Guitar Neck and Steinberger Bridge in Place for First Test!


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:

14 Responses to “Guitar Neck and Steinberger Bridge in Place for First Test!”

  1. Just found your blog. Very interesting. I’ll be reading it more thoroughly when I have more time. My partner does instrument repair and will be interested as well.

    1. Cav – Thanks for stopping by! I’m glad you’re finding the blog of interest and thanks for sharing it with your partner. There’s quite a bit already there not only about the build but about the subject of guitar ergonomics as it relates to the instrument.

      As far as the build, I’m new to the process but I’ve managed so far to stay out of trouble. 🙂 Things are coming together rather quickly now so expect to see quite a bit more over the next few weeks.

  2. Glad to see it’s taking shape nicely.

    1. Hi GL – Been a while! Things are coming along. I just drew up a pickguard that I think is the “final” for this build so I’ll be able to proceed with pickup and control cavity routing.

  3. Well done, Robert – looks sensational! The alignment of the outer strings looks spot-on.

    Just a thought on a later stage – pickups – a very personal thing, but could I recommend Seymour Duncan JB Jnr (bridge) and Lil’ 59 (neck)? I’ve experimented with many pickup combinations, but my main guitar (a MusicMan Silhouette) has these. These single-coil sized humbuckers give a powerful but clear sound with the coils in series and a Strat-type sound in parallel. I would seriously not bother with a middle pickup with the 24-fret neck – the “in-between” sound is brilliant with the two pickups – and again, weight is reduced.

    Thanks for giving the weights of the bridge, neck and body – this is very helpful in looking at the design for my doubleneck. My Danelectro double weighs a shade under 11lbs – I’ve had a Kramer Pacer weighing more!!! – and my target is 12lbs max. for the project.

    Keep up the good work!

    Rob Fawcett

    1. Thanks, Rob! I’m really happy with the neck/bridge alignment. I measured, re-measured and measured again.

      That pickup combination sounds very sweet and I will keep it in mind. For this one, I already have some Lace Sensors from what’s left of a Strat Plus from many years ago so I’ll slap those in for now. However, I’m thinking I’ll only go with the neck and bridge pickups for this one. Right now my focus is on getting to a functional build. As I move into other builds and develop my skills, I’ll work on details like pickup selection. I appreciate the suggestion. It sounds ideal.

      And, I’m glad the weights were useful. Things are looking good for coming in well under 6 lb.

  4. Lace Sensors are wonderful pickups – they have been criticised for being too “glassy” but they have an almost acoustic-like clarity. I used to own a Strat Plus with three Gold sensors, but the vibrato bridge was awful; impossible to keep in tune. Fender’s two-post vibratos are simply a joke, and they keep on churning them out… but I digress.

    Go for it – the Lace tones should be spot-on with the body/neck woods you are using!

    1. Rob – Thanks for the feedback on the Lace Sensors. In fact, the ones I have are the Gold Sensors. I appreciate the input of an experienced guitarist especially in this area.

      I know it hasn’t been long since you mentioned it but any word on the possibility of machining components for your build?

  5. Nice to see the progress, Robert, looking good! I jut wish I had the discipline to build a guitar myself.

    1. Hi Gary – Thanks! The build process has been exciting and even more so now that there is an actual guitar to strum. However, it will be coming apart shortly to do some additional work this weekend. That’s going to be hard. I’ve really enjoyed playing it acoustically during the week but its time to start setting up for electronics and final steps.

  6. Hi!

    There’s a guy in sweden that’s an expert on classical guitar technique and ergonomics that has developed what he call an Ergonomic guitar technique. Judging from the soundclips on his website it seems that he really knows what he’s doing. Maybe it’s worth checking out? Anyway, here’s the link:

    1. Michael – Thanks for stopping in and thank you for the link. I’ll take a look.

      Of similar interest is the work of guitarist Jamie Andreas who has written about the importance of focus on the physical details of guitar playing. Jamie’s main work is “The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar”. It is a wonderful book and one of several contributing factors in leading me on the road to exploring ergonomics. Jamie’s site is Guitar Principles. I highly recommend taking a look.

  7. Hello again,

    Just out of interest, did you use a hand held electric drill to drill the holes for the neck?

    Cheers, Jon.

    1. I used a hand drill but I don’t recommend it. It doesn’t provide the accuracy you really want. That said, it worked nonetheless. A drill press is preferable or at least a hand drill mounted on a stand.