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About The CenterLine Finder from LuthierSuppliers.com
Author
Post
rdpdo

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 2
Hello

I want to buy this tool from Stewmac to place the neck correctly :

[url=http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Special_tools_for:_Neck,_fingerboard/Neck_Set_Gauge.html]



Do you think it is a good idea to buy this one too : "The CenterLine Finder from LuthierSuppliers.com" (for centering the neck). Are these two tools are compatible ?



Thanks you for your interest.


Dec 22, 08 | 11:47 pm
JS

Total Topics: 15
Total Posts: 48
I think the Stewmac tool may be a bit over-fiddly--they like dial indicators, where they are sometimes overkill, IMO, like that tool to find the string height to cut nut slots?

OTOH, the Centerfinder is the best money you'll ever spend on your guitar habit (barring a set of REAL nutfiles, but we won't get started on that again). Pop for the upgrade bridge squarer, too, you won't regret it.

As I'm (overly) fond of saying: When was the last time you kicked yourself, for buuying a good tool?

Dec 23, 08 | 4:53 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Seems to me that the centerline finder is a good value and would be a useful tool, we offer this:

http://www.kennethmichaelguitars.com/bridgesetter.html

to accomplish the task and also locate the brige saddle.

Again this is a personal observation -- having set a countless number of necks, I just think the straight edge with a dial indicator is a bit much for what you are actually doing -- I am sure it works, but so does a stack of 3x5 cards or feeler gauges. 2 cents

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Dec 23, 08 | 5:31 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Ditto what Ken said. The Centerline Finder works well, as does Ken's bridge setter.

I have one of those Stewmac dials and plan to make a thickness gauge out of it; I haven't used it in setting a single neck so far.

Bil

Dec 23, 08 | 5:55 am
Gregg C

Total Topics: 23
Total Posts: 88
I bought The CenterLine Finder from LuthierSuppliers.com and love it, worth every penny.
Gregg

Dec 23, 08 | 7:15 am
rdpdo

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 2
Thanks you ! Will buy centerline ;)

Dec 23, 08 | 8:29 am
Kyle

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 45
I see that the Centerline Finder comes in 2 flavors - with the original bridge squaring attachment or the new one for about $20 extra - $71 verses $91.

Is the new attachment worth the estra $20?

Dec 23, 08 | 11:47 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
I don't own one of plexi centerline finders, but I think I see a flaw in the math theory and use methodology. Perhaps it should be taken into account in the instructions. In our shop we align the rough neck and use the "actual physical center" of the neck for reference. The device as I see it uses the two centering details and the sides of the neck to establish positioning of the/a -- center line, in other words, the "neck is aligning its self to the device" --- which is fine as long as the rough neck or for that matter the finished neck is exactly symmetrical in shape on both sides of the "actual center-line". If that is not the case the two details are in fact finding the average distance from the center of the location where they touch So if the neck is off symmetry on the right at the first location and off symmetry on the left at the 2nd location, the center established will likely be off several degrees to the actual center-line. The angle would also change and be incorrect even if one of the locators is at an off symmetry position.

This would be my concern, the centerline of the tool is now going to be referenced to the centerline of the top and the actual centerline of the neck has been shifted to match the jig (a compensated location). That few degrees of miss read will likely cause users to start adjusting at the cheeks of the neck heel to get the "NEW" neck center-line aligned with the sound board center-line. The fact is that with a pre'-machined kit neck, sanding one side of the heel should be necessary only on very rare occasions.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est.1978

Dec 23, 08 | 2:40 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Kyle -- I found the added bridge-squaring device to be quite helpful and more secure than the original. However, I placed two bridges with the original, and checked it in conjunction with KMG's Bridge Setter. They both checked out fine and measuring to couble-check them with a ruler found that they were both within less than 1/128 of an inch, which to me is close enough to square as far as the bridge goes.

Also take into account what Ken has said above.

Bill

Dec 23, 08 | 3:49 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Ken -- you have found a flaw that could be major, in the case of an inaccurately shaped neck/fretboard. However, the tool itself is a good tool and can be used to check the symmetry of the neck/fretboard.

I've used the Centerline Finder and have found that, if the neck/fretboard are accurately shaped side to side, the tools works very well. I know you weren't addressing the tool's accuracy, but its inaccuracy when used with an inaccurately shaped neck/fretboard. I think you are correct that the tool can give a false centerline if the neck hasn't been accurately, symmetrically shaped

I think this just points up the fact that the builder must be very careful when shaping the neck and fretboard to be sure that it is symmetrical. When it is, the centerline finder can be a useful tool.

When I use it, I always check to be sure it perfectly bisects each of the position dots on the neck. If it doesn't, then it shows that my neck is non-symmetrical and I need to make adjustments to it. This is actually another valuable use of the Centerline Finder -- it can show when the neck is not symmetrical as it should be.

Thanks for the observation Ken.

Bill

Dec 23, 08 | 3:58 pm
llajoy

Total Topics: 6
Total Posts: 295
I recently ordered and received the Luthier's Supply center finder. I found it easy to use. I like the fact that the clear plastic has a line down the center. As you are locating the center it's easy to follow the centerline of your top. I like the upgrade bridge squaring device.

I also found Tracy to be very responsive. I received mine on a Saturday and it was slightly damaged during shipping. Tracy responded to my email over the weekend and the replacement part was received within the week.

Lance.

(Ed. by Bill: Tracy Leveque is the owner of Luthiersuppliers.com)

Dec 23, 08 | 4:03 pm
JS

Total Topics: 15
Total Posts: 48
"Is the new attachment worth the estra $20?"

Oh, absolutely!

Dec 23, 08 | 4:42 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Just waiting around for our Chrismas travels -- we guitar builders are wierd -- anyway another thought regarding the above warning. Note that with the KMG and Martin kits the fingerboard is keyed to the neck, so the frets are aligned "perpendicular the actual centerline" of the of the neck. If the angle to the rim is shifted and the bridge is placed relative to the centerline of the sound board all the frets are now off perpendicular -- in other words skewed at angle. -- Not good!

Ken

Dec 25, 08 | 6:16 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Ken -- about that ... I think we'll agree on this: I've always considered it the proper practice to not place the bridge until the neck/fretboard are correclty set, and then to place the bridge strictly in relation to the fretboard. In fact, that's the practice your Bridge Setter is based on, right?

FYI to all who haven't reaced this stage in your building: Set the neck, and set the bridge according to the neck. The bridge *must* be correctly positioned in relation to the neck, even if it is not on the centerline of the body. (Besides, even when it's off, it's not usualy more than a quarter inch at the most, and almost nobody will ever notice that it's of by that amount. Just shoot your pictures from an angle! :-) )

Bill

Dec 25, 08 | 10:13 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Hi Bill, I do agree with your build sequencing. As noted, the KMG Bridge Setter concept is based on a functional "fret, saddle relationship, and bridge center envelope”. So the center of the bridge (is more of a visual placement) and meets the top center line at the bridge location. Based on the accuracy of the build this may or may not fall on an imaginary centerline drawn from the nut to the binding joint on the lower bout. So I think it is most important to keep the envelope (that is what allows the guitar to be a musical instrument) in tack. As long as the frets are perpendicular to the centerline and the compensated saddle angle line up with the frets all is good. Then there are those that angle the frets intentionally to improve tempering and frequency accuracy --- that gives me a headache!!

Ken

Dec 28, 08 | 6:17 am
moocatdog

Total Topics: 35
Total Posts: 302
Quote: "The fact is that with a pre'-machined kit neck, sanding one side of the heel should be necessary only on very rare occasions."

Maybe I'm misinterpreting this statement. All the resource materials I've come across indicate that the need to center the neck in such a manner is to be expected. Can you elaborate?

Thanks,
George :-)

Dec 28, 08 | 8:12 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
This is the operative information:

Note that with the KMG and Martin kits the fingerboard is keyed to the neck, so the frets are aligned "perpendicular the actual centerline" of the of the neck.

The "actual" center line of the neck and the actual centerline of the fingerboard are the "true positions" used for precision machining the parts including the heel cheeks -- the edges of the fingerboard or the edges of the neck are NOT used for positioning. So to use those parts as designed and accurately locate the neck/fingerboard using the edges, those parts need to be or as Bill points out, made to be symetrical on either side of the "actual" centerlines.

George, note I am stating the math and science of the situation. And yes, I think some of the resource material out there misses many of the facts and math data. I assume you have read this entries:

1. I don't own one of plexi centerline finders, but I think I see a flaw in the math theory and use methodology. Perhaps it should be taken into account in the instructions. In our shop we align the rough neck and use the "actual physical center" of the neck for reference. The device as I see it uses the two centering details and the sides of the neck to establish positioning of the/a -- center line, in other words, the "neck is aligning its self to the device" --- which is fine as long as the rough neck or for that matter the finished neck is exactly symmetrical in shape on both sides of the "actual center-line". If that is not the case the two details are in fact finding the average distance from the center of the location where they touch So if the neck is off symmetry on the right at the first location and off symmetry on the left at the 2nd location, the center established will likely be off several degrees to the actual center-line. The angle would also change and be incorrect even if one of the locators is at an off symmetry position.

This would be my concern, the centerline of the tool is now going to be referenced to the centerline of the top and the actual centerline of the neck has been shifted to match the jig (a compensated location). That few degrees of miss read will likely cause users to start adjusting at the cheeks of the neck heel to get the "NEW" neck center-line aligned with the sound board center-line. The fact is that with a pre'-machined kit neck, sanding one side of the heel should be necessary only on very rare occasions.

2. Note that with the KMG and Martin kits the fingerboard is keyed to the neck, so the frets are aligned "perpendicular the actual centerline" of the of the neck. If the angle to the rim is shifted and the bridge is placed relative to the centerline of the sound board all the frets are now off perpendicular -- in other words skewed at angle. -- Not good!


I might add that with the KMG kits -- the instructions and fixturing focus on getting the neck block motise in exactly the correct position so the the builder can take advantage of the precision machined surfaces of the neck. And in fact if one builds even from scratch and pays close attention and uses the actual centerline of each component --- sanding one side of the neck heel should not be a normal occurance.

Hope that's more clear -- if not I'll try again.

Ken




Dec 28, 08 | 9:34 pm
moocatdog

Total Topics: 35
Total Posts: 302
Thanks, Ken. Yes, I had read the entries above and I understand your theory. Thanks for explaining it further. I was pretty close to centered without any adjustment on my current build, but not quite. Hopefully that will improve as I gain more experience.

George :-)

Dec 29, 08 | 6:26 am
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
Ken,

I'm guessing most kits don't come with the centerline of the neck marked. If not, is there a way to find the centerline of the neck without centering off the sides of the neck?

Dec 31, 08 | 2:08 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Well, the way I recommend in the KMG assembly manual is to place tape across the truss rod channel and mark the center of the channel on the tape. I also recommend finding and marking the center on the neck block in the same way --- the sides of the block are not important its the center of the mortise that needs to be aligned properly.

Ken


Dec 31, 08 | 3:37 pm
Tuneful

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 47
Hi everyone, newbie here.

I found this site looking for a diy fret press idea, and I'm loving what i've seen so far.

I just want to pipe in here about the discussion of true-center regarding the fixture.

I completely disagree with everyone saying that the edges of the neck should not be relied on for this.
In fact, the edges of the neck are the ONLY thing that should be relied on here.
True position is irrelevant here. And this is coming from a 15 year journeyman machinist.

Let me explain. You need your string edges to be one thing above all else: And that is spread evenly on both sides of the neck. The center is absolutely meaningless to this. If your neck is in fact off several degrees or worse, and you go off of true position, you're going to wind up with your strings bunched up against one side of the neck. Or worse.
But if you go off of the sides of the neck, your strings are going to be laid across the neck evenly on both sides, and all will be well.





Aug 27, 09 | 6:34 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Tuneful Welcome

--- I think you may be missing the point -- please read the whole discussion, its the alignment of the frets that is the issue --- you know angled to the center-line. Sounds like you are assuming that the fingerboard is properly aligned equally and centered to the edges of the neck ---- that is not necessary true, and as a matter of fact as indicated above that is not always the case with Martin parts and for that matter any build unless you take care to make it so.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Aug 27, 09 | 6:58 pm
Tuneful

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 47
Ken, I hate to say it but even in light of this being relative to the frets, it still doesn't change my view on this. I would rather have the fret "squareness" be off, than have the strings bunched to one side of the neck.
Of course, part of that is a personal issue of hand size. My hands are fairly huge, so I redo the nut on my guitars to put the strings at the widest possible spread. So if the center point of the string spread was left or right, I'd be pushing one string or other off the fretboard every time I hit a G chord, for sure.

But I do "get" the importance of this, believe me. In fact, i'm spending a good chunk of change to have my fretboard cnc slotted and squared next week, so that this won't be an issue for me.


Aug 27, 09 | 8:11 pm
Jim_H

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 212
Note that the centerline finder is primarily just that. A centering tool to to check the neck alignment side to side. The bridge location function is really a secondary role, although it does both jobs just fine.

Ken's tool's primary function is to set the bridge location with compensation. It works flawlessly and is nearly foolproof, just ask him :p ...

Tracy's tool has the advantage of being multi-functional, and indespensible for centering your neck line (in my opinion). The manual way of checking neck centerline is a pain-in-the-neck (pun intended).

Both tools are good.. but they don't do the same thing.

Aug 27, 09 | 8:42 pm
000lover

Total Topics: 71
Total Posts: 330
Buy this http://www.kennethmichaelguitars.com/bridgesetter.html and don't think twice. I was on a tight budget my entire first guitar but I went ahead and saved for the bridgesetter and it is awesome!! This was the most nervous step in building for me b/c who really cares if the guitar has a few flaws here and there but if it sounds like crap and doesn't play in tune what's the use...go buy a cheap martin.

I have made 2 guitar with the bridgesetter and both have as close to perfect intonation as a beginner can get!

It also comes with a bridge gluing clamp that rocks!

Dec 02, 09 | 9:49 am
deadedith

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 165
I'll just second what 000lover just said. I don't have an engineering background (philosophy was my thing) so I needed a foolproof method and tool and the bridgesetter provides that. And the bridge clamp. No guesswork!!
Dave

Jan 05, 10 | 11:40 am
Alan

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 5
I have the centerline finder...it's a great tool and I would not be without it.

For setting the bridge location, I use Ken's bridge setter tool.

Mar 28, 10 | 6:27 am



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