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Raising Bridge Height

Can anyone outline the proper way to shim a bridge on a selmac guitar, or direct me to a link where this is explained?



  • djadamdjadam Boulder, CONew
    Posts: 249
    I found Bob's advice to be invaluable here...


    I ended up employing the services of a buddy of mine who works with wood. He used purpleheart, which is a dense wood and has a unique purple look to it. I had him make them on the thicker side and I started experimenting... used fine sandpaper to sand them down until I had just the right action.

    I've been using the shims for months and love the tone I get, along with the action on my 255M. Also, I didn't glue them in - the pressure from the strings is more than enough to keep them in place and make solid contact.
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    A good luthier can do them for you if you are not very comfortable working with wood, plus he´ll probably do it better and quicker.
    I had mine done so there´s a 4mm. Gap between the 12 fret and the low E string, and it really improved the sound of my Gitane, I used Honduras mahogany wich I believe is very close to rosewood, but any hardwood would probably work, hey there are pictures of Django with folded metro tickets as shims so...
  • Colin PerryColin Perry Montreal, QCNew
    Posts: 115
    Thanks, that all seems like good advice. I'm confident I can do the work itself. My gitane has a #1 Dupont Bridge on it, which means it doesn't have the two feet. I guess this means I should use one shim the size of the base of the bridge? I don't know, maybe I should just get a taller bridge.
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,252
    Well, your bridge should have two feet - even if it is a Dupont #1, it should not touch in the center. The only jazz guitar bridges I know of that have a one-piece foot are the pre 1952-ish Epiphone archtops.

    If you look at the bracing pattern on the underside of a Selmer style guitar, you'll find two small wooden reinforcements under the bridge. The bridge is meant to load the top with help spreading the pressure from these. It probably wouldn't hurt the top to have a one piece foot - it just isn't the intended design.

    If the shape of your exisitng bridge fits your guitar's top well, you should be able to place flat equal sized shims under it to raise it - and still get a good fit. If the bottom of the bridge is flat (IE, not curved as the top is curved) then you'll have to fit the bridge to the top. You can tell how well the bridge fits the top by trying to slide thin paper under any part of it. Also, look for "pinched" places... hold the guitar up to the light at an angle and move it around so you can see the reflection of the light in the top of the guitar. If the bridge "dimples" the top at all *usually on the inside of the two feet* that is bad... a dimpled top means that a whole lot of the force of that bridge on the soundboard is focused on the very small area that is described by the apex of the dimple. If the top is ever forced to expand and contract quickly (heat/cold/condensation etc...) "crack" goes the weasel... and that can just flat ruin your day :)

    Also, the guitar just sounds better when the bridge is fit well.

    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    Also, the guitar just sounds better when the bridge is fit well.


    YES! Bob your are right! Keep preaching it man. Down with shims!

    How's the guitar coming? I have been on a break waiting for "the book" but I'm sick of waiting. I'm going to get back in the shop and finish it. I want to have it done so I can play it! After all it will be a new guitar!

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