Guitar Bridge and Neck Have Arrived

I now have the guitar neck, bridge and headpiece courtesy of the Steinberger Spirit Guitar I purchased from Musicyo.com – seen here in its final moments.

Steinberger Spirit Headless Electric Guitar

I had briefly contemplated building the neck but decided against it. The most important aspect of this guitar build is producing a playable ergonomic guitar. I decided that building a neck would push this out too far. Neck building will have to wait until I have had the opportunity to review potentially beneficial features.

That said, I proceeded to dismantle the Musicyo Steinberger removing its neck (with headpiece) and bridge. I then began taking measurements in preparation for the routing needed for the neck and bridge. I also spent time drawing in contour lines and a center line.

As weight is an important factor (see Important Elements For An Ergonomic Guitar), I weighed the major components of the guitar. Here are the results:

Neck (including headpiece) – 1 lb 4.6 oz
Bridge – 1 lb 5.1 oz
Body – 3 lb 12.6 oz

Klein Electric Guitar Build Body Neck Bridge

I’m particularly happy with the weight of the guitar body. By comparison a lightweight Strat body is about 4 lb with most bodies weighing in around 5 lb. At this stage, the only action I’ve taken to reduce weight has been to begin with a body blank that is .25 inches thinner than the standard 1.75″ body blank. I would have considered going thinner but I was limited by the depth of the bridge route required for the R-trem bridge. The body will become even lighter once I route for the bridge, neck, control cavity and pickups. Comfort contours will also cut weight.

Finally, I took a moment to clamp on the neck and sit the guitar in my preferred classical position. I was happy to find that it balances well needing no support from my hands in order to sit in my lap with the neck angled up. It was also comfortable in conventional playing position.

Klein Electric Guitar Build Body Neck Clamped

My next steps are routing the neck pocket and bridge area and then test fitting the neck and bridge. Once complete, I will move on to the remaining routing and shaping.

More on my first guitar project:

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31 Responses to “Guitar Bridge and Neck Have Arrived”

  1. That looks pretty nice, man. Good and comfortable. I’m looking forward to more.

  2. Keep up the good work 😉

  3. Thank you both for stopping in! I’m looking to move onto the next step or two this weekend…

  4. I’m working on a very similar project and I just thought I’d let you know that the Klein harp-guitar has a body that’s almost two-inches wider than the standard Klein electric.

    1. PJ – Thanks for the information. I’ve heard this before but haven’t been able to confirm it. Would you mind sharing your source? Would you happen to have dimensions to share?

      However, based on my initial template and now the body, I’m not concerned. Its ergonomics remain unaffected. I expect that this added width is mainly in the upper bout where it does not change any key relationships. Besides, as I’ve stated before, I’m not looking to make a strict copy of the Klein – that has never been my intent. It is a logical place for me to start exploring guitar ergonomics because it is the best example of its application. To this end, I am staying true to the most important elements. The additional width has no impact on this. Note that I am aware of at least two others who have based their Klein based builds on the plans from the Guild of American Luthiers. You can find a link to one of those projects, Francis Lannie’s, under Relevant Guitar Links on the left side of the site. The other site was down last time I checked so I removed its listing.

      The only possible impact is an increase in weight but as I’ve noted, the current guitar body is already lighter than a lightweight Strat body which is typically about 4 lb. My body is at 3 lb. 13 oz. Routing and contouring will remove even more weight and I’m considering a few other things to reduce weight even further. A future build could take advantage of a number of other ways to reduce weight such as the use of lighter weight body woods or chambering.

  5. Robert, been a while since I stopped in, and I’m glad I did. How is the R-Trem in terms of build quality? Once it’s transplanted, will it be a ‘keeper’?

    1. Greg P – Good to see you! The R-trem off the Musicyo Steinberger appears to be built just fine contrary to one comment I came across on a guitar group. It appears to be of comparable quality to conventional tremolo bridges on production guitars. I don’t see any long term issues with it. It also incorporates roller saddles which my older Hohner G2T does not have on its bridge.

      Personally, I’m not a fan of tremolos preferring fixed bridges so I can’t speak to the long term durability of the bridge’s pivot points. This bridge came locked in a fixed position and I will likely set it up this way on the build guitar.

  6. I ordered a copy of the Guild of American Luthiers plan. As soon as I unrolled it, it seemed a little wide, so I took several online photos of Klein electrics, imported them into Photoshop, and scaled them up so the distance between the zero fret and the 12th fret was 12.75″, which would be correct for 25.5″ scale length. Then I printed my output, and it’s a bit narrower than the Guild plans. I’ll post measurements when I get them.

    1. PJ – Thanks for the update! I’m looking forward to the dimensions you come up with. Again, I don’t believe its of much consequence unless the guitarist is very short – then torso length may or may not be an issue.

      BTW – I considered scaling up an image to determine dimensions but changed my mind after thinking about it for a while. Although I’ve read it being done for other guitar builds, the problem is finding an image of the guitar that is truly shot dead on. Most images of guitars are posed in some way or another. If the image is not shot dead on, then any small angling toward the lens or away from the lens will result in a distortion of the dimensions as you scale up the image.

  7. I’m loving following your build.
    I’ve only recently started learning guitar, but in order to enable me to practise at every opportunity I built a quick and dirty travel guitar.
    The parts are cheap, the materials even cheaper, its not ergonomic, and it sure aint pretty. But despite all that it plays quite well and is portable.

    Pics here if you are interested.

    http://www.theclubman.co.uk/guitar

    Graham

    1. Graham – I’m glad you’re enjoying the build! I took a look at your site and that’s a cool little guitar. You may have noticed that several of my posts involve alternative headless guitar solutions because obtaining Steinberger components can be problematic. I particularly like your headpiece solution.

      Did you base this build on a particular design? Also, do you have any issues with string breakage?

  8. Robert

    It’s sort of a Hofner Shorty inspired shape, with a healthy dose of Traveler Pro thrown in.
    If you’re not familiar with either of those a quick google will bring up lots. Its obvious what influences came from where.

    I’ve not had any problems with breaking strings yet, although it does not hold its tune for long periods. That is down to very cheap tuners though, as I was reluctant to splash out until I knew the design was sound.

    The roller affair to take the strings round the back and reduce tension, is ugly, but seems to do the job. I am working on a hopefully better solution though.

    I did spend a lot of time trying to design some gearless tuners rather than use the regular machine heads, but could not work it, or afford steinberger stuff, so went the Traveler Pro approach.

    Now it works I might just do it all again but with decent materials/components and a bit more care, but then again it has a sort of rustic charm about it. lol.

    Graham

  9. Hello Robert,
    I have been watching your build with great interest as I plan on building one myself. I have had a Klein for the last 9 years and consider it the best instrument I have ever owned period, but it is not completely perfect for me, just one small defect. Because there is no upper horn on the body (which I adore, as I am one of the few people who love the shape of Klein guitars), when you strap on the guitar, the strap as it comes over your shoulder will pull inwards toward the center of you body as opposed to just falling straight down. Funny enough I only just realized this whilst in the studio last month, so for years I have been adjusting my strap as I play by moving my shoulder. It is not a big problem but since you are building an ergonomic guitar I thought this was important. The solution to this is rather simple but may blight the wonderful looks of the guitar.
    Steiberger makes a strap hook (take a look at their latest model the “synapse” it describes the hook)

    Wishing you the best
    Ric

    1. Hi Ric – I’m glad you’re enjoying the build progress and thanks for your observations on the Klein. I intend to keep your observations in mind when I get to the point of setting up a strap. I’m familiar with the Synapse strap hook and it sounds like a good solution to your issue. Finally, I would love to hear how your own guitar build progresses and your findings on the Synapse hook solution so please stay in touch!

  10. Robert,

    Check this Russian link!

    http://www.shamray.ru/show.php?id=560

    JP

    1. Stratocat – Thanks for the link! That Breadwinner copy is gorgeous. The rest of the site is also very cool. I’ll have to spend some time surfing it…

  11. Hi – great site! I smiled when I saw that you had bought a Steinberger Spirit to dismantle for parts, which is exactly my plan! …. for half of the 6 / 12 headless doubleneck I’m planning!

    Problem is the Steinberger 12 string headless parts don’t exist any more, and 12 tuners at the body end could get problematic. Any thoughts on this & body design?

    I will follow your project with great interest!

    Best wishes,

    Rob Fawcett

    1. Rob F – Thanks for stopping in! I considered a number of options and decided that the Musicyo Steinberger was the least expensive and most expeditious means of obtaining the components I needed. As you may have seen from my posts on alternative headless designs, headless guitar resources as well as my post on Adrian Legg’s ergonomic guitar, I have been looking at alternative solutions for future builds.

      Your double necked guitar project sounds exciting and challenging! I’m not familiar with any 12 string headless parts resources and I suspect you may need to resort to making your own. Here is an interesting topic thread from Project Guitar Forum which is a great resource for amateur guitar builders:

      Headless Bass Tuners Cost Too Much!, so I started making my own!

      Although, these are for bass, its a matter of scale. The actual Steinberger bridge works much the same way as ScottyD’s tuners. If you read through the post, you’ll see the picture I posted showing what the Steinberger’s bridge internals look like. I may consider something similar for a future build.

      Finally, let me know how your project progresses!

    2. I have been ordering 12 string tuner. It does not have trac system but hex dirver is used.

      1. Hi Kaz, welcome aboard! Do you have any more information on this 12 string tuner? Is it a custom bridge you’re having built?

      2. Yes, it is custom bridge. I will have some stock and show you the photo later (I do not know how to do it ….). I am planning to build a 12 string and 6 baritone headless double neck first.

        Kaz

        P.S.

        I went to Frankfurt and UK to see Genesis.
        It was great !!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Hi, Robert, and thanks for the swift reply! (By the way – how do I work this “blogger” thing – I don’t want to remain anonymous!!!)

    Thanks for the referred website – food for thought, and the pic of the trem tuners was invaluable.

    Steinberger did produce 12-string headless parts – the TracTrem was an amazing bridge with a single tuning knob for all twelve strings. I have an idea how that could work – essentially a spring-loaded screwdriver which you pull, slide to the correct string, then release and it should engage. The actual tuning mechanism should be virtually identical to the six-string trem system.

    My other idea is to use a six-string Steinberger tuning system and six of the Steinberger gearless tuners. It’s fitting them all in…

    … and then there’s the body design. The Klein harp bridge is clearly too close to the 6-string bridge, but I think the bridges should be close but offset, and the necks splayed outwards in a v-pattern. I’ll keep you posted on this – ideas are beginning to take shape.

    Thanks for the site and your encouragement!

    Best wishes,

    Rob Fawcett

    1. Hi Rob – No problem! I’m glad the thread and the image I posted of the Steinberger bridge’s internals helped. It doesn’t appear to be all that complex a task to come up with functional tuners. It boils down to a means of capturing the ball end and a threaded piece to adjust it to and fro. Second, you wouldn’t even have to make the bridge if you leverage an existing bridge and use these tuners in a two piece arrangement resembling a Les Paul’s two piece bridge or ABM’s two piece headless bridge solution.

      The Trac Tuner idea sounds like a great way to go with the 12 string portion. BTW – Did you know that Steinberger World has images of its internals? Just in case, here’s the direct link – TracTuner.

  13. Hi again, Robert, and thanks for the swift response!

    I’ve checked out the site you suggested – brilliant! The photo of the R-Trem tuners explains a lot. I have been working on how to get two sets of six tuners in, OR work on the original Ned Steinberger’s TracTune bridge which had just one tuning key. I’ll keep you posted on my progress with this!

    Best wishes,

    Rob Fawcett

  14. Hi again, Robert, and many thanks for the link to the TracTuner – invaluable! I’m discussing the project with my father in law who just happens to be an engineer with his own machine workshop….

    Best wishes,

    Rob Fawcett

    1. Hi Rob – Welcome back! Wow – an engineer father-in-law with his own machine shop! I’m anxious to hear what the two of you come up with!

      With regard to the site links, I’m glad to help where I can so please keep the questions and comments coming. I’ve done a great deal of research since beginning this blog and discovered quite a few resources. I’m more than happy to share what I’ve found.

      Finally, you should be able to leave comments as someone other than “anonymous” by choosing “other”. You should then be able to put in your name and a site address if you have one you’d like to share.

  15. Helo, how are you,
    I just wanted to ask you if you have any sort of information of where I can get a Steinberger Tremolo. If you have one please let me know, if not, I appreciate any suggestions you can give me of where to find it.
    Thank you,
    Pablo Rocha.
    MTY, México.
    pablorocharojas@hotmail.com

    1. Hello Pablo – Thanks for checking out the blog. As to your question, one of the big issues with headless designs is getting parts especially if you’re married to the idea of using Steinberger components. They may come up on Ebay from time to time but the only real supplier is Musicyo.com and they are frequently out of stock. I ended up purchasing a Musicyo Steinberger for parts. You don’t say if this is for a guitar build or an existing guitar but there are alternatives to Steinberger components. Take a look at my post Headless Guitar Resources for the Guitar Builder for more. Also take a look at some of the alternative headless designs I’ve posted about for more ideas.

  16. What did ‘This’ instrument look like when it was completed? You have a foto of a different headless guitar, but I’d like to see what this one turned to look like.

    1. Hi Timmpossible! Take a look at the topic Guitar Build #1 for further details on the build.

      The most current article in this topic, First Ergonomic Guitar Project Near Complete, gives you a decent idea of its final appearance. Since this picture, I’ve painted the pickups black which I think works better with the black hardware already in place.

      I’ll also be posting additional pics and articles on the site on the instrument as well as updating all of the current build pictures to larger versions. The site design was quite a bit different when these articles were written and I now have additional space in the main content area.

  17. Hi, Robert!

    I know there’s some time since you’ve dismantled the Spirit for parts, but I’m just looking for such a body for one of my projects. By the way, do you still have it and would sell? Or do anybody who reads this, having done the same as you did?
    Thanks, kindest regards, JPB