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Vertical height from bridge area to fretboard plane
Author
Post
harmonics31

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 7
Hi all,

I am building a classical kit from LMI. The DVD recommended that the height from the bridge area (650-652mm from the nut) to the horizontal plane of the fret board should be 5mm.
My guitar is about 7mm.

What is the effect of this number on the playability? and sound?

Thanks

Jul 12, 10 | 10:18 am
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
I'm assuming that your fretboard is on and fretted, and probably your bridge too. You are probably laying a straightedge on the frets and measuring over the saddle slot of the bridge. For 12th fret action around 2.3-3 mm you need twice that at the bridge - so your saddle needs to be sticking out about 5 mm. Much more than that (called an "overset" neck) and the bending moment on the bridge slot will be pretty high - you run the risk of splitting the slot.

As long as you are able to get the action over the fretboard where you want it the playability will not be affected. The longer lever arm of the saddle will drive the top harder so it will be slightly louder but otherwise should have no affect on sound. My concern would be the very tall saddle.

If this were a conventional neck joint you would remove the neck and lower the angle slightly - with a Spanish heel that is very difficult. And, altho I did build an LMI classical, all I remember was mine came out about where I wanted it. Since there are very few classical builders at this forum I would suggest asking the same question at MIMF.com, there are a lot of builders there that can tell you if you have a problem or not.


Jul 13, 10 | 8:34 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Seems like that's a "trick recommendation" what are the operative dimensions --- bridge thickness and fingerboard thickness? Also did you slope the fingerboard so its thinner at the soundboard end (unfortunately a missing step in most construction manuals).

Ken Cierp

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Jul 13, 10 | 9:03 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Just to clarify --- a properly made classical guitar fingerboard is approximately 1.5mm thinner at the soundboard end than it is at the nut end. Sloane points this out, as wll as Overholtzer and Compiano. I know that the LMMI/Brune print shows this but it is not explained in the text. This is a design feature which helps build-in some string/fret relief.

Ken Cierp

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Jul 13, 10 | 9:46 am
harmonics31

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 4
In the DVD,

My fretboard is not not and not glued yet. It is about 5.6mm at the nut and 5mm at the sound hole.

O'Brian used a straightedge, place it on the fret board, starting from the nut, extend it to the bridge area, measure the gap between the straightedge and the soundboard. He said that it should be 5mm.

My number is about 7-8mm. I think it is because my soundboard is doomed from the bridge area towards the end of the lower bout.

If i were to use this dimension, then the bridge will be standing shorter with respect to the surface of the fretboard. This translate into a low action tendency.
I use the straightedge, place it on the nut and the bridge, i still have more than 1mm than an "playable" action.

Yes, I noticed that the fretboard is thinner at the sound hole than that at the nut. The Hauser drawing indicated that it is ~1mm thinner.

O'Brian also recommended that the fretboard should be 5mm thick and did not mention anything about differences in dimensions at the nut and the sound hole (as far as i can remember)

I think this is what i am going to do
-make the fretboard a little thinner towards the sound hole, may be down to 4.5mm.
-Sand the neck/soundboard area a little more, maybe 0.1-0.2mm more.
This should help to lower the vertical gap down to 6mm

On a side note, i broke 1/4-1/2 off the tip of the fretboard at the bass side :-( This is a huge setback. And worse, i cannot find the broken tip. I am trying to glue an extra piece to that tip. It may look ugly.

Thanks all

Jul 13, 10 | 10:44 am
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
I'm going from memory when I built mine so this may not be totally accurate. Your bridge is approx 3/8 thick (9+ mm). Just like a steel string, you really want a straightedge laying on the frets to just kiss the top of the bridge. So mic your frets and subtract that from 9mm, that should be your height off the top. Classical tops are rarely domed, so you should be good with that number.

Complicating the angle of the neck (which is already set by your solera), you will want to plane some relief into either neck or the fretboard itself. I don't recall the number but I think it was in the O'Brian vid (or check Cumpiano). I planed the neck on mine - there are people who do not like the look of the f/b being thinner in the middle than each end). In addition, you plane a little twist into the board to make the clearance higher on the bass side (or you can do this at the saddle as on a steel string). Go slowly and use a really sharp plane - ebony chips easily.

The curved end of the f/b is a bit tricky, particularly when it comes to fretting. I filed the tangs of the two little fret pieces and glued them into the curved part with CA. I doubt that they are ever fretted - I think they are just for appearance. I really see no reason you couldn't cut the f/b off at and make it square like a steel string (assuming that works with the rosette).

Jul 13, 10 | 11:11 am
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
I was looking at the Hauser plans last night (trying to answer another classical question) and realize that the fretboard is thinner at the body end than at the nut - is yours? That would drop the plane at the bridge a little.

Jul 14, 10 | 5:40 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Freeman,

That is the essence/point of my two reponses --- This is a missing step of many construction articles, fingerboard slope/machined taper is an important design issue for classical guitars --- and it seems O'Brien also missed it on his DVD.

Ken Cierp

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Jul 14, 10 | 5:50 am
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
This is one step I forgot to do on my just finished build, a steel string, even though I did it on the previous guitar; thinning a taper into the fretboard at the 14th fret toward the sound hole about a 1/16", which will also help get rid of the appearance of the "kick up" of the fretboard at the body join. I didn't taper/thin, and I have that "kick up" look, when sighting down the neck.
The frets aren't really higher there, it just looks that way, althought it must help a bit with string clearance too.

Kevin

Jul 14, 10 | 5:57 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Regarding neck/string relief for classical guitars --- occasionally I run into a neck assembly I've made that has a built-in back bow or is perfectly straight -- neither condition is helpful or desired when setting up a nylon string guitar. Usually these instruments do not have a truss rod let alone the two way type. And the strings even high tension, don't have enough force to pull out the back bow. So to create a tiny bit of forward bow/relief I use this heat blanket set up to actually melt the fingerboard glue. Note the shims at the center of the neck -- when the two clamps at the ends are tightened the soft heated glue allows a tiny bit of slippage/creep. After cool down the neck will retain this new shape --- actually pretty easy to do -- in fact this particular neck had to be heated twice to get the forward bow I wanted.

Ken Cierp

Kenneth MIchael Guitars est. 1978



Jul 15, 10 | 9:46 am
harmonics31

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 4
My Classical LMI Built status - just finished routing the binding and pufling channels. I plan to glue the pufling and binding this coming weekend (if my friends do not visit me with beers) :-)

I sanded my fretboard down to 5.5mm at the nut and 5mm at the sound hole.

Anyway, thinking about the vertical distance from the soundboard to the bottom of the straightedge at 650mm from the nut, these are the following factors that may be affected by this vertical distance

-bridge will be standing shorter/taller compared to the surface of the un-fretted fretboard if this height were larger/smaller.
-if this vertical distance were higher, then the angle formed between the tie block and the saddle would be likely to 45 degree, even when the action were to be low.
-However, if this vertical height is way too much, then it would required a taller saddle. Too much saddle material sticking out of the bridge would not look nice.

Thanks all


Jul 20, 10 | 12:26 pm



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