I never came across any explanations how to actually lower the bridge itself.
Often times I would like to perform this type of setup, especially when saddle to bridge pin string break-angle is not sufficient or the guitar has high action, but the saddle's not protruding enough.
I was thinking about it a lot and still can't come up with a neater solution than sanding and filing it down. And, of course, endmilling the saddle slot if needed.
I thought that it would be easy with a plunge router base on a dremel with a 3mm endmill, using with a simple jig that one would put over the soundboard. But since soundboards are bellied, this method is very tricky to work properly, I'd say.
Recently I had a customer that badly needed a bridge shave. Outer strings had such poor break-angle that the piezo was just barely picking it up. I had to recommend another repair guy for this type of job. That guy apparently did it for $30. I haven't seen the guitar yet. The owner assures the problem is gone and of course I believe him.
I can't call the guy and ask him, these old-timers here are taking everything to their graves. Small country, handful of customers, but lots of repair people and private instrument builders lately. Seems like the old-timers are being annoyed on a daily basis.
Since everyone here always has a better solution to offer, or at least an alternative one, I wanna know what you do.
Good one!!! Made me laugh. Have a good Christmas.
This is one that I rarely do and also reserve for unserviceable neck joints. But when I do them I remove most of the material with a toothed blade finger plane and then smooth it out with scrapers. The toothed blade works very well with rosewood and ebony and makes this a very fast job.
Has anyone ever experimented with adding material to the bridge plate (capping) after shaving the bridge? I wonder if this could help keep some of these out of the landfill a little longer. It wouldn't help with the tone loss that goes along with a bad neck angle, but maybe it would help keep the top stable? I'm just speculating. I've never tried it, but it could be interesting to experiment.
I don't known if it counts but I once added a plate to the bottom of a bridge that had been removed and over thinned. It was ebony and I cleaned it with solvent then glued a new layer to it with thin CA which I quickly clamped for the sake of paranoia. Once it was cleaned up it was completely invisible and worked just fine when put back into service.
If you think about it the tension of the strings, the way they pull on the bridge plate and press on the bridge function of a sort of clamp so sheer may be the main issue. Because of this, given my result with a plate on the bottom of the bridge, I would think that a thin "topper" could work too. The one thing to maybe consider is that the glue joint on my repair only disappeared because it was ebony and line was not on a tapered area. I also made sure both surfaces were as flat as I could get them. On a taper, particularly on anything lighter in color than ebony, the glue joint discoloration could be a major issue. I haven't tried this with HHG and it could be that the joint would be better hidden on Rosewood with this glue.
I've played around with building up ebony blanks from old piano keys. I found that thin CA works very well for this as long as the joints are well prepared before hand. I also set everything up so I can apply clamping pressure as soon as the CA is applied. I've made up small planks of Ebony that appear to be a single block this way. It's more trouble than it worth if you have to get paid for the time but it's just the sort of thing a hobbyist can waste time on to his hearts content.
I fitted a Cumberland Acoustic ebony archtop bridge to a guitar with a top that didn't conform to the standard shape of the bridge--there wasn't enough material at the ends. CA's Steve Smith made me a custom base by attaching additional material to the standard feet so that it fit perfectly. He used CA glue for the joint and it is virtually invisible. Jet black ebony certainly hides such a joint. It might not work so well across a very flat taper with Rosewood or other lighter colored wood. As long as it's in compression, CA should work very well in laminating bridge parts.
Call me picky but the first thing I thought of in the Larrivée response was that they are using bridges that are more massive than they need to be. I think the idea of shaving the bridge is fine under the circumstances outlined in the response, given that the bridge was over thick in the first place. If the guitar were mine. I think my preference would have been to have bridge with lower mass to begin with and have the neck reset when it was required. In my limited experience, every shaved bridge I've come across only delayed a reset rather than prevented it. I believe I once read where Frank wrote that shaving a bridge usually leads to TWO intrusive repair when the reset, inevitability, needs to happen (paraphrased) and I think this is certainly the case. On cheap guitars it's probably the only good fix when money is involved but most of us understand that these guitars have a pretty limited playing life by design/engineering. I would hope that Larrivées are still around many decades down the road and the point that Hesh makes about original bridges will have more meaning on these instruments.
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