I had been planning on making a bridge, but this one has all the right specs and some fancy snowflakes. And only $11.69 with free shipping. Ordered 2. Shipped from the US so I should see them in a week.
Although it will required a compensated saddle vs. the angle of the saddle slot in the vintage Yamaha's having a rounded saddle. It may screw up the scale length. I'll have to figure it out when they get here. The worst that happens is I lose a week or 2 and make a bridge anyway.
Well, the teak oil didn't even out the color. And worse, when I hit it with steel wool it started to go thru the black. So I started over. Taped the neck, re-inked, waited a few hours, and wiped water thin super glue over the whole top & sides of the fretboard. And that looked like crap!!! All blotchy, flat and glossy. I waited a couple of hours and steel wooled the whole thing and it turned out pretty good.
Well, I got the frets in. And it wasn't how I thought it would go!! The fret slots must have been cut just the right depth for the frets. ANY debris in the slots will keep the fret from seating. I had to recut EVERY SLOT!! Fortunately I have the flush trim saw that cuts the right size. Then clean out the slot with the .016" saw. I also have to look carefully at every fret and get the orientation correct! Each end was rounded differently. And a very slight difference in leveling. The only problem I had is very slight errors in positioning that resulted in many sharp fret ends. Actually EVERY fret end is sharp!! I had done a little sanding on the fretboard edges. So I'll have to file every one! Good practice I guess.
I haven't done an update in a while. Not much progress, actually.
On 1/22 I received the bridges. Had to fill a few areas around the snowflake with super glue and rosewood dust. Scraped it flush, realizing the whole bridge has some kind of finish on it. Sanded the whole bridge until the dust was brown. Cleaned with naphtha. Ebonized the bridge with India ink. Put a couple of coats of shellac on top at front of bridge area to fill in the area not covered by the bridge.
1/23 I smoothed bridge with 0000 steel wool. Sealed bridge with water thin super glue. Smoothed with 0000 steel wool. The finish isn't perfect, but it'll do. Shellac on top still mushy where it overlaps the lacquer.
1/24 I scraped shellac areas flush, sanded with 1000 grit & polished with Dremel. Put tape on top at front of the bridge and traced bridge. Cut out the tape and used a chisel to remove top material. Sanded bridge area as flat as possible. It's perfectly flat at the back but has a crown at the front. Can't remove that much material, it'll have to be clamped down.
Next, I'll have to contour the front of the bridge to fit the curvature of the top.
While I'm working on this, I'm also working on my 1972 FG-140. It needs a neck reset AND a complete fret replacement.
I fit the bridge to the contour of the top. Maybe not perfect, but it looks good from my house. And in the picture.
My sanding setup. I didn't want to sand the back edge of the bridge since it fits nearly perfect. So I put 2 layers of masking tape on it for protection. And sanded the middle of the rest of the bridge over the rounded edge of my very ugly sanding block.
Next, I need to make a clamping caul, drill 2 holes, and glue it down.
MORE PROGRESS!!!!! The bridge is attached!! Well, at least it's clamped and the glue is drying.
I found an existing bridge clamping caul with the right hole spacing.
The bridge is clamped in place and the 2nd & 5th pin holes are drilled thru the top. I previously CAREFULLY drilled the holes in the bridge on the drill press. The holes are predrilled almost thru. Don't want to slip at this step!!
Because of the complexity of the clamping I elected to use Fish Glue instead of hot hide glue. Hide glue has seconds before it gels and no longer sticks, slightly longer if the parts are heated. Not enough to get the washers on, tighten the nuts, AND clamp the bridge wings. That took well over a minute. Fish Glue is also a protein glue, but it has a much longer open time, up to 30 minutes. Clean up is said to be a little harder as it gets very sticky as it starts to harden. This is my first time using it, and this was a sealed bottle. It didn't seem any harder to use than hide glue, except I had 10 times longer to clamp the bridge.
After the wing clamps were on I removed the inner caul, afraid the screws would be glued to the guitar.
I've made a nut, although it needs final sanding; and a saddle, although it needs the compensation cuts.
I was just checking the scale length, figuring it was a little long but not too bad, and I find the slot in the saddle is cut at a back angle!! I figured the saddle was 1/16" off, but because of this angle it's another 1/32" off!! But the saddle is still a bit high. Maybe more than a bit. Shortening it will lower that error. But the angle isn't helping my scale length problem!!
But I've read you're better off being too long (flat) vs. too short (sharp. Sharp is much easier to hear than flat.
IT LIVES!!!! Well, sort of. This is EXTREMELY preliminary. Just to see where I am. A lot expected and a couple of surprises.
Put the really crappy Seagull Menestrel tuners back in. Tuned to "D", to save the strings. The nut & saddle action are a mile high. No surprise. The low E is 9/64 and the high e is 1/8", a full 1/16" higher than I want. The high action (forward neck angle) actually shortened the scale length, making the 12th fret harmonic intonation OK, but the fretted intonation is +10 to +15 sharp. No surprise with how much the string has to stretch to be fretted. The neck projects 1/16" below the bridge. Yep, the neck angle is still off. And the strings are off center 1/16", a bit more than I expected but no big surprise. The big surprise is the saddle I made sticks out of the bridge .15", right where I want it to be. BUT, I could have sworn it was more like .21" before I put strings on it!! I was going to sand .03" off but didn't, wanting to see where it was. Good thing I listened to myself!! That doesn't always work.
So there's still a lot of work to do. After I sand the heel and bring the neck angle back I know it's going to lengthen the scale length, probably more than 1/16", maybe even close to 1/8". And the neck is way off center. I'll leave it strung up until tomorrow or Friday.
Oh, yea. It sounds OK. It's hard to tell with the action so high, tuned to D, and new strings.
So I presume you adjust off-center strings at the saddle? Would think that would be easier than at the nut.
No. I have to adjust it at the heel by taking more wood off the whole length of the heel on one side. The neck pivots on the other side of the heel recentering the neck. It can be a pain chasing it. A neck reset isn't a straight forward sand the heel to change the neck angle. The sanding can affect changes in ALL planes, causing the strings to be off center or the action to be too high for one E or the other. It can be a geometrical disaster!!! And taking the measurements to check where you are isn't straight forward. I do preliminary checks with a straight edge and then with the 2 E's on. This is just a best guess. You never know how it's going to come out until the neck is glued on and you put the final strings on it at full pitch. It's definitely not a good job for people who get stressed easily!!!