Beware ! You're in Kamikazie here. Not many pro luthiers around, more often brave souls experimenting in their kitchen.
Special post against soundhole valley - by François
François : I just saw this on a Stella H943 ebay auction.
I had never seen this before, did you ? I should give it a try and do some measurements before/after...
I guess the routine would be :
- release string tension
- cut a rod just the length to force it in place
- retune and voila... action a bit better ?
ohgoodthinking99 : That post looks simple and probably very effective!
musician-fishin : Amazing ! I still like the bolt through the neck the best though.
billieg2 : That is unique but I'd worry about tearing out the brace.
Howmany : Very cool idea....certainly worth a try!
Bacon : Prolly work even better if ya took the brace and flattened the top where the dowel will sit. Keep it from slipping.
Fanfab4 : Or use a larger dowl and cut a notch on one end to fit over the brace then wittle it down a bit to reduce the shaft thickness .
François : Ok, the trick looks so simple that i had to give it a try... I took the guitar that I strum these days, a H6382 "Regal", a late variation of the H1203 Sovereign, with the narrower frretboard. It sounds good, loud and bright, but it has a high action. It's ok with my cowboy chords...
First I measured the action at the end of the fretboard, on the D string, just above the place where I will put the rod, between the top and back braces. I measure :
4.88 mm = 0.192"
Then I cut a piece of cardboard "thick enough", shorter and shorter until I can place it between the braces and it stays there by itself :
Then I cut a rod from a 12mm / just less than 1/2" diameter piece of beech, 1/4" longer rthan the cardboard... and I shape the end to accomodate, more or less, the braces profile. Of course the length of the cardboard compare to the 'inside' length of the finsished rod.
The most 'difficult' is to align the grooves at each end, hence the black line...
Then I push it inside, I adjusted the length so I had to use all the force in my fingers (but not more...) to slide it at the right place..
Then... Re-tune, and... measurement done the same way...
4.17 mm / 0.165" (was 4.88 mm = 0.192" before)
Not really much, but significant, it can help, and I suppose it may help to slow down the process of warping the whole body from years of tension...
The great thing is you can do it in no time, and it's completely and immediately reversible...
Now the big question : does it make a difference in sound ? Well, I did not carefully record it before and after, but I can't say I hear any difference at first try... Theorically, there should be some difference though...
Howmany : I'm trying to think this through and I'm getting stuck. Wouldn't this repair only raise the fingerboard from the 14th fret to the end but not change the action in any way from the nut to the 14h fret? So if the neck angle is off or the neck is bowed the action would still be ugly.
François : No miracle was achieved, as you can see by the measurements... But it works "just a bit"...
You can't see the high action as the effect of only a bowed neck, or a bad neck abgle, or a warped body, or a lifted belly, or... It's all of this at the same time... The string tension tends to pull up the bridge and to belly the lower bout, and also tend to make a valley between the hole and the neck, the fingerboard extension going down... This rod just help to prevent this part of the illness...
Think to the body as a theorical simple box : the tension will try to shorten the part between the bridge and the neck, ie bowing the top inward between the bridge and the neck..
And, re-reading your post, if you raise the fretboard at his ends on the body, it will definitely help to "push back" the neck, because the fretboard is one piece and is glued on the neck...
ohgoodthinking99 : I'm going to try this on my new mandolin. It wasn't really clear until I took the dust off, added some polish, got some light bouncing off the top and some new strings - but despite the neck joint you could carve a wooden leg from, I have a big valley between the sound hole and the neck. There's a small brace on the top, but nothing directly under it on the bottom. I'll add a brace on the bottom... well, not really bracing, but acting as a load distributor. The action is very nice, and it plays like a charm. I don't expect the warp to go away, but at least be happy that it has some back-pressure fighting further movement.
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