.

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