String spacing at bridge

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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attila57
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Re: String spacing at bridge

Post by attila57 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:56 pm

Julian wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:02 am
Thanks to you all.

All responses are very obvious that I should keep the existing bridge in tact.

I once tried to redo to saddle by creating grooves for strings with spacing of 57mm, as per the luthier advice. But because I am not aluthier and think I didi a very poor job, the tone turned very dull.

Now as said here somewhere, the notches must be shallow just to create the 57mm spacing? I will try to change the saddle again with the notches to accommodate 57mm string spacing although I though the pull of strings will move the string to its origin which is 59mm???

I will try it again and let you know the result.

Julian
Hi Julian,

I can see it's an old thread, but if you are still here on the forum, I'd line to know how things turned out in the end.

I'm quite a bit into manipulating new saddles and re-drilling bridges, and I can say that the professional solution to your problem is re-drilling the bridge. You can get by with a notched saddle, of course, it's a faster, satisfactory and less risky solution. But in the long run, especially if you are guitar-conscious, you'll want to re-drill the bridge holes. BTW it's an easy operation if you have a set of 0.3 - 0.9 drill bits to start with a smaller hole. You'll need to make a little drill guide block from a piece of hardwood and drive the small drill bit with a rubber band driven by a Dremel tool. Thus you'll get a hole parallel with the top.

Attila
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

Julian
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Re: String spacing at bridge

Post by Julian » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:52 pm

Hi Attila,

After thinking it all, the 2mm different doesnot make a big different. It is all in the mind really.

Now I could survive with 59mm string spacing. After all, I have another 6 guitars with 57mm.

Thanks for your advice.

rgds,

Julian
Masaru Kohno No.50 - 1981
Yamaha GC 71 - 1984
Gary Southwell - 1997 ex. Julian Bream - a bench copy of 'Hauser 1940'
Oskar Graf - 2000
Fritz Ober 'Hauser 1' - 2007
Richard Brune 'Fleta 1956' - 2011
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SteveL123
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Re: String spacing at bridge

Post by SteveL123 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:22 pm

attila57 wrote:
Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:56 pm
Julian wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:02 am
Thanks to you all.

All responses are very obvious that I should keep the existing bridge in tact.

I once tried to redo to saddle by creating grooves for strings with spacing of 57mm, as per the luthier advice. But because I am not aluthier and think I didi a very poor job, the tone turned very dull.

Now as said here somewhere, the notches must be shallow just to create the 57mm spacing? I will try to change the saddle again with the notches to accommodate 57mm string spacing although I though the pull of strings will move the string to its origin which is 59mm???

I will try it again and let you know the result.

Julian
Hi Julian,

I can see it's an old thread, but if you are still here on the forum, I'd line to know how things turned out in the end.

I'm quite a bit into manipulating new saddles and re-drilling bridges, and I can say that the professional solution to your problem is re-drilling the bridge. You can get by with a notched saddle, of course, it's a faster, satisfactory and less risky solution. But in the long run, especially if you are guitar-conscious, you'll want to re-drill the bridge holes. BTW it's an easy operation if you have a set of 0.3 - 0.9 drill bits to start with a smaller hole. You'll need to make a little drill guide block from a piece of hardwood and drive the small drill bit with a rubber band driven by a Dremel tool. Thus you'll get a hole parallel with the top.

Attila
Hi Attila,

I always like to learn new tricks. Can you provide more details on re-drilling the bridge string spacing from 59 to 57 mm or vise versa? Do you plug the 6 holes first and what size plug would you use?

As for "drive the small drill bit with a rubber band driven by a Dremel tool". Do you have a pic of that set up? I am trying to picture in my mind how that would work.

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attila57
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Location: Budapest, Hungary

Re: String spacing at bridge

Post by attila57 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:59 pm

Hi Steve,

59 mm string spacing is a bit too much IMHO. 57 is just right. As for the re-drilling: I make 6 rosewood plugs first. Brasilian RW is the best because of its density and colour, but any rosewood will do. I normally cut a thin piece out of a BRW bridge block, then shape it with a Dremel sanding barrel. The final diameter of the plug is usually 1.5 mm, but when I come close to size I always try its fit. I glue it in the hole with Titebond. When it's dry, I cut off the protruding ends carefully with a miniature saw or with the edge of a thin file. If the plug ends still stick out a bit, work them down to level with the side of a small stone Dremel disk. Then I sand both the front and the back face of the tieing block. Finally, I finish the sanded faces with nitro lacquer or shellac, and either polish them to a high gloss or bring back the shine to a matte finish. Be sure to cover the soundboard with a thin protective sheet (plastic or metal) during the entire operation!

For drilling I use either the "guided and driven drill bit" solution, or more recently a small hand drill which I have purchased at Conrad's. This looks like a pencil with interchangeable tips. Its diameter is 8 mm, so I can drill the holes parallel with the soundboard. I always drill a small hole first then enlarge it with a larger bit to the desired size. You'll need a set of small drill bits for this operation.

The right drill diameters: e1 0.8 mm, b2 1.0 mm, g3 1.1 mm, d4 0.9 mm, A5 1.0 mm, E6 1.2 mm.

Here are some photos of a guitalele, on which I have re-drilled the holes, because string spacing was too narrow.

With the close fit of the new holes and the use of string end stoppers I've managed to increase the string exit angle by 40 degrees! The volume of the instrument has increased dramatically.

IMG_20170812_191530_061.jpg
IMG_20170812_191016_742.jpg
IMG_20170812_191326_703.jpg
Attila
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Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

SteveL123
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Re: String spacing at bridge

Post by SteveL123 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 4:43 pm

Thanks for the pics attila. Did you re-drill it to a 12 hole? I can't tell with the string stoppers.

I am curious about your Conrad's drill that looks like a pencil with interchangeable tips. Do you have a pic and where to buy one? Sounds like a very useful tool.

When I drilled my tie block from 6 to 12 hole. I made a long drill out of brass stock attached to a small drill bit. I found it was difficult to make a guide out of wood free hand with a hand drill and gave up and use this aluminum channel and a file to get the proper angle. The free drill bit is a guide that goes in the existing hole. It was not possible to clamp the guide, so I just held it with one hand and the battery drill in the other. In the end, it came out well .
20170318_184408-461x819.jpg
20170318_184115-819x461.jpg
20170322_234058-819x461.jpg
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geoff-bristol
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Re: String spacing at bridge

Post by geoff-bristol » Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:28 pm

I made my first two guitars with 55 - and the last two have been 59. It is very noticable to the right hand - very awkward to play one after the other. Wish I had done them all the same.

SteveL123
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Re: String spacing at bridge

Post by SteveL123 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:17 am

Is there a standard for saddle string spacing corresponding to finger tip sizes?

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attila57
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Re: String spacing at bridge

Post by attila57 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:26 pm

SteveL123 wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 4:43 pm
Thanks for the pics attila. Did you re-drill it to a 12 hole? I can't tell with the string stoppers.

I am curious about your Conrad's drill that looks like a pencil with interchangeable tips. Do you have a pic and where to buy one? Sounds like a very useful tool.

When I drilled my tie block from 6 to 12 hole. I made a long drill out of brass stock attached to a small drill bit. I found it was difficult to make a guide out of wood free hand with a hand drill and gave up and use this aluminum channel and a file to get the proper angle. The free drill bit is a guide that goes in the existing hole. It was not possible to clamp the guide, so I just held it with one hand and the battery drill in the other. In the end, it came out well .

20170318_184408-461x819.jpg

20170318_184115-819x461.jpg

20170322_234058-819x461.jpg
Hi Steve,

Thanks for the photos and the detailed description!

I haven't converted the saddle to 12 holes, because I'm very happy with the end stoppers that I have fabricated from ebony.

The brass rod and the aluminium guide are a beautiful solution, thanks for sharing it. I'll send you a photo about the Conrad hand drill as soon as I'm back home, 'cos I'm on holiday now. Conrad is good at miniature drill bits, chucks for Dremel and Proxxon micro motors, diamond bits, diamond files, fibre optics, examining mirrors, head magnifiers and similar useful tools for luthiers. Thíeir prices are very good and the quality is good.
You can visit their website: www.conrad.de

My guided drill bit is similar to your aluminium guide, its disadvantage is that I need a different guide for each different sized bit, its advantage being its precisely parallel operation.

The Conrad hand drill is not so precise, but very simple and fast to use. With a little attention I find its operation precise enough. It's possible to monitor its parallel operation by sight, especially if you use a longer shaft. Actually, one can make a guide to ensure perfectly parallel entry into the tie block.

Some people use a similar hardwood guide block for the drill bit (embedded in the block) and drive the bit with a hand bow.

I'm amazed at how guitars make man not just play beautiful music, but invent ingenious tools to overcome difficult problems!

All the best,

Attila
Last edited by attila57 on Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

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attila57
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Re: String spacing at bridge

Post by attila57 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:37 pm

SteveL123 wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:17 am
Is there a standard for saddle string spacing corresponding to finger tip sizes?
I dunno but 57 mm is fairly common.

BTW I like your wavy saddle!

Attila
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

SteveL123
Posts: 477
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:05 pm

Re: String spacing at bridge

Post by SteveL123 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 3:37 am

attila57 wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:37 pm
SteveL123 wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:17 am
Is there a standard for saddle string spacing corresponding to finger tip sizes?
I dunno but 57 mm is fairly common.

BTW I like your wavy saddle!

Attila
Thanks! A straight saddle looks boring. :mrgreen:

SteveL123
Posts: 477
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:05 pm

Re: String spacing at bridge

Post by SteveL123 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 3:51 am

attila57 wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:26 pm
...........................
My guided drill bit is similar to your aluminium guide, its disadvantage is that I need a different guide for each different sized bit, its advantage being its precisely parallel operation.
.......................
I used the same size drill bit. If the existing holes in my 6 hole tie-block was parallel to the top, life would have been easy, but it was not. The aluminum channel made it easy to file down one edge to line up its hole to the tie-block hole. Another advantage of the aluminum channel guide block is the ease of chip removal while drilling compared to a wood guide block.

BTW, the aluminum channel came from the frame of commercial double pane glass that was cracked and thrown out as garbage.

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attila57
Posts: 382
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Location: Budapest, Hungary

Re: String spacing at bridge

Post by attila57 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:04 pm

SteveL123 wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2017 3:51 am

I used the same size drill bit. If the existing holes in my 6 hole tie-block was parallel to the top, life would have been easy, but it was not. The aluminum channel made it easy to file down one edge to line up its hole to the tie-block hole. Another advantage of the aluminum channel guide block is the ease of chip removal while drilling compared to a wood guide block.

BTW, the aluminum channel came from the frame of commercial double pane glass that was cracked and thrown out as garbage.
I use different sized bits for each hole, you know... :mrgreen:
Yeah, well, garbage holds numerous treasures for luthiers... Especially aluminum rails and other metal objects. My fretboard sanding block is made out of a piece of discarded aluminum rail, too.
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

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