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Bridge placement concern / question

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 4
I am building a SteMac Dreadnought kit with bolt on neck, 1st guitar. Due to having the neck block shift when gluing up, I have had to take almost 3/16" of off the top of the neck, not the heel but the fingerboard side. I now have a decent fit and a good neck alignment.
My concern is that I may need to move my bridge placement in order be able to get this guitar to tune correctly?
Any input would be greatly appreciated. Great site!

Paul Fox
Philadelphia Pa

Jun 29, 06 | 7:28 am
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
HI Paul
you bridge placement will be based to the loction of the nut and your scale length. You can get a rough location by placing the neck on and the fingerboard. Measre to the 12th fret and ad .100 for lights and .125 for med and use the line from the nut to the saddle using the 1st hi E string. I measure from the nut at the fingerboard to the center of the slot on the bridge.
this should get you pretty close
john hall
blues creek guitars

Jun 29, 06 | 8:56 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Hi Paul, Check this out --- This device will be available in a day or so.

Ken -------- Kenneth Michael Guitars

Jun 29, 06 | 1:20 pm

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113

This is awesome! Pricing?


Jun 29, 06 | 3:35 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Looks good!

Pfox, if I am reading you right, you took 3/16" off the THICKNESS of the fingerboard brcause your neck block shifted? Not the length of the fingerboard? If that is the case, your fingerboard position will be the same as in any other case using your scale length. I would guess that the adjustment you will need to make is in the height of both your bridge and saddle. Take 60-75% of the height differential out of the bridge, and the rest out of the saddle. Thats what I would do in your shoes. If I am wrong, its the flat tire beer I was drinkin.

Jun 29, 06 | 7:49 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Good morning --- The Bridge Setter will be about $40, there will be a non-adjustable version also.

Paul, I re-read you original problem, could you post some pics? Having removed 3/16" material may have created some structural problems. How does your truss rod still fit?

Ken ------- KMG

Jun 30, 06 | 3:12 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Hey everybody-- I've just used one of Ken's Bridge Setters and it is really an excellent tool. Before, (two weeks ago) I spent two frustrating hours trying to get the bridge position set on this dreadnought, and something would slip every dang time. I never did get it done. Then Ken said he had this device, so I waited for it.

Ten minutes. That's all it took the very first time, and it set the bridge position so easily and perfectly (after triple checking measurements to be sure) that I drilled the holes in the top for indexing pins and bridge-pin holes and have no worries about it.

Man! Saving all that time is easily worth forty bucks.. or fifty ... or sixty. Buy one.


Jul 01, 06 | 7:26 am

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 107
Bill -- I should have mine soon. Based on your reviews alone, it seems like a quality tool, so I called Ken up the other day and he has one on it's way to me. Should be here just in time to set the bridge. Thanks for a great tip.


Jul 13, 06 | 3:35 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Mark -- Ken and I have communicated about these adjustments, and agreed on some, so I guess it's okay to mention them here. Ken may have taken these into account before shipping your Bridge Setter. If not, and you want to make the changes, they are easy. This is real long, but I suggest you read through it after you get your setter:

On the Bridge Setter as I received it, the prescribed saddle position was fixed by use of an indexing pin at the high-E end of the slot. The pin is glued in, so that the saddle position in relation to the 12th fret is already set for you. The procedure (as I understood it) is to set this pin in the saddle slot, then affix the bridge to the sliding part of the device, and then tighten the slide so that the bridge is set in the correct position on the top. No measuring is required, since the slot-indexing pin does it for you.

However, to me, this procedure meant that the device was making my decision for me regarding the amount of compensation on this particular guitar. It might be perfect, or it might not be. Just as I don't automatically trust a single source of info on anything else, I thought it best to be able to measure and adjust for myself if necessary. (If my measuring simply confirmed the device's positioning, that would be okay by me!)

(An aside: The real and main beauty of this device, to me, was that it simply held the bridge perpendicular to the frets for me, allowing me to move the bridge to the spot I deemed correct and know that it was perp to the fretboard. For me, it was more of a "Bridge Holder" than a "Bridge Setter." I never had a problem measuring the saddle position; but I had a major problem holding the bridge in position while I made sure it was at the right spot for the saddle, and also perpendicular to the fretboard. It was maddeningly impossible to do all measuring and correcting without screwing it up and having to start over again. What was needed was some sort of device, glue, tape, or lots of luck. That was when the Bridge Setter appeared. Kismet. Zeitgeist. Marvelous.)

So, now having the Bridge Setter to hold things for me, the pre-fixed indexing pin presented a problem with certain bridges, like the one on the Stewmac Triple-O I'm building. The pin worked fine for its prescribed measurement when I was using a Martin-style bridge like the one it's shown with. However, for my Pyramid-style Triple-O bridge, the pin was in the wrong position because the edge of the bridge and the saddle slot were closer than they are on the Martin bridge, by just over 1/32" -- enough to mess things up. Hmmmm.

The fix for this was simple: I got a hammer and tapped the saddle-indexing pin out.

However, this raised a new requirement: Now, without the automatic prescribed saddle measurement, I had to set my own saddle position -- the pin wasn't there to do it for me. This, I did using a tried and (hopefully) true method of measuring the 1st-to12th-fret distance, matching it exactly for the 12th-fret-to-middle-of saddle distance, and then adding a certain amount of compensation. However, since I prefer the method of measuring to the center of the saddle slot, rather than to the high E string part of the slot, something was missing. I needed a couple of holes so that I could see the 12th fret, and so that I could see the center of the saddle slot. No problem, I drilled the holes.

Okay, now, for me, the Bridge Setter works perfectly. With any bridge of any style, (on a 25.4" nominal scale, which this Bridge Setter was made for) I can quickly and correctly do my measuring, affix the bridge in the proper position, clamp the Bridge Setter down centered on the neck so I won't knock it off alignment, and drill my holes. The bridge position is perfectly fixed, and it takes only about ten minutes. It's like a miracle.

And, with Ken's little SS Bridge Clamp (better than Charles Fox'es clamp, which I also have), it's very easy to mark the bridge position for masking prior to finishing and then to glue it on when the time comes without using clamps!

Thanks Ken. It's a good tool!


Jul 13, 06 | 7:13 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
The current "Bridge Setter" as shipped will have the changes Bill mentioned, I reprogramed the CNC machines. Very Good ideas!! - Thanks Bill. I have my ways of doing things but I will never claim they are "the way" or "best way". The saddle pin is glued in place and can be removed if desired. Mark, if you are using a standard Martin bridge, the cross slide should be all set.

Thanks Again Bill and Mark for giving it a try!

Ken ------- Kenneth Michael Guitars

Jul 13, 06 | 7:35 am

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