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  • jonprettyman 6:04AM

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Mischa gypsymyk jensmolander RussellBib

shims

aa New York City✭✭✭✭
i've got a gitane, and the action is way too low. is shimming the bridge on one of these selmer style guitars something that would require a guitar tech, or is it something most people players can do on their own?
anyone know how do do it, or what materials are needed?
thanks!
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Comments

  • ScotsmanScotsman MinnesotaNew
    Posts: 31
    No guitar tech needed, You can make your own out of maple ,rosewood or ebony. If you have a local woodworkers store you should be able to get some scraps.I've also heard of people using popsicle sticks.
    Good luck,
    Steve
  • aa New York City✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 800
    do i need to glue anything, or will the string tension hold the shims in place? how high should the shims be? same height? what is the best material for the transmission of the string vibrations?
    thanks,
    a
    Www.alexsimonmusic.com
    Learn how to play Gypsy guitar:
    http://alexsimonmusic.com/learn-gypsy-jazz-guitar/
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,747
    Scotsman wrote:
    No guitar tech needed

    In general that's true. But to get maximum transfer of sound from the bridge to the top, the shim needs to be sanded to conform to the bend in the top. Otherwise you loose sound. I've had some pro shims made for my guitar, pretty cheap, but sound way better. Like $30.

    However, Django just shoved a matchbook under the bridge. So I guess you can't be too obsessive about this...

    'm
  • ScotsmanScotsman MinnesotaNew
    Posts: 31
    a wrote:
    do i need to glue anything, or will the string tension hold the shims in place? how high should the shims be? same height? what is the best material for the transmission of the string vibrations?
    thanks,
    a
    No, you don't glue them the string tension will hold them in place.I would make A couple of different sizes some 1mm,some 2mm and then just try them until you get the action you wan't. you might find you need to use one size under one side of the bridge and a different size under the other.As far as the type of wood any hard wood will work,but the bridges on the Gitanes are made of rosewood.
  • langleydjangolangleydjango Langley, WA USA✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 99
    Scotsman wrote:
    No guitar tech needed

    In general that's true. But to get maximum transfer of sound from the bridge to the top, the shim needs to be sanded to conform to the bend in the top. 'm

    This may also be true but I think if you use thin enough shims and stack them (instead of one thick shim) they bend to the shape of the top by themselves.

    I went to a woodworking store here in Seattle and got a lifetime supply worth of shim material for about $5. All you need is an exacto knife

    troy
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,747
    Scotsman wrote:
    No guitar tech needed

    In general that's true. But to get maximum transfer of sound from the bridge to the top, the shim needs to be sanded to conform to the bend in the top. 'm

    This may also be true but I think if you use thin enough shims and stack them (instead of one thick shim) they bend to the shape of the top by themselves.

    Hey troy!

    Yeah that could work. But my feeling is that if the wood is bending then it's not dense enough to get maximum sound transfer. From what I understand about the physics of bridges, the denser the better. I've used popsicle sticks in a pinch, and they bend perfectly to the curve on the top. But the sound kinda sucks. When I put professionaly sanded rosewood shims under there I got 50% more treble.

    But again, a matchbook isn't very dense...ha ha

    'm
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    Almost all bridges are made from rosewood. Even the bridges that look black like ebony are most likely rosewood that has bees "ebonized" or stained to look dark. If I need to shim a bridge I use rosewood and only rosewood. Ebony is very hard and might not give you the tone you had without the shims.
  • guit_boxguit_box New
    Posts: 113
    Here's a solution that anyone can do: Get some thick veneer from the local woodworking store--usually they'll have dark rosewood or black dyed maple in 1/32" -- 1/16" would be better. (adding a 1/32" shim will raise the action by 1/64") Cut out some shims that are oversized for each foot, coat them with super glue, press the bridge onto them and hold for 15 seconds. Use an exacto knife to cut the veneer flush and you're done. If a higher action is needed, add more veneer. You can place some sandpaper on the soundboard and run the bridge accross it until the feet match the arch of the soundboard.
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,911
    guit_box wrote:
    Here's a solution that anyone can do: Get some thick veneer from the local woodworking store--usually they'll have dark rosewood or black dyed maple in 1/32" -- 1/16" would be better. (adding a 1/32" shim will raise the action by 1/64") Cut out some shims that are oversized for each foot, coat them with super glue, press the bridge onto them and hold for 15 seconds. Use an exacto knife to cut the veneer flush and you're done. If a higher action is needed, add more veneer. You can place some sandpaper on the soundboard and run the bridge accross it until the feet match the arch of the soundboard.

    I'm not sure about this, but thought it bore mention: the last time I had a luthier shim my bridge, he used Elmer's glue (not super glue). Why? He said once the weather changed, I could remove them pretty easily-even putting them in a microwave for a few seconds to soften the glue-if I wanted to lower the action again. Around here we've got wild swings in temperature & humidity; it might not be as big an issue where you are. Since then, though, I've often shimmed bridges myself without adhesive and it certainly wasn't horrible. I think the ideal solution is to have a few bridges at the ready of different heights, so that any shimming you need to do is kept to a minimum.

    Best,
    Jack.
  • marcieromarciero Southern MaineNew
    Posts: 120
    If you want minimal affect on the tone, you should use the same material as the bridge; usually rosewood. Rosewood is not as dense as, say, ebony, and was chosen as bridge material in Selmers for tone. So denser is not better, necessarilly.

    "Maximum transfer of sound" is ambiguous, since a denser or less dense material will not increase/decrease transfer frequencies evenly. You might think that a denser bridge is is stiffer, so there is less dissipation of sound, but denser means more mass, so the it takes more to drive the bridge in the first pace.

    Actually, I use plastic credit card stock in one of my guitars. When I get around to it, I may change to ebony stock Michael Collins gave me, just to see if I can hear a significant difference.

    Mike
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