Quick Review – Darren Riley’s Guitar and Amp Shop – Raleigh, NC

I just wanted to do a quick little review on a parts supplier I recently found– Darren Riley’s Guitar and Amp Shop in Raleigh, NC.

I was in the market for a replacement bridge for my Squier VM Jazzmaster. The stock bridge uses the threaded-type string saddles, and I have a heavy enough technique that the strings kept moving on the saddles. I found a replacement bridge– Fender # 0081239001, Bridge w/ posts Mustang Chrome.

Darren had the item at a good price, and shipping was reasonable, too. I figured it would arrive fast, since Darren’s shop is just two states away.

Darren was really helpful. I wanted to make sure the bridge would fit, so I emailed to ask if he could take two measurements for me. I emailed him at 2:09PM on a Saturday, he emailed me back with my answers less than an hour and a half later, and I placed my order about an hour and a half later. Now that is great service– I didn’t expect an answer until Monday.

He sent my order out on Monday, and it arrived today, Thursday. The item was exactly as expected, and well-packed with bubble wrap and foam peanuts. He even included a couple of picks.

Overall, everything about this order was perfect, and I will not hesitate to order from Darren when I need parts in the future– and I will need parts in the future. There are a lot of online merchants who could learn a thing or two from him.

Darren Riley’s Guitar and Amp Shop – Raleigh, NC

5 thoughts on “Quick Review – Darren Riley’s Guitar and Amp Shop – Raleigh, NC

  1. i just ordered a VM Jazzmaster myself (should be here in a couple days), and i was wondering about this bridge. is there any space between the saddles, or do they touch each other? some of the replacement Mustang bridges seem to have saddles that aren’t quite wide enough, and they end up with space between each saddle (which isn’t optimal since they can shift side-to-side and do weird things to the string spacing.) Warmoth has their modified Mustang bridge, but it’s twice the price of this one after shipping, so a less expensive option would be great!

  2. Hi Cat,

    The saddles do touch each other, yes.

    Here’s the thing. The threaded saddles that come with the VM JM allow you to alter the string spacing. Since there is no center slot, you can move the strings over slightly. I did not like this *at all*. The strings were not evenly spaced, and were constantly moving. That is what lead me to the Blacktop bridge.

    Now, the Blacktop bridge has the center slot to hold the string in place, and is the appropriate radius, but it has the same problem that it appears the Warmoth modified Mustang bridge would have– 2 3/16″ (55.60mm) string spacing. This is just too wide for the VM JM.

    I found that the strings were spread too far, and trailed closer to the edge of the fretboard as you move up. This made it difficult and uncomfortable to play.

    In my research, I found the StayTrem bridge, which people seem to be raving about. I don’t like how it looks, so I wouldn’t get one, but their design does provide some insight. They built their bridge with 52mm string spacing.

    Aha! That is the key. 52mm spacing. I took my bridge saddles off, and filed 0.6mm off of the inside edges. This brought the string spacing down closer to 52mm and the strings are now parallel to the fretboard edge.

    There is a slight gap between the saddles, but the tension of the strings holds them together. The other solutions I have seen are to either put a rubber band around the saddle screws, to hold them together, or to flip the bridge around and drill new saddle screw holes for 52mm spacing. The rubber band option is out for me– too cheesy– and the saddles have not moved enough to cause me to redrill.

    Either way, my VM JM plays great now, definitely better than when I first received it.

    Mike

    • i’ll definitely play with the stock bridge first and get a feel for it. depending on how i can get it setup, i might forgo the modified Mustang bridges. strings that are too close to the edge of the fretboard drive me nuts, so once i set my JM up to where i’m happy with it, i’ll take some calipers to the string spacing and see how off it is from the modified Mustang bridges. alternately i might just end up filing deeper notches in the stock saddles, which would be the cheapest option and wouldn’t be too difficult.

      the Staytrem and Mastery bridges are both nice, although i have a hard time justifying the $100+ cost of either of them. but i can at least use some of their improvements to help me tweak whatever i end up going with.

      thanks for the info!

  3. What are the measurements on the thimbles that come with that particular bridge. I ask because I have a blacktop JM and a Squier VMJM. The thimbles on the blacktop are actually a little smaller than the VMJM, so the bridge doesn’t rock. This is messing with tuning stability. Meanwhile the VMJM has the correct thimble size but has the vintage saddles which lead to the problems you encountered. If the thimbles that come with this bridge match the VMJM then I can fix 2 problems in one go by using the bridge on my Squier and the thimbles on my blacktop.

    Thanks!

  4. Hi RadicalAns,

    As I recall, the thimbles were in fact smaller than the VMJM. For that reason, I did not replace the thimbles in my VMJM (or my VM Jag).

    I wish I had better news.

    Mike

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