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 Post subject: A Roller Bridge Buzz Hyothesis
 Post Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:43 am 
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Posts: 215
Preface: In another thread I surmised that the undesired string buzzing (high-frequency rattling) of the old style Rick roller bridge might be due to saddles that move (wiggle) easily. The current standard bridge saddles have a spring on each saddle assembly which not only keeps the saddle in place (obviating the need for a nut on the adjustment screw as with the roller bridge), but more significantly, also places a steadying pressure on the saddle, preventing it from wobbling, possibly creating a rattle/buzz. The springs for the standard bridge are readily available and can be installed on the roller bridge. I noticed that each roller of the roller bridge has a rather shallow, cut out channel for the string to lie in. These channels are the same width and depth throughout all six rollers on their respective individual saddles; I measured the string channel width to be about 0.030 inches and close to 0.020 inch in depth. So, the thickest string used sits in the same roller channel as the thinnest string does.

I have a generic roller bridge of a more modern design, one used on guitars whose owners have rarely, if ever, complained of roller bridge buzz. I compared the two, more specifically, the individual rollers on each this modern roller bridge and the old (vintage) style Rick roller bridge. The modern rollers have a relatively wide “V-shaped” channel, which automatically accommodates a variety of string thicknesses, and is also deeper in depth. Strings that exceed 0.030 inches in width are supported only by the sharp edge of the outer surface of the string channel of the vintage roller. The thicker the string is on this, the less lateral support that is offered. With the channel having parallel walls, there is less tendency to allow string tension to force the vibrating string (back) into the string channel (enhance seating of the string). I surmise that the vibration of a thicker string causes it to laterally leave the channel alternately as it vibrates, creating the buzzing as it bounces left and right. The “V” shape of the modern roller is deeper than the channel of the vintage roller and its slope allows for a vector of downward, seating force which tends to maintain the position of the string on the roller.

(I discovered that the saddles/saddle assemblies of the "modern" bridge did wiggle when I checked them with my finger tip. So, necessarily, I've had to discard [mostly] my previous theory that "loose" saddles were the main cause of roller bridge buzz.)

Here are some photos. (Someday I’ll have to get a camera that can take nice macro shots.) Take a look through them and decide for yourself if the design differences between the vintage and modern rollers could be a cause, or at least, a contributing factor to roller bridge buzz. I don’t see an easy fix for this. The vintage rollers could be replaced, but at significant expense and effort. Reports of roller bridge buzz being controlled with grease or oil on the rollers may be the only simple remedy, and I’m not sure exactly why this works. It’s certainly worth a try.

This site, I found, can no longer accommodate photos with embedded links to a photo hosting site that allows concurrent reading and viewing of photos in a posted thread. The attachment facility does work, but I find it will accommodate only a maximum of three (3) attachments per reply. I’ve had to place these 12 photos in multiple replies for that reason. (I used some old bronze acoustic strings for my photo props.) Take a look, if you want. Remember the title of this thread… it’s only a theory. What’s yours?


Attachments:
File comment: Vintage style Rick roller bridge
1. Rick Roller Bridge.JPG [90.68 KiB]
Not downloaded yet
File comment: Vintage roller. Note the string channel design.
2. Rick Roller - no string.JPG [66.59 KiB]
Not downloaded yet
File comment: Vintage roller with .024 string. This string seems to lie within the channel OK.
3. Rick Roller - .024 string.JPG [73.35 KiB]
Not downloaded yet


Last edited by maxwell on Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: A Roller Bridge Buzz Hyothesis
 Post Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:46 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:16 am
Posts: 215
Here are the remaining photos for the vintage bridge/rollers:


Attachments:
File comment: Vintage roller with .032 string
4. Rick Roller - .032 string.JPG [69.11 KiB]
Not downloaded yet
File comment: Vintage roller with .042 string
5. Rick Roller - .042 string.JPG [64.3 KiB]
Not downloaded yet
File comment: The largest string I have on hand, .053. Note that it does not sit very well within the string channel. Don't you think it could slip out easily?
6. Rick Roller - .053 string.JPG [75.66 KiB]
Not downloaded yet
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 Post subject: Re: A Roller Bridge Buzz Hyothesis
 Post Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:56 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:16 am
Posts: 215
Now, here are photos of the more "modern" roller bridge, and its rollers and accompanying string props:


Attachments:
File comment: An example of a more current, modern roller bridge
7. Other Roller Bridge.JPG [107.73 KiB]
Not downloaded yet
File comment: Other/modern roller without a string. Note the design; contrast with the vintage roller design.
8. Other Roller - no string.JPG [61.66 KiB]
Not downloaded yet
File comment: Other/modern roller with .024 string
9. Other Roller - .024 string.JPG [79.74 KiB]
Not downloaded yet
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 Post subject: Re: A Roller Bridge Buzz Hyothesis
 Post Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:16 am
Posts: 215
Here are the remaining photos of the other/modern rollers with strings:


Attachments:
File comment: Other/modern roller with .032 string
10. Other Roller - .032 string.JPG [84.57 KiB]
Not downloaded yet
File comment: Other/modern roller with .042 string
11. Other Roller - .042 string.JPG [61.8 KiB]
Not downloaded yet
File comment: This .053 string sits somewhat high, but contacts sloping channel sides.
12. Other Roller - .053 string.JPG [85.05 KiB]
Not downloaded yet
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 Post subject: Re: A Roller Bridge Buzz Hyothesis
 Post Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:33 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:16 am
Posts: 215
I woke up this morning with a hazy vision of a threaded telecaster-style barrel saddle in my mind, and thought, “Rats, there goes my theory.” These are fairly popular, right? But I started reading via various forums and posts on the internet and found that there are varying opinions about barrel saddle design and their performance. What I seemed to find is that some people do experience rattling/buzz from strings on these, and it seems mostly attributed to the larger strings not sitting definitively within a groove and there for tend to vibrate against the threads. Some blame the play in the adjustment screw (saddle assembly). Most people address rattling by opting for one of the other two designs of barrel saddles: smooth or with a single, definite groove. If this theory of buzz has any merit, then, again, there doesn’t seem to be an easy fix for the vintage style Rick roller bridge; you’d have to replace the rollers. Crimping the uprights holding the rollers in order to pinch them and prevent any movement of them would seem fruitless. In light of this, dropping a little 3-in-1 oil on the roller as well as the sides of the roller and shaft that support the roller, is worth trying. Installing springs still seems like a nice idea.


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 Post subject: Re: A Roller Bridge Buzz Hyothesis
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:47 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:21 am
Posts: 4
Thanks for all the help with this issue! I appreciate the quick and well laid out responses! Scott


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 Post subject: Re: A Roller Bridge Buzz Hyothesis
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:40 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:16 am
Posts: 215
You're welcome, Scott. I do enjoy problem-solving. BTW, I looked through the internet, trying to find replacement rollers -- there are no repair parts for those, so if you (I really mean, anyone) wanted to replace the Rick rollers, you'd have to buy a bridge. It seems that most of the bridges of the "TOM" ("Tune-O-Matic") style that I showed in a photo have the rollers attached is some way that I can't figure out, unless they are tack welded or glued into place. The most promising source of replacement rollers would seem to be on a set of individual roller saddles that are made for Stratocaster-style guitars (well under $20). A problem here would be determining if the replacement rollers have an acceptable width, which is 3mm/0.12 inches. If not having any channel or "V" groove seems acceptable (i.e., smooth, "flat" roller), there is small tubing available, and this would be (the smallest I could find) metal spacers used in assembling fishing line tackle. Just cut to length.

So, now the difficult part would seem to be getting the old roller of the Rick saddle, and the new one on. I took a Rick roller saddle off and discovered that one of those really big paper clips had a decent diameter that fit into the pin hole of the saddle yet too large to slip into the hollow pin that retains the roller. I tried to push the pin out with my hand, but the pin is in there too tightly. A pair of plier-like device (maybe a paper punch) modified with a pin on it would work (nah, too difficult to do/make) or a section of that paper clip held in place with something that has a Dremel-like/drill bit-like holder (what's that called? "collet"? I think so.) to hold the pin as you tap it out with this "punch" and a small hammer. I have a little file set that has small, round files that fit into a small handle with that collet design. Just put the saddle in a vise, tap out the pin, secure the new roller by pressing (initially with a small hammer, the final seating with pliers) the pin back into place. Well, this is just me thinking....

Anyway, I'd be curious (probably all of us on both web sites) what you decided to do.


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