Sunday, May 04, 2008

Finishing the Baritone Guitar

One of the final stages of a guitar’s construction is gluing the bridge in place. All the varnish, lacquer, whatever has to be scraped off of the soundboard, back to bare wood so that you get a good glue joint between the two surfaces. Get this wrong and you wreck the guitar!!
The positioning of the bridge has to be spot on. I’m sure that most people who are reading this will know that the bridge’s saddle has to be set back further than its theoretical positioning order to get the intonation correct. The longer the scale length the further back the saddle has to be.
Now that distance i.e. between the theoretical position and its actual position was, for the baritone and its 685mm scale length, “a known unknown.”
So I built this....

....I call it my Rumsfled jig: it allows me to experiment and find out known unknowns! By sliding the movable saddle back and forth, I can find the ideal position for the saddle for any combination of scale length, string gauge and pitch.

With the distance found out the position of the bridge can be ever so carefully marked out, the lacquer scraped off and the bridge glued on.

Some fine tuning (literally) later and we have one completed Baritone guitar ready for collection!

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