Modifying a Modern Telecaster bridge plate
Second in our series of step-by-step procedures to modify your stock Telecaster bridge plate, this article’s focus is on a modern style flat plate bridge with 6 offset saddles. This modification is for folks that desire a B5/B50/B500 vibrato on their Telecaster, but wish to keep the stock bridge on the guitar. If you aren’t the type that likes to modify your guitar, be sure to check out the other options we offer: the B5T Telecaster kit (B5 vibrato, bridge, and bridge plate) as well as the B16. On to the mod…
The tools we used to complete these modifications were:
*Rotary tool (we used a Dremel)
*Dremel EZ Lock Grinding Wheel (Dremel item EZ 541GR)
*Metal hand files (1 squared edge, 1 curved edge)
*Safety glasses, gloves
Starting out, we used a straightedge and pencil to mark the new string path on the back of the bridge plate (photo 1). As this plate was designed to be used on either a string through or top-load guitar, we had additional reference points to make sure our alignment was correct. Before scoring the location of our cuts, we flipped the saddles over to allow room to easily use the hobby saw (photo 2). After marking and scoring the areas on which we would make the cuts, we removed all 6 saddles. It was now time for the Dremel; remember: don the safety glasses and gloves. We chose the Dremel EZ-Lock Grinding Wheel for this task (photo 3). Again making sure to not make contact with holes for the saddle mounting screws, we cut into the plate approximately 1/8″ (photo 4). For a standard Telecaster installation (B5/B50/B500 placed approximately 1″ behind the bridge), this is an appropriate depth. Depending on the vibrato placement you choose, the depth can be altered. After all six cuts were made, the next step is to remove any burrs or rough edges. Although the strings won’t be touching the edges, we still like to leave the grooves as clean as possible. Our squared edge and curved edge files made short work of the this (photo 11). After the saddles are re-installed, the bridge is ready to go back onto the guitar (photo 12). Have you done a similar mod on your guitar? Share it with us via Facebook HERE.