Thunder 1A Bridge

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Thunder 1A Bridge

Post by Gandalf on Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:49 am

Hi, new to the site but hoping someone might be able to help. I bought a Matsumoko Westone Thunder 1A 6 string in the early 80's, played it for a couple of years and lent it to a friend to learn on when I stopped playing. Long story short, I got it back last year (2013)!!!! It plays fine but the bridge rollers, screws and springs are tired and I'm replacing them. I'm trying to locate the screws which I think are M2.5 X 35mm long pan head screws but struggling to find any. I'm making new rollers and replacing the M3 x 10mm long cup point set screws so just need the long screws. If anyone could help locate them I'd be grateful because this guitar is far too good to allow it to die on me now!

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Re: Thunder 1A Bridge

Post by Barry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:10 am

Hi Gandalf and welcome.  Very Happy


When you refer to "bridge rollers" I think you mean "barrel saddles". These do not roll. In fact these bridges are among the few major boo-boo's Matsumoku made IMHO, and were quickly replaced by a more traditional design.

They tend to be quite unstable laterally and the strings do not track correctly up the neck. I have replaced 3 of them, one on my Thunder I-A plus 2 others on Vantage branded guitars (also by Matsumoku).

My advice would be to replace the bridge entirely rather than fiddle with springs and screws. And definitely don't bother making more barrels, it won't help. You can find more information on our web site: CLICK HERE

There are also a few posts in the Forums (mostly mine) about the design problems with these things and how they are easily corrected by replacing with an off the shelf unit.

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Re: Thunder 1A Bridge

Post by Gandalf on Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:32 am

Thanks...............felt a little isolated owning the thing till I found this site!

Does the bridge shown in the shop pictures fit as a direct replacement? The parts I'm replacing are FOC and underway so I'll fit them and try them in the meantime but replacing the whole thing should be better.

How could I get hold of the replacement bridge and what's the rough cost?

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Re: Thunder 1A Bridge

Post by Barry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:43 am

Gandalf wrote:...How could I get hold of the replacement bridge and what's the rough cost?
Click the link in my post for "official" replacement information. The Gotoh is the original one used on subsequent Westones and is solid brass. But it is expensive coming from Japan. The American replacement from Armadillo is cheaper but only relatively so since it's a custom build in limited demand.

I simply used basic replacement models from eBay. Inexpensive but not brass, so you may or may not prefer to use them. I find they work just fine for me. Again, follow the links on the earlier reference, and if you decide to go to eBay, etc. be sure and use the dimensions shown on our web site for the Gotoh.

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Re: Thunder 1A Bridge

Post by Gandalf on Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:46 am

Thanks, yes I've printed out the drawing and details so I'll have a look around. Appreciate your help.

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Re: Thunder 1A Bridge

Post by Westbone on Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:09 pm

Haven't got one around at the moment but think you'll find those screws are 3mm x 35.


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Re: Thunder 1A Bridge

Post by Gandalf on Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:19 pm

Hi, they are definitely M2.5 x 35 long and like rocking horse poo! I contemplated tapping the barrels to M3 but the springs won't fit over..........it's all very delicate so no wonder they changed it!

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Re: Thunder 1A Bridge

Post by Westbone on Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:42 pm

Buy new springs or
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/M2-5-2-5mm-A2-STAINLESS-SLOTTED-CHEESE-HEAD-MACHINE-SCREWS-SLOT-SCREW-DIN84-/360693202922?pt=UK_DIY_Material_Nails_Fixing_MJ&var=&hash=item53fafd7fea

Where in this world are you, UK?

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Re: Thunder 1A Bridge

Post by Barry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:51 pm

Dump the barrel saddles altogether. They just don't line up the strings correctly because  they're offset from where they should be--dumb design.

You might consider just replacing them with standard saddles (10.5 mm spacing) and retaining the original plate. At least the intonation screws are in the right place.

Life's too short to bugger about with an inferior piece of hardware.
Have a READ HERE for more information on replacing these things.

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Re: Thunder 1A Bridge

Post by Gandalf on Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:00 pm

You have point........I'm an engineer based in Manchester by the way. That new bridge looks altogether better so I'll find one.

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Re: Thunder 1A Bridge

Post by Westbone on Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:43 pm

Those bridges are 'F' spaced by the way.
They've become known as 'The Barry Barrel' bridge as he hates them with a vengeance... Laughing 

There's 2 models, one that hooks up at the back 'bend' in the plate and one that hooks into the base. Which one do you have?

Replacements can be found here.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/strung-through-bridge-Hard-tail-fixed-6-saddle-bridge-B1-/130621955228?pt=UK_Guitar_Accessories&var=&hash=item6420a15170

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Re: Thunder 1A Bridge

Post by corsair on Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:16 pm

Westbone wrote:They've become known as 'The Barry Barrel' bridge as he hates them with a vengeance... Laughing 


 Laughing 

You know, i suspect he secretly really, really likes 'em.....

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Re: Thunder 1A Bridge

Post by Westbone on Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:31 pm

Yeah! he's hoarding 'em alright... Twisted Evil 

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Re: Thunder 1A Bridge

Post by Barry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:16 pm

Westbone wrote:Yeah! he's hoarding 'em alright... Twisted Evil 
Drat! My secret is out!
I was gonna melt 'em down and make summit shiny to put on the hood of my car.  What a Face

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Re: Thunder 1A Bridge

Post by Gandalf on Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:14 am

Mine is the one that hooks into the back bend. The strings aren't in line properly. I assume the ones in the link sort this out? I'll go for the brass coloured bridge to match the rest of the hardware. I'll post some pics before and after for the record.

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Re: Thunder 1A Bridge

Post by Meadows on Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:12 am

You might want to check this out also

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/guitar-bridge-westone-thunder-gold-brass-messing-matsumoku-Vintage-string-Thru-/301111110055?pt=Allgemeines_Musikinstrumente_Zubeh%C3%B6r&hash=item461b9ee9a7

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Re: Thunder 1A Bridge

Post by Barry on Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:18 am

That's a string thru bridge. OK for a version 2 Thunder but not version 1 which is a top loader.

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Re: Thunder 1A Bridge

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