Building an ARCHTOP Guitar - Page 8
June 4, 2013
Well, of course I didn't have to build a jig to account for the
4.5 degree neck tilt, because I already had this one!
Since it was fortunately the treble side that was too high, I was able to just cruise over to Paul's shop and
use his right-tilting saw to put just the tiniest crossways angle into to the top of the heel and hey presto!
The crown of the frets now align perfectly with the crown of the bridge.
So tonight I was able to lay out and mark the perfect placement and alignment of the neck vis a vis the
heel. I used -- again -- doublesided tape to attach heel to neck, I fit the assembly into the body mortise, and
used a thread stretched taut to verify that the neck pointed straight down the center of the body. Now
gluing guides are drying, and after my next session in the shop I'll be back to where I was on April 2nd
before I made the fateful cuts. As I am now well into my FOURTH YEAR of working on this guitar, I'm
ready to make some progress!
June 8, 2013
I glued the heel to the neck, so now I could make some final adjustments. I need something over 5/8" for the
suspended pickup I want to use, So I extended the dovetail by cutting up into the neck until I had the proper
clearance at the end of the fretboard. That's what we see here:
A couple of things about this picture... first, the little brown strips at the top of the heel are the gluing guides I
referred to above. I dry fit the neck and heel together using doublesided tape until I had the alignment just like
I wanted it. Then I glued little strips to the top of the heel to hold the sides of the neck in place when I glued
heel to neck. I glued them lightly and they popped right off afterwards. Second, I acknowledge that the neck
extension curve looks kind of awkward. It is a very close fit on the other side, however. As I've mentioned
before, the profile of my top is a good bit more dramatic than usual.... I'll refine the curve of course. I did
leave myself precious little room for attaching the pickguard though!
Another thing this finalized neck angle allowed me to do was directly evaluate the required height of the
bridge. I put a blank nut in place, and ran a straight edge from it to the bridge, then adjusted the bridge to
where the straight edge approximated good string height above the fretboard..As it turns out, I put a little bit
too much neck angle in! The proper height was within the adjustment range of my bridge, but just barely, and
I had no desire to hoist my bridge up so far on the screws because the higher on the screw the more wobble
the bridge has. So i decided to increase the height of the bridge piece itself. I glued a scrap of ebony to the
bottom of the bridge...
...and trimmed it flush. Then I extended the holes through the new piece and voila! A taller bridge that is
even a bit more steady than before.
In this shot you can also see that the crown of the bridge now matches the crown of the frets. The nut way
down at the end looks wonky, but it's not attached. And for that matter the frets aren't dressed yet, and they
look a bit wonky as well.
October 27, 2013
After another lengthy break, I have gotten back to work on this thing and, based on recent progress, my goal
is now to finish up the body and neck and get the finish this fall/winter! I have been working on the neck
and today I have the profile and the headstock join just about done. I took some glamour shots for you... this
neck is almost criminally figured! Also a close up look at the headstock. I wet it all down with mineral
spirits to show the grain:
The grey line at the headstock join is the glue line from the original scarf joint. A bit unfortunate, but I'm
not complaining too much. I still have some work to do around the heel and the neck extension...
blending the edge of the heel with the body at the cutaway, etc.
And for a sense of the scale of this baby, here it is next to my Tele and LP...
May 26, 2016! Things have been held
up. I'll eventually get back to this guitar,