The Extra Wrap (Stability and Positioning)

top 3 strings wrapped one time

top 3 strings wrapped one time

Here’s a clever twist brought to our attention by our friend Bob C.  He wraps the three plain strings on his barrel-saddle bridge once around the barrel before the string leaves the bridge and heads down the neck.

Why is this a useful mod?  It’s been observed that string spacing on stock Fender bridges can be uncomfortably wide.  Also, when bending the string, especially high up the fretboard, a string on this kind of saddle will move back and forth, especially if the saddles are set very low.  When saddles are set very low the “break angle” of the string is lessened.  A higher break angle gives increased stability.  Wrapping the string once around can go a long way to stabilizing the strings’ position on the saddle.  If the wrap on the high E string comes off the barrel *inside* of where the string first touches the metal it allows the player to bring the strings’ position inboard slightly, leaving a little extra room for bending.

A little extra work a little extra stability.  Thanks Bob!

AW

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Noises Overheard

 

what it is & what it does (photo by Tim Frick)

what it is & what it does (photo by Tim Frick)

I work the front counter for Gary Brawer and I hear some weird stuff.  Besides the guitar playing I hear comments, questions and exclamations.  One of my favorite topics occurs when techs talk tech to each other.  I love this stuff.  I have, over the years, marked repeatedly the phrase: “Forstner bit.”  As in, “Where are the Forstner bits?” or “That looks like a job for a Forstner bit.”

“What is a Forstner bit?” I asked myself, figuring I should find out.  My job here is to answer the phones, sell and order parts and schedule repairs for Gary and the others.  I am not a tech.  Those people work in the back.

A Forstner bit turns out to be a drill bit for holes that need a flat bottom.  “So…someone would use a Forstner bit to drill a hole in the top of a solid guitar body for the insert holes that accept bridge studs?”, I said to the techs.  “No,” they returned patiently, “for that you would use a brad point bit.”  “Oh,” I thought, obviously unclear on the concept.  I would need to do some deeper research.

This unique drill bit was invented in the 19th century by a Benjamin Forstner, an American gunsmith looking to make a smoother hole.  He got rich off his invention, too, licensing the technology to Colt Firearms and other gun makers.

So how for a guitar would we use a Forstner bit?  Well, it’s a perfect way to make deeper a cavity to accept, say, longer pickup flanges – the metal tabs that accept pickup height adjustment screws.  When making a deeper hole it’s a concern to avoid going through the wood of the back of the body.  So: a hole with a flat bottom.  But there’s a center point in the bit, to guide its direction, so diligence is still required.

The Forstner bit has other beneficial features.  Its shape is very stable at spin (compared to other bit shapes) and also resists something called “tear-out” a phrase indicating how clean a hole can be drilled.  The bit is not commonly used in hand drills – it’s hard to push – a drill press is typical.  Rickenbacker has been known to use Forstner bits to drill wiring channels, an observation that shocks some of the more fastidious technicians.

I learn something new at this job every day.

AW

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One way not to run out of Guitar Jacks

JACKS

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IMG_1782We had a great unexpected visit from George Porter Jr. He was in town with the Meter Men and had a bass tuner emergency. Pleasure to meet you George and glad we could get a new Hipshot on there.

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Tim and the Romance of Luthiery, Vintage Gibson needing a new fingerboard

Giants Baseball on the Radio,  bottle of wine from an admirer (for later of course),  and a sweet vintage Les Paul being saved by a new fingerboard.   The previous owner somehow ended up with a Phenolic fingerboard, not ebony put on the guitar.  We are making it right.

Replacing a Fingerboard on 1950″s Gibson

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