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Neck set wrong

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by fdeck, Nov 17, 2010.


  1. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    ... on my cello. It's been this way since I've had it. The neck is set at a slight angle, such that the bridge wants to sit towards the bass side of the instrument. For better or worse, I'm the family luthier (save for my new bass, for which I would seek professional care). The bridge foot is not centered on the bassbar.

    So, I'd like to know what strategies could be pursued, short of resetting the neck. I'm up for fitting a new bridge.
     
  2. Maxvla

    Maxvla

    Nov 1, 2010
    Oklahoma City
    Oklahoma Strings
    There's no fix besides resetting the neck. Unless you make a bridge from scratch (no blanks) you're not going to find a blank that has an extra long foot on just one side. ;)

    Unless the positioning of the bridge is off by more than 1/2 inch or so I would leave it as is. It's a lot of work (read $$) to cut a neck out and reset it. Also if the neck position is wrong now, most likely you would need a shim inserted to correct the angle if it is bad enough (even more $$). Plus there is always risk of damaging a joint when you have to cut it out when it is solid.
     
  3. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Hey Francis, how far off are we talking about?
     
  4. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I get slightly different numbers depending on whether I measure in from the f-holes, or from the C-bouts. But I think that the bridge is off-center by around 5 - 7 mm.

    My metrology skills are much better suited to objects that have straight edges, flat surfaces, and right angles. :rolleyes:

    This was my student cello, but AFAIK it's an OK instrument, with label:

    Anton Schroetter
    Geigenbaumeister
    Mittenwald / Bayern
    MADE IN GERMANY

    It has quite a number of repaired cracks on the top plate. Don't know when it was made.
     
  5. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Don't fret about the foot being centred - on the bar will suffice. I'd cut a bridge with 1/3 of the offset made up at the feet and the rest by offsetting the string placement on top. Then adjust the sound post to suit the resultant bridge placement.

    As long as you're not driving the tip of the bow into the treble side of the top it should work just fine! ;)
     
  6. i'll be happy to give you the surefire,downlow,cornpone,shadetree,
    "why didn't i think of that". after the others chime in. ;)
     
  7. Brent Nussey

    Brent Nussey

    Jun 27, 2001
    Tokyo, Japan
    Hi Francis.

    You can cut the bridge so that the g side leg is a little longer, thus tilting the top of the bridge a little to the bass bar side. I've seen this done on basses before, and they sounded fine.

    Good luck.
     
  8. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    May 26, 2005
    Forest Grove, OR
    A slightly more invasive, but fairly workable solution is to:
    1. Separate the plates from the block area out to the shoulders of the instrument, then
    2. Center the neck by rocking it sideways, flexing the ribs a tiny bit-- it will hardly take any at all to get the result you want.
    3. Work hot, fairly thin hide glue into the joints and re-clamp with everything perfectly aligned. (watch the fingerboard projection-- that can move, too.)
    4. File the edges of button and heel to re-establish a perfect match.
    5. Retouch the damaged varnish.
    6. Set-up over again, if the bridge has changed location very much...but from what you say, it sounds as though it would still fit.
     
  9. Brent Nussey

    Brent Nussey

    Jun 27, 2001
    Tokyo, Japan
    Sorry I didn't have time to clarify what I was suggesting yesterday. To cut the bridge so it tilts a bit, you don't need anything other than a standard bridge blank. You just cut the feet differently. Look at these 2 pictures and you'll get the idea. The black lines I've drawn show where you would trim the feet. The first picture is a "normal" fit, and the second is tilted.

    bridge reg.

    bridge tilt.
     
  10. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Those pix look like the stills from a cool animation. A whole new meaning to WALKING bass...
     
  11. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    ...or walking cello. :D
     
  12. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Oh great, now somebody's going to post that stupid Woody Allen clip again! :D
     
  13. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Thanks for all of the helpful ideas. Going in carefully with a ruler, it looks like the leg of the bridge (excluding the foot) is not centered over the bass bar, but also doesn't overhang it. It looks like there's a chance I might be able to "split the difference" and get the bridge foot centered over the bass bar without moving it over the full 5 - 7 mm.

    Now, time to procrastinate about it. :D
     
  14. Cody Sisk

    Cody Sisk

    Jan 26, 2009
    Lilburn, GA
    Ronald Sachs Violins
    +1 Move the string grooves over a bit to compensate as he says. It's easy and works everytime!
     
  15. bigolbassguy

    bigolbassguy

    Feb 13, 2010
    Billings, MT
    :D
     

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