Considering a Bulldog build. Need tips

eddie_bowers

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The things i'm most worried about is getting the bridge placement correct and the neck set in the right place.

This would be my first build that isn't bolt on with all the holes already drilled.
From that limited experience I know I had to do a little shimming to get things right.

Whats the best way?

Also (probably a dumb question) do the ABR post holes need to be tapped or do you just srew them in? (everything I find online assumes they are in there already)
 

J-Dizzle

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the current batch of Bulldog necks appear to be at the correct angle when you glue them into the body. Some past builders of Bulldog kits have had to use shims to make things fit but the current batch of necks/bodies seem to fit better. Best check before you glue.

As for drilling the holes, not sure. I've got a Bulldog kit that I'm going to start on in a few weeks and when I get to the stage of drilling the holes I'm going to take it to my local techs to get them to do that bit, as I'm slightly wary of doing that myself.
 

gator payne

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IMO save a few more bucks and get a Precision Kit. Bulldogs are notorious for cosmetics and neck set issues. But they can end up making a descent guitar in the end. Just be prepared to correct errors. This is typical of most any China manufactured kits, not just Bulldog’s.

On the bridge post hole locations: Frankly in my opinion it is a bad idea to get a kit with pre drilled bridge holes. A few thousands of an inch error at the neck joint equals a few tenths of an inch error at the bridge. You really should locate the bridge after the neck is in place, frets leveled and with both E strings tensioned and tuned to pitch to insure best intonation. There are many threads on how to do this process. It is the only way to insure the bridge is accurately located based on the neck/fretboard, and the neck/fretboard is the critical element in the formula.
 

eddie_bowers

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Thanks, that was what I was thinking (the bridge location is critical).
How do you position the bridge with strengs tensioned without anything to mount the bridge to?
I can't find any threads that talk about this, but I may be searching on the wrong things.
 

EagleOnyx

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If you are using studs instead of bushings for the bridge then they do thread into the body. You shouldn't need to tap them, but you could if you have the correct size. It's really not that hard to get in the correct place, take your time and measure and recheck several times before drilling. I recommend to do the bridge before finishing also.
 

EagleOnyx

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oh sweet! it was a double post and I didn't even know it!
 

gator payne

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with the saddles in mid adjustment position on the bridge place the bridge under the strings at the approximate scale position and use a block and clamp to hold the position. Adjust the position and reclamp until both E strings intonate well. Mark the bridge pin centers position for drilling. Yo need to use cam clamps or C clamps that will clear the stings without interferance.

Another method (the one I use ) is to build a jig that sets tightly in the bridge pickup cavity that has 2 long fine thread screws through nuts fixed to the fixture, (one just inside each E string position by about 3/8”). When the screws are tightened, it will push the bridge rearward when loosened allow it to move forward. Use this fixture to set for best intonation at each string then mark post centers for drilling. In both cases you need to be sure that you keep the stings in the proper position and split the fretboard centerline between the two strings. In both cases the tail piece or through body ferrules need to be installed first except when using a wrap around bridge.

By having your saddles at the mid adjustment position in the bridge this will leave you plenty of room to final adjust intonation at set-up.

Locating your bridge this way gives the best possible bridge position based on the geometry of the neck as installed.
 

gator payne

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Here is a quick sketch of how my bridge locating fixture works

 

gator payne

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I forgot to show it in the sketch but I put rubber caps on the ends of the screws to prevent maring and I use a 3/16" thick block that has felt on the bottom under the bridge while I locate it. i use my Peterson clip on mic laying in the neck pickup cavity an running through my Peterson strobe tuner to tune and intonate with
 

Reverend D

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Another method some guys here have successfully used was to buy a trapeze tailpiece (shop around probably 12-20 bucks if you look around and you can use it again or for another project when you build that archtop you don't know you want to build yet heh), and mount it using the screw hole that will become your strap pin (or just clamp the trapeze tailpiece in place since it will be bent over the end of the guitar and not go anywhere if you clamp it in place). You then put your bridge in, your strings will go from your tuners to the trapeze tailpiece, the tune o matic then is shimmed up on the top and moved until your intonation is right, then you mark where your holes will be drilled through the tune o matic. Here is what the tailpiece looks like:

Thin_Body_Trapeze_Tailpiece_sm.jpg


Once you have your holes marked, you remove the trapeze tailpiece and all that jazz and you know were it will be. Its doing the same thing Gator's jig is doing just supporting the strings from the other end and the string tension is holding down your tune o matic bridge... Hope that makes sense. Good luck!

Regards,

Don
 

gator payne

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So is that a block of wood cut to fit in the pickup cavity with the screws through it?

Can be but I made mine out of UHMW (the stuff they make the white plastic cutting boards out of)

Here is a tip
Use socket head (Allen head) screws to eliminate possible marring of your top while adjusting the screws.
 

Ole'Lefty

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I have a few tailpieces available for loan for just this issue. I got them when the GM kits turned out so lousy. I think I bought three. If you want me to mail one down to you to borrow to set your bridge, just email me-my real email shows in my profile. Depending upon the bridge type you select, I have the right drill bits and taps for each major manufacturer and type-"Nashville", "ABR" and TP "ABR II" and Gotoh-large and smaller metric. These would be the tooling for the tailpiece and bridge. And there is variation in center to center distance on posts among the variants of generic TOM's.

These are only loaned-they are expected to be promptly sent back after use. The long hollowbody tail piece is temporarily installed with the strap screw. The bridge is then set in under the two taut "E" strings at approximate location. Tune to accurate pitch after shimming up some height on your bridge(I use pennies and dimes-USA coins). With the saddles at midpoint in the bridge, I use the open and fretted at 12 approach to intonation because how firmly you personally fret a string is a HUGE factor for intonation. This means that you should have a ballpark string to fret height at 12. The goal is to get a kind of neutral positioning of the bridge, with room left for sharper or more flat in the installation[which is why you MAY need to reverse 3 of the saddles-E<A<D] . This gives you room to adjust if you use different types, gauges of strings later on.

The math method from S-Mc is close but I have usually added at least .015-.020 to their maximum # on treble bridge post and a good .125 slant to the bass side post for TOM's. ( Like many lousy players, I have a heavy left hand) so my fretting really changes intonation. Also, one is safer with a bit too much comp compared to not enough. This is especially true for the LP and related guitars because they have what is considered a "short" scale in the industry and short scales need more comp than longer-consider how much difference that is. Fender is 25.5(1/2)inch scale, Gibson is in reality as short as 24.5625 (9/16) inch. In acoustics, Martin short is 24.9 inch and common longer scale is called 25.4 ( actually 25. 34_. Market share favors the longer which shows up frequently among all brands.
It is very helpful to have Tracy Leveque's version of a centerline finder and bridge positioner when doing this stuff. Best $100USD I have spent on a tool for reliable bridge/saddle positioning. I actually scribed a crossline that will position a bridge centerpunched mark for LP scales-full 24.750, 24.625, 24.5625 with math based comp.

I echo Gator on Precision Kits-they are precise.Their pre-drilled bridge spots are safe, offering flexibility in string choices and left hand technique for their specified bridge-the Gotoh standard TOM.
 

Drewcifer

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How are those screws attached to the bridge to move it?
 

Ole'Lefty

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They just push against it. The strings are pulling the bridge up against the screws. Gator probably polishes the tips or uses something like gobar covers to avoid marring.
 

gator payne

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How are those screws attached to the bridge to move it?

Lefty got it right the string tension wants push the bridge forward. The screws resist this and move the bridge back as you screw them in. Also as I said before I use rubber caps on the end of the screws.
 

gator payne

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How are those screws attached to the bridge to move it?
The screws are just acting as jack screws pushing the bridge.

Lefty got it right the string tension wants push the bridge forward. The screws resist this and move the bridge back as you screw them in. Also as I said before I use rubber caps on the end of the screws. Doing this on my iPhone so pardon any miss spell
 

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