The overall length of the strings from peg to tailpiece is longer than a stock strat, since the V3 Gator tailpiece assembly IS longer... approximately 5/8" longer than stock... The overall length increases by yet another 5/8" with the V4 Gator bridge, total is about 1 1/4" above stock strat overall length.
The bridge to nut length changes as well between stock and V3, High E is roughly the same and the low E appears to be around a 1/4" longer... same slant that you'd see on a gibson. Most like to compensate for intonation issues. Length from bridge to nut is still within the Fender scale length. The slant is NOT present with the V4 bridge, that bridge is perpendicular to the strings.
There may have been a modest increase in bridge height with the V2 bridge, the is evident in the angle of the string break after the bridge. the angle of break may have been why the tailpiece was moved, to lessen the angle and/or increase the bridge height.
So I agree that they were going for a string height increase with the V4 bridge and tailpiece. They were also working on increasing the length of string beyond the bridge, wolf V1 has even more distance bridge to tail than any of the Gator versions.
In order to compensate for the bridge height change, it was necessary to increase the string length past the break point. The longer overall length means more tension to get a string to pitch, coupled with the high action it would meant the higher frets would have a greater chance of being sharp as a result of the pressure required to fret... Which may have led to the neck shimming for the angle you describe to alleviate this problem.
This change from the stock bridge to the modded V3 bridge may have been what gave Gator more oomph during 72 and later. It loses it's twang after the Spring of 72 and we don't hear that twangy strat sound again until Veneta 72.
Waldo041 wrote:this is essentially the setup he played the rest of his career. aside from the beans they all had this setup, bridge tailpiece and action, after alligator.
My turn to beg to differ...
Wolf was the high water mark for this... Tiger and Rosebud both have decreased overall string length from pegs to tail. So Wolf would have had the highest overall string tension of any of Jerry's Guitars as a result of that (If strung with strings of the same type and gauge). But Gator V4 probably had higher tension on the high G thru high E strings due to the headstock layout.
Here's a shot from below, 5/26/72... the tailpiece looks flush to the body, same as it does in the photo from 7/18/72.
http://ray.tuholski.net/GatorV3_files/1 ... 6_1780.jpg