In order to have the bridge placed exactly right, the neck must be in place, before making measurements for the bridge placement. This is necessary , in order to into account the inaccuracy of the neck-body alignment. It was a good thing that I read this somewhere, because I was off by about 1.5-2 mm, and the bridge needs to be set a bit higher on the body to compensate. Nobody will notice the misalignment of the bridge in relation to center, when the music is playing, and proper alignment of the strings is crucial, in order to avoid the strings slipping off the fretboard.
The way one measures out for the bridge, is by measuring the distance from the nut, to the 12′th fret (in my case 32 cm), and extending the same distance from the 12′th fret (64 cm from the nut). This is the rough estimate of where the bridge should be placed.
The estimate is only rough, since the bridge placement needs to compensate for some things in order to be able to intonate the strings correctly. In fact, its better to wait with the drilling of the actual bridge holes, until the height of the strings have been determined. More on this later.
Step one in the tiresome bridge placement procedure is to place the tail-piece. I added the a couple of centimeters to the estimate of the bridge placement, and drilled the two holes with a diameter hat matched the thinnest part of the tail-piece posts. This would make sure that the “fins” on the bottom part of the tail-piece posts would get a good grip in the wood.
Tail piece and posts can be seen here:
The top most part of the drilled holes were widened a bit with a bigger drill, so the rim of the tail-piece post would be level with the surface when inserted. The fins of the posts were covered with glue, and then the posts driven into the body with a hammer. A piece of wood was placed between the hammer and the posts, in order to shield the body from the hammer blow.
The tail-piece posts:
The dark spots around the posts is the leftover glue, that has picked up some rust dust, since Tobias was working on his car, while I was doing this. Trust me you did not want to see my boogers when I got home that day
Posts with retainers inserted:
Looking back, I should have made sure that the screw-slits of the retainers would face the same way, when being at the same level, the left most is set a bit higher, than the right one, in order to have them match. Note to self: align the retainers when inserting into body for the next project.
Sighting along the strings:
Judging by the sight, the placement of the tail-piece with a offset by 2mm is not that far off. The neck is a bit loose, and can be forced to align correctly by pressing it firmly upwards. This is both good and bad, good that I can make it align perfectly, bad that the neck is movable; this means that I have to glue the neck to the body, in order to have an instrument that will stay in tune.
The bridge looks like one of these:
There is one problem with the bridge though; it is designed to fit a Les Paul type guitar, that has a rounded body, and the bottom of the bridge and the placement strings are therefore rounded. This just shows, one should do ones homework, when shopping on ebay
. The bridge is also a bit too high, compared to the height of the fretboard. The bridge therefore needs to be lowered, and the groves for the strings deepened in the middle tuners, in order to compensate for the higher placement.
I usually play an Ibanez and therefore prefer a very flat and low string profile. The curved profile is good to cords, but I have difficulties playing solos without hitting strings I shouldn’t or missing strings completely, so the I’ll go with the flat profile instead.
The bridge underside was routed flat using a metal router (would have taken forever to sand or file). In the process 2.5 mm was taken off the height of the bridge, in order to have the lower action. The sliders on top of the bridge were also made level and new string grooves created, using a triangular file.