Last night, I completed the bridge route, mounted the Steinberger bridge, reattached the neck and strung up the guitar for the first time. There are some minor cosmetic issues around the bridge route area but no functional issues whatsoever. String alignment looks good as well.
I strummed it a bit last night but allowed the neck to settle in over night since it hadn’t been under tension for several weeks. This morning I picked it up, tuned it up and tried it out. I was happy with the results. Strummed acoustically, the guitar is rather loud – a good indication that the bridge and neck are solid. Despite still needing a final set up, the action was good as well. There was a bit of buzzing on a couple of strings which will go away once the bridge saddles are adjusted as part of final steps in the assembly.
From an ergonomic perspective, I’m thrilled with the results. I prefer a classical sitting position and the guitar’s geometry places the neck at an upward angle with absolutely no effort from the player. It literally sits in the lap in an appropriate position. Meanwhile, the right arm gets great support from the expansive upper bout area without getting in the way.
BTW – Much of the contouring is near completion including the forearm cut and belly contour. I’ll play around with the guitar over the next several days before deciding whether they need any further shaping. Based on my initial impressions, I think the belly contour is good but I may increase the angle on the forearm cut. I’m also looking at thinning out the neck joint to make upper fret play easier. Based on my research, I have the opportunity to thin this out quite a bit. As it stands, its already thinner than a typical Klein since I began with a .25″ thinner body and made use of ferrules rather than a neck plate. However, I’m still working that out. Final contouring will be the subject of its own post.
One final note – since weight is an important factor as well, I thought I’d make a note of it. The guitar, in its present state, now weighs a mere 6 lb 1 oz! Still remaining are pickup and control cavity routing so the guitar is on its way to a completed weight in the low 6 lb range. The lightest production guitar I’ve come across is the Yamaha RGXA2 at 5.5 lb.
More on my first guitar project: