Fender Electric XII String Spacing

Discussion of vintage Jazzmasters, Jaguars, Bass VIs, Electric XIIs and any other offset-waist instruments.
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akpasta
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Re: Fender Electric XII String Spacing

Post by akpasta » Tue Aug 07, 2018 6:43 am

Hey folks! I found a friend with a CNC machine who has volunteered to make me a new string saddle block. I'm heading over there tomorrow.

One question I have is I don't know the thread size and pitch of the string height adjustment screws

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EmUst5 ... sp=sharing

Does anyone know?

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DaddyDom
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Re: Fender Electric XII String Spacing

Post by DaddyDom » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:58 pm

I have your answer. Regardless of others' saying theirs doesn't do this, if yours does, here's what you do and you won't need any new saddle blocks.

So, when I got mine, I played it a lot (weird, huh!) and the saddles started to get messy. I wondered, what is the saddle like underneath? Guess what, they flip right over, and they were like new underneath.

If I were you I would rotate each block over 180˚ (just spin it on its screw) then use a nut-saw to cut yourself some light grooves where you feel the strings should be.
Cut whichever side looks worse so if you need to return it to standard, the grooves will be on the messier side and underneath.
Genius, right?!

Good luck and good night,
DD

www.dominicblaazer.net

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akpasta
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Re: Fender Electric XII String Spacing

Post by akpasta » Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:53 am

DaddyDom wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:58 pm
I have your answer. Regardless of others' saying theirs doesn't do this, if yours does, here's what you do and you won't need any new saddle blocks.

So, when I got mine, I played it a lot (weird, huh!) and the saddles started to get messy. I wondered, what is the saddle like underneath? Guess what, they flip right over, and they were like new underneath.

If I were you I would rotate each block over 180˚ (just spin it on its screw) then use a nut-saw to cut yourself some light grooves where you feel the strings should be.
Cut whichever side looks worse so if you need to return it to standard, the grooves will be on the messier side and underneath.
Genius, right?!

Good luck and good night,
DD

www.dominicblaazer.net
Thank you! I thought about this too. It's on my list of things. I was worried it might not be possible to cut grooves that tiny but mostly that it would be impossible to fix it later (you only get one shot). I want to go the reversible route first so I can experiment with string spacing to find the right separation before permanently altering anything.

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akpasta
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Re: Fender Electric XII String Spacing

Post by akpasta » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:25 am

Hey Folks,

For those who are interested I fixed the issue. It makes a HUGE difference in my opinion.

Here's what I did:

I asked a friend to make me an aluminum copy of the string saddle block, as you can see here https://drive.google.com/file/d/12TnqqU ... sp=sharing

Then I measured the distance between strings on my Danelectro 12-string, which is similar to what you find on most other 12s as well. There's about .10" between each string on most 12 strings, but only about .05.5"-.065" between strings on the Fender XII. So I cut spacers out of feeler gauges to make up the difference. .035" was good for the higher strings and .03" was good for the thicker, lower ones.

I then removed a considerable amount of material from the inside of each post, enough space to place a string spacer gauge between the strings of each set. It took a little bit of trial and error to get it right but once I removed the correct amount of material and got the spacers in, it COMPLETELY opened up the sound. Strings no longer buzz against each other in a subtle, but sustain-killing way. Also, something I hadn't really considered, it made the guitar feel faster and smoother to play, because the string sets stay apart when you fret them, instead of bunching together under your finger, which had made them feel tighter before.

Issues I thought might come up: Will the the spacers fall out easily? Nope, doesn't happen at all because there's too much tension on the strings. The saddles are really pulled together tightly. You only risk losing one when you're changing all the strings, but it's so easy to cut a new spacer out of a feeler gauge, it's no big deal if you lose one. I thought I'd have to space the strings more at the nut as well and I already have a nut with the string spacing slightly wider as well, but nope, not at all, I guess the vibration was happening more up the neck closer to the bridge, which kind of makes sense as it's closer to the attack and probably vibrates more..

Here's a comparison of the original and the updated bridge with wider string spacing. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WYHPWX ... sp=sharing

It looks a little bit ugly if you get close, but it's very very subtle if you look at the whole guitar. I suppose I could measure the altered saddle block and have my buddy make a perfectly machined one, but this is fine for me. I could also probably make a more attractive spacer instead of a cut up feeler gauge but again, this is fine for me too.

Finally, for all you purists who were aghast that I was trying to fix something on this guitar by making it not original. All you have to do is swap the old string saddle block back in and it's 100% original again.

Thanks for chiming in along the way.

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mgeek
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Re: Fender Electric XII String Spacing

Post by mgeek » Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:12 am

Glad this worked out!

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DaddyDom
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Re: Fender Electric XII String Spacing

Post by DaddyDom » Sun Oct 21, 2018 3:48 pm

Good work! I was wondering how you got on.
DD

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akpasta
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Re: Fender Electric XII String Spacing

Post by akpasta » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:43 am

Thank you!

Ya it's been great so far. I only need one more adjustment. I've been using a new nut since I had the guitar first set up and it was cut a little low, so there's some string buzz up top on a few strings. I just need to get a new nut cut, and some of the strings will be a little spaced more at the nut which will cut down on the side-to-side string buzz even more I anticipate.

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DaddyDom
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Re: Fender Electric XII String Spacing

Post by DaddyDom » Sun Oct 28, 2018 2:34 pm

I was reading a post on Roger McGuinn's sound and something that really stuck out was that his guitars were strung with flatwounds from the factory. Roundwounds came a little later - so I'm wondering how those would fit into the big picture with an Electric XII? Did Fender use rounds or flats in '66?

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