Saddle up!

With the bridge firmly attached, it’s time to drill; not for oil, but for sound. Break out the trusty eggbeater and carefully penetrate the top; and be resigned to vacuuming out the chips from the inside, being guaranteed to miss a couple, which will rattle around, defying capture.


Can’t stop there, however. Bridge pins are tapered, for a secure fit (wouldn’t want the strings to pop out at in inopportune moment). So the holes need to be reamed out with a taper. In order to account for any variance in the pins, I’ll do each one individually, fitting until its just right (Goldilocks would make a good Luthier!), and trying to make sure I keep each pin with a particular hole. (More shavings to vacuum!)


Finally, we have all six, lined up waiting for strings. I selected rosewood-like (a wood called tintul, an Indian hardwood) pins with a Parisien eye insert to match the dot inlays in the bridge. Notice the saddle. (More on that momentarily.)


Then I calculated the strings spacing at the nut, or rather, used an online calculator to do it for me. The strings have to be spaced so that there is the same distance between the edges, which means that the thicker strings need to be further apart than the thinner ones. Digital calipers are just the ticket here. A small handsaw starts the slots, different sized files will work them down so that the strings are just the right height above the fingerboard. Now the strings go on and are brought to full tension, which is necessary to gauge the strings height. Now the saddle rears its ugly head. Instead of nice ringing tones, I have nothing but fret buzzing. I had worried that it would be the case when I got the saddle (which is a different one than the one I used for the first guitar), but now it was confirmed: IT’S TOO SHORT! It doesn’t raise the strings high enough off the frets. Going back and checking the catalog confirms it. I had gone with this one because it had a compensated b-string; i.e. a little bit longer length for the b-string. Like the nut, I am using a TUSQ product, which is an artificial ivory and has a consistent density. So, I’ll have to wait until I get a replacement in a couple of days.


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