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Andyjr1515

Finished Pics! Phoenix Dreadnought Acoustic

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While that's brilliant and all that jazz, it apparently is based on math rather than intonation.

Have you familiarized yourself with Jerry Rosa's videos? His way of finding the best place for the bridge is pretty simple, yet more accurate than any ruler can ever be. As he does mostly bridge repairs, the placement of the wooden part can't be changed. In a fresh build you could just put the bone there and find the place that way.

Here's one of the videos explaining his "tool":

https://youtu.be/KYEyJp7rOOM

Edited by Bizman62
Corrected a preposition

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5 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

While that's brilliant and all that jazz, it apparently is based on math rather than intonation.

Have you familiarized yourself with Jerry Rosa's videos? His way of finding the best place for the bridge is pretty simple, yet more accurate than any ruler can ever be. As he does mostly bridge repairs, the placement of the wooden part can't be changed. In a fresh build you could just put the bone there and find the place that way.

Here's one of the videos explaining his "tool":

https://youtu.be/KYEyJp7rOOM

Yes - I haven't seen this particular guy's work before but I'm aware this is a method used by some builders. 

Trouble is, once you've worked out where the bone should be, you have to cut the slot in exactly the right place...and I'm rubbish at that! ;)

 

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funny, I was wondering if bridges for acoustics come pre-slotted or if you could slot them yourself... and now I know.  I'm not sure which way I'd do this (someday) but it's best to have some options.  thank you both for those - both great ideas.

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4 hours ago, mistermikev said:

funny, I was wondering if bridges for acoustics come pre-slotted or if you could slot them yourself... and now I know.  I'm not sure which way I'd do this (someday) but it's best to have some options.  thank you both for those - both great ideas.

Yes - you can get both (or, of course, make one yourself).

The only trouble with pre-slotted ones is that you are stuck with the angle the maker puts on it.  You can see in the photo that the bridge itself is a bit skewed.  That doesn't bother me (think jazz bridges) but might bother Matt.  I will check with him.  If he wants it straight, I can square it up or get an unslotted one and slot it.

Whatever, I'll be using my ultra-super-sophisticated strips of wood engineered jig when I finally fit it! :lol:

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10 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Trouble is, once you've worked out where the bone should be, you have to cut the slot in exactly the right place...and I'm rubbish at that! ;)

As the vid show, he uses a makeshift jig. Actually, that's an early vid about the subject, he now uses a more professional adjustable jig for getting the angle right but for one time use the slats taped in place work just fine.

However, you could as well have both the wooden part and the bone loose (or the bone slot pre routed) which would allow you to find the right location for the best possible intonation. Supposedly you don't need advise on how to mark the location with masking tape or pencil... Anyhow, having found the place for both the bridge and the bone routing the slot for the bone might be easier on a loose bridge piece.

BTW I'm not trying to diss your ultra-super-sophisticated strips of wood engineered jig, just telling about an alternative for someone who's afraid of the math needed for that sort of engineering.

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That's no problem at all @Bizman62  :)

And I have no problem with the guy's method, but - ignoring my well documented problem with cutting stuff in the right place  ;) - there are also some factors that maybe make it as error prone, potentially, as the calculated method.  Maybe not for a reset, but certainly for a new build.  That is, for the intonation to be right, then everything has to be exactly as the finished guitar set up will be (tension, action height, etc) and - before the bridge is actually fixed - I'm just not sure how easy that is to do.

But there is also a second reason for the jig in my case.  For Matt, because of his playing style, the distance from the E strings to the edges of the fretboard is critical too.  That's an awful lot of things to get exactly right...and remember, we have a guy here who has made a name for himself of getting an awful lot of things just slightly wrong  ;):)

 

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I double and triple checked the bridge position with the jig and then drilled two securing holes through the top E and bottom E bridge pin holes.  That done, I squared up the outside edge of the bridge with a block plane:

_MG_9369.thumb.JPG.27b27c9e7606be69310e28a521179b95.JPG

 

Then popped the drills in from the back so I had some locators when I glued it up:

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Masked up the bridge area and then razor cut around the bridge and removed the tape to scrape and sand the grain-fill off that area:

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Finally, added the glue and used my long-reach clamp and the little jig I made to be able to apply clamping pressure to the bridge wings:

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Left it overnight and then double checked it had stayed in position.  And it had :)

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Next job is to fit the pickups and then I can get the back on and do the back binding (yes - I know you are supposed to do it the other way round but what else would you expect from Anyjr1515 ;) )

 

 

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Nice clamping jig! Why pay through the nose for something that simple? If you can build a guitar, you should have both the materials and the skills to build tools like that. Well done! And cleaning the entire area under the bridge, that's something that even many factories can't do properly.

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And, all of a sudden, we're on the home straight!

I'm predictably doing this all the wrong way round, but having the back still off makes a BIG difference in getting the pickups, mics and transducers in the right places - especially when installing two systems:

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The battery slips into a small pouch velcro'd to the back:

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Then, at last, the back can go on:

_MG_9427.thumb.JPG.2e3f777f4a6bb701a08bd6e4719615e6.JPG

 

And the back binding done.  I did this the same way as the top - using a Stewmac Dremel jig for cutting the slot and then ironing the pre-bent binding on.  The only change was that I remembered a trick I discovered on a previous build to make it MUCH easier to keep the top-heavy Dremel vertical (there is no real datum).  I superglued a couple of strips so that I had a visual guide at all times of how vertical I was holding the jig.  Small thing but made ALL the difference and turns the tool from a potential garbage job to something that works pretty well:

_MG_9432.thumb.JPG.9d2605b1e9fbe101666bbcc6ed215b98.JPG

 

I know my iron-on technique is unconventional, but it certainly works for me ;)  :

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And finally, I was able to finish off the tailstock detail ready for final sanding and finishing:

_MG_9435.thumb.JPG.8c40ce18e873339f67e1cc7cf211176d.JPG

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And the finishing has started.

I'm sticking to my slightly unusual approach of no 'proper' grain fill or sanding sealer - I use a variation of the Tru-oil slurry-and-buff instead - and a standard old-fashioned polyurethane varnish.

I say old-fashioned.  The manufacturers changed the formulation a couple of years ago to reduce some of the environmentally unfriendly volatiles but I had major problems when I tried to thin it down enough (used to be up to 40%+) for my wipe-on approach.  

With the new formulation, I now thin to no more than 10% which I find too stiff for wipe-on but instead use a cheap artist's fan brush which seems to work well:

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Here it is after the first coat:

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The thinners allow it to dry enough to be able to do a full coat per day - back and sides first thing in the morning and top in the evening.  Every couple of days I'll let it dry an extra day and then lightly scotchbrite it.  

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

I'm predictably doing this all the wrong way round, but having the back still off makes a BIG difference in getting the pickups, mics and transducers in the right places

I'd call that the right way when you're building the instrument. For repairs, squeezing your arm inside the guitar may be necessary. Then again, all the wiring routes and placing of the components including potential screw holes will be there at the time if someone has to reseat something.

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I have learnt that, with my fairly crude method of finishing, the trick is - regardless of where it is against your original plan - when it looks OK, then STOP!

The reason - which I am sure many of you will have had similar experiences - the "just one more coat" to try to remove a small aberration almost inevitably introduces many more :rolleyes:

So I live with small aberrations and don't try for perfection because - in my case - I know that is the road to misery ;)

And this - at least three coats sooner than I expected - is where I'm stopping:

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While these coats have been drying, I've turned my attention back to the neck.

I did the obligatory full-size drawing of the headstock to see just how straight I could keep the string runs with the slightly larger headstock (the one thing on this build's predecessor I was never quite sure about was the small headstock.  Completely straight string runs but just looked a little out of proportion to my eye).

I realised that - with a minor slimming of the profile - I could restrict the angled strings just to the two middle ones):

_MG_9454.thumb.JPG.8ce0cde704ac204c8e3af43e896a8ae8.JPG

So that's where I set my tuner holes - I will now just cut back the headstock to the sharpie line to sort the visuals:

_MG_9456.thumb.JPG.2a7c5f3d44d89e575348a909a36fee49.JPG

 

So while the body is drying hard enough to handle properly, I will make this change and do the final sanding and finishing on the neck and fit a nut and magnet-secured trussrod cover.  I'll also get rid of that PVA smear you can see above the truss rod chamber!

Then it's assemble, string up, set up, final polish and pass across to Matt :)

It should be in his capable hands in about two weeks.

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5 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

when it looks OK, then STOP!

If you tried to explain "aberration" to me showing those images, I would not understand.

 

5 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

And this - at least three coats sooner than I expected - is where I'm stopping:

Doesn't that mean that the finish is by no means too thick to kill the sound?

Matt will be a happy fellow!

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Those inlays just shine.  You have a fantastic eye for putting different variables together.  Such great combinations.

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It's in the nature of acoustics that, even when they LOOK close to being finished, they often AREN'T all that close to being finished. :rolleyes:

 

The thing that makes it look pretty close is that the strings are on:

_MG_9576.thumb.JPG.ee59fc13138865d2a862f257a71b625f.JPG

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 and the neck looks OK:

_MG_9555.thumb.JPG.79f3c881f09ceafc7230a3546a09630d.JPG

 

But, in spite of me having had 3 or 4 goes at the neck angle - which is a right old b***ache because every time you have to get the neck off (not easy fiddling about with allen keys through the soundhole) and then chisel evenly and at the right angle the shockingly hard rock maple and ebony - nevertheless, it STILL isn't right. 

It isn't far out - probably a couple of degrees - but the action is far too high with a test saddle sitting at the lowest practical level, and thus the intonation and playability is pretty shocking.   A couple of degrees, including the flush fit challenge and the multiple re-assembly to see how close it is (this is essential because overdo it and you have a REAL problem.  Getting that right can change the scale length!!!) will take a disproportionate number of hours.  I'm tempted to make up a custom sanding block so I can sand both sides and the bottom of the tenon at the same time.

 

However, there is very little left to do beyond that - truss rod cover, tweak of the nut, final polishing up, heel strap lock - and, I have to say, the tone sounds promising  :)

So ETA for finish remains end of next week, albeit with allen-key and set-screw shredded fingers (which are, of course, crossed ;)   )

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And finished :)

This week I'm doing the final setup bits and pieces but this will go to Matt sometime next week.

I'm hoping that Matt will be able to do one of his videos of it when he gets time (the ones featuring my own guitars and basses should be published in the next few weeks).

Here it is:

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As always, many thanks for the encouragement and kind words along the way :)

 

 

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Aesthetics and functionality in one single package. What's not to like?

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wow mama! that looks great Andy.  Don't know what I like more the front or back.  Such a great combo.

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