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An Introduction, And Some Ruminations About Neck Angle

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Hey all,

I've played guitar for about 10 years now and am about to embark on my first build. I'm pretty excited about it, and I've assembled everything I need (wood-wise) to get to work. My first guitar was an Epiphone knockoff of a Strat. Not a bad first guitar, I still have it but haven't played it in a very long time. About 3 years ago, I got my dream guitar. It's a 2005 custom shop Gibson Les Paul Custom. Alpine white, mellowing to a nice cream color. Based on that guitar, you could probably guess that I have an affinity for the playing of Randy Rhoads.

Anyhow, on to the build details.

The body is made from three pieces of rock maple, planed on the edges and glued together. It's been clamped and drying for about 12 hours now, another 12+ to go to fully cure it. The top will be covered in a bookmatched quilted maple veneer. Two humbuckers, and two stacked knobs for volume/tone. My neck was purchased from Warmoth - maple with maple fingerboard, Warmoth headstock, no fret markers for a sleek look. I've had this neck for 7 years going on 8 now. I looked at the forlorn box it has been in for nearly a decade and decided that I was going to finally do this.

I prefer hardtail guitars, and this one will be no exception. While doing some internet window shopping for the hardware that I want to use, I came across the Hipshot Baby Grand bridge. I feel that this will fit in very well, stylistically, to the body I am making. It's a classy, kinda jazzy-looking bridge that I really like.

My question is this - the Baby Grand is a Gibson-style bridge, but it's not curved on the bottom like the standard Tune-o-Matic and stop tailpiece. It's totally flat on the bottom, the specs are below...


So, how will I determine if I need to have neck angle (a la the Gibson) or no neck angle at all (Strat, etc.)?

It seems to me that, since the bridge is flat on the bottom and my guitar will be a flat top, I won't need to have any neck angle. The only thing making me question this logic is that the bridge is Gibson style, mounted on studs, meaning it will be higher than your run-of-the-mill hardtail Fender style bridge...so if I didn't have any neck angle, the action would be much too high to be comfortable.

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your thinking about it the wrong way, the top being flat doesnt really affect the need for an angle or not... the height of the bridge does

draw everything out full size from the side, bridge height/neck angle will make more sense then

you can angle it or do it flat, .. if you do it flat the fretboard will sit higher from the body or the bridge will need recessing (arder with this design)

read this


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Right. I kinda alluded to that at the end of my post when talking about how it was to be mounted on studs. I guess I'll need to determine the height from the bottom of the bridge to where the string rests in the middle saddles, then add the distance that the posts will create when screwed into the body. I suppose I could drive the mounts down to where the bridge is resting on the body if it needed to be that low. I'll start drawing out the neck to scale like the Ornsby diagram and see what I come up with.

As a side question, I see that the Hipshot bridge is radiused. My fretboard has a compound radius. Would this present any difficulties versus having a totally flat bridge where all the strings come off the saddles at the same height?

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