Rickenbacker Twelve String Bridge

I decided to rectify the tuning issues I have with my Rickenbacker twelve string guitar.

For some reason, Rickenback fit a six string bridge to their twelve string guitars. It just doesn't make sense as there is no way you can set the correct intonation for each string. With a six string bridge you can only set an average distance and this will always end up 'chorusing' at some point on the neck.

There were two issues in this project, namely:

  1. Purchasing the bridge, and,
  2. Fitting the bridge.

Purchasing the bridge was a pain as there is no Rickenbacker dealer in Australia. The closest is Japan and they didn't respond to my e-mails. I found a place in the U.S.A. but found that they can't ship outside of the U.S.A. due to some licensing restriction. Crazy! Fortunately I had a friend in Texas, so I had the bridge shipped to him and then he posted it on to me.

Fitting the bridge was a tricky operation and one I did not dare attempt. I took it to my trusted luthier and he fitted it. A work of art if I do say so myself, the picture shows the impressive result.

Ric Bridge

Just have a look how far the intonation varies between strings. No wonder the six string bridge couldn't cope!

Notice that I had to remove the tensioning springs on the D and G strings to bring the saddles back far enough to set the correct intonation. This was an exercise in itself. Although you can't tell from this picture, the hole through the saddle is a fraction higher than the holes is the bridge. This results in the screw having to assume a banana shape, highest at the saddle. You really don't need those springs, those saddles are never going to move.

Of course you need imperial Allen Keys to do the work, and I do mean work. It's really hard to turn those screws.

In the end I am very happy with my purchase, the guitar sounds wonderful and in tune.