to join the parts. Gibson-style models often
have a “set neck,” which has a pre-cut dovetail
joint for gluing. Glue a set neck in place before
applying the final coats of clear finish.
The rest of the assembly will just be a
matter of correctly locating the bridge and
installing the pickups, control knobs, tuning
machines, input jack, switches, pots, and pick
guard. All the hardware should be included
with the kit. Finally, install the strings.
4. Adjust for sound and feel.
4a. Adjust the neck. This is done by turning
the built-in steel truss rod to slightly bow
the neck forward or back. “Relief” is forward
bow of the neck, while “back bow” is the
opposite condition. The neck should have just
enough relief to allow the strings to clear the
frets without buzzing, but not so much as to
cause an overly high action. Turn the truss
rod clockwise to decrease relief, or counterclockwise to increase it.
4b. Adjust the string height. This is known
as “setting the action.” The bridge will have
adjusters to raise or lower the strings in
relation to the fretboard. Some players prefer
a high action, but most prefer it as low as
possible without buzzing.
4c. Adjust the pickup height. The gap
between the strings and the pickups is best
adjusted by trial and error. Start with a
gap. Use the pickup mounting screw to
experiment until you get a sound you like.
4d. Adjust the intonation. First, tune the
guitar. Then, starting with the low E string,
compare the pitch of the open string to
the pitch at the 12th fret. If the fretted note
is flat, use the bridge saddle adjuster to
make the string “longer.” If sharp, make the
string “shorter.” Do this for all 6 strings. You
shouldn’t have to readjust the intonation
unless you change string gauge or brand. ;
Steve Lodefink is a designer by day and a tinkerer by night.
Building small projects to learn new skills and discover new
materials is both his hobby and his therapy.
154 Make: makezine.com/29