tiistai 16. huhtikuuta 2013

This is how I make my bridges

Making an acoustic guitar bridge is a nice task. You take an ugly chunk of black wood and turn it into a graceful, silky object with beautiful contours and crucial significance for the operation of the whole guitar. This is how I make it. Sorry about the quality of some of the cell cam pics.

Here is the source of inspiration this time. My Bourgeois Vintage D bridge.
I took a photo and scaled it to exact measurements on computer screen,
then printed it out and glued it down to a cardboard backing.
...and here is the ebony blank to start the work with.
Madinter sells these (plus the fingerboard blanks) at a very reasonable price.
I start by belt sanding all the facets smooth.
Looks almost real...
With this template I trace the outline of the bridge on the sanded blank
I do a rough cut using band saw.
Then go down to the line with the belt and disc sanders.
The pencil lines help me figure out how the work is proceeding. 
The shape about roughed out.
radius of the top of the bridge is about 20 inches
Trying on the starting-to-shine blank on
the starting-to-shine top. I use these to bring ebony to it's shine.
My last secret weapon is an ordinary A4 sheet of printing paper.
Or a tearout of a newspaper. It brings the shine to its final level.
Oops. Not secret anymore...
Time to route the saddle slot. This handy little jig with cams
keeps the bridge still while cutting
And this handy little jig makes a safe and controlled ride for the router
A clean cut at exactly 3mm.
Trying in the saddle. Might need a tad taller one. But the fit is snug!
making pilot holes/starters for the bridge pin holes. Strongly recommended!
4mm wood bit is usually the right one. Remember to use a wooden backing
piece to prevent tearing at the bottom.
Here you should be able to count to six...
Making the countersunk holes for the pin heads.
The drill press really helps here to make the holes nice and even.
About done!
With this "poor man's tailpiece" I was able to get the first
sounds out of the guitar this evening.
The setup is still off in every respect,
but it does play like a guitar! And looks good too.
Well, not the tailpiece...

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