New design features!
Neck Joint (patent pending)
The neck joint I have designed lets the end user adjust the neck angle while the instrument is tuned up. You can change the action without the need to even re-tune. This works because the joint acts like a hinge, and it pivots around a point located 2mm above the 12th fret. Since the pivot is essentially on the string, the strings don’t stretch or go slack as the action is adjusted. It seems impossible at first, but the geometry checks out: imagine a rubber band connecting the tips of the hour and minute hands on a clock reading 6:00. Now imagine the distance the minute hand travels over the next ~20 seconds- the rubber band would seem just as tight as before because the change is so minuscule. ~1° of rotation is all we need to get from a low to a high action, so the string length between nut and saddle essentially does not change.
I have several different adjustment mechanisms in the works, and this thumbwheel design is just one. I will post photos of a sleeker design that uses an Allen wrench to turn an internal set screw soon.
Bridge (patent pending)
I have deconstructed the guitar bridge and rearranged the parts in order to eliminate a glue seam and improve the mechanics. The jobs of a bridge are listed here:
- anchor the strings to the top
- set the height of the strings above the frets
- set the length of the strings so it plays in tune
- brace the top transversely to control how the strings activate the rest of the bracing and top
The glue seam on a typical bridge takes almost all the load of the string tension: although the ball ends are inside and touching the bridge plate, the point where the strings turn the corner and first touch the bridge pins is where most of the force pulls on the bridge. In dry climates bridges often break loose or cause cracks in the guitar top since they shrink at different rates and amounts than the guitar top. This new keyhole design avoids several problems and performs the jobs listed above more efficiently.
The strings are anchored mechanically via a notch in the bridge plate. It’s almost as if they are attached like a button thru a button hole. The height is set using a floating bridge similar to what you would find on an archtop guitar, and since the neck angle is adjustable the saddle no longer has to be a removable piece of bone. The player can use a bridge that is tall or short, heavy or lightweight, and the saddle can be a traditional bone piece or a piece of fret wire – whatever suits the tone and comfort the player seeks.
The intonation is set by the placement of the floating bridge, and there are registration pins in the top that act as backstops. Channels carved on the underside of the bridge can be adjusted by a luthier if necessary to correct intonation, but placing the bridge in the correct spot when changing strings is simple.
The interior bridge plate consists of two pieces: a thin glued-on bridge plate and a modular ‘deadman‘ anchor piece. The anchor piece can be swapped out whenever the strings are off. If I provide the guitar buyer with a dozen anchor pieces that all have different masses and stiffness, the mid-range response of the guitar is adjustable. Heavier/stiffer bridges emphasize the fundamental at the expense of overtones, while lighter/more flexible plates add interest until eventually the sound gets muddy and loses sustain. This design allows the player to tinker with the output of the guitar until it suits their taste, perhaps even changing the bridge to suit the gauge of strings. Letting the end-user adjust one of the guitar braces (within an acceptable range) is a novel idea that will appeal to many ‘tone-seekers’.